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TV Review: Law & Order: SVU – “Anchor”

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Mild spoilers abound.

It's lovely weather for a synopsis together with you: Tutuola begins investigating the strikingly similar murders of two young girls, and after a third, he finds out that they all had immigrant families, so he investigates a xenophobic talk show host who may have clues that could lead him to the killer.

Ah, dead immigrant children. Or as SVU calls it, "the Christmas episode."

The writers' gift was also to give Benson and Stabler a respite, assign a case to Det. Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), and have Det. Munch (Richard Belzer, and woohoo) help out with nailing the xenocidal maniac.

After a quarreling hooker and pimp stumble over the body of a young girl, Fin takes the case to heart, and despite a DIRECT FREAKING ORDER from Captain Cragen (Dann Florek), he leaks the story to the media in hopes of catching a break. Because this is a television show, they do. (But not after finding a third body matching the M.O.)

It's a classic Fin episode. He's the street-smart pissed off detective with the heart of gold. Deep down, he probably cares more than anyone else in the room, but nobody understands him.

All three kids were anchor babies (children born in the United States to illegal aliens), which appears to be a hot 14th amendment issue. Are these babies legally U.S. citizens? Hey, they were born in the US. It says nothing about uterine legal status. Not everyone believes so.

And although Lou Dobbs is no longer with CNN, the galvanizing character of Gordon Garrison (Bruce McGill) sure as plum is satirizing him. McGill is the week's "where the heck do I know him from" guest who has been everywhere. I have no choice but to label him as D-Day from Animal House. Joining the fun opposite the anti-immigration pulpit is ACLU attorney Randall Carver, portrayed by John Larroquette, in stark contrast to his Night Court days.

After yet another barrage of tips leading around the cul-de-sac of despair, Fin gets grumpy and turns his back on everyone looking out for him. Again, remember, it's a TV show. They find him. Sifting through paperwork finds that Joe Thagard, a man Fin just detained and let go for busting into Carver's office and threatening him, had access to the addresses of these children. A hit list on his apartment tackboard (do murderous wackjobs not understand Microsoft Excel?) helps them find another in-progress kidnapping.

While rubbing all the evidence in Thagard's face, in walks the smooth yet cocksure Carver, who takes on the case pro bono for purely political reasons. Yay, politics! His affirmative defense is that after watching Gordon Garrison's show, he was brainwashed into thinking it was alright to murder those anchor babies.

Courtroom antics ensue. I'll just say that.

Twist Factor — Maybe it wasn't the surprise at the end, but the show really came together once the trial procedure began. Bonus points went to ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March) for asking if Garrison took the political temperature "rectally." 9 of 10.

The Verdict — We the people find this episode, "Anchor," one that warms the heart this holiday season, because caring about children and seeing Fielding playing a liberal lawyer with a southern drawl brought a twinkle to our eyes. Can we find the magic of Christmas in the ending? Absolutely.

Law & Order: SVU broadcasts at 9 p.m. ET Wednesdays on NBC.

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  • Shonna

    I am a huge fan of this show, however in the future I will be a little weary of getting excited over a new episode. How anyone could like “Anchor” is beyond me. Nevermind the over the top liberal politics spewing through the whole episode, or the fact that they compared this nut case to Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Beck and insinuated they are all bigots (because they want people in this country LEGALLY). This show was totally non believable and that’s NOT SVU. I did like seeing John Laroquette in the show, he’s a great actor, however the actions of his character were absolutely absurd. Ice-T’s acting was not up to par, and the only one out of the whole gang I even believed was Munch, as his liberal politics are constantly being put forth on the show. It was an awful show, and NBC’s determination to bring what belongs on MSNBC to their primetime drama’s is going to cost them viewers, including this one, if they don’t knock it off. And then we’ve all lost.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Good points. I think you have to take L&O political arguments with the biggest grain of salt you can find, however. They’re fun, but by no means exhaustive and conclusive. A liberal ACLU judge is lumping in Gordon Garrison with Beck, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly. How is this surprising?

    The purpose of that was to see how partisanship can skew reality and make people lose sight of injustice.

