This is how SVU should be.
“Wednesday’s Child,” the latest episode of the long-running crime series was one of the best paced, acted and produced episodes in recent SVU memory. It clicked on all cylinders, weaving in personal drama with a dynamic, topical case stacked with terrific guest stars.
The case revolves around a newly adopted Russian boy named Nicky Moore, who has seemingly been abducted from his home. The abduction ruse is quickly defused as it’s revealed that his adoptive mother (Jodie Markell) could not take the young boy’s unruly behavior, so she gave him up for a “re-adoption” of sorts. Done without the consent of the adoptive father (John Benjamin Hickey), the case once again becomes an abduction and the SVU detectives race against the clock to rescue the child before the child’s insulin levels go out of control (he’s a Type 1 diabetic) and he could slip into a coma. However, the child has been “adopted” by two known child porn producers/grifters (Mark Boone Junior, Rosanna Arquette) who are more cagey and elusive than anticipated.
The episode’s guest stars, Sons of Anarchy staple Mark Boone Junior and Rosanna Arquette, are probably two of the best guest stars the show has seen in some time. Boone Junior is perfect as an oily, morally bankrupt child pornographer/grifter. Boone has this undeniable charisma that just sucks you into his performance — you just hate this guy from the moment you see him stuffing his face with an obscene amount of Chinese food. This man is pure filth and Boone just eats the role up with the greatest of ease.
Arquette, who is hit or miss with her performances (her appearance on Ray Donovan was the show’s weakest spot), really nailed it as a broken, beaten down and deluded former porn star. While Boone exuded an air of evil, Arquette exudes this wild desperation that makes you loathe her and feel sorry for her simultaneously. The direction in Arquette’s scenes have to be commended as her role is ripe for overacting, however all her scenes remained emotional yet tasteful. Sometimes SVU guest stars have gone a little too far with the crazy, so this was nice to see her role reigned in.
The pacing of “Wednesday’s Child” was crisp as hell. Everything moved like a well oiled machine, truly reflecting the urgency of the matter at hand. Sometimes the show, despite putting the onus on finding a victim in a certain time frame in the story, has not had the proper pacing (this is not a recent problem either). Sometimes they just went about things like business as usual with the clock ticking. Tonight, it was all go-go-go.
Yet, with no time really for anything but the case they did manage to weave in a plot point of Olivia’s biological clock ticking. Now, the execution of this storyline was heavy handed (especially the use of a clock literally ticking), but it actually adds a nice dimension to the Benson character. She is getting older and her ability to have children of her own is most likely drawing to a close. But, as much as this reviewer has griped about the personal stories of the detectives clogging up the story, this actually works. It’s something that’s real — a woman in Benson’s position could definitely be feeling this way and it’s natural. Rollins’ gambling addiction and Amaro’s marital problems are issues that have been placed upon these characters by the writing team, they aren’t natural, organic things. With Benson, it feels natural, you can see this logically happening to this character at this time, while the others, not so much. So despite being wedged into this episode, it works.
“Wednesday’s Child” is vintage SVU in all the best way possible. Since the Olympics will be pre-empting SVU till the end of February this is the one SVU episode you should be watching OnDemand in the next few weeks.