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TV Review: Law & Order: SVU – “Users”

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Warning: the damn thing's full of spoilers.

Those who are tardy do not receive synopsis: "After a crime scene photograph becomes an Internet sensation, the police begin an investigation that leads them to the victim's therapist, but an unexpected turn leads to a sinister prescription for murder by unlikely suspects."

A prescription … FOR MURDER? I think I could use some lightning bolt action while saying that.

The opening scene appears to be the least effective iPhone commercial in history. A young vulnerable blonde girl waits baited with hormones and rhinestones in a room at the euphemistically-named Ascot Hotel. Her suitor enters and, as they get down to business, he chokes her during "the deed." During the struggle, her colored iPhone is just out of reach. No, young lady, there's not an app for that.

Upon seeing who portrayed the blonde, A.J. Dunne (Justine Ezarik), it all makes sense. Ezarik is better known as iJustine, a blogger/lifecaster I've never heard of until this show, but it sounds like she's had a ton of viral success. She also said on her blog that she had a great time dying, which you always love to hear. It sounds like the pink iPhone is one of her trademarks. I can safely assume this because the iPhone is everyone's trademark. 

That also explains the leaked crime scene picture part of the show. The photo of the dead girl that hits the Internet was also perhaps an homage to the terrible story of Caroline Wimmer's strangled body being circulated on Facebook by an EMT. The reference doesn't add much to the episode, but it's just another way for the SVU unit to wonder just how sick people can get. (The answer? Very!)

Oh, right … the plot. After sifting through A.J.'s friends and parents, the unit reaches creepy-looking therapist Martin Gold (James Frain), who treated her and many other defiant and addicted teenagers at his company, adorably titled A Sheltered Place. Certainly this Gold character had something to do with A.J.'s death, after all, she checked into her room under the name A.J. Gold. Hearts and hugs! But no, Gold's alibi checks out, not to mention the fact that they actually found the guy that strangled her mid-intercourse.

It was rude of anyone to suspect this man, Gold, even though all his patients ended the session with "I love you, Martin." Get your minds out of the gutter! How could he be capable of such a dastardly act? One of his patients is the son of the deputy mayor. No way he could be guilty. Nope.

So why the heck isn't the show over? Because perhaps Gold drove this girl into terrible sex with terrible men who look like her father. In comes Enzo Cook (Ryan Kelley), A.J.'s friend and A.S.P. co-patient. Instead of oppositional defiance, his plight happens to be heroin. And not only did he see the murder take place, he claims to have seen Gold statutorily rape A.J. prior to her murder, which might've helped facilitate the romantic encounter that led to her death. Remember though the truly damning evidence: Martin Gold looks extremely creepy. But Enzo's credibility goes south when the police discover his thirst for needles.

The second half of the show is where Dr. Huang gets to shine. I guess the way it works is each minor character gets an episode like this to flourish. Huang can cure Enzo of his heroin addiction by administering ibogaine, which is supposed to magically cure the addiction. There's only one problem; it's illegal in the United States. So will Huang write up a prescription … FOR BREAKING THE LAW?

Well, yes. Yes he does. And I love how they actually give a reason why he won't be on the show for a while, other than the truth, which is "the cast is pretty crowded."

Twist Factor — Hell, I already ruined it for you. So let's just agree on a 2 out of 10 and move on with it.

The Verdict — We the people find this episode, "Users," guilty of glorifying the use of pink iPhones. We were impressed how the murder was "solved" midway through but continued to surround the creepy A Sheltered Place therapist. We'll give a gold star to Dr. Huang, and recommend the next one goes to Detective Munch. And please: no more Internet starlets. We don't want people to get the impression that we're not hip enough when we admit never hearing of them.

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

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  • http://www.ijustine.com Justine

    Hi! Saw this popup in my google alerts :) Thanks for including me in your SVU recap!

  • Elizabeth

    Why do every version of the Law and Order scripts have to through in a “dig or two” against our former president and vice president. Get over it! Political bias has no place in the Law and Order shows.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Political bias has no place in the Law and Order shows.

    Fred Thompson would disagree.