Warning: moderate spoilers
Misleading synopsis, please: "A CSU investigator is found murdered in her apartment, and Lupo and Bernard suspect her fiance isn't telling the whole truth; an attack on a reporter implicates the same man; ethical questions are raised as Lupo gets involved with Emma."
Who the hell is Emma? Moving on.
There's a reason you should never, ever, ever sleep with someone you met through work. Actually, there are many reasons. I could write a book about it. Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) discovered this the hard way.
While working on the case of Daisy Chao, the slain CSU investigator, it appeared a string of sexual attacks by a rapist with an Asian fetish was unfolding, because another woman named Emma Kim (Camille Chen, and yes that Emma) reported being grabbed and threatened at knifepoint by a cab driver who had "yellow fever." Lupo takes a shining to Emma for whatever reason, and a little bit of frowned-upon hanky-panky eventually ensues. It becomes quite odd to watch sparks fly between a detective and a victim, but that's what transpires. I didn't write the show.
Turns out the writers knew what they were doing. As more information comes out, Chao's fiancé Jim Anderson did freelance work for the same magazine that Emma wrote for. With this woman dancin' the horizontal mambo with Lupo, this love triangle just got crowded. Now it's a love trapezoid. Or perhaps a love rhombus.
Law's portion of justice began to override the episode (40 minutes in and still doing investigation) and I thought to myself, "C'mon, where's our Jack McCoy brand of justice?" Sad, yes. But instead, it's all about Emma, the "girl in the world," perhaps not being so innocent in all this.
You smell what's coming? Say it with me:
"Yay! Female Con Artist!"
God, these episodes are the best. Two seasons ago, ADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) was unable to lock up a female con artist in "Quit Claim" guest starring Mad Men's January Jones. Since the path to Emma Kim's (a.k.a. Emma Quan's) trial took ferfreakin' ever, the conclusion to her fate wraps up pretty quickly, but it's a fun ride on the witness stand nonetheless.
I'm a terrible liar. Even when it comes to white lies, the truth can be easily inferred by everyone in the room. Were I to set up a three-card Monte game, and the contestant successfully guessed the red lady was up my sleeve, I would let him take his money. Hey, he earned it! It's no way to run a business, but it helps me sleep at night. Perhaps that's why female con artist episodes are fun. Much like Tiger Woods at golf, I am amazed at how a con artist — even fictional ones — can conjure up such imaginative and believable lies at a moments notice. I also do not understand women. The double whammy makes for great television.
It's a fun episode when you really want the defendant to be locked up for murder. Sometimes you have episodes like "Myth of Fingerprints" from Season 12 which instead bear trials of necessity. Emma Kim becomes a character quickly turned from potential rape victim to antagonist with the queen of hearts stuffed down her bra.
Loo's Cancer Watch — Another seedling of information is planted regarding Lt. Van Buren's health. A quick throwaway scene in the beginning with her doctor reveals she has cervical cancer caused by HPV she contracted from her first marriage. It sounds like Van Buren elected chemotherapy. That they actually exposed this information at her doctor's visit rather than an "overheard at work" anecdote might lead to some more character development outside of the typical work experience.
McCoy Rating — 1 of 10. As mentioned earlier, he was only in one scene and didn't really offer up any brilliant plan. Perhaps it's understandable. You needle the government on torture one week, you sort of have to lay low the next time.
Cutter Rating — 7 of 10. He didn't have much time, but he made the most of his opportunities. Maybe he learned from "Quit Claim" how to finally con a con artist.
The Verdict — We the people find this episode, "Just a Girl in the World," pretty damn awesome, although was it really necessary to draw out the Law portion? Granted, the Order typically gets the last laugh, but Law could've been downplayed a bit to provide some more McCoy. We request our cake and to eat it too. But we shall not try to ask any of our fellow jurors out for Chinese.
Law & Order broadcasts at 8 p.m. ET Fridays on NBC.