Law & Order: SVU
Original Air Date: Nov 14, 2012
Caitlin – Senior Staff Writer
A kidnapping is pretty normal for the SVU. A kidnapping that turns into a custody case? Been there, done that. Don’t worry, though. This episode has yet more twists to make sure things stay interesting. Because of how the show is usually slow-paced and all.
A little girl plays in the park with her parents and suddenly disappears. There’s an immediate suspect in a guy hanging around the park watching kids, but he swears he’s innocent. This early in the episode, we can guess he’s right.
He’s just your garden variety creeper (though admittedly, your usual creeper doesn’t fall asleep in the interrogation room). While many parents suspect him, his tip that he saw Tessa be taken by “her mother” gains weight when they find footage of a stranger with the little girl. Tessa’s nanny recognizes the woman, who she says takes photos in the park. Sure enough, Tessa is with Dia, but, as she is arrested, Dia insists that she is Tessa’s mother.
When confronted, Tessa’s parents admit that Tessa was born via surrogate. Also, the baby on a birth certificate Dia provided was born in the same week as Tessa. Olivia is sympathetic towards Dia, but Nick just thinks she’s crazy. Meanwhile, the lawyer who supposedly set up the surrogacy case works in personal injury, not adoption. Also, he’s dead. DNA is collected from both Tessa’s father and Dia to start determining parenthood.
Dia makes bail after telling detectives that she had a relationship with Ken Webster, an influential man whose father is a judge.. When it turns out that all the documents Tessa’s parents have are fake, it’s time to talk to Mr. Webster. He denies that there’s anything real between him and Dia, but later that day, Dia shows up at his door, insisting that he be there to help raise their child he tricked her into giving up for adoption.
Olivia and Nick talk to Webster’s wife Julian and daughter Hannah, who both seem to have good perceptions of him. The daughter did meet with Dia earlier, not knowing the extent of their connection. When it turns out Dia is actually Tessa’s mother, the detectives confront Webster again. He admits to an “incident” with Dia in which she could have gotten hold of his sperm. Tessa’s parents are now going to have to fight for custody of her.
The dead lawyer, Mr. Feeney, seems to be the one who’s screwed everyone over in this case. Tessa is taken into protective custody and we learn that Webster’s father helped out Mr. Feeney in the past. Then we get proof that he was definitely having a relationship with Tess when his daughter and wife find a photo of him kissing. Finally, he becomes murder suspect while rummaging through Dia’s house and standing next to her dead body.
He insists Dia was dead when he arrived, which doesn’t explain him ransacking her house. But he’s sure he was set up, and his alibi seems to check out. Julian becomes the next most likely suspect, or at least she would if weren’t too weak to lift the murder weapon. There’s one last person in the family- Hannah. But Julian, who will soon die, insists on pleading guilty in order to spare her child.
In case you’re wondering what’s going to happen with Tessa, keep wondering. While it’s probably safe to assume that her parents will get her back, what with Dia being dead and Webster being a terrible excuse for a person, we don’t actually see it happen. In fact, there’s no more mention of any of the three of them once we really focus on Webster. Which…really isn’t unusual at all for SVU.
There is one other little thing. Olivia and Nick both, unbeknownst to Cragen, agreed to keep private the fact that Julian told them Hannah didn’t have an alibi during the time of the murder. They agree to terms of Hannah being put in counseling just before the captain enters. That, at least, is going to get interesting. Just so long as we have enough time between plot points to actually get back to the subject.
Next Week: Lesson’s Learned