Law & Order Goods

Posted Wed, 04/30/08

Tuesday night's episode of Law & Order SVU was by far one of the best I've ever seen. Robin Williams guest-starred as engineer Merritt Rook, and the fashion in which the story ended leaves the possibility of him returning to the show again wide open. The description of the story is as follows:

An engineer plays a series of mind games with Benson and Stabler.

That is an understatement.

Robin Williams running in the final scene of the "Authority" episode. Photo copyright NBC.

A TV.Com reviewer wrote:

Robin Williams guest stars in the 200th episode of Law & Order: SVU. He plays an engineer who turns to manipulating people into doing criminal acts and then begins playing games with the detectives when they begin to investigate. Robin Williams gave a very eerie and chilling performance as an engineer who turns to manipulation and games.

I adore Law & Order SVU, but there are only a handful of episodes that have struck me as edge-of-the-seat intense and frankly brilliant. Tuesday night's was one of them.

Here are a few others:

Episode 20, Remorse (2000): Television reporter Sarah Logan refuses to let her recent rape get her down, and talks about her experiences on the air which leads to the arrest of a young man that the police feel is responsible by Benson and Stabler, as Munch finds himself forming a bond with the brave reporter. My notes: I like this episode because it gives Richard Belzer (Detective Munch) a chance to shine his acting skills, which are much better than some might think.

Episode 40, Manhunt (2001): The details of a kidnapping are similar to a series of rapes and murders that may link the crime to a serial killer. My notes: Another episode featuring Richard Belzer. Top notch acting – getting the "bad guy" in the end as he crosses the Canadian-American border is quite a triumph, felt through the acting skills alone.

Episode 43, Scourge (2001): The team searches for a serial killer who justifies his crimes with paranoid religious motivation set on by a rapidly deteriorating medical condition. My notes: The "serial" killer is none other than Richard Thomas ("John Boy" from the Waltons), who is beset by advanced venereal disease gone unchecked and unreported by his insurance company. Thomas' wide-ranging skills are astounding. He is perhaps one of the most underrated actors working today.

Episode 58, Execution (2002): As an inmate gets closer and closer to his death penalty sentence, Stabler struggles to find out whether that man was the perpetrator of a different crime with an unidentified murderer. Dr. Huang assists Stabler but the investigation goes haywire to mixed results. Actor Nick Chinlund as inmate Nick Brodus is chilling and convincing in his portrayal. My notes: I read an interview with Christopher Meloni after the fact and he admitted that working with Chinlund in character was one of the most "intense" scenes he had filmed on the show to date. In other words, Chinlund was so convincing he was scary in person and on set.

*Episode descriptions copyright TV.Com.

The show is a kicker and I never tire of watching it. It's a refreshing change to see a program of quality continue on considering the junk allowed on television these days.

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