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'Law & Order: SVU' recap: The girl in the suitcase

Season 16 | Episode 11 | “Agent Provocateur” | Aired Jan 14, 2015

SVU is constantly reading my mind. Celebrities, the fiery-hot successful ones, tend to have their heads inserted deeply up their bottoms. You can start to lose perspective if you spend your days being worshiped. The less self-aware celebs begin to think they can do no wrong. Some can even grow to believe themselves some sort of space mystics! Have you ever read an interview with Will Smith or anyone in his family? The SVU writers are fully aware of this phenomenon and gleefully skewer it this episode.

Scott Russo (Shiloh Fernandez) is an amalgamation of North Korea’s fave thespian, James Franco, and attention-whoring oddball Shia LaBeouf. We’ll call him “FrancoBeouf.” I’m surprised this combo didn’t cause my TV to explode in a shower of vinegar and water. His biggest fan, 15-year-old Madison Baker (Madison Grace), is discovered drugged and unconscious in an abandoned suitcase by the NYPD. That’s pleasant. When given a choice between the walk of shame and riding in a Samsonite, I’ll take the neighbors witnessing my just-got-sexed hair.

Liv questions Madison in the hospital. Madison claims her Uber—um, cab—driver hopped into the backseat with her, gave her some pills, and assaulted her. That’s a lie. Eventually we learn she crashed a celebrity party to hookup with FrancoBeouf. They’re Instagram lovers, you see. Hide your head, James Franco. It looks like he got her high, had sex with her, and then got her ready for the baggage carousel at JFK after she ODed.

She’s lucky. This is SVU. That sort of treatment is Golden Circle VIP compared to what usually happens to these gals. *sad face*

New Guy Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and Fin (do I even need to?) roll up on the highly sensitive and spiritually attuned artist while he’s playing his sitar. You have my permission to give the side-eye. Interrupted during his “Strawberry Fields Forever” realness, FrancoBeouf denies, denies, denies. He also reveals himself to be the sort of creature I perseverated upon in the first paragraph. As an example: He refers to himself in the third person. Need I type more?

The actor is currently promoting a terrible-looking movie-within-the-show called Falsely Accused. You can see where they’re going with this. Is there better PR for a flick called Falsely Accused than to be falsely accused? Imagine if Keanu Reeves was promoting The Matrix, and discovered he really was a human battery plugged into a virtual reality S&M action nightmare? You can’t buy press like that!

We’re introduced to Broadway royalty Patti Lupone as Russo’s agent Lydia, and FrancoBeouf’s up-and-coming costar Skye Adderson (Jeremy Jordan). This is sort of like a Murder, She Wrote episode, except Angela Lansbury didn’t deal with naked statutory rape victims stuffed in suitcases. Unless I missed an episode.

Side note: I was lucky enough to catch LuPone as Mama Rose on Broadway. She was incredible. Someone who wasn’t giving her incredible its due decided to answer his phone during the show. I believe he still has his head, but he will never forget Ms. Patti’s molten-hot wrath. The point is that her character has to be guilty because I’ve been terrified of her ever since. She gave me nightmares before she gave her son a bleach enema over on American Horror Story. Her countenance is truly fearsome.

FrancoBeouf’s press junket is truly blessed as video surfaces of Madison entering his hotel room after the party. Fin and New Guy go to pick him up. He’s in the middle of some Shia LaBeouf performance art mess. Please take the bag off of your head and use your time more wisely, sir.

Speaking of showbiz negatives, the highlight of TMZ honcho Harvey Levin’s scurrilous career occurs when the Russo/Madison video premieres on “LMZ.” We meet Levin stand-in and televisual cubicle hoverer Lenny Simmons. TMZ has such a weird format. Lenny has a prop baseball bat that annoys Amaro (Danny Pino), and causes D.A. Barba (Raul Esparza) to comment that the faux Harvey Levin is “all bat and no balls.” Barba gets all the best lines. He’s gay, right? To entertain a cliche, he can read you from cover to cover, and his clothes are always on point. Television tends to make up for us not being able to get married everywhere by giving us the best lines. On behalf of my race, we couldn’t be more grateful.

Levin is jailed for not revealing the source of the hotel security vid. New Guy and Fin blow SVU’s meager disguise budget (we’re talking tousled hair and a spirit-glued beard) and pose as his fellow inmates. They trick his simple ass into having to admit that the video came from—wait for it—Patti LuPone’s character. I told you! Patti LuPone admits that she inadvertently screwed her client. She explains that FrancoBeouf brought her into the ODed underage girl sitch, and it was her idea to treat Madison like a human dopp kit. Her reasoning is that she was protecting him by using “LMZ” to acquire the incriminating video. Really? That was her strategy? Does SHE have a paper bag over her head?

Don’t punch out just yet, team. Madison, being a 15-year-old girl with emotional difficulties, shows up at the precinct to deny that she had any sort of contact with FrancoBeouf. Up-and-coming costar Skye was the culprit. Madison lied because she didn’t want Scott to know that she was “cheating on him.” Okay, someone’s mom needs to cancel her daughter’s sub to US Weekly and up the girl’s meds.

Liv and friends head Skye off at the pass before he can leave to film DivergentHungerGamesLordoftheRings in New Zealand. I love them taking the piss out of the entire showbiz community this episode. I heard Bryan Singer is still weeping after Producer’s Backend.” Patti tries taking the rap for Skye because it looks like they’re really close. Like, face-caressing close. Is that a thing in Hollywood? With the agent?

FrancoLaBeouf is free to go, and grandstands before the press about his terrible ordeal. Why, it was like Unbroken without the starvation and beatings! Please stop speaking, FrancoLaBeouf, and put your head back in that bag.

Next week: Armand Assante is Amaro’s estranged dad.

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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