Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 9 Episode 17

Authority

4
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Apr 29, 2008 on NBC
6.6
out of 10
User Rating
311 votes
21

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
An engineer plays a series of mind games with Benson and Stabler.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Great episode

    10
    Good episode and a great actress Robin Williams. I enjoyed myself from beginning to end...
  • Great episode, utilized actual events that happened and elements of internet videos becoming popular. Robin Williams guest stars.

    9.6
    Freeking sweet, the manipulation that Williams does is an actual real thing that happened to various fast food places. In the actual case the person calling the manager made the accused girls do jumping jacks nude and told them to call in their wifes to watch them. Really messed up how people feel they need to obey and follow an authoritative figure. Some of the story of the actual crimes are here: http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051009/NEWS01/510090392

    Psychology is an odd subject and its hard to believe people would do these types of things. There is also a clip where people at a train station do a freeze. Robin Williams is great, just fantastic. Then again I'm addicted to SVU, still tho absolutely captivating.moreless
  • Great episode with Robin Williams.

    9.0
    This was a great episode with Robin Williams as a guest star - I think he is a superb actor and he did not disappoint here. I like his goofy roles but also find him phenomenal in serious roles as well. This episode was also relevant. And it also brings up the concept of blind obedience to authority which was conceptually very interesting even though I may not agree in part. Submission to authority is freeing as consequences are not borne on the follower. Biblically speaking, submission is required in some instances (such as submission to the laws of our government) but what most people don't realize is that that not even that submission is blind. In some instances the request of submission contradicts what is right according to the Bible. In that case, the answer is simple - God's laws are above man's laws.moreless
  • Great performance from Robin Williams...unfortunately, it was on an episode of "SVU."

    6.0
    I admit it - the NBC promo machine got me to tune in to "SVU," a show that I otherwise don't care for. The promise of Robin Williams' performance drew me in; while Williams was great, the episode itself was jumbled and a promising start petered out into a mediocre ending.



    The idea of a criminal influencing people to carry out crimes by posing as a police officer is interesting, and making Williams a master of audio engineering added a nice touch to the story. But (other than the fact that a sex crime was needed to get Benson and Stabler into the mix), we never learned WHY he had a beef against the fast food chain or the employee in question.



    Things picked up during the trial, where Williams poked holes in the state's flimsy case and flummoxed the A.D.A. I have noticed how on "SVU" moreso than any other "L&O" or other crime drama how conservative the cops and D.A.s are. They regularly engage in harassment and if they do arrest an innocent man, they cop an attitude of, "Well, he probably did something we don't know about it, so it's OK."



    If the show had ended with Williams walking, it would have been better and offered a more ambiguous ending with its themes of manipulation and control. Instead, we have a standard-issue cop show finale with Williams abducting Benson and forcing Stabler (who arrives with gun drawn and sans backup) into a stand-off. Then, a villain who appeared to be a troubled man with a grudge turns into a supervillain with remote control bombs and a mystery get-away. It's a shame Williams doesn't do more TV work and more dark drama, but it's also unfortunate that his talents were largely wasted opposite the SVU cops.moreless
  • What a great episode! So exciting!

    9.0
    This episode was very well written, just well done. Robin Williams was phenomenal! The few times I've seen him play a crazy person, he did an excellent job. It's unfortunate that Robin Williams has been typecast as a goofball because he so obviously has other talent.



    I loved seeing what Benson and Stabler went through in this episode, especially at the end. I felt so bad when I thought Liv was being tortured. The look on Stabler's face when he heard her "screams" was almost too much to take. I was upset when Benson and Stabler let Rook get away but then I realized that they have to make their share of mistakes.



