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October 13, 2015

Law and Order: SVU - Influence (finale)

by Richard Keller, posted May 17th 2006 11:31AM

The cast of SVU(S07E22) Well, here we are at the end of the seventh season of SVU and we delve into familiar territory; teenage sexual activity. We also focus one more time on Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) who has a good portion of screen time this episode (although A.D.A. Casey Novak (Diane Neal) has some decent screen time as well).


Folks, I'm sorry. I been hitting the wall with this show for the past few episodes, and actually the entire season. I've just felt that most of the focus has been on Benson and Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) this season in order to flesh out their characters a bit. As I've mentioned previously there hasn't been nearly as much of Detectives Munch (Richard Belzer) and Tutuola (Ice-T) this season. Heck, even Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) had some focus episodes in the past. No, this season has been about Stabler and Benson, whether together or solo, and I'm kind of burnt out. That may be the reason that I wasn't too impressed with the episode.

For a season finale I felt that this episode was a bit flat. It could have been the fact that they have touched on the subject of teen sex in the past, but it was probably also the whole premise: a girl lies about being raped in a private school bathroom after she gets off of her bipolar medications because a rock star told her to. According to the promo for this episode it was another 'Ripped from the headlines' topic, but I don't remember hearing about this.

I felt that the whole premise about the rock star's influence on the teenager just wasn't believable. Yes, I'm sure some of you will comment that this could happen, as teenagers in the midst of puberty can have their priorities messed up and come to decisions that an older person would never agree to. However, it just seemed like an excuse to fill out an episode. I also felt that the revelations by both rock star Derek Lord and A.D.A Casey weren't really surprises at all.

All in all, other than the episode "Raw",  which involved a white supremacy conspiracy and guest-starred Marcia Gay Hayden, I had a hard time enjoying SVU this season. Hopefully some of the episodes where Detective Benson was supposed to pair up with Connie Nielsen (while Hargitay was on maternity leave) will charge me up next season. Plus, it looks like we'll have at least one Munch episode, which will guest star Jerry Lewis. So, we have something to look forward to in season eight.

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Leslie Daley

I am a huge fan of SVU, and an even bigger fan of the Benson and Stabler episodes. Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni are the stars of the show, the writers and producers are obviously going to pay more attention to there charectors. Plus the Benson and Stabler episodes are a lot more bettter and exciteing then the other episodes with the other charecters. But I agreee with the part about how Influence was a bad season finalle. I dislike Tom Cruise so anything that disses him is okay with me. But Influence would of been better for a mid season episode instead of the thing that closed off a season of otherwise good episodes. The producers should of put the famious Fault as the season finalle instead of this one.

June 28 2006 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is the review I wrote on my blog. I agree with you. Truly one of the worst!

L&O: S.V.U. hit a serious new low last night in its season finale.

Beyond the usual point systems, after-school orgies, and 13 year-olds receiving oral sex in gym class, the writers, in a lame-ass attempt to boost ratings, chose to throw a thinly-veiled Tom Cruisian subplot involving a celebrity railing against psychiatry in the mix. Brittany Snow plays a bipolar good-girl gone bad who in one week after stopping her meds goes crazy, loses her virginity in a threesome, falsly accuses two boys of rape, and in an attempt at suicide, crashes her car into a crowd of people.

And here comes the “ripped from the headlines” part...

You see, Brittany was only following the word of her favorite pied piper celebrity who insists that mood-altering drugs will kill you. He even wrote a book on it! So obviously she can’t be at fault. With his hallowed words echoing in her head, Britney goes off the meds and into our hearts as she delves deeper and deeper into a manic state. Truly could it get anymore clichéd? Why yes, Virginia, yes it can.

Seems Tommy boy suffered his own bout with depression as a youth and was forced to take drugs and go through electroshock therapy. Amazingly, his whole wretched experience qualifies him as an “expert” witness in Britney's trial for manslaughter. Eventually, the court orders Brittany back on her meds and all is back to normal, well, except for spending several months in a psych ward. And justice prevails in yet another thrilling episode.

Do me a favor Law and Order (and I’m talking to all of you) Take a long vacay this summer and try, try, try, to come up with some new storylines. We’re tired of slutty school girls, untouchable rich kids, and "he seemed so normal" child molesters. I'm sure there’s a whole other world of crime yet to be explored, if you just look hard enough.

May 20 2006 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am tired of the pouting looks between Stabler and Benson. I am tired of the fixation on changes to Benson's hair colour. I am really bored by the teen sex stories. I want complex stories that involve Munch's deep crevices of poli-sci. I want Fin's in-your-face approach. SUV could take a lesson from the recent episode of Witout a Trace where the ending had no resolution because that wasn't the point -- the 'points' were in the story. Amen.

May 20 2006 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that there hasn't been enough of Munch and Fin in this season.The best seasons I have seen so far are season one and season two.

May 18 2006 at 2:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think describing the show as "flat" is overly generous. I've been a Law and Order fan for years, but come on, the season finale was a joke. Badly written, badly acted. Plus, the writer apparently is afflicted with bipolar disorder himself; drugs are good, drugs are bad. Mental illness is a real disease, mental illness is not a real disease. And the ending was laughable.

May 17 2006 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Clearly they were going for Tom Cruise, and I'm always ok with Cruise bashing. I have to agree the episode wasn't stellar, but not for the same reason. Imagine if instead of Derek Lord, it was say Kurt Cobain. Is it believable that teenagers would do drastic things if a figure like that told them so. I don't think too many people are getting off meds because Tom Cruise said so, but L&O is just extrapolating his behavior onto a more influential person. Imagine Derek Lord as a Kurt Cobain like figure (which seems to be what they were going for) and it all becomes very believable in my opinion.

What I didn't like was the little deus ex machina at the end where Lord's whole reason for hating psychiatrists is because of his own mental illness. It was too easy a way out. It would have been more compelling (and troubling) if he had maintained his position of self-righteousness and was acting simply out of conviction.

May 17 2006 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love law and order svu I am a black woman Stabler and Benson do get a lot of play but let's face it folks Ice T can not be ignored just seeing his face and if he speaks one sentence it is always on the money let's just I love Ice-t and he will not be ignored just me
The man is hot

May 17 2006 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that the seventh season finale of SVU was not as exiting as "Fault" or even "911". However the main charcters of the show are Det. Benson, and Stabler. The writers convinced us fans of smiles, and wows on the season finale, I just didn't feel it.

May 17 2006 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Callie C

Stabler is pairing up with Neilson, not Benson. Not looking forward to life without Benson.

May 17 2006 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm guessing the ripped from the headlines bit was that this was a take off on Tom Cruise talking about the dangers of meds for depression, etc and people assuming he could actually influence people to stop taking their meds. Although, it amazes me that anything Cruise says could ever be taken seriously.

May 17 2006 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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