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October 3, 2015

Law & Order SVU: Philadelphia

by Anna Johns, posted Feb 28th 2007 7:28PM
svu(S08E16) For the most part, I really enjoyed this episode. I liked how the two storylines intertwined- with Liv's search for her brother having an impact on her ability to do her job. What I didn't like was the third storyline of Olivia and Elliot being "too close" and the threat of splitting them up. That's a tired story. They already broke up last season when Mariska Hargitay's pregnancy became too obvious to hide, so Olivia ditched Elliot for after she realized they were too close.

I spent most of this episode being pissed off at Olivia for allowing Elliot to drag himself into her mess. She was way over the line in doing kinship DNA testing in the police database and in stalking her half-brother. Liv had to keep telling lies to cover for her screw ups and Elliot backed her up. Obviously they are "too close" because they're now supporting each other's extra curricular activities.

The brother storyline was extremely interesting and extremely sad. I liked how Olivia kept jumping back and forth between cop and sister. In one scene, she'd accuse her brother of rape and stalking and in another scene she'd believe his obvious lies. I don't think she believed him because she loved him, but because she finally had a family member and she wanted to hold on to him at all costs. It took some strong evidence (her brother's DNA in a rape victim's underpants) for her to finally relent. And it was so, so sad that her brother was a rapist just like their father.

The entire episode was punctuated with testimonials from Elliot and Olivia to a bureau psychiatrist. I found this to be an effective storytelling technique, rather than wasting a bunch of time at the end with the big mystery of whether the detectives will be split up. As I said, I still found that storyline to be tired, but I appreciated the way it was told.

We were left with a cliffhanger of whether Cragen is going to split up Elliot and Olivia (which he won't) and it looks like next week's episode is a rerun so we'll have to wait a bit to find out the answer. That's okay. I'm really not biting my nails over this one.

I am having celebrity anmesia here. Who was the blonde psychiatrist talking to Cragen at the end?

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i will be really upset if any of my law&order shows are taking off the air. l&A cit is the best. l&w orginal is Still my first. I tivo all of them.

March 14 2007 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fans might also remember that John Rubenstein played a judge in last season's "Raw." He was killed in the courtroom shootout by the white supremacist kid. Now Rubenstein's son is playing a rapist (at least maybe/probably). Does Dick Wolf have it out for the Rubenstein clan?

March 04 2007 at 3:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess this episode is really open to interpretation because I took it totally different.

First of all I think that Olivia's brother may still be innocent. I could be way off base here, but this could easily set up another episode where Olivia looks into the details of the investigation and finds that the other Captain planted the hair (or DNA or whatever). But then again, I may not have heard the evidence clearly. I swore that the captain said that they found one of his hairs on the victim, which if that was true, would have been odd since you would have other DNA to go off of in a rape case. But once again,.. I could be wrong. I'll have to watch it again.

Secondly I agree with Tammy. I think MSM was saying that two work better together than they do alone.

Ahh,.. but what the hell do I know.....

March 01 2007 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For some reason the look on MSM at the end was odd to me. It was just so intense.

Anyway I took the end to mean that if he split them up, they would become lesser cops. Their strength was each other but that closeness is a bomb just waiting to happen too. They are too close and it clouds their judgment when it comes to each other but it's being able to know what the other will do and the other is thinking that makes them a strong partnership.

I guess that comment could be taken as if you want to keep your two best cops you have to split them up or if you want to keep your two best cops you have to keep them together.

I also took this as another episode to try to get Mariska an Emmy. They have been having at lest two episodes a season featuring Mariska or Christopher in some major emotional crisis to explore their range in acting. I'm assuming you still submit just one episode when submitting for the Emmy.

March 01 2007 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

See, I really liked the brother, so I decided there has to be another brother who's DNA was the one found in the evidence. But,also was surprised that she would be alone in her apartment with him - being so careful usually for the past million seasons. All in all, I guess it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, though I enjoyed watching it. Same with criminal intent the hour before. That felt a little scatterred and unfinished as well.

March 01 2007 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually thought the episode was weird. Olivia, seemed to open up entirely too quickly to this brother. First of all, she suspects he may be a rapist, yet embraces him. All in all, her unexpected willingness to open up so much to this straner, it just seemed forced. In all honesty, I can't believe she let him into her apartment alone in the first place.

February 28 2007 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The brother was played by Michael Weston, who's probably best known for playing the drug addict who kidnapped David Fisher on the most controversial episode of "Six Feet Under." He's also a good friend of Zach Braff's, and played Kenny in "Garden State."

(Interesting facts from IMDB: His father is actor John Rubinstein, and his grandfather was piano virtuoso Arthur Rubenstein. He changed his name from "Michael Rubinstein" because there was already an actor by that name... but I suppose his original name would have also made him seem less menacing, considering the hard-edged roles he often takes.)

This was a strange episode. I understand Olivia's desire for family, but there's no way she wouldn't have known right from the start that her brother was a rapist like his father. (Still, the greatest strength of this show is that it lets the main characters stretch their acting skills a lot more than on the other segments of the "Law & Order" franchise.)

February 28 2007 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess I'm the stupid one, because I found the episode rather boring and I thought, unfinished. I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be part of a storyline arc, or if this was just a one-episode thing with Olivia's brother. The story with the guys getting raped by a guy in jail who had been raped should have been its own episode. As far as "El" and "Liv" being broken up, well, it has the same feel as Michelle Hurd leaving at the end of Season 1... meaning none!

February 28 2007 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

But who played the brother?

I wonder if this was an episode originally intended as an out for one or both actors if they did not reup on hteir contracts...

February 28 2007 at 10:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The psychiatrist was played by Mary Stuart Masterson. She's played this character for several episodes. She's a former cop that Olivia knew before she became a psychiatrist.

February 28 2007 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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