It's been a long, arduous summer of engorging myself in old episodes from the Law & Order family. Who knew a well-adjusted human could look forward to tales of rape and murder?
The ridiculously crazy finale to last season's SVU ("Zebras") may not soon be topped, so they eased up on the beginning to Season 11 with your garden variety rape case, spruced up with some guest appearances in "Unstable."
From Prison Break fame, Wentworth Miller was Nate Kendal, a rough-and-tumble cop who, in the first seconds of the episode, was seen shoving a gun into a suspect's mouth in the back of a police car. Actually, maybe that was a clip from Prison Break that snuck in during editing.
It's a good thing Kendal's voice went incredibly low every damn time he spoke, because I wouldn't be sure if this was supposed to be a dramatic moment or not. Hopefully Kendal doesn't order Subway sandwiches like that. And, please … I'll have it TOASTED.
Christine Lahti from Chicago Hope stepped in as A.D.A. Sonya Paxton, a newly appointed prosecutor whose sole job was to "clean house" and improve efficiency in the "he-said/she-said unit," and she succeeded, because she also got under mine.
Then there was Mahershalalhashbaz Ali as Mark Foster, the suspect. I don't have a strong opinion on his performance, but I just want to see if anyone wants to take a shot at pronouncing that first name. Jeezus.
The new characters (Paxton and Kendal) didn't exactly gel with the existing cast, and I think that was the point, because YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW WE OPERATE IN THE SVU! PEOPLE GET RAPED EVERY DAY! And so forth. But the normally banal storyline (by SVU standards, natch) seemed to hold itself together long enough to carry everyone through the hour.
The ending, like many in the SVU library, was rather odd and unsettling. (Unstable, even. Get it? Because … the name of the … ha!) Before the off-putting conclusion, though, ask yourself the following questions: Does the new guy interfere too much as the third wheel to Dets. Stabler and Benson? Did an innocent man go to jail? Do all black perps look alike? WILL HE JUMP!? And where the hell was Det. Munch (Richard Belzer) in this episode? I needed my fix of wry conspiratorial one-liners!
Nevertheless, welcome back, rape and murder. Oh, how I've missed you both. Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.Powered by Sidelines