Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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Limitations

Chung-chung! Fade up on a map of midtown Manhattan projected on a giant screen, as we hear about a series of seven related robberies. A white guy in a suit who’s been a guest star on "L&O: The Mother Ship" (tm Chris Meloni) about fifty times is chastising a Robbery captain about not writing up the robberies soon enough for other precincts to link similar crimes to these. The captain who’s getting in big fat trouble has some serious mutton chops and moustache action going on, and this distracts me because I know for a fact that the NYPD has serious facial hair regulations. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the producers -- who are usually on the ball when it comes to the real-life touches -- would let such an error in authenticity go. We cut to a shot of Cragen sitting in the front row of the gallery, and I realize that the mutton chops must be the producers' shout-out to Dann Florek’s failed UPN sitcom of a few seasons back, The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. Captain Desmond is punished; he leaves the room with my girlfriend ADA Abby Carmichael, and we have successfully set up White Guy in Suit as a hard-ass administrator. WGIS asks to hear from the SVU, and as he calls Cragen up to be heard, we learn from the slide currently being projected that we are at COMPSTAT (Computerized Statistics). Five other members of NYPD Brass accompany WGIS on the dais. As anyone who's ever watched a TV cop drama knows, these are The Bad Guys to the street cops' and detectives' Good Guys. Cragen greets Commissioner Morris (formerly WGIS), and informs the Commission that Benson and my boyfriend Stabler arrested the serial masturbator on the Third Avenue bus yesterday. Morris is pleased with this, and, to laughter from the gallery, announces that he hopes "they clean the seats." Lovely. Benson and Stabler have no reply to this newfangled way of being congratulated on a job well done, so they just sit their pretty selves down with their "um, EW!" looks still firmly plastered on their faces. Morris asks for a new slide, and we see another map of midtown, which features three big red dots with corresponding street addresses and dates. Cragen doesn't recognize it, and an annoyed Morris tries to refresh our Captain's memory with, "Three break-in rapes in less than a week? Last week, DNA backlog matched them up to the same unknown assailant." Cragen's still clueless, and Morris gets bitchy and tells Cragen that if he'd read his circular, he'd recognize that this is a newly identified rape pattern for 1995. Is Morris kidding me? Dude, I don't care where you work, ain't nobody reading any circulars the company sends out. Anyway, Cragen reminds us all that he was in Homicide in 1995, but Morris doesn't care because the cases are still his, and he wants to know if the SVU has done any work on these cases lately. Cragen replies in the negative, that these cases are considered cold, and Morris gets all nagging grade-school teacher on his ass as he reminds Cragen that "if no progress is made very soon, [they'll] be time-barred from proceeding with prosecution." Cragen is aware of the five-year statute of limitations on rape, and now the audience is, too. When told that the SVU has not in fact talked to any of the victims since Cragen took command, Morris informs us all that one of the victims has volunteered to speak today. Benson and Stabler are almost as befuddled as their boss is! Anyway, the doors at the back of the room open, and Victoria Kraft enters and goes to the podium. Her hair is the same color as her taupe-mustard, borrowed-from-the-set-of-The Practice suit jacket, and she's got it all teased up and back in a barrette. Eek, woman! VK enunciates the hell out of her words as tells us all her story: on February 8, 1995, while she slept, a man broke into her apartment, raped her, Maced her, and left. She called the cops right away, but no one has ever been arrested. Morris told her that the same man raped two other women and that no arrests were made in those cases either. Cut to Cragen, wearing his standard Look of Befuddlement, with a soupçon of "oh, crap" thrown in. Vicky tells us all to pack our bags, because we're about to go on a little guilt trip. She doesn't understand why there's a five-year statute of limitations on rape cases. If the man who attacked her isn't arrested soon, he'll never be punished. Cut to Cragen, looking guilty as all get-out, as Vicky urges New York's finest to revisit her case before the statute expires and thanks Morris for the opportunity to speak. Morris asks Cragen how he enjoyed his flight on Guilt Express; Cragen assures VK her case will be assigned highest priority, and shoots Morris the Death Glare as we fade to credits.

Speaking of the credits, could someone explain to me how Michelle Hurd with her three lines a week gets to be in them, when Dean Winters and his supporting character don't, and why, if she's in the main titles, she's not in the walking-down-the-hall shot?

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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