  • Shonna

    Point taken on partisanship, as I did notice they attempted to show some extreme on both sides, however having the detectives sit around and call everyone bigots because of views on illegal immigration is very offensive and insulting. And that’s when it’s no longer fun. That turned the detectives themselves into extremists too. They also insulted talk show hosts/radio show hosts that I enjoy listening too. Unfortunately I believe that was a deliberate attack on them by NBC, not just an ACLU judge character in the show, because of NBC’s extreme political views. And it’s concerning because I’m such a huge fan of SVU. Benson and Stabler are my favorite non couple that should be a couple in the history of tv! Anyway, to basically resay what I’ve already said – I don’t want to turn against it, or see so many others turn against it because of politics. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my opinion. :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/video/article/tv-review-law-order-svu-anchor/page-2/ JS

    People who watch NBC shows aren’t thinking politically when they watch, only whether they like the show. The fact that NBC even mentioned those guys will only serve to get people to watch and listen to their shows even more. Until these clowns at NBC get their noses out of the Prez’s butt cheeks they’ll have no credibility. NBC is so shameless, it’s embarrassing.

  • http://etierphotography.blogspot.com/ FCEtier

    Isn’t John Laroquette from New Orleans? His accent comes naturally.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Well, of course they’re going for ratings. It’s called television.

    Ever since the first season of L&O, JS, they’ve dealt with topical issues. Sometimes they were New York-centric or law-related. But other times they do reach down and fictionalize a real story (like Steve Bartman’s foul ball or Mel Gibson’s DUI) by slapping a murder on it.

    They had an L&O a few years ago where a student tried to kill what appeared to be the portrayal of Ann Coulter over the issue of stem cell research. I like the way they handle wedge issues. They come up during the investigation, and the partners disagree on it. But after about 30 seconds of heated debate, they move on with their lives and get along fine. It’s great advice.

  • Kimo

    Kudos for the topic, but the acting was bad. It was a throwback to the first season when the actors were trying to find their groove. Ice-T was horrible this week, making the whole story less believable. Although it was nice for a change-up in focus, Ice-T just didn’t pull it off.

  • Hannibal

    Shonna I think you missed the point. Hate is never ok, and kids are being targeted. There are a lot of idiots who listen to these radio personalities, and take their comments to extremes. I heard a few callers on some of these show blame illegal immigrants on their financial woes. A woman said, “my husband can’t afford our rent, and we are in so much credit card debt, and it’s because the illegal immigrants we can’t afford our life.” the radio personalities agreed that it was the illegal immigrants who made this woman’s, and her husband’s, life miserable. There are many people like that, and they begin to attack others, whether illegal or not, without even thinking about it. My question to you is, are you one of those callers?

  • Bob

    Hannibal,

    Who says kids are being targeted? Dick Wolf? I think this episode is quite disgusting. Trying to draw the connection between average citizens who want laws enforced and child predators. It’s downright twisted, only a whacko liberal could dream up such a scenario. And you’re naive if you can’t see how having to compete with tens of millions of illegal aliens in fields like construction wouldn’t adversely affect US citizens. Contrary to what President Bush or the open borders crowd says, these ARE jobs Americans WILL do, especially with 10% unemployment.

    -Bob

  • PB

    The bigger issue is all the support these maniacs like Limbaugh, O’reilly, and Beck get from you maniacs. I notice that all you critics was a fan of the show before they criticized those hate mongers, the only reason you critics don’t realize what these 3 stooges are saying are racist and bigoted, is because you are infected by those cancers and would love to spread the hate yourself. Since they choose to do it for you; of course you see them as heroes. The reason why “liberals” see them and the people that follow them that way is because they (liberals) choose to co-exist with others and try to change the situation, but then you right wing, crazy nuts think something is being taken away from you if you help someone. Do all of you right wing, Fox news supporters know how this country began…Another thing if you don’t want immigrants here who will pick your strawberries, Blueberries, potatoes, etc… for $3 a crate or hour, I would even wager I couldn’t pay any of you $100 an hour to pick fruit and vegetables, you people act like these people are really stealing something from you. Your arguments is with corporation sending jobs of substance overseas which decline the economy and makes you “the right wing elite” feel like you need to take it out on someone. I know I will be under attack for posting this, but ask yourself this before you start spewing more hate, where is that hate coming from? Are you so caught up in your world that any one that doesn’t fit your criteria needs to be punished? If so for what, why do you have more right to a land that doesn’t belong to you than any other man? That’s right I said a land that don’t belong to you “Right Wing, Left Wing any wing in between” this land was taken by bloodshed so stop trying to impose your ideological views on others and try to co-exist….That’s all I have to say about that “Forest Gump”

  • Bob

    PB,

    I am not going to touch the “hate” garbage because that’s nothing more than a cheap smear.

