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'Law & Order: SVU' fan recap: Always trust Olivia Benson

Season 16 | Episode 17 | “Parole Violations” | Aired Mar 25, 2014

FOUR WEEKS. It has been FOUR WEEKS since the last new episode of SVU. Do you know what that’s like for an SVU fan? Sure, one of you is reading this and is all, “Hasn’t Law & Order: SVU been on since ladies wore hoop skirts and men challenged each other to duels by slapping faces with gloves?” Well, yes, and WHO CARES? IT’S A GREAT SHOW. Heathens.

This week we meet some of Sonny Carisi’s family. He’s got a sister (Bella, played by the awesome Marin Ireland). The sister is engaged to a lovable yet sorta slovenly, bearish type with a rap sheet (Tommy, played by Michael Chernus). Bella is pregnant and they’re engaged (no name for the kid yet). Oh, and Tommy’s parole officer, Donna (Molly Price), rapes him. Yes, his FEMALE parole officer. And yes, it can happen.

Carisi isn’t lining up to get Tommy’s autograph, seeing as he’s a two-time ex-con who’s engaged to his sister. Carisi REALLY doesn’t like him when Bella shows up at the precinct to report that Tommy never came home last night. This is because he was arrested after a bar fight. Carisi finally tracks him down and starts whipping him around by his shirt because he’s the brother and it’s his solemn duty. Tommy blurts out that he didn’t want to have sex with Donna. Wait, what? It was kind of hard not to, he explains, because she held a gun to his head while threatening to revoke his parole if he didn’t comply. Nice lady. Remind me again to NEVER, EVER commit a crime.

Carisi brings this to Liv, who patiently reminds him that yes, women can rape men. Why do all of Liv’s employees act like they’re still wearing their price tags when it comes to sexual assault? I know it’s to spur plot exposition, but have the janitor or the hot dog lady outside play dumb for once, ya know?

Liv and Amaro go to check up on Tommy. Liv makes him realize that he was raped. She calls a meeting with the jackass Parole Office head, who thinks it’s amusing that someone claimed they were raped by Donna, his star employee. He thinks it’s Louie C.K.–level hilarious that it’s a guy claiming a woman raped him. Imagine having to report to this douche?

Despite Tommy’s realization that he was raped, Bella is enraged. She assumes that Tommy is up to his old tricks and trying to cover up cheating on her. Before they can resolve this domestic dispute, which Carisi is trying to referee, Donna and her parole-officer posse show up. They’re here to plant drugs and haul Tommy back to the clink for ratting on her. This lady just leveled up on her evil.

Tommy is back in orange, and everyone realizes that Parole Office Head Guy alerted his Employee of the Month that one of her parolees had accused her of rape. Hence the frame job. Unfortunately, Bella still doesn’t believe Tommy. So it looks like the poor schlub has lost his fiancée as well as his freedom. Carisi and Amaro convince Tommy to go ahead with the rape investigation. Because what else is there to do? Lift weights, fend off more rapists, Judge Judy?

Liv and Rollins bring in Donna and her sleazy lawyer for questioning. Donna claims the sex was completely consensual. I mean, he got aroused and everything, right? How can that be rape? Donna and her legal apparatus are the definition of smug, and can Barba just come in with one of his withering putdowns to put my soul at ease? Donna also makes the huge mistake of slapping Liv on the shoulder. It’s supposed to be read as friendly, but it’s obviously a power play. This creep hasn’t done her research, ’cause that’s Liv. You don’t want the stare. You don’t want the lean over the interrogation table. And you certainly don’t want to be coming at her physically. Remember?

Liv throws down

Donna better watch herself!

Carisi convinces Bella to talk to Liv about her doubts over Tommy’s assault. Liv convinces her that becoming aroused during a rape is entirely possible, and it’s completely biological. It in no way implies consent or that the victim wants what is happening. She uses onion-induced tears as an example. Mariska Hargitay can even make a convo about boring old onions enthralling. Bella seems to get it. It helps that she’s getting Noah’s old baby clothes.

If you were wondering if Tommy was Donna’s first victim or not, you are intuitive and/or watch a lot of police procedurals. DNA on the planted drugs leads the gang to Jordan, another parolee of Donna’s. Initially Donna would seem like the kind of parole officer a felon dreams of, because she’s down with doctoring piss-test results in favor of the, uh, pisser. What’s not so awesome is her insistence on raping you as payment.

The case goes to trial. Smug Donna and Smug Donna’s rat lawyer pull a major coup when they somehow convince Jordan to recant all of his testimony and accuse Tommy of being a drug dealer. Barba is not amused at the witness poaching. He had tickets for Kinky Boots (it’s his favorite), and now he’s going to be late!

Barba deals with Jordan’s turncoat move by getting him to admit that he’s a junkie on the stand. Jordan immediately turns back on Donna, and testifies to the rapes, the drug-test tampering, and probably the fact that she kicks kittens out windows. Donna goes for the plea deal, and Liv opens the library and reads it to her from cover to cover. She’ll never recover!

Donna reveals herself as a psycho, but gets probation and is added to the registry. GOOD. Hopefully someone pickets her or something. She really should be in jail, but you know this sort of crime would be SERIOUSLY difficult to land a conviction on.

Tommy and Bella reconcile. All is well. Carisi still goes to Fordham Law, though.

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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