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September 1, 2015

Law & Order SVU: Florida

by Anna Johns, posted May 2nd 2007 12:04PM
mariska hargitay(S08E19) This was the best episode this season, hands down. Det. Olivia Benson's entire world came crashing down around her. Her entire motivation for being an SVU detective was brought into question. There was an awful lot revealed in this episode about Benson's past.

The writers and Mariska Hargitay did a spectacular job convincing me that she had completely lost her mind. Det. Benson appeared to be blindly helping her brother evade the law because she couldn't believe that he was a rapist, just like their father. After the last episode with Simon, I fully believed that he was guilty and I thought she did too.

Olivia was so screwed up for so much of this episode! First, she helped her brother jump bail even though she knew the evidence was stacked against him in a rape case. Was it intuition? Did she truly know he was innocent, or was she just not herself?

Then, when she starts to believe that her brother is guilty, she starts to doubt her mother's tale that she was raped and became pregnant with Olivia. She doubts this because her father, whose name was Joseph Hollister, kept track of her during her lifetime. She asks Wong, "What kind of rapist keeps track of his victim?" It's a question that rocks her entire foundation and she goes on a quest to determine whether her mother lied about the rape. She listens to her mother's interrogation and, even though she finds two other women who were raped at university dining halls, she questions their stories, too. At that point in the episode, I didn't know what to think. Could her entire life be based on a lie told by her mother? It seemed awfully far-fetched that three women who worked in dining halls were lying about being raped.

Yes, it was all wrapped up in a neat and tidy way, but it didn't seem hasty. The final stand-off scene where Olivia is talking to her brother and Julia, whom he shot, unraveled in a pretty compeling way.

The only part of this episode that I actually figured out ahead of time was that Julia (Delaney) was also working "off the books". Her reaction to Olivia's comment that her brother was headed to "Route 94 to Florida" made it obvious that she had figured something out. I knew that she was going to kill Simon, but what surprised me was that she admitted to framing Simon for rapes in retaliation for Simon's "rape" of her sister. During the stand-off, we learn that Simon really didn't rape anybody and that Julia's sister was molested by their father. Julia knew it all along, but was blinded by love for her family just like Olivia was the beginning of the episode.

The final scene also made it clear to Olivia that, yes, her father was a rapist. She is the result of a rape. Why would her father track her life and even tell his wife that he has a daughter in the city? I don't know. But, he was obviously tormented by either his depression or his actions, because he committed suicide just like Olivia's mother.

7; seven Overall, this was a great episode. I tend to enjoy the Olivia-centric episodes more because I think Mariska Hargitay has a very complex character with very conflicted emotions. I think it will be interesting to see whether she has acheived "closure" on her past and is finally able to move forward and have a relationship with a man. I'm giving this episode a 7 out of 7 for all the wonderful twists and turns in the script, and for the outstanding acting done by Mariska Hargitay. This episode could get her another Emmy nomination.

Next Week: Christopher Meloni gets his dramatic episode, too. Looking forward to it!

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just so you know, liv's mom didnt commit suicide, she feel down a flight of subway stairs drunk.

May 11 2007 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought this episode was really well done - totally agree with the 7 you gave this one! I love Mariska, and I think she did a remarkable job - she's definitely one of the best actors on televsion. I like Olivia-centric eps, but I was slightly disappointed that she didn't have more interaction with Elliot. I feel like they (meaning the powers behind the show) built up so much between those two characters last season (ie "Fault") and then this season, they've been completely - weirdly - backing away from each other. I have to say, too, that there was way too much of Porter in this one - I don't trust that FBI guy and the way he was sorta bonding with Liv. That's totally Elliot's place!

It was a really interesting ep as Olivia wrestles with her past, but I want to see Elliot helping her when it all gets to be too much. As one poster said, it would be great to see a little of Munch and Fin as well. I don't need a lot of them, but I'd like to see them here and there throughout the ep.

Great review, though, TVsquad - I'm reading for your SVU reviews after every Tuesday night!

May 04 2007 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@ Carol, I hope you didn't mistake my comment as an attempt to belittle your beliefs. It seems like you did though from your comments about my "limited vocabulary" [or at least that of people _like_ me]. I merely wanted to represent a portion of the American teevee viewing audience who appreciates entertainment that isn't marketed child-slash-family-oriented-slash-friendly. [I never said my vocabulary consisted of word that already exist, wink wink!] Dittoes to Rob with his hinting at my immaturity. Just because I don't share the same Victorian, Christ-smothered values as you doesn't mean I'm any less literate or mature. :)

May 02 2007 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to agree with you Carol,.. I was always taught that profanity is a sign of immaturity; that kids curse, but adults are held to a higher standard. But then again,.. that's how I was raised - for better or for worse.

As far as this episode goes, it was good but for some reason I wasn't drawn into it. They sure seemed to cram a lot into an hour show though.

May 02 2007 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The main problem I had with this episode, aside from the fact that it seems Olivia is constantly stepping outside the bounds of lawful police work, is that once again SVU has become a one-lead show.

It's fine to acknowledge the individual acting talents of both Meloni and Hargitay in limited "special" episodes, e.g. Meloni in "Rage" and Hargitay's Emmy-winning performance in "911," but the increasing disconnect between what was once an ensemble cast is disconcerting. Olivia and Elliot are partners, yet we have hardly seen them working together (Hargitay's pregnancy excluded) on any major cases as we would have in the earlier seasons.

Don't even bother mentioning Ice T's Fin or Richard Belzer's Munch, both of whom have been woefully underused and practically non-existent.

Yes, individual actors are talented, and hell, NBC is hanging on to SVU with a clenched fist because of the overall decline at the network this season, but would it kill them to go back to a few episodes where we get to see the *entire* cast working on a case, and not just one actor?

May 02 2007 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In answer to the adult who uses adult language, I am also an adult and I was taught that cursing or "adult" language was the sign of a limited vocabulary. I figured the "religious" types would be mentioned and I am one. But I also noted that a smattering of "adult" language would be understandable just not used in almost every comment. I am not attempting to prohibit anyone's freedom of speech, just expressing my opinion, which is, after all, me exercising my freedom of speech.

May 02 2007 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As an adult who uses adult language, I find it more genuine when characters _are_ more colorful [read: blue or off-blue] with their words. Apart from religious types, most Americans use curse words and we tend to use them even more when we're upset. I just had to voice this because it always seems like someone is decrying such language and some of us find the alternative [of characters never cussin'] to be pretty bland and unappealing.

May 02 2007 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was excellent, also. I think Mariska is a great actress. I must say, however, and I'm sure many will disagree with me, that the stories could be told without so much profanity. My husband is a former policeman and I know the drill, "that is the way they all talk." But it isn't the way they all talk. I can understand a smattering of bad language, even though it doesn't add to the story line for me, but this constant sob etc. gets tiring.

May 02 2007 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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