My wife and I had to wait patiently for the Law & Order SVU season finale “Zebras” which finally aired last night. After seeing it, I feel comfortable saying it was worth the wait.
There was so much going on, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. You have a tourist being killed in Central. They are able to find the killer in no time at all; a former artist who is mentally ill following the 9/11 attacks (why do I get the feeling my wife and I have seen something like that before).
At first, when they found the guy, I figured there was no way he did it. We were only 15 minutes into the show at this point and there was no way they could spend the next 45 minutes trying the guy when they have everything from forensic evidence to a confession to help with the conviction. I expected some sort of twist and I was right.
The one lab assistant, Stuckey, screwed up when he cataloged the evidence. Nothing was contaminated or anything but the defense attorney caught the mistake and everything had to be thrown out.
Of course, at this point, the case has to be dismissed (and where the heck was ADA Cabot? Is this substitute going to be some sort of regular on the show now); leading Judge Donnelly to admonish both the defendant (who she calls a murderer being set free on a technicality) and Stuckey.
At this point, I turned to my wife and pointed out Stuckey’s demeanor. I told her I thought something important was going to end up happening and would involve his character. I figured he would either he shoot the defendant or would be involved in some other way. I wanted to say this now because I’m going to give you the spoiler (sorry) and wanted to make sure you understand it wasn’t something that was totally unpredictable (though still entertaining).
They later find a body at Coney Island and Stuckey is once again on the scene and he finds a bloody finger print. I, at that point, commented to my wife that I thought he planted it in an effort to get the original killer behind bars. I mean, seriously, the guy just blew your whole case with a stupid mistake and destroyed the credibility of the NYPD. Why in the world is he at another crime scene?
A chase begins and this is what leads to the second twist; we learn about Munch’s ex-wife; who apparently is as paranoid about people trying to monitor her every move as the bad guy. I actually found this story to be pretty interesting because you could tell he cared for her but not enough to deal with her problems. I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for him or dislike him for not doing everything he could to get her to help herself.
The last part of this episode was definitely the best though. We learn quickly the guy they are after is well educated in deadly devices. Stabler and Fin nearly die in the basement of one building and the bad guy’s defense attorney dies in a similar trap in her own car after an argument. There is also evidence he is out to get those who have turned on him so the detectives have to scramble to save everyone from Munch’s ex to Donnelly (who ends up nearly dying anyway, even after the cops search her house for traps).
Of course, I mentioned before there was going to be a twist, and I loved it. Remember, I told you Stuckey was going to snap at some point in this episode; you could tell just by the amount of air time he was giving and his demeanor. Well, the twist where they find the dead mosquito with DNA evidence in the defense attorney’s car and the DNA belongs to Stuckey was fantastic. I figured he would simply tamper with forensic evidence to prove the guy’s guilt and redeem himself. I didn’t expect him to cross the line and begin murdering people too. I have to admit, he thought things through pretty well for the most part too. If it wouldn’t have been for that mosquito, he would probably have gotten away without anyone suspecting him.
I’m not sure I liked the ending all that much though. That part where Stabler is tied up and Stuckey is slowly cutting the detective apart is pretty cool. But, I’m not sure why Olivia didn’t have anyone else come with her when she suspected something was up. I think that would have prevented the whole lame “kiss me you fool so I can trick you,” thing at the end. Come on now, the guy killed two people, planted a third trap that nobody found until it was too late and was smart enough to do it in a way where everyone suspected someone else. You mean to tell me I’m supposed to believe he will fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book? I probably would have liked that better if she was serious and actually “turned to the dark side” so to speak.
The ending also left me a bit confused at what would happen to the original perp. Don’t forget, all the evidence regarding the first murder was thrown out and the charges were dropped. He didn’t commit any of the other murders so do the detectives really have any evidence to hold him for anything? Other than maybe assaulting his attorney before hand but, even then, he didn’t do much more than yell at her. Maybe they are thinking of charging him with attempted homicide of a police officer with that trap he set up in his basement. It just would have been nice to know for sure because now that is probably going to end up bothering me for a while.
Still, even with an ending that was a bit lame, I did like the intensity this episode brought out in all of the characters. We learned a bit more about some of them and were able to grow concerned for the well being of others for a change. It was a great way to end a season that has had as many downs as it has had ups.