Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 9 Episode 17

Authority

4
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Apr 29, 2008 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (21)

6.6
out of 10
Average
312 votes
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Robin Williams guest stars in this episode and gives us an incredible preformance as a villian.

    9.9
    What happens when you get a great tv show with a great actor? You get this amazing episode of SVU guest staring Robin Williams.

    The episode's case is about a person pretending to be a police detective in order to make certain people do illegal things. The criminal behind all of this, Robin Williams plays this part, is incredibly smart and can easily manipulate people. With a couple of interesting twists mixed into this episode, a very interesting plot, a shocking and surprising ending, and some pretty good humor delivered by the detectives and Robin Wiliams, this episode is another great edition to the season.

    This episode had a lot of good acting, a great guest star, strong plot, and lots of other things make this an episode that should not be missed at all! I know I keep saying this, but there is always a better episode, this has to be the best episode of the season so and most likely overall!
  • Robin Williams deserves an emmy for this!

    9.6
    I agree with one viewer as Robin Williams known for his comedic roles, really outdid himself in this one. Sure he has played villians but this one really has you playing mind-games on this one. As this kind of left open the ideal of him returning which would be nice. He did a good job fooling himself with Casey, Stabler, and Benson. And that we learn that Stabler had been a detective for sixteen years. Benson seemed to be really scared of Williams character as he scared the heck out of me. Williams deserves an emmy award as he really showed his dark side.
  • This ep was amazing!

    10
    Amazing acting I almost cried! Almost! JK I did cry:( tear! Well I thought that the episode was very well written and there were a lot of tense moments that I would like to see set out more often. It was a pretty darn good follow up of undercover. Great emotional work I could feel their pain. But what I don't understand is how he recored her screams because that scream sounded a lot like mariska. I don't know don't ask me that is show busisness! Robin Williams was great but I wish that there was a better ending I would like to know what happened to him. Who knows maybe he'll come back for benson, dun dun dun! Yeah right like elliot would ever let that happen but who knows, anyway enough of my drabble, great episode!!!
  • Stabler and Benson engage in a war of wits against a man who uses his persuasive abilities to make people commit criminal acts.

    10
    This episode had the bar set really, really high. A; it's their 200th episode and B: Robin Williams was going to Guest star.

    Right off the bat, we've got an interesting situation, a Fast-Food Manager who has been taken in by the guy on the phone and has committed crimes. Stabler said it very well, he was an idiot.

    The episode progresses very well, leading us to Merrit Rook (Robin Williams) the character suit's the actor extremely well. We can see immediately that the character can talk his way out of nearly any hole he gets himself into. Much like the actor, with his uncanny ability for comedy. We are treated to Merrit using voices over the phone to deceive the detectives and then the great spectacle of seeing him defend himself in court.

    Much was very well utilized this episode. Giving us the information of the original Milgram experiment, assisting in the investigation and participating in the Pillow Fight, something that was so perfectly in character for John Munch. It was a pleasure to see him used so well.

    The final confrontation with Elliot and Merrit was very well executed even though it was very obvious to me that Olivia wasn't actually being shocked. If they were going to do it, they would show it. Even with that, the performances in that scene were magnificent, making it so it didn't matter that Olivia wasn't really being shocked.

    A very wise decision was to leave Merrit's fate somewhat ambiguous. Even though Olivia believed that he had jumped into the water and would have invariably drowned, the fact that we didn't see that happens leave the door wide open for a return. Something which is not unprecedented for this series, Amy Solway and Darius Tutuola have made return appearances. I would very much hope that Merrit Rook joins their ranks at some point next season.

    Overall, a spectacular hour of Television, here's hoping for another 100 episodes as great as this one.
  • Robin WIlliams guest stars.

    10
    Robin WIlliams always impresses me when he is in a dramatic role. In the movies it was "Fisher King". On TV, previously it was on an episode of Homicide Life on the Street entitled "Bop Gun". Here he's a manipulative character who Elliot, Liv and Munch track down. He accuses many of being sheep, yet he shows how with some public demonstrations how much they will follow him too. Even better is his courtroom presence as he represents himself. Our beloved ADA sums it up wondering out loud how good he would be if he had a law degree. I won't go into detail but I wouldn't be surprised if he came back again in a recurring role.

    There was a little action in this episode but it followed one of the standard formulas. I continue to be impressed by Law and Order SVU. I have to say while Law and Order can get stale at times after however many years, Law and Order SVU has not. This episode was indicative of this.
  • Robin Williams shows his amazing talent for serious acting roles, playing an engineer who encourages and teaches people to question authority, often with lessons that cross the line.

    10
    Possibly the best episode of season 9. The episode begins with a fast-food manager who, thinking he is assisting police, strip searches an employee. Trying to find the supposed detective who gave the orders, the SVU team finally lands on an engineer (played by Robin Williams). Found not guilty at trial, he goes on to stir up a "No Sheep" movement, urging the questioning of authority (Among the scenes I will never forget include Munch partaking in the mass pillow fight).

    However, the team stumbles upon evidence that he may have killed the doctor who, by refusing to perform a c-section, caused the death of his wife and newborn son. A perfect ending as well.
  • The Episode With Robin Williams.

    8.8
    Ok, so first off, I must admit that I missed that first 10 minutes of the episode. =X Whoops!

    So...I thought, in all that it was a pretty good episode. Still not on my top favorite episodes list, but it was worth watching (thinks of youtube ratings). I actually wish there was a classification of "worth watching" but since there isn't, "another great installment" will do.

    As far as Robin Williams is concerned, I thought he did a great job. He actually looked quite scary and I thought he fit with the part. It was nice to see a "well-known" actor. I mean, I know theres always a lot of guests that we all know, but it was cool to see him on the show. I can't help but wonder if they'll bring him back for another episode...*Goes off in thought*

    I must say that it felt a bit off at some points. I don't know why and I can't explain it. The ending...well, Elliot saves the day. Yay! I totally saw that whole bomb thing coming from a mile away. What's funny is the mention of the Milgrum experiment. Funny thing is, I have a midterm on that tomorrow! So I actually know what it is =) *Pats self on back*

    In all, not bad. It's nice to get back to the "old" SVU, though I wouldn't consider this the norm.

    ~Snyder~
  • Great episode

    10
    Good episode and a great actress Robin Williams. I enjoyed myself from beginning to end...
  • An excellent performance by Robin Williams!

    10
    Robin Williams' performance in the episode "Authority" was extremely chilling and creepy. His character, Merritt Rook is an extremely disturbed individual who encourages people not to conform or to be led like sheep. His motivation of this behavior is revealed at the end of the episode. In one instance, Robin Williams' character instigates about 100 people in Grand Central Station (one of the busiest train stations in the world) to freeze for about a minute after a whistle is blown. It's scary how much power one man has over so many people. Robin Williams' performance made this a truly exciting episode.
  • Another great episode.

    9.3
    It's interesting how many guest stars are on Law and Order now: last week it was Bill Pullman, this week it's Robin Williams, and next week it's Stephen Collins. This episode was very good. It started out with a fast-food manager holding a teenage girl employee hostage because he'd received a phone call claiming the girl had stolen money. The caller claimed to be a police detective and told him to basically sexually assault her. What's shocking is he actually does it. The SVU detectives eventually discover the call was made by a audio engineer, played by Robin Williams. It's soon realized that the engineer is not a sexual pervert, but he merely wants to test out how far people will go to please an authority figure, mimicking the Milligan (spelling?) experiments, which tested how much people would shock a friend to