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10 February 2006 @ 08:58 pm
Review, "Manipulated", 02/07/06  
Oh, SVU writers...  Why do you hate us so?

Summary of Episode:

The scene opens on a blonde woman screaming.  She is tied to a bed and a menacing figure in a ski mask is advancing upon her when the door to the apartment bursts open, admitting two police officers, guns drawn.  They order the man in the ski mask to stop what he's doing.  The camera pans to the right to find...another camera.  A young man who can only be described as the result of an unholy union between Elvis Costello and Gollum expresses glee at the arrival of the cops and orders the cameraman to get a close-up of "the fat one".  Shortly, the cops discover that no one has called 911 on these kids making a "student film" (is that what they're calling amateur porn now?).  They quickly ascertain that they were given the wrong apartment number and they haul ass to the correct apartment, where they discover the body of another blonde.  This one, however, is well and truly dead.

Investigation by Elliot and Orca--er--Olivia unearths the fact that the blonde was a lawyer at a local law firm by day and a hot hot hot stripper at the Foreplay by night.  And no, before you judge her too harshly, she wasn't doing it for the money.  She just really loved to dance.  Because apparently people in Manhattan who "really love to dance" become strippers instead of taking, say, classes in the tango at the local Y.  Further investigation reveals such red herrings as her fiance, the pro-bono crackheads she sometimes defended, an overzealous customer by the name Wiener Man (again with the hot dog angle), and--dun dun DUN--the husband of her wheelchair-bound boss at the law firm, one Tessa McKellan (Rebecca DeMornay). 

When footage from the "student film" reveals Linus McKellan entering the building with Vicky Riggs (the victim) just prior to the time of her death, the investigation begins to focus on him.  After a completely uncalled for and unnecessary ass-whipping by Petrovsky on our Ms. Novak--which gets all evidence against McKellan, including the confession of his presence at the apartment and the making of the 911 call, dismissed--the detectives attempt to find direct evidence independent of what they learned after the ID of McKellan.  They discover phone calls from his cell to the victim and also to her friend from the strip club, Josie.  When they go to interview Josie, they find her dead...in an apartment locked from the inside via a door chain. 

This is where we discover SpiderMan might have been involved.  Yeah, I'm not making this up.

Attention turns from Mr. McKellan to Mrs. McKellan when it becomes clear that the knock-off SpiderMan was not trying to make her suffer so much as he was following her orders.

However, to be contrary, the writers lob the Munchausen's Disease grenade in the middle of the final act, which gets Mrs. McKellan a free pass away from a murder trial until, according to an unusually duped Petrovsky, "she is fit to stand trial".  Realizing the only way to make Petrovsky see the light is to discredit Mrs. McKellan's health-related issues, Casey sics Elliot and Liv on Linus, hoping the man will testify against his wife.  During the conversation with Elliot and Orca--er--Olivia, the truth slowly dawns on the poor man and he pushes his wife, wheelchair and all, right into the pool off their living room.  The technique proves more successful than it did when it was used to identify witches in medieval Europe and Mrs. McKellan swims to the side of the pool and walks out of it.

I guess she'll be "standing" trial after all.

DiNovia's Content Commentary:

I think I've figured out why Olivia isn't taking ambulance rides anymore.  She wouldn't fit!

Warner appeared rather early, did she not?  Only to disappear for the remainder of the episode.  Her brilliant contribution?  The ring's missing.  Yeah, thanks.  We'll get right on that.  /rolling eyes.

What did those mash notes say?  Oh, right.  "Don't marry him.  You belong with me.  Marriage is the end of love."  Something you know about first hand, eh, Elliot?  I don't know how Orca--er--Olivia restrained herself.  I so would have snarked that.

Wait, wait!  Vicky Riggs was a lawyer who was also engaged to be married.  And she was into pro-bono cases and never met a crackhead she didn't invite to dinner?  And she worked for a woman in a wheelchair?  Oh, and she was also a stripper, but not because she was oppressed or anything, but rather because she "loved to dance".  Uh huh.  So, writers, did you consider that a "well-rounded" character/victim or was that one of your "crazy quilt" experiments?  I'm leaning toward "crazy quilt", myself.

