Law & Order (S20, E15): Brilliant Disguise (March 8, 2010)
After a young woman, Justine, is found brutally murdered in a hotel and her body stashed away on a food service cart, evidence leads Detectives Cyrus Lupo and Kevin Bernard to a young med student. When a crafty lawyer, Ray Backlund, becomes involved, the detectives realize that it is going to take more than superficial evidence to put the murderer behind bars. This quickly becomes a case of mind over matter. -Synopsis from NBC
This ep (which I saw for the 1st time last month) is based on the Craigslist Killer (Philip Markoff) who targeted escorts in hotel rooms in 2009; like his fictional counterpart, he also was engaged. This appears to borrow elements of the 2009 murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le. A suspect and coworker of hers, Ray Clark, was convicted of the homicide. Clark was a lab tech who became extremely angry when his colleagues left mouse and rat cages filthy. He also had a fiancee who was possessive/bossy. This is an interesting story about a perpetrator who thinks he’s much smarter than anyone else. I haven’t seen many eps which paired Det. Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) w/ Det. Bernard (Anthony Anderson); I’m a fan of Anderson from other series (he can do BOTH drama and comedy well).
It turns out that Justine had a secret life as an escort which her mom in Richmond, VA, knew nothing about. Initially, the detectives get it wrong when they arrest Robby Vickery (Adam Driver), a lab tech at Chelsea University who lets women assume that he’s a med student. In fact, other evidence points to Alex Conway (Daniel Eric Gold), an arrogant grad student w/ gambling addiction. To Alex, the escorts he picks up are like the lab rats Robby works w/- scary! Alex is clever, as is his defense attorney, Ray Backlund (Timothy Busfield). Also, Alex’s wealthy fiancee, Carrie Newton (Jess Weixler), is willing to do anything to help his case.
Getting a job on the L&O series was a rite of passage for up-and-coming/NYC-based actors. Driver does well in his role; this show originally aired several mos. after he graduated from Julliard in 2009. He shows Robby’s unassuming/charming side (in the opener w/ Justine); she gives him her number and wants to go out to brunch w/ him over the weekend. Then, we see Robby’s insecurity/vulnerability when detectives come to his lab. When they question him at the precinct, we see the creepy behavior he has engaged in (though exclaiming “I respect women”). As the evidence against him is circumstantial, it was the smart move to ask for a lawyer. It took me a few weeks, BUT I learned that this is where “feed the rats on time” comes from (in the Driver fan community)- LOL!
Law & Order: SVU (S13, E11): Theater Tricks (January 11, 2012)
SVU tries to figure out who was responsible for the real-life rape of an actress during an interactive theater performance that everybody just assumed was part of the show. -Synopsis
This is a weird/shocking case (even by SVU standards- IF you’re familiar w/ the series); I didn’t remember seeing it when it originally aired. There are several notable guest stars (along w/ Driver): Gibert Gottfried (a police computer expert), Grant Shaud (a theater critic), Kevin Pollak (a judge w/ a secret love life), and Fisher Stevens (a controlling director). The victim is Meghan Weller (Jenn Proske), a V pretty/eager-to-please young woman who moved to NYC 6 mos. ago from a small town in Minnesota. She is stunned that such a horrible thing could happen; she was so happy/excited to get her 1st role. The men around Meghan ALL seem to be problematic in some way, BUT who is the ultimate villain!?
Jason Roberts (Adam Driver) isn’t the rapist here, BUT he is a creepy stalker. Meghan calls him her “computer guy” who “seemed harmless.” Jason is obsessed w/ Meghan, has pics of her all over his bedroom, has seen her play 12 times, and installed hidden cameras in her apt. Now some of you L&O diehards (or those studying law) will realize that everything found in that room is inadmissible as evidence. Det. Rollins didn’t have Estelle Roberts’ permission to enter her son’s room; also his door was closed (violating the plain view doctrine), so they had no probable cause or warrant. Meghan (using her acting skills) convinces Jason to meet her at a cafe; Det. Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) and Det. Rollins (Kelli Giddish) can arrest him.
Jason: If I was gonna set up Meghan, I’ve got images that are a lot hotter. See?
[shows the detectives the images]
Det. Rollins: Really? Jason, you just made bail on a surveillance charge.
When Jason is initially questioned in the interrogation room, we see the (twisted) “love” he has for Meghan. He looks shocked to learn of what exactly happened to her during the play; his eyes are full of concern (almost as if going to cry). In Jason’s mind, the cameras were “for her protection,” as she’s “naive” and “trusting.” It turns out that the video footage he captured from the play (and other instances) could be helpful in solving the case! This is a bigger/more interesting role for Driver than in his previous L&O ep. I was impressed by how he made this character (somewhat) sympathetic and even a BIT humorous (see Ice T’s reactions). You also see his quirky physicality. It would’ve been great IF he’d gotten to have a scene w/ Lt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay).