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Law and Order: SVU - Chasing Demons - Review

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19.14 - "Chasing Demons"
Directed by by Fred Berner
Written by Richard Sweren & Allison Intrieri
Reviewed by KathM

We open in a courtroom where the trial of Markus West, a doctor who is accused of sexually abusing boys in his is pediatric practice. Olivia is testifying about how she interviewed fifteen boys about the incidents, and thee of them reported abuse going back about two years. Peter Stone (ugh!) leads her through the various questions about how the squad proceeded, how Dr. West manipulated the boys into letting him give them oral sex. Her testimony is strong and by-the-book, and since we don't show the defense questioning her we know that everything went well.

During a recess Rollins and Olivia are talking about how hard it is for the parents, how glad they are that the trial is almost over, etc. Sounds like they've been working the case for some time, which is nice to see since to many SVU cases go to trial veeeeery quickly.

The elevator door opens and Brian Cassidy lopes out. He's still working as an investigator for the DA's office and is ready to “put the nail” in West's coffin with his testimony. He asks how Stone is doing and Rollins says well, considering he only got the case two weeks ago from Barba (sniffle). Olivia does not look happy to see him at all; he's left a few voice mails, but she hasn't spoken to him since he got her accused of child abuse. I wonder if she ever went to the DA and complained about him?

Cassidy is on the stand and reports that one of the children, Sammy Price, was told by Dr. West that if he ever told about the abuse he'd kill Sammy and his entire family. So, no pressure there. Stone finishes his questioning, and now it's time for the defense. Something tells me this won't go as smoothly as what Olivia had to say earlier.

And I'm right! The defense attorney decides to bring back all of Cassidy's bad behavior, from sleeping with prostitutes when he was undercover to having one accuse him of rape. They're trying to chip away at his credibility, and it works. The defense attorney now holds up a picture of Dr. West when he was arrested, showing him with a black eye and bruises. He resisted! Cassidy insists. He admits to “violently subduing” West, which leads the attorney into a “so you think all black men are animals,” statement, which Cassidy denies (I believe him, I don't think that's why he beat up West). The attorney insists that Cassidy felt justified to take his rage out on West and Cassidy absolutely loses it. He starts yelling that West deserved it and that he's lucky Cassidy didn't put West in a body bag. Oh, my.

The defense calls for a mistrial and it's granted. Cassidy has blown the entire case, and now they'll have to try West again. West is now also given reduced bail, which he can meet. The courtroom is in a shambles, with angry parents and celebrating West supporters as Cassidy sits on the stand mumbling, “I'm sorry.”

Stone suspends him of course, then laments to Olivia that he can't believe he took his job. We're all wondering, Peter. He says that, “something came up” when his father died, which I think might have been that his own series was canceled. Olivia is also really confused about Cassidy, who is normally good on the stand. I'm confused, too, but don't really care because I've completely written Cassidy off as a life form.

We're at the Ramos house, where Dad is angrily banging things around in the kitchen and mom is in tears. Hector, the survivor, is chilling on the couch playing a video game. Rollins quietly asks him to go and get the new Transformers he got for Christmas, so he can show them to her, which leaves them alone with Mom and Pop. Rollins and Carisi are trying to calm the parents down, saying that mistrials are rare but that the case should be back on track in a couple of months. Papa Ramos, who has emerged from the kitchen with a beer, is furious that West's lawyer made his son look like a liar. They are upset that Hector will have to testify again; when he did it this last time he cried himself to sleep.

Testifying is not a problem for Sammy, who is being sent to North Carolina to live with his father and will NOT be coming back to testify. His mother, Mrs. Price, is watching Sammy and his brother playing basketball as she tells Stone and Olivia this, and you can see that Sammy seems withdrawn and unsure. Olivia asks her to keep them in the loop. When they leave the gym, Stone is upset; Sammy is their best witness, the oldest and the one who best articulates what West did to him. Olivia says she'll check back in a few days to see what she can do. She then gets a page and runs off. Oh dear, is Noah okay? We're about fifteen minutes into the episode and I haven't heard a word about him yet.

But it's not Noah, unless he's turned into a very ugly drunk and morphed into Cassidy. Some guy who owns or works at a pub she's familiar with called her to come and get Cassidy. He and another guy are getting into it because the guy was giving Cassidy crap about how he messed up in court. Olivia tries to reason with him, but Cassidy just wants to drink more and apologize. She refers to his behavior on the stand as an “epic tantrum”, which I like and may use in the future. Cassidy doesn't seem to be putting together that there might not be another trial, that the kids may be unable to handle testifying again and West could walk. Cassidy tells her to go “do her thing” and fix it, but Benson just tells Frankie to pour Cassidy in a cab and send him home.