So the man who "grabbed his package" every time Vicky danced was also a hot dog vendor.  Wiener Man, indeed.  Some of you need to get out more, I swear.

Interesting double standard you have there, Mr. Winchell.  You called off your wedding because you discovered your fiance was a stripper by night.  And how did you discover this?  Because you and your buddies were out hitting multiple strip joints for your what?  Your bachelor pre-show build-up tour?  Because the invitations hadn't even been sent yet, which means you were way, WAY too early for a bachelor's party.  Asshole.

Morales pulls Elliot's DMV pic for a test run against the unknown man in an overcoat in the Face Recognition Software.
Liv:  "Nice picture."
Elliot:  "Let's see yours."
Me:  "Preferably before your unfortunate run in with that Krispy Kreme truck.  I hear there were no survivors. Amongst the donuts, that is."

All those surprised by the identification of the Man in Taupe Wool Overcoat as husband to the woman in the wheelchair are excused.  You will be attending a seminar in Proper Investigatory Techniques beginning with the chapter on "The Cliche Is Hardly Ever The Last Place to Look".  Hopefully Elliot and Orca--er--Olivia will be joining you because, yeah, who'd you THINK it was?

Which brings me to my rant.  Okay, writer fucktards, um, WTF??  Our intrepid detectives are too damned LAZY to show that pic around the vic's OFFICE where, ostensibly, someone--anyone!--might have said "Oh yeah!  That's Linus McKellan, our boss's husband.  Gee, I wonder what he was doing with Vicky that night?"  Instead they waste precious resources on Face Recognition Software identification which then gets challenged by Weasel Man, the Amazing Dog-Faced Defense Attorney, which then gets MY TV WIFE chastised unfairly by Judge "Pissy the PMS Queen" Petrovsky?  Yeah.  Here's your cookie for that travesty:  I've decided not to stab you repeatedly with a rusty machete and then powder you in a fine layer of ascorbic acid before turning the fire hoses on you.  Don't say I never gave you anything.

And Liv?  Elliot?  Here's a thought.  When your ADA comes to you and says, in essence, "Hey fucktards, thanks for nothing!  Petrovsky threw out the ID, the confession and everything else because you two had to play Mission Impossible with Inspector Gadget over there.  Now we have to find a piece of evidence independent of what we learned from the SUSPECT HIMSELF and hope that it would have led to inevitable discovery!", the correct action is to a) apologize and b) SHOW THE FUCKING PICTURE AROUND THE VIC'S OFFICE!  Pulling the LUDs may have gotten the job done too, but dammit, it was just so lame!

SpiderMan.  You're fucking kidding me.  SpiderMan.  Great.  Fabulous.  Maybe Cragen can use that secret phone under his Twizzler jar to call in Batman as a character witness for the Webbed Wonder.

There were so many great lines in this ep that it was hard to pick my favorite.  This is one of them, but not my absolute favorite:

Liv [to Linus upon his declaration that he'd never had an affair with Josie, the other stripper, and that someone is attempting to frame him by planting his DNA in the dead girl]:  "How'd they get your sperm?  You just leave it lying around?"

Followed almost immediately by:

Fin [to Orca--er--Olivia after she posits government involvement in the frame up to Munch after they discover the possible involvement of a company of hired mercs]:  "Don't get him started on Dick Cheney again!"

Now that's what I like to see!  Elliot threatening a bunch of PMCs with Casey!  After all, she did subpoena Donald Rumsfeld!  And they caved!  Woo hoo!!  :D

Which leads, obliquely, to my favorite line of the evening, after the threat yields the name of Walter Inman, a Silver Hammer who had to be let go after Tessa McKellan's case for them tanked.  Mr. Inman, in addition to being a highly-trained master mountaineer, apparently also has a rap sheet.

Munch [to Inman who has just attempted to avoid capture by rappelling down the side of his building and by elbowing Fin in the gut]:  "Let's try this again!  Walter Inman, you're under arrest for the murders of Vicky Riggs and Josie [whatever]!  And for assaulting one of New York's finest Finest!"