    I will counter your one economic-based argument. That is “whose going to pick the for $3 a crate or hour?” There’s multiple holes in that line of thinking. My question is, why should hard labor such as that be rewarded with only $3/hour? Maybe these slave drivers should try to pay something commensurate with the work. Contrary to popular belief, a head of lettuce would not cost $50 if they paid someone $10 for an hour’s work. Second, not all of these jobs occupied by illegals are of the $3/hour variety. I’ve worked in restaurants (yes I and other “elites” will do these types of jobs, contrary to your warped point of view) alongside illegal aliens. They were actually discontent with restaurant work. They were really biding their time during the winter until the more lucrative construction jobs opened up. These jobs pay a living wage (though that could change given the supply of migrant labor), and many Americans would do them just as well. In California many unemployed African Americans are disenfranchised because they have been pushed out of the construction business by migrant labor. The “turn the other cheek” approach to illegal immigration so many liberals and Wall Street Republicans are fond of has sold out the most destitute and vulnerable people in our society. In fact tolerance of illegal immigration has created an environment where slave labor can peacefully “co-exist” alongside law enforcement. Like you said, that is what you Liberals are good at.

    Moreover, I am no friend of the businesses that utilize illegal alien labor. The businesses actually deserve more of the blame, along with all those in government that have been completely derelict in their duty to protect the borders.

    -Bob

  • Beck Follower

    PB, can you read you crazy fool. No personal attacks allowed. Tell me PB, whos land is it then. The cavemen, the Indians, do we really truely know whos land it is. Do you own land? Is it yours? Maybe we should split it up among all of us right. Maybe we should call all the Indians and tell them its theres now were leaving, are you stupid or just lacking common sense. As for all the Mexicans that are here illegaly, I say to you and PB GET THE HELL OUT OF MY COUNTRY I’ll pick my own damn strawberries and potatoes just like my great grandparents did. Were haters hu. You wait till November 2010, an 2012. Will realy show you what haters we can be. WERE GOING TO VOTE. This show sucks!!!!!!!

  • Charlene

    Good ,good the truth about Bill O’Reilly he is a big mouth that can’t take the truth about what he has said and all the bad word that come out of his mouth. It’s people like Bill O’Reilly, Gleen Beck and more are pepole we would like get pull them in the fields and see how long they would last? We have some sick people in this world! Gleen and Bill are fools and hate non white people. I will still watch NBC. The sex pot O’Reilly and the drunk Gleen Beck need go hide under the a ROCK.

  • Beck Follower

    Charlene

    I can tell you havent got A clue what your talking about, are you A member of ACORN or one of those people looking for Obama money (opps, my money). Its not non white people its criminals that enter our country illegaly. Oh and how about you come hang some drywall with me and see how long you last. Speaking of drunks what was that mans name that crashed his car drunk driving and left the lady for dead um um….TED KENNEDY. You wouldnt have A job were it not for rich people like Beck and O’Reilly.

  • Nancy Ladisky

    The people who are afraid the the truth always come down on Fox News.
    They have their heads in the sand and why don’t they listen to Fox and learn both sides of the issue.
    The comment that was spewed forth
    from the character on SUV was no way informed on the issues. The illegal immigration not the legal immigrants are causing us a problem.
    They drain the health care system they don’t pay taxes, who do you think pays for this? You and I so what is so upsetting that we say they are the cause of our problems
    Why don’t all of you who think is
    is a racist thing to say send the illegal immigrants a big fat check out of your pocket, or better yet
    take them into your home and feed and clothe them and pay all their living expenses. I don’t mind if you do that with your money, not mine. The liberals line of defense is always calling people names and spewing forth nasty comments. If they were as smart as
    they thought they were they would listen to both sides and make a sensible remark instead blowing smoke out of their behinds and trying to sound intelligent.

  • Jon

    What a Joke this episode was. Its soo hypocritical they are trying to get you to think just like the Far Left There are extremists on both sides and NBC tried to go over the top on this to the farthest degree they could. 99% of Americans want a fair legal way way for Immigrants to come to the country legally. This episode was pathetic generalizing that everyone that is against Illegall Immigraton is ready to go kill children. What a joke!

  • Bastiat, F. M.