Stone is chatting with Tommy's mom, who is upset by the outcome of the trial.

In the middle of the night, someone is pounding on Olivia's door. Whoever could it be? Why, it's Cassidy, so drunk he can barely stand and covered in blood. “I need your help,” he tells Olivia. Don't do it, Liv.

Morning dawns as Rollins and Carisi give each other loving crap as they wander in to their most recent crime scene. He says he's wearing the suit he wore yesterday because his dry cleaner shut down; she thinks that he might have gotten laid. I love these two, Carisi fits in so much better than I thought he would.

Crap, it's West, dead and stabbed all to hell. Carisi starts taking in the scene with his camera phone while they talk to the CSI guy about his immediate thoughts. They are just splitting up who will interview who and where when sassy Detective Devin Holiday appears. She's from Homicide and thinks they should handle the case. Rollins and Carisi introduce themselves, but Holiday knows who they are. She comments on the “racist” DA Investigator who gets off on beating up black men, but Rollins defends Cassidy (kinda) by saying that pedophiles upset him, which is perfectly reasonable. They've been working the case for two years, and they want to continue working it now. He's a Special Victim, and that's what they do. Carisi suggests combining the efforts of Homicide and SVU, but Holiday tells them to get out of her crime scene before they screw it up, too. Carisi has a nice comment about her behavior, but there are some things I don't feel like writing down. Frankly, I like her.

Rollins get an urgent text from Olivia asking her to please take Noah out to breakfast and then to school. NOAH! I was worried that we wouldn't see or hear anything about him this episode, as I've become accustomed to having him in every episode in some way. Rollins has a kid, too, and I'd like to see her parent Jessie some more. We saw her play with Noah after Psycho!NanaBrooke Shields kidnapped him, and Rollins feeding her in one scene, but really have no idea how their world works. Olivia reminds Rollins that schools starts at 8:00 and tells Noah that Auntie Amanda will be taking him to school and Lucy will pick him up. We'll add “childcare as needed” to Rollins' job description, as I think she's currently on the clock. Olivia casually asks about West and is told Homicide kicked them off the case.

As soon as the door shuts Cassidy steps out from what I think is Noah's room. Wait, what? Where did Cassidy sleep last night that Noah didn't see him this morning??? The apartment isn't that big. Olivia berates Cassidy about how he got her investigated for child abuse and she almost lost Noah, all the while making him breakfast. She says she'll hear him out about West, but that doesn't mean she won't turn him in. Okay, Olivia. At least you have some sense left.

Rollins just can't stop being a cop. At breakfast she gently tries to figure out what's going on at Chez Benson, She tells Noah a story about how her dog crawled into bed with her this morning, and asks if anything funny happened to him this morning. Seems that he had to use white toothpaste because his mom's sink was broken, and there were big boots in the kitchen.

At the apartment Cassidy is shouting about how he was at the bar and couldn't get the smug look West had out of his head. Cassidy went to West's house to tell him that he was watching him, but when he gets to the house somebody hits him over his head and Cassidy waked up next to West's body. Olivia tells Cassidy to get in front of the problem, but Cassidy refuses because he'll be arrested. She questions him but he doesn't remember anything, but he has a piece of metal that was stuck to his boot and has a blood on it. Olivia takes it, then hurries into work.

Olivia rolls into the office and asks what they have on the case, but is told (again) that Homicide told them to go away. Turns out Holiday is the daughter of the Deputy Director of Corrections, which is how Rollins assumed that's how Holiday got her gold shield. I'd like to see a hardworking cop rise quickly through the ranks because they're good, not because of connections. That lowers my opinion of Holiday, and I wish it didn't. Olivia takes Carisi's phone with the crime scene video he was able to take and goes into her office to watch it, Rollins close behind. Olivia eventually admits that she's letting a murder suspect chill at her place, which used to be their place if you recall. She doesn't think Cassidy did it, Rollins thinks she's crazy to let him stay with her. The women argue, and Rollins wants to know what Olivia's thinking and what plan she has. Olivia says they just work the case, but Rollins reminds her that hiding Cassidy now impacts her, too, if Stone finds out.