All those who did not immediately ask "Did Munch just call Fin fine?" are excused to attend the seminar on Spotting Maintext Clues to Boyslash Pairings in Film and Television.  Brokeback Mountain has nothing on these two.  Trust me.

Oh right!  Here's our other Warner sighting!  Where she uses the word 'amylase' for fun and profit!  Telling us that Tessa apparently performed oral sex on her own husband and then saved his semen and gave it to Walter Inman so that he could plant it in Josie's dead body to make it look like Linus had killed her to cover up the similar murder of Vicky Riggs.  A direct quote from my notes about this plot twist: "I wish I could make this crap up!  LOLOLOLOLOL!"

We interrupt this review to bring you a very important series of questions inspired by the advertisement for the show "Conviction".  We will return you to your regularly scheduled review in just a moment.

I understand, from several sources, that there will be no explanation of Alex Cabot's return when "Conviction" begins later this season.  I'm actually not surprised about that.  My questions revolve around the episode "Loss".  How good could that hit man really have been?  Be honest, now.  He failed to kill Alexandra Cabot, a stationary target on a clear night whose blonde hair should have been the perfect bull's eye!  Pale blonde head against the dark of night?  Please.  Some hit man.  I'm so very unimpressed.  Call me when you make the shot, okay?  Then I'll be impressed.  Hell, I'll probably send you a fruit basket.  And some muffins.  And a nice card.  Right after I stop dancing with joy.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled review, already in progress. 

Way to blackmail Inman, Casey!  Nicely done!  And thank you for stopping short of offering his daughter a job in your office as added incentive.  I was worried about that for a second.

So it's not enough that the wheelchair-bound blonde attorney is a manipulative bitch who murders for revenge?  We have to give her Munchausen's?  This was just to give Huang something to do, right?  That sucks.  No, really.  It sucks!  I hate Scriptwriting Via the Wedge.  I really do.

Why does Petrovsky hate Casey so much?  Is there canon on this?  Can someone explain this to me?  Please?

I must have laughed for ten minutes after the episode was over because of Linus pushing Tessa, wheelchair and all, into that pool conveniently placed off the living room.  That was one of the best unintentionally funny moments this show has ever had!  OMG, so funny!  And Tessa's wet, kicked puppy act with Orca--er--Olivia?  Priceless! 

DiNovia's Other Commentary:

10:23pm Casey Novak on screen!  And--if you squint just right--you could almost say the blonde was darker!  In the right light.  Without your glasses.  Wishing really hard.

I can't even bring myself to flog the Hair Gal again.  The blonde hair is crushing my will to publicly humiliate Hair Gal.  I'm almost resigned to it!  Oh God!  Someone save me!

Well, looks like the Vibrant Blue is still Mar's Number One color.  :)  Hooray!
The award for Best Crowbarred Reference to Olivia's Heterosexuality goes to "I wouldn't be happy if I found out my fiance was stripping for money.  I'd kill him."  Him?  Really?  Him, you say?  What?  No, no reason, really.  It's just that I had you pegged for a big ol' dyke, that's all.

Oh, and the following, Mar, do not hide Baby Boy Hermann as much as you'd think:  a manila folder, a plastic evidence baggie, a coat, and wishing.

Petrovsky is very shortly going to be on my Irredeemably Wrong list if she doesn't lighten the fuck up on MY TV WIFE, dammit!  However, that squint of "WTF are you ON, anyway?" from Casey was pure love!  LOL

Yeah.  Um.  Spidey references, while funny, are YEARS too late!  Movies one and two have been out of theatres so long now, they aren't even playing on pay-per-view.  Good job.  Thanks. 

But I have to say that the Spidey references were only one tiny part of the completely crammed together whole.  Crackheads?  Lawyers who are also strippers?  The mob?  Stalkers?  Jilted fiances?  Husbands of wheelchair-bound bosses?  Mercs?  Munchausen's?  O_o  If there was a theme for the cohesive whole, I missed it entirely.  Once again, you writers are making things that should be simple very, very hard. 

Wow.  Betty Buckley.  Raise of hands from anyone who expected her to break into song, particularly with something from "Cats"?  Now, raise of hands for anyone who thought "OMG.  How long has it been since 'Eight is Enough', anyway?  Jesus!"

No, really.  Linus pushing Tessa into the pool to see if she could walk?  OMG, so funny!  What a bitch!  And what balls to do that in front of two cops!  LOLOL  Lovely!  Because if you'd have been wrong, Linus, and she couldn't walk, that's attempted murder. 

Well.  Hmm.  I'm thinking that even the appearance of the entire cast couldn't save this episode.

Too much crap and unintentional humor.  The show is almost a shadow of its former self.


DiNovia's Rating:


My State of Mind: embarrassedembarrassed
What the Voices in My Head Hear: VAST
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
The review, as always, is pure love. Unfortunately, the teacher I've been taping this for saw the conviction ad and is now begging me to tape that for her. I kinda don't want my tape to melt from the glare of that blond hair.
Olivia/Orca....I'm really concerned for what happens after the birth. If Mariska Hargitay decides to just up and leave,I'm pretty sure I'd be inconsolable for about a month. Who would we pair Casey with then?
I'm thinking that we need to send Hair Gal pictures of DN before she got there and after, so that way she has a clear concise picture of what we want. Or, there's always voodoo.
Lisarockcliffchic81 on February 11th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
I'd make a more detailed comment but it's 10:30 I got off work a half hour ago and I have to be back there for 6am...so this was just a quick read through but thanks great way to cap off getting my internet connection back after almost 24 hours.
rave_review on February 11th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
I just have to say, rockcliffchic81:
Oh My God... Icon. Love.
Lisa: Sam's Got Nothing Yet.rockcliffchic81 on February 11th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
Thanks! paxm made it for me. I watched the trailer and that's the scene that I just loved.
seftiri: Casey Softballseftiri on February 11th, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
You're welcome, sweetie!

Get some rest! O_o

Lisa: caseyrockcliffchic81 on February 11th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
I'm tired...got maybe 4 and a half hours last night and it was dead until about 1pm. Do plan to actually reread review today though.
seftiri: Mar Joyful Heartseftiri on February 11th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC)
Mar has signed through the 8th season, so she's not going anywhere anytime soon. She said she's due to start filming again in late July with the rest of the cast for the next season, so unless something drastic happens, we'll have our Liv back. Don't worry.

Glad you liked the review.

And voodoo. Hmm...now there's a thought.

Danielle: Elliot and Olivia - wtf?dani_ellie on February 11th, 2006 03:10 am (UTC)
Re: Conviction

I am SO TORN. On the one hand, while I loved Alex when she was the ADA, my Casey!Love has put out the wee flame I had for her. But on the other hand....I swear to GOD that was Jordan Bridges in the commercial and he's just so cute.

seftiri: Been Limedseftiri on February 11th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
That was Jordan Bridges. I heard he was on the cast. :)

Watch away, dearheart. I'm certainly not advocating the end to Conviction.


Just Alex.


rave_review on February 11th, 2006 04:40 am (UTC)
Oh, I get it now: *snickers* "Orca"

This episode sounds so incredibly ridiculous! Two lemons? That's just saaaddd.
I have faint memories of Petrovsky being somewhat nice... But I could be wrong about that.
Now, at the Parade of Nations at the opening Olympic ceremonies, was it just me, or were the Slovenians wearing lime green scarves? (That made me so happy)

Thanks for the review!
seftiri: Lime Crimeseftiri on February 11th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
Now, at the Parade of Nations at the opening Olympic ceremonies, was it just me, or were the Slovenians wearing lime green scarves? (That made me so happy)

They were! They were! And gloves too! I turned to the cat, who was on the couch, and said "Look! Slovenia has on lime green! Isn't that sweet?"

The cat was unimpressed.

