Law & Order: SVU

Friday 17 December, 10:00pm on Five

The eighth season of the crime drama following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad concludes with an explosive double bill. In this week’s first instalment, a backyard wrestling match ends with a grisly death. In the second episode, Fin’s stepson comes to trial for a double murder, and he seems intent on bringing the whole unit down with him. The first episode of this week’s double bill, ‘Pretend’, opens with the discovery of a teenager’s mutilated body in a basement torture chamber. It appears that he bled to death when the femoral artery in his leg was severed. An angry crowd gathers at the scene, and one of the mob informs Fin that there is a convicted sex offender who preyed on young boys living in the area. The man, Darren Tolson, immediately becomes a suspect, but it transpires that he was being stalked by local mother Sonia Briglund, who claims that he abducted her son Joey eight years ago. Sonia readily admits to following Tolson. “He should be in jail but he’s not,” she insists. “So yeah, I keep an eye on him.” She is horrified when she learns that the teenage boy who died is the same age as Joey, and she identifies the body as that of her missing son. However, matters become confused when another teenage boy walks into the precinct and confesses to the killing, saying it was the result of a brutal fight club gone wrong. The teenager, Scott Heston, names the dead boy as his best friend Riley, and swears the killing was accidental. However, Novak begins to doubt Scott’s story after Riley’s girlfriend claims that Scott was in love with her. “If Scott had a motive to kill your boyfriend, this might not be an accident,” Novak tells the girl. “I know it wasn’t,” she says darkly, describing how she and Scott had just learned the location of the femoral artery in a school science lesson. Could Scott have deliberately engineered his love rival’s death to make it look like an accident? And could Riley really be Sonia Briglund’s missing son?

Friday 10 December, 10:00pm on Five

FloridaThe crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues with a double bill. In this week’s first instalment, federal agents question Benson about her apparent connection to suspected rapist Simon Marsden. In the second episode, the rape and murder of a young woman triggers an investigation involving international terrorism and espionage. The first episode of this week’s double bill, ‘Florida’, opens with the arrival of FBI Agent Dean Porter (Vincent Spano, ‘Alive’, ‘Rumble Fish’), who has come to New York on the trail of suspected rapist Simon Marsden. “I think you know where he is,” Porter tells Benson. “I need you to come with me.” Under questioning, Benson reveals that Marsden is her brother, and that she gave him some money prior to his recent disappearance (see episode 16, ‘Philadelphia’). Porter is shocked at Benson’s disclosure, but agrees to cut her a break on the condition that she help to track down her brother. Back at the station, Benson’s anxiety boils over into another case when she loses control during an interrogation. While questioning a rape suspect, she cuffs him to the table and attacks him in order to obtain a confession. When Cragen bursts in and drags her outside, Benson is kicking the man in the stomach. “What part of that [confession] do you think is going to stand up in court? I’ve had it with your crap!” he yells, sending the detective home. That evening, Benson receives a call from Marsden and agrees to meet him at a library. True to her word, she informs Agent Porter, who comes along to pick up his suspect. Before Porter can make the arrest, however, Marsden is spooked and flees into the street. Benson follows her brother down an alleyway, only to narrowly avoid being run over by a speeding car a minute later. “That was Simon’s car,” she says in disbelief. “My brother tried to kill me!” Are these the actions of a guilty man desperate to escape justice, or is there more to the case than meets the eye?

Friday 3 December, 10:00pm on Five

The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. This week, the discovery of a dead stranger in an affluent couple’s flat leads Benson and Stabler to uncover a wild teenage party scene that ends up claiming two more lives. A couple return from holiday to find a dead teenage girl they have never met before in their bed. Melinda discovers that the victim choked on her own vomit after a drinking session. However, the teenager was not alone when she died. “I found traces of her vomit on the comforter,” Melinda informs the team. “Somebody cleaned this girl up.” Benson and Stabler learn that the holidaying couple employed teenager Becca Mills (Sarah Drew, ‘Mad Men’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’) to look after their dog while they were away. Becca, a bookish A-grade student, admits to giving the keys to her friend Reagan so that she could throw a party in the apartment. Assisted by Jordan, a friend of Becca’s who attended the raucous party, the detectives identify the victim as Melanie Tamkin. Melanie was another conscientious student and homecoming queen who travelled from Connecticut for the event, telling her parents she was competing in a maths contest at Harvard. It soon transpires that various guests at the party saw Melanie in trouble after drinking too much, but when her lips started to turn blue, the guests tidied up and fled, ostensibly because they were afraid of getting in trouble. Melanie’s family is devastated by the news that no one helped her. “They murdered my little girl, and I want them held accountable,” her father cries. “Help me,” he begs Stabler. The detective, who was shaken by the dead girl’s startling resemblance to his teenage daughter Kathleen, sets about trying to pin a charge of negligent homicide on the three party organisers. He turns to Kathleen for help, who suggests that he monitors the teenagers’ socialnetworking pages in order to procure evidence.

Friday 26 November, 10:00pm on Five

Sin (Series 8: 17/22) The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. This week, a homophobic preacher is suspected of murdering a gay man with whom he was having an affair. A gardener makes a grim discovery in the graveyard of a Catholic church. “No clothes, no ID, no eyes,” Melinda pronounces gravely when she has assessed the corpse. The victim is laid under a blanket with his arms crossed over his chest. He appears to have been raped, and both of his eyes are missing. Inside his mouth is a packet of crystal-meth pills. Back at the precinct, the team has trouble identifying the victim. “Photoshop this to make it look like he’s alive,” Cragen barks, waving a gruesome picture of the dead man. After a media appeal, the young man’s estranged mother comes forward. She tells the detectives that she fell out with her son, Richard Antrim, after he dropped out of medical school to pursue an acting career. Meanwhile, the detectives raid a premises mentioned as a meeting point in the last text message Richard received before he died. They are greeted by the bizarre scene of a group of young people acting out an abortion. “It’s a play – people walk through it like a haunted house,” leader Paul Curtis explains. “It shows them what happens if they lead a sinful life.” Munch soon discovers that the victim was a rent boy who advertised his services over the internet. He was also a crystal-meth addict. Richard’s phone records reveal that in the weeks before he died, he made many calls to the New Souls church. The evangelical congregation – to which the ‘Satan’s House’ actors also belong – is notorious for its anti-gay rhetoric. The calls are traceable to founder Jeb Curtis’s private line, but as Benson and Stabler arrive to interview him, they discover that one of his sons has just been killed in Afghanistan.

Friday 19 November, 10:00pm on Five

Philadelphia (Series 8: 16/22) The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. This week, Benson locates her biological brother in New Jersey, but it transpires that he is under investigation for a series of sex crimes. Elsewhere, Benson’s preoccupation with her brother’s case allows a serial rapist to escape. After learning that she has a long-lost brother named Simon (see last week’s episode, ‘Haystack’), Benson locates his family home in New Jersey. As she and Stabler scope out the house, they are apprehended by two local police officers, who are watching the building as part of a criminal investigation. Police Captain Julia Millfield reveals that Simon is suspected of stalking three women and breaking into their homes. Cragen is furious when he learns about Benson and Stabler’s escapades. “I should whip both of you for taking guns and police vehicles across state lines without permission,” he snarls. However, his lecture is abruptly cut short when news comes in that a serial rapist attacking men in Central Park has struck again. The third and latest victim, Ronnie Cavelle, was pulled into a van by two men who beckoned him over to ask for directions. The men beat him, then one drove while the other raped him. Despite the horrific attack, Ronnie refuses to testify or even look at mug shots. He is terrified that his fianc�e will leave him if she finds out that he was raped. The detectives decide to launch an undercover operation in the hope that they will catch the attackers in the act. Stabler, Munch, Fin and Benson station themselves around the park, and before long Fin spots a man circling the area in a transit van. As the detectives try to corner the vehicle, Benson receives a call on her mobile phone from Lucy, Simon’s girlfriend. In the process, Benson misses the directions Stabler is giving over the radio, and the suspect escapes. Minutes later, a call comes in to tell them that the van they were following has just dumped another victim.

Friday 12 November, 10:00pm on Five

The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. This week, a complicated missing-child case leads Stabler and Novak to use unorthodox methods in their pursuit of the perpetrator – but it puts their careers in jeopardy. Laura Kozlowski is entertaining dinner guests when she realises that her one-year-old boy Kendall is missing from his bedroom. The SVU is called to assess the situation, and Stabler establishes that the child was snatched through an open window and taken down the outdoor fire escape. There were no witnesses to the crime. Laura says she can guess who took her son – her estranged husband Dan (Pablo Schreiber, ‘The Wire’), who is currently fighting her for custody. When the police track down Dan, he leads them on a high-speed car chase, then flees his vehicle and throws a large bag into a nearby river. Believing the bag to contain the missing child, Stabler leaps into the water, only to discover that the bag is in fact filled with cocaine. Having been forced into acting as a drugs mule over an unpaid gambling debt, Dan was unaware that his child was even missing when the police started chasing him. “That boy’s my whole life,” Dan says, providing an alibi for time of the kidnapping. It dawns on Stabler and the other detectives that nobody else had seen Kendall for at least a day prior to the time Laura claimed he was kidnapped. When Kendall’s clothes are found in a bin outside the flat and Laura starts to act suspiciously, Stabler accuses her of killing her child and engineering the supposed kidnapping to cover her tracks. When Stabler returns to the apartment the next day to question Laura, he discovers she has hanged herself. It is initially unclear if the suicide is due to guilt about murdering her child or because of Stabler’s forceful tactics.

Friday 5 November, 10:00pm on Five

The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. This week, Stabler must once again justify his forceful methods after a suspect in a complex murder case dies in custody. Upon taking his son Tommy home to his estranged wife’s house, mob lawyer Sidney Truex (Carey Elwes, ‘Liar Liar’, ‘Saw’), is hit over the back of the head and knocked unconscious. Tommy raises the alarm after failing to rouse his mother from her bed. When Benson and Stabler arrive on the scene, they discover that Sidney’s wife has been raped and bludgeoned to death with a candlestick. When Benson interviews Tommy, the lad is clearly still traumatised. “Monsters hurt my daddy,” he tells her. The detectives discover that Sidney’s teenage daughter, Charlotte, is still missing, and surmise that the crime was motivated by the lawyer’s shady connections with the mafia. When they locate Charlotte at her boyfriend Ryan’s flat, she supports this theory. “Half the city hates my dad because of the cases he tries,” she tells them. However, when Sidney regains consciousness and is questioned by police, he has a different tale to tell. “When I opened my eyes, I saw my daughter running down the hallway. It was Charlotte – she killed her mother,” he tells them. Charlotte rebuffs these claims. “He’s a lawyer – he lies for a living,” she tells the detectives. The girl has an alibi, backed up by several friends, that she was at a drugs party for most of the evening. However, when questioned, the teens at the party reveal that an inebriated Charlotte and Ryan left the party before the murders took place. Evidence in the family home suggests that it has been ransacked for pharmaceutical drugs, and Charlotte’s trainers are found covered in blood.

Friday 29 October, 10:00pm on Five

The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. In this episode, an anonymous tip-off leads the investigators to a suspected paedophile. Benson struggles to find the concrete evidence of abuse needed to secure a conviction, but in the process she stumbles across another shocking crime. Amid chaotic scenes at the precinct, an anonymous package for the SVU team arrives. Inside are photos of a child posing in his underwear, a memory stick and a handwritten note saying ‘Please put this sick bastard away’. As the pictures do not show the child doing anything untoward, there is little chance that the culprit could be prosecuted. Nonetheless, Benson sets out to trace the victim, and the person who might have abused him. Benson recovers some deleted image files from the memory card, but all they show is a front door being fitted to an apartment building. With Fin’s help, Benson locates the building. At the scene, they meet junkie resident Raymond, who enquires whether they have come about the spate of recent break-ins. He informs the detective that the caretaker, who lives in the basement, was the latest victim. Fin and Benson pay a visit to the caretaker, Seth Milsted, who denies that his house was burgled. Fin is alarmed when he notices that the camera on Milsted’s table is exactly the same make and model as the one used to take the suspect pictures. As the detectives leave, they realise that the pictures were stolen and handed over by whoever committed the burglary at Milsted’s flat. “We got ourselves a burglar with a conscience,” Benson declares.

Friday 22 October, 10:00pm on Five

The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. In this instalment, Fin takes the lead when a friend of his son is raped. However, he soon finds himself clashing with a detective from the Brooklyn SVU who is convinced that the perpetrator is the same man he is hunting for a string of murders. When a student at his college is raped at a subway station, Fin’s son Ken persuades the reluctant girl to speak to his father. The victim, Ming Hao, at first flees the precinct, but little by little she opens up and provides an account of the attack. However, Fin becomes suspicious about her story when the timings she gives leave a six-hour gap unaccounted for. “I could drive a city bus through the holes in that girl’s story,” he tells his son, grimly. The reason behind Ming’s reticence becomes clear when Fin talks to her younger sister, Chun. She explains how their very traditional parents have arranged a marriage for Ming with a man from Hong Kong. “If he finds out she’s not a virgin, he’ll call off the wedding,” Chun cries. Before Fin can probe further, the girls’ parents arrive on the scene, and her father threatens to sue the force if Fin interferes again. Just when it is beginning to look as if Fin will have to close the case, the rapist strikes again. The latest victim is socialite Kara Bawson, who was working in her art gallery when the attacker struck. As with the previous rape, the assailant asked his victim to praise him, and suggested that he had deliberately selected his victim beforehand. “He told me I was even prettier in person,” Kara tells Fin. Meanwhile, Detective Chester Lake of the Brooklyn SVU arrives to inform Fin that he suspects the rapist of committing three murders on his patch. However, Fin remains unconvinced. “Rapists escalate to homicide,” he insists. “Why would a killer suddenly lose his taste for blood?” Fin gives his fellow detective 4

Friday 15 October, 10:00pm on Five

The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. In this instalment, a woman embroiled in a messy divorce accuses her husband of rape. Stabler has serious reservations about the victim’s story, but Benson is concerned that her partner’s judgement is being clouded by his own domestic situation. When Valerie Sennet accuses soon to be exhusband Miles of creeping into her house and raping her, the detectives’ first puzzle is working out how the culprit tracked his estranged wife down. Miles, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, is subject to a restraining order. He is only allowed to see his daughter once a month, during supervised visits. Stabler puts it to Valerie that her daughter Tessa, who was upset about the restrictions placed on her father’s visits by her mother, might have told him their address and provided him with a key. “There’s no way she’d risk it,” Valerie insists, brusquely. “Even if she were angry with you?” asks Stabler. Valerie responds with a terse request not to involve Tessa in the case. When the lab results are returned, it transpires that Valerie tested positive for recent sexual activity, but negative for any trace of Miles’s DNA. Stabler, who has his suspicions about the victim’s story, suggests that in all likelihood Valerie had consensual sex with someone else on the same day as the alleged attack. Stabler’s theory is given more ammunition when the detectives discover that a judge recently refused to renew Valerie’s restraining order against her ex because of a lack of evidence for him being abusive. “I’m not saying there aren’t terrified women in need of protection,” the judge explains. “But there are a lot of vindictive ones who abuse the system in the guise of a divorce strategy.” At this point, Stabler admits that his wife was recently advised to accuse him of sexual assault in order to speed up their divorce.

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