    Imagine how terrible it would be to set a precedent that speech of a political nature would be justification for a third party to murder. Society should move away from the idea that speech is the problem and focus solely on the actions. Our problems with immigration in this country are far more complicated than just them coming here, or “taking” American jobs. It’s a problem of the basic premise of what freedom is and how it applies as basic human rights. I think we should make legal immigration incredibly easy, but take away all of the social programs. By allowing them to easily become citizens, but not providing welfare we ensure that only the ones willing to work will stay here, they will be compelled to pay taxes like everyone else, and they will be easy to track down to settle civil debts such as hospital bills. As far as competing in the work force, the market should determine wages, not the government. And a third party’s speech should never be construed as justification to harm or damage the property of anyone, regardless of what sociopolitical lunatic you listen to.

  • Courtneyy-

    I agree totally with Bastiat, F.M. All liberals are not extremists, I would call myself a liberal on this particular subject, however, on subjects like abortion i am pro life. I just believe that they should have a chance at life as we have it. And, for all you people out there who wonder “why don’t they just stay in there own country?” why don’t you take your life and go to a country like theirs and try to have a good, safe life. Most of those places have only hundreds of hospitals in the whole country if even that. where as we have millions. you can’t even walk out of your house in some of the places because you will get killed, if not raped and tortured first. You people are horrible, selfish, and greedy if you think for one second that they do not deserve the right to be here just as much as we do. Yes, they should have to pay taxes, and their bills just like we do. But if you think for one second, that they do not have the right to be here, or that the american born people have the right to treat them wrong, you are dead wrong and you need to think about how your ancestors were when they came over here. Because unless you belong to one of the native American tribes, then i’m sorry to burst your bubble but you are not fully american either. Just think. One day the U.S.A will fall under worse than those other countries, and your grandchildren or great granchildren or their children will be the immigrants in another country. Just seeking a better life. If you have an ugly comment please post it. Your words will not affect me because you will lose in the long run. and umm, BECKFOLLOWER:you are ignorant. you have no clue what you are talking about. Your country?? Pardon me sir, but this is God’s COUNTRY and you will see that come judgement day. i feel so sorry for you people that let politics harden your hearts. you all really need to do your homework before you jump all over someone about a subject that upsets you and just saying the first things coming out of your mouth. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!!!!

  • Police Fed

    I have been around a lot of police officers in my career and I have never seen a bigger collection of liberals in one department. Almost every cop I know is a 2nd ammendment gun guy. Except, oddly, every member of the SVU squad.
    Just about every episode of L&O of any kind blames rich white guys for everything. When a “study” is used on the stand that forwards a liberal view, a scientist or doctor is presenting and defending it. Opposed? Lawyer. A complete Asshole lawyer. Odd, huh?
    I like SVU, but it would be a better show if the rapist turned out to be an illegal alien on occasion. Or a Muslim honor killing. How’s that for “ripped from the headlines”? Oh, wait. That would be bigoted and racist. The truth often is.

  • jummy

    just saw this one in a re-run.

    it’s difficult to do didactic well. this attempt was so obtuse as corny, it dropped to the after-school tween moral drama level.

    now, we have to keep in mind that svu has never been the “realistic” l&o. the precinct house for svu looks more and more like the cockpit of a spaceship with every season and we’ve gotten into the convoluted personal affairs of the principals to an extent that they’ve ceased to be believable characters. the show has been the franchise’s repository for fantasy for some time. it’s shot in la, for christ’s sake.

    in any case. the content went beyond the usual reductive caricature of non-hollywood views. it was libelous. whether wolf has a responsibility any further to the realism suggested in the original series’ tagline, “torn from the headlines” is doubtful. it is nonetheless the case that a lamentably large protion of the public acquire their understanding of social issues from shows like the daily show, comedy-talk monologues and shows like law and order.

    so, when dick wolf invents a case in which a cable news viewer is inspired by an analogue of glen beck to multiple-murder of children, and presents this to a viewership which has been told by wolf that his stories are “torn from the headlines”, it sort of crosses a line.

  • jummy

    now, to discuss illegal immigration.

    progressives like dick wolf don’t have a clue. they would be shocked that the current anti-immigrant animus developed from the labor and environmentalist left rather than the right. though it resides on the right today, the political arguments for stanching the flow of illegal immigration still reflect their progressive origins.

    the huge irony? the sorts of anti-immigration violence attributed to rightwing groups like the minutemen were never committed by rightwing groups like the minutemen. you know who did? ceasar chavez’s union thugs. they regarded illegal immigrants as “scabs”, and so when they weren’t petitioning ice to “round up the illegals and ship ‘em back where they came from” they were at the border with bicycle chains and baseball bats.