    Rook really had everyone fooled. I couldn't believe how well he did in court. It was infuriating but at the same time impressive. This episode was very good. I'm very pleased with the outcome of this episode as it leaves an opening for Rook to come back next season.moreless
Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

Det. Olivia Benson

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Sgt. John Munch

Diane Neal

Diane Neal

A.D.A. Casey Novak

Ice-T

Ice-T

Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola

Adam Beach

Adam Beach

Det. Chester Lake

BD Wong

BD Wong

Dr. George Huang

Didi Conn

Didi Conn

Nurse

Guest Star

Monica Raymund

Monica Raymund

Trini Martinez

Guest Star

Ka-Ling Cheung

Ka-Ling Cheung

Dr. Chang

Guest Star

Mike Doyle

Mike Doyle

Forensics Tech Ryan O'Halloran

Recurring Role

Joanna Merlin

Joanna Merlin

Judge Lena Petrovsky

Recurring Role

Audrie Neenan

Audrie Neenan

Judge Lois Preston

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Stabler has been a detective for sixteen years.

    • In the original Dr. Stanley Milgram experiments, participants had to oppose the authority figure in the room 4 times in order to stop and end the experiment, otherwise you were told to continue. Det. Elliot Stabler opposes the authoritarian order to push the shock button 4 times near the end of the episode.

    • Goof: When Stabler enters the record studio to save Benson, the door is the type that needs to be pulled open, but he pushes it open.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Elliot Stabler: You strip-searched a teenage girl, and kept her naked in your office for 30 minutes.
      Dwight Lomax: No, Detective Milgram said she could keep her apron on.
      Elliot Stabler: You're an idiot.

    • (Unhappy that he's been assigned clean-up duty.)
      Joel: Gee, thanks. Highlight of my day. "Joel, we got a barfer in the bathroom." (spots the mess on the floor) "Welcome to Happiburger, would you like E. coli with your order? Or how 'bout a super-size of salmonella?"

    • Elliot Stabler: I don't abuse my authority.
      Merritt Rook: Oh, every cop abuses his authority!

    • Merritt Rook (in an anguished tone): I put my faith in a little god in a white coat and he killed my wife and son. PUSH THE BUTTON!
      Elliot Stabler (softly with tears in his eyes): No.
      (Rook pushes the button and a female voice screams)
      Merritt Rook (screaming): PUSH ... THE ... BUTTON!!!
      Elliot Stabler (looks at the button): I can't do it.
      Merritt Rook: No? Why?
      Elliot Stabler: Too many people have suffered already.
      Merritt Rook: Then you, Elliot Stabler, are a human being. Congratulations, you are not a sheep like I was. You're a man. Thank you.

    • Olivia Benson: (about Merritt Rook) You think he's innocent?
      John Munch: No, he made those calls, but it was never about sex.
      Casey Novak: Well, what was it about, then?
      John Munch: The danger of obedience. If you don't question authority, you lose your humanity.

    • Merritt Rook (yelling): You have no idea what I suffered!

    • Merritt Rook: I'm really looking forward to working with you, Casey.
      Casey Novak: Yeah, should be fun.
      Merritt Rook: Will you excuse me? I have to go post my bail.

    • John Munch: "Just following orders." That's the preferred defense of every war criminal from Eichmann to Milosevic.

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • The stunt that occurred within Grand Central Station was "ripped from the headlines". In January of 2008 the group, Improv Everywhere, known for organizing "missions" such as the No Pants Subway Ride (where hundreds of people ride subways in their underwear) and the Food Court musical (where over a dozen people broke out in spur-of-the-moment singing in a Los Angeles mall's Food Court) gathered at least 207 of its members in New York's Grand Central Station and had them freeze in place at exactly 2:30 PM. Improv Everywhere whose mission statement is "about having fun" was founded by a group of stage actors in New York City and has a policy to refuse organizing "missions" for political causes.

    • The opening scenes appear to be ripped from the headlines of events that occurred at several McDonald's restaurants across the United States, beginning in the late 90s. The method was the same: a man claiming to be a detective called the restaurant and told the manager that an employee might be a thief. The caller then instructed the manager to force the employee to undress and participate in other humiliating acts. The managers all complied, despite never having met the man, who, as it turned out, was not a police officer.

    • Parts of of the Merritt Rook character are very similar to Jigsaw in the Saw movie franchise. In one scene, Benson was bound in a chair, exposed to electric shock, and subjected to heckling – also part of Saw.

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