So, Olivia comes into the break room and says they need to keep working the West case. Did Stone ask them to? Nope. They need to do it for the families, which I think is great, but I keep hearing the unspoken “and for Cassidy” hanging over Olivia's head. Sigh,

Fin and Carisi are at the Price's house, checking up on Reggie, the older Price son. A kind of handyman/neighbor, Glanville, also passes through, having fixed some things around the house. According to Mrs. Price they watched X-Men last night, Sammy fell asleep and Reggie carried him into their bedroom. Everyone was at the Price home, safe and sound. Reggie and Sammy interrupt the questioning by asking if they can go skating with some friends. She goes over to an envelope and gives them some money and sends them off. Seems someone slipped $5,000 in cash under her door with a note telling her there'd be more if Sammy didn't testify. Mrs. Price tells them that she's going to use the money for rent, food, and Sammy's therapy, which you can bet isn't covered by insurance. Now that West is dead, she's keeping the money. I would, although I'd also sue his estate. Hope SVU or the DA's office mention that to the families so they can get something for their pain.

Rollins questions Hector's dad at work, where he denies killing West. He has a bandage on his knuckles, but he works around sharp metal objects all the time (I think maybe he's a welder? I couldn't tell,). As Rollins continues to question him Holiday appears and tells Rollins to get off her witness. Rollins tells her they've been working the case for two years and they want to know what happened to West. Does your Lieutenant know where you are? Holiday asks. Oy. Rollins tells her not to be such a bitch, and Holiday asks if she knows where Cassidy is. Rollins says he hasn't seen him.

The gang is reviewing the interviews families they've interviewed thus far. Mrs. Price has no reason to kill West, since it looks like he was going to pay her off. But Felix Ramos has prior assaults, so they are going to bring him in. Or possibly not, because at that moment Stone barrels in, demanding to know if Benson and Co. are working the West case. Olivia asks him into the office, where she tells Stone that she's better equipped to handle the case. Then she fills him in about Noah and how she can't sleep since Psycho!Nanna stole him, and she got him back. The case has to be dealt with sensitively, implying that Holiday has none. She also says that her people lost his case, which Stone contradicts. It was Cassidy, who has taken a few days off. Has Olivia spoken to him? Yes, she has. As Stone is storming out of her office Olivia asks for his trial prep files, which would include other abused boys, and this might lead them to other family members that may have killed West. He agrees, if Liv calls Holiday first if she finds anything. Olivia lies like a dog and says she will.

Amanda has taken some time to go over and yell at Cassidy about how she's baffled that Olivia trusts him. Cassidy takes a shot at Rollins' past, but the situations were different. Cassidy tells Rollins to arrest him if she thinks he's guilty, but she said she'd never go against Liv. As she's leaving she tells Cassidy that if he ever cared about Olivia, he'd turn himself in.

Holiday drops by Stone's office with a video from a parking lot cam that clearly shows Cassidy dumping something into a sewer drain. When Holiday's people check it out they find a hat with blood all over it.

Stone goes into Olivia's office and talks about how bad this looks for his office and Olivia continues to defend Cassidy. Stone says that Holiday told him that Liv and Cassidy used to be a couple, and does she know where he is? Holiday went to his house and tried arrest him, but he hasn't been home for two days. Before Olivia can answer Cassidy comes into her office and drops a trash bad of bloody clothes at Stone's feet. Olivia wants to interview him (seriously???), but Stone sends Fin in to talk to Cassidy instead. Then he tells Olivia to call Cassidy.

Holiday is interviewing Cassidy, who wants to know where he's been for two days. He won't tell her. Olivia tells Stone (they're watching from the hallway) that she thinks she'd have done a better job, and that Holiday wasn't necessary. Oh, and by the way? She tells Stone that Cassidy has been staying at her place. Stone says she's obstructing justice, Olivia says that she's seeking justice. What was Stone going to do, arrest the whole squad? Only if they keep killing people, it would seem.

Cassidy is telling Holiday the same story he told Liv, that he went to West's house to tell him that Cassidy was watching him and that he'd better be good. She doesn't buy it. She really works him up and is doing a reasonable job, so she mentions Olivia and he goes nuts again. Finally asks for his rep and a lawyer, and Olivia comes in when Cassidy keeps talking and says that he asked for his rep and that Holiday needs to shut up now. She and Holiday have a little spat with Liv telling her that if Holiday has a problem with her, she should have the balls to talk to her face-to-face. Stone comes in and tells Holiday to arrest Cassidy for murder.

As Stone is leaving Fin stops him and tells him about Liv, how she helped him when he was getting to a bad place when he started at SVU and sent him home when it looked like he might explode. If she thought Cassidy was guilty, she'd bring him in. Stone just doesn't understand how things work at SVU, Fin explains. Stone wonders if all SVU are criminals and walks out.

Fin goes over to Olivia and talks to her. There could be repercussions because she hid Cassidy, what was she thinking? Liv isn't sure anymore.