Glad you enjoyed the review!

rave_review on February 11th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
Ahh, I did (almost) the same!!
My big-ass evil dog and my girlfriend were also uninspired at the sight of my Lime-squee.
*shakes head* Unbelievers.
Shut up and smilemorningafter2 on February 11th, 2006 05:23 am (UTC)
Re: New York's Finest Finest. I could have sworn Spidey-Perp (he's not worth the effort of scrolling up to find his name) hit Munch, thus making Munch's comment directed at himself... probably wrong. *shrug* Knew I should have taped it. Does this excuse me from having to take that seminar thing? Because I really don't have the time or energy for any more classes, even one as fun as that one would be.

Anyway, your review is the perfect way to ease the somewhat uncomfortable transition from contacts to glasses. (Vanity and maternal pressure, yay...) Wonderful, as always.

Whenever I read your reviews, my friends on YIM always get the parts I think are funny copied into the IM box. That's generally most of the review, and occasionally they'll just say "the way we're going, you'd be better off linking me to the review..."

Also, on Conviction. I actually think I'm going to be watching it. Not for Alex, just because it seems like it could be a good series. *shrug* Of course knowing me I'll miss the pilot, and after that just keep forgetting to watch.
seftiri: Cutie Bareseftiri on February 11th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked the review, sweetie! And thanks for sharing them around! The more, the merrier!

And I have nothing against the concept of the show Conviction. Really, I don't. I just can't bring myself to watch that woman on TV any more.
shayshaych_03 on February 11th, 2006 07:50 am (UTC)
i think petrovsky hates casey because she's an alex fan. i'm not sure, but i believe petrovsky and alex's mom are buddies.

re: "I'd kill 'him'." i heard, "I'd kill 'em." as in the ubiquitous pronoun hockey, "them".

as i said before I just couldn't get beyond, "oh my gods, that's michael novotny's boyfriend." and "wow, shane's woman really let herself go." LOL

the spiderman bit was fun and a good bit of "copspeak"

as always, this was a lovely and funny review, erin. this ep didn't suck so much for me, but the recording quality did. my caps look like pointilism on crack.
seftiri: DN2seftiri on February 11th, 2006 02:20 pm (UTC)
i think petrovsky hates casey because she's an alex fan. i'm not sure, but i believe petrovsky and alex's mom are buddies.

but that's not canon as far as we know, right? and you'd mean "were buddies". Mama Cabot is dead, isn't she?

For me, this ep sucked because it was so unintentionally funny. It seemed campy and overdone and that's not what I want out of this show. If I wanted camp, I'd watch Xena again. SVU is supposed to be about the stories. And for the most part this season, the stories SUCK.

shayshaych_03 on February 11th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
yeah were. or maybe petrovsky sucked up to alex because she's a cabot and i guess that's a big "Old" name.

eh. i'll admit that the stories are a bit "all over the place" this season... trying too hard, i think.

though, i watch the old eps and they seem just as off the wall sometimes.
(Deleted comment)
seftiri: LMAOseftiri on February 11th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
Did I not warn you all about the liquid refreshment thing? LOLOL

And I'm very glad you liked my ad. I think it turned out very well. :D

Glad you enjoyed the review, sweetie!

What's your verdict? Is the hair less blonde? ;)
Trisa: yeah righttrisa419 on February 11th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
I love the graphic! And as for the review, hilarious!

SpiderMan. You're fucking kidding me. SpiderMan. Great. Fabulous. Maybe Cragen can use that secret phone under his Twizzler jar to call in Batman as a character witness for the Webbed Wonder. hmmm... If they get Batman to be a character witness, you think they'd get Barbra Gordan as a specialty witness?
seftiri: Squee!seftiri on February 13th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)

As for Barbara? Yes, please. She can sit next to me while she waits to testify. ;)

Glad you enjoyed the review and graphic, hon!

Trisa: yeah righttrisa419 on February 13th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
:) you can borrow it if you wanta.

And as for Barbara, she's sitting with me, unless of course Casey wants to sit next to me, then, you can sit next to Barbara. ;)
seftiri: Limer Lawseftiri on February 13th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC)
Oh, you can have Barbara!

Casey's sittin' with me. ;)