Law & Order: SVU 12.06 “Branded” Review

I really enjoyed this week’s episode of Law & Order: SVU. Other than the Jennifer Love Hewitt episode, it was my favorite of the new season. The crime was fairly mysterious, the guest stars were great (especially Jason Wiles who played Alexander Gammon).

Two men were drugged, tied up and assaulted in this episode. The first was Bill Dixon, who was sexually assaulted and had ‘ruiner’branded into his chest by his attacker. The second was Victor Ramos, who had ‘traitor’branded into his chest this time. Stabler and Benson went on a short, but interesting, chase to find the perp. They discovered the perp was a genius hacker, which made it difficult to track him/her. They also managed to get into the apartments of the victims by hiding inside of a delivery box. The detectives also managed to figure out that a third victim would be targeted soon – Alexander Gammon)

But the detectives managed to catch the perp in the act and eventually discovered that the perp was actually a 28 year old woman by the name of Camille Walters, who had a terrible family life but an exceptional IQ. It’s clear the victims have something to hide from the beginning. First they all denied knowing each other (which the police quickly proved wasn’t true by catching them on video together). Then they didn’t want to admit that Camille could have attacked them or press charges.

Say hello to ADA Jillian Hardwicke. After Paula Patton’s ADA made a quick entrance and exit in last week’s episode, we now have Melissa Sagemiller playing Jill and I think she might be sticking around for a while. Jill makes a bad impression with the detectives right off the bat, when she announces that she doesn’t have enough evidence to prosecute Camille at that time. Olivia thinks that the three men did something to Camille to cause her to lash out.

As I’m watching this episode I’m finding one or two similarities to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Lisbeth Salander. Camille isn’t exactly like Lisbeth, but the intelligence, the hacking, the terrible childhood and the revenge against those who wronged her make me think of some similar qualities

Benson and Stabler search for a connection between Camille and the victims. As it turns out, Alexander Gammon had a connection to Camille – he was a camp counsellor at a camp Camille attended. The other two men also worked at the camp that summer. The camp director, when questioned, insisted that Camille wasn’t abused at the camp, but said she did find her on the dock one morning in a bad state and Camille asked her ‘I’m nobody, who are you? Are you nobody too?’

Olivia confronted Camille about what happened when she was 14 at the camp. At a Fourth of July party, Camille was lured into the woods by the trio of men. Alexander raped Camille, as did Bill. Victor tried to resist, but Alexander goaded him into it. But she didn’t just endure the rape, she also got pregnant and gave up the baby for adoption. In recent weeks she heard a young girl with her laugh and was reminded of everything that had happened to her.

Benson and Jill clash again before and during the trial, when Jill is resistant to finding Camille’s daughter to prove paternity and remarks that it’s too late to prosecute the men for the rape. Instead, she wants to continue to prosecute Camille. Benson believes Camille should not be punished for attacking the men after what was done to her.

Alexander, Bill and Victor (with help from Jill) brand Camille as a crazy slut throughout the trial, trying to paint a bad picture of her. Stabler tries to appeal to Victor Ramos’decency outside of the courthouse, but Victor still doesn’t tell the truth. Something seems to touch Jill, however, and she asks Benson to deliver some evidence to the defence attorney for her. As it turns out, she tracked down Camille’s daughter, who says that a DNA test revealed Victor is her biological father. This causes Victor to admit, in open court, what the men did to her.

While Victor and Bill get sentenced for perjury, Alexander suffers much more serious consequences. Camille wasn’t the only woman he raped and now the detectives have the proof to put him away. As a matter of fact, Stabler breaks out the line (when asked by Alex what happens now) ‘You go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200’. I groaned audibly. How long do you think they’ve been holding onto that line? Camille was also reunited with her daughter.

Overall, this felt like a classic SVU episode, specially with the courtroom scenes, which I’ve missed lately. In my review last week I remarked that while I loved seeing Paula Patton in the show, her ADA simply felt too nice to fit into the rest of the cast. I have no doubt that ADA Jill Hardwicke will fit in, however. She’s unlikeable and tough, but can also be sympathetic, which reminds me a lot of the old ADAs Alex and Casey. I’m very excited to have Jill on the show, really enjoyed the story and the guest stars this week and can’t wait to see what’s in store for next week.

clarissa @ tvovermind.com
twitter.com/clarissa373


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