I really like suddenly Mentor Fin, who seems to have grown as a person and really has Olivia's back. I liked the character before but seeing him support her and talk to her as someone trying to understand, not someone who wants to yell at her makes me happy.

The CSI guy comes in and tells them that, in addition to West's DNA, they also found DNA from a fish. Fin rushes looks through Stone's trial prep files and sees that Sammy Price once went to see Dr. West because he cut his arm on fishhooks. Hummmm. Mrs. P doesn't strike any of them as a fisherman, but maybe the guy who wine glass she was washing when Fin and Carisi were there has some answers.

Mrs. Price is met at the door to her building by Carisi and Fin who wants to talk to her about the two wine glasses. She says one was hers and one was Glanville's. You know, the handyman/neighbor? She says he sees him from time to time, and that he takes the boys fishing all the time. They search through Glanville's fishing tools, but his bait knife is missing. Glanville is just as surprised as they are. They arrest him while Mrs. Price and Olivia watch. Rollins and Olivia question Mrs. Price in her apartment while the boys hang out in the living room with them. Reggie as a fidget spinner missing a piece of metal that looks just like the thing caught in Cassidy's boot. Oh, Lord.

Stone is in an interrogation room with Reggie and his fidget spinner, trying to establish a rapport by talking about baseball. Reggie isn't fooled. Did you know Stone played for the Cubs? I don't care. He blew out his UCL and couldn't play anymore, he felt that everything had been ripped away from him, who he was and wanted to be. Kinda like Dr. West hurt Sammy and changed forever the person he would be. Stone didn't know where to put his anger, since he couldn't blame anyone. Reggie blames himself for what happened to Sammy, he didn't protect him. Come to find out Reggie had been abused by West when he was 11, but his dad had just left the family and his mom was sad all the time and he didn't want to upset her more. Reggie knew what West was doing, and he was so wrapped up in his own pain he didn't protect Sammy. He let down his whole family by doing that.

But now West out of jail and was trying to buy them off, and his mom was sending Sammy away. His family was breaking up again. Reggie had to do something about West. so, he did. Mrs. Price is devastated that she didn't realize what happened to Reggie.
At a bar Cassidy sidles up to Stone and, surprisingly, does not get a drink. He begs Stone to give Reggie a deal, which Stone finds pretty rich, considering all that Cassidy has lately (trashing the case, interfering with a crime scene, hiding out with Liv, etc.). Cassidy goes on to tell Stone that for the rest of his life Reggie will be chasing demons, that he'll look in the mirror and see a perpetual shadow hanging over him. Oh, okay. Cassidy is a sexual abuse survivor, and Olivia and nobody else knows. Stone listens as Cassidy says that his Little League Coach abused him for a few months, until his father found out and beat the up the Coach. He asks Stone to really think about a deal for Reggie, and Stone says he'll think about it.

On the way out Cassidy runs into Liv, and he tells her that he was inside begging Stone not to fire him. Olivia wishes him well, but as she's walking away he brings up Noah. He says he is talking about him and Liv when he was talking to Morrison and had no idea Olivia was being investigated. He would never intentionally hurt either of them. Olivia was the love of his life; did she know that? Why no. No, she didn't. And she has no idea where it's all coming from after so many years of them being apart. But she was never close enough to him to bare her soul to him, and it's unspoken that he'd never do that for her, either. They hug, and Olivia goes into bar. When she turns to look back at Cassidy, he's already gone.

My thoughts:

I hate episodes that involve changing an entire character’s personality, and this one is no different. Cassidy is so out there, and for a large part of the episode I thought maybe he had a brain tumor. Maybe he does, I can't be sure. I keep thinking about how Olivia told him that she had no idea where Cassidy's declaration that she was the love of his life was coming from, and I feel the same way. I had no idea where he was coming from. I’m sure he’s had to testify in abuse cases before, and it just seems so out of character for him to blow up and become essentially unhinged because of this one case. I just...his abuse was just snuck in there at the end; not that it isn't important, but I still don't get this sudden change in behavior because of this case. Maybe he hasn't had to deal with cases like this before, but he's been on this one for two years. Shouldn't his stress have been obvious before he got on the stand? I just feel like there is so much more going on with him. I’m glad Mrs. Price has some extra $$ for therapy, because I get the feeling Cassidy hasn’t had any.

Disappointed in Olivia and the way she hid Cassidy and made endless excuses for him. Yes, she thought he was innocent, but there were a lot of better ways for her to handle it and she didn't take one of them.

I just didn't really feel this episode, although I liked the Price family and am sorry to see them destroyed. Hopefully Stone will go easy on Reggie, but I'm not sure. He's still a wild card.

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