April 17, 2008By Joe Diliberto Posted: Apr 17, 2008
Lucky for me the 8 o'clock hour on Wednesday is a wasteland for non-AMERICAN IDOL fans — that allowed me to watch my beloved N.Y. Rangers move to within a game of eliminating the hated N.J. Devils. Then it was crime time...
Before getting into the Wednesday police lineup, I wanted to mention Tuesday's installment of LAW & ORDER: SVU and in particular Mariska Hargitay's performance. Olivia went undercover in a women's prison to ferret out a guard who had been raping prisoners. And while the episode included many of the tropes of "women in prison" movies — showers, threatening inmates, abusive guards — absolutely nothing was played as exploitation. Olivia's shower was chilling not because the water was cold, but because it made her realize that there really was no turning back from this mission. When Olivia was eventually targeted by the rapist, the entire sequence was harrowing, from her being thrown and punched to cowering in a corner. And the sequence when she was handcuffed and forced to submit to the guard was probably the most realistic and horrifying depiction of near-rape on network TV. Emmy-winner Hargitay raised her game to another level in depicting Olivia so frightened and vulnerable. The final close-up of her bruised face and wounded eyes will haunt viewers.
Wednesday's CRIMINAL MINDS was particularly interesting to soap fans and bloggers, dealing as it did with cyberbullying. Boy genius Reed (Matthew Gray Gubler) could not help identifying with troubled Owen (Cody Kasch, Zach, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES). "Being the smartest kid in class is like being the only kid in class," he lamented. Hotchner responded by pointing out something any parent can relate to: "All adolescents profile as psychopaths." Derek (Shemar Moore, ex-Malcolm, Y&R) revealed that he was a skinny geek in high school until he hit the weight room and grew 6 inches one summer. Owen's one redeeming feature was his love for girlfriend Jordan, which enabled Reed to head off a final bloodbath. By the way, the local sheriff was played by Chris Mulkey (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, TWIN PEAKS).
Computers continued to figure in solving crimes at 10 o'clock, when LAW & ORDER's detectives Green and Lupo discovered a slain orthopedic surgeon had been surfing for a hookup on craigslist.com. Later, DA McCoy looked up legal precedent on Westlaw.com's database instead of his impressive bookshelf. Soap fans no doubt recognized James Rebhorn (ex-Bradley, GL) as the doctor who performed executions. I find it amusing that the L&O writers consistently make female characters swoon over Jeremy Sisto's Lupo and tell him anything he wants to know. Of course, I have a similar reaction to ADA Rubirosa, played by Alana de la Garza (ex-Rosa, AMC). I hope she never gets me on the witness stand, because I'd have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. When did staid, old L&O get so sexy?
See you on the next Night Shift...