Law & Order: SVU (“Merchandise”) and Law & Order: LA (“Echo Park”) – Review

Here’s my review of the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episode “Merchandise” which aired Wednesday, October 6, 2010; at 9PM/8c on NBC.

Summary: When a 15-year-old girl is hit by a car and killed, Detectives Benson (Hargitay) and Stabler (Meloni) are surprised when Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) rules it a homicide. She has found signs that the girl was being starved, and had even recently given birth. As the two look into the case with the help of Detective Odafin Tutuola (Ice-T) and Dr. George Huang (B.D. Wong), they find that the girl had fallen victim to a human trafficking ring, and though some think it’s a case for the FBI, the cops instead reach out to Assistant U.S. Attorney and friend Christine Danielson (guest star Gloria Reuben), who has moved up in the world since the detectives last saw her. Meanwhile, Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) is frustrated by his crumbling precinct. Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch).

Review: A FANTASTIC episode in my opinion, SVU seems to be hitting the ‘old classic style’ along with the current issues. Last week is was rape-kit backlogging, where rape kits are just sitting in evidence lockers and on shelves all over the U.S. collecting dust and mold; this week: child trafficking and slavery; along with the everyday issues of people of poverty here on the streets of New York City.

I think Devon Gearhart’s portrayal of Micah deserves a nomination of some sort! His acting was grabbing o the viewers! It made me think it was actually something wrong with him. Veteran SVU writer Judith McCreary did an OUTSTANDING job in writing this episode – like I said above, the new SVU’s now have the ‘old classic feel’ to them; which that is a good feeling!

I give the episode a 9.8/10; good job SVU! Below is the number of U.S. viewers who watched the episode – I wish SVU’s viewership would go up to the 11-12 millions again; the episodes are going back to their original style – plus great guest stars.

Here’s my review of the “Law & Order: Los Angeles” premiere episode “Echo Park” which aired Wednesday, October 6, 2010; at 10PM/9c on NBC.
Summary: When murderous cult member “Baby” Jane Lee Rayburn (guest star Nancy Youngblut) is found stabbed to death, Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Tomas “TJ” Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) question multiple suspects, including the cult ringleader Denis Watson (guest star Michael Massee) and Jane�s former cell mate, Maura Dillon (Bonnie Root). However, the case cuts very close to home for Detective Winters when his wife Lori (Teri Polo), a former Detective, is questioned. DDA Dekker (Terrence Howard) and DDA Stanton (Megan Boone) find themselves facing a trial where the line between suspect and victim is blurred.
Review: The LOLA series premiere was something of an ‘acquired taste’ – “Echo Park” is a different story completely:
Again these key factors were missing: the opening voice over which is usually done by Steven Zirnkilton was not there (it’s been done in EVERY episode of the U.S. series’). Also it did not have a Law & Order opening sequence – a 10 second logo bump with the ‘Law & Order music’ and “Created by: Dick Wolf” was there, but that was it. No cast images, proper theme muisc, and it occasionally did the ‘DOINK-DOINK’ (but not enough for me).
Rumors say that we will have an opening voice-over and opening sequence in the third or fourth episode of the season, but that is wait-and-see (i.e. rumor).
As for the episode itself: I thought the “Law” part picked up from last Wednesday’s episode where it was moving a tad bit slow and overdone; and in the first scenes of the episode last week we saw through the eyes of the criminal (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) which really ticked me off – that’s one key part about Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and Law & Order: UK: THE MYSTERY! We DON’T want to see who did the crime until ‘trial’, that’s why there is “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (returning to USA Network for a final season in 2011, with Vincent D’Onofrio returning as Detective Robert Goren).
This week I saw the ‘Mothership’ in Los Angeles, somewhat.
… yeah, another sunny day at the beach.” – Jaruszalski (he and Winters at the original crime scene)
We see Ulrich’s character (Rex Winters) on screen wife Teri Polo (portraying Former LAPD Detective/ex-partner/wife of Rex Winters – Casey Ryan Winters). I wish she would have gotten to go on the stand at the end of the episode though; maybe another time.
Rachel Ticotin is Lt. Arleen Gonzales – she only got more than one line in the whole episode (unlike De Jesus).
The crime was ‘ripped from the headlines’ of the murders comitted by the Mason Family- a murderous cult. I must say it fit well for this episode.
Whereas the “Order” part was AGAIN to me the best part of the episode; this is where TERRENCE HOWARD and MEGAN BOONE come in and get down to business with our L.A. Sam Waterston PETER COYOTE!
As per deals are on/off the table for Maura, the suspect; we go to trial where the defense wants to call Winters’ wife to the stand to testify on Maura’s behalf (which it’s believe she coerced Maura to say she killed her children – a side case to the original murder on ‘the beach’).
Joe Dekker manages to get the defense strategy thrown out; a save for Rex and Casey Winters.
The acting this week was MUCH better than last weeks, Skeet improved a little when his ‘wife’ came in. Of course Peter Coyote and Rachel Ticotin are in now with Howard and Boone (who reminds me of Alana de la Garza and Michaela McManus).
I still feel the “Law & Order” in the show, it’s just in Los Angeles – but it’s relatively the same show, even though it lacks what gives it acknowledgement from other cops shows that try to match “Law & Order”: the voice-over and the opening sequence. Plus a lot of storyline and script errors need correcting – the show needs a lot of work before it can even BEGIN to follow the orignal’s footsteps!
I feel that if Blake Masters would step down as executive producer and they bring in Richard Sweren, Walon Green, Ed Sherin, Fred Berner, and/or Michael S. Cherunchin; it’d be “LAW & ORDER”, it wouldn’t matter if it was based in Hawaii!
I give it a 7/10, it needs work but other than a few key/minor things the episode was MARVELOUS, compared the premiere episode.
* ‘Summaries’ belong to NBC/The Futon Critic, ‘U.S. Viewers’ belong to TVByTheNumbers, and all other content belongs to Josh Morton (mortonslawandorderci).

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