Impostor Recap – Law & Order: SVU
In “Impostor” (Law & Order: SVU, 10-5-16), Lt. Olivia Benson’s meddling creates a huge mess. That is really not that unusual, but this time ADA Barba went along with her weird way of turning a case of fraud into rape, even though he knew that it wasn’t going to fly in court.
Dets. Carisi and Rollins were called to the Luxembourg Hotel after a woman named Laura Collett is discovered unconscious in an overflowing bathtub. An apparent overdose victim, she is transported to the hospital. Some really strange texts turn up on her phone. In the first, she tells someone “Best sex ever.” Ten minutes later, she sent the same person a text accusing him of rape.
Carisi and Rollins had the honor of talking to Laura’s husband, James, at the hospital and getting his permission for a rape kit. This was Mr. Collett’s first inkling that his wife was somewhere she should not have been. They have no idea who the guy is that Laura was with but eventually get a photo of him in the hotel with Laura.
The couple have a son named Justin who also sent a disturbing text. It was to his mom, wishing she would die. Carisi found out that Laura is obsessed with getting her boy into Hudson University and was driving the kid nuts over it, wanting him to meet this guy she had lunch with 3 times and just constantly harping on the topic. Conor is just hoping that text won’t turn out to be the last thing he ever said to his mother.
The detectives finally get the name Alden Kessler for the perp. They go see the real Alden Kessler who is not the white guy in the picture with Laura. He’s never been to the Luxembourg and doesn’t know the people in the picture. He indicates that he has never accepted any of the bribes he has been offered by misguided parents ranging from $5 million to a Monet painting, and yes, there have been occasional sexual advances.
The impostor turns out to be a guy in campus security named Tom Metcalf. Carisi and Rollins catch him in the act of wining and dining another rich desperate mother, still pretending to be Kessler. Meantime, Olivia Benson has been busy convincing ADA Barba that there may not be a law against what this impostor has done, but there oughta be because Laura did not consent to have sex with Tom Metcalf. She consented to have sex with Alden Kessler, who wouldn’t touch her with a 10-foot pole or let her son in Hudson anyway.
Carisi brings Metcalf in for questioning but the snake knows what he’s been doing isn’t illegal. In fact, he’s writing a book about his exploits and tells Carisi that he will give him a copy of it after he bails out on the chat session. (We would honestly confess rather than listen to Carisi.)
Later Fin and Benson track Metcalf down to an apartment that he is leaving. He just had sex with Erin Dowling, yet another rich desperate mother. They give her the scoop but Erin is the practical sort. Benson can turn on the soothing and sympathetic tones till the cows come home. “We were two adults playing a game and the hustler got hustled,” Erin says, “Lesson learned.”
The SVU team uncovers videotape from this place showing Tom’s shenanigans with Laura, Erin and three other ladies, none of whom plan to expose their foolish behavior in a court of law. Tom Metcalf is brought in and confronted with the tapes. He says he knew nothing about the camera in the room. Barba offers him a deal to plead to third degree sexual assault. He tells Barba to kiss his butt and is handcuffed and placed under arrested by a gloating Olivia.
The case lands before Judge Bertuccio, who is plenty pissed off at ADA Barba. He tells Barba that his job is to prosecute, not legislate, and he better not even think about advancing his agenda in Bertuccio’s courtroom. Barba can’t get anywhere with this case because even if the jury convicted Tom Metcalf, the judge was going to overturn that. At least that’s what Barba told Benson. So he had to work out a deal with the defense attorney for criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor.
Laura’s testimony on the stand was all for naught. She was forced to admit by the defense attorney that her actions were akin to prostitution. Her husband is divorcing her and her son won’t talk to her. The worst is yet to come. Feeling personally responsible, which in fact she is, Benson goes to the Collett home to tell Laura about the plea deal. An ambulance is there and Mr. Collett is sitting on the steps in shock. Benson finds Laura in the backyard, sobbing uncontrollably over the body of her dead son, who has jumped from a balcony.
We think it was Carisi who pointed out to Rollins that Tom Metcalf was a predator, and he was right. But Benson should not have put Laura Collett through all that. And it was especially ironic that she is having her own problems getting her son, Noah, into a fancy school because his verbal skills are not on the same level as his peers. She should have told Laura Collett that her son’s emotional health was more important than going to Hudson College and that a person like Tom Metcalf was not capable of feeling the pain and humiliation that he inflicted on her. It may not be her job to counsel people but what she did in this episode is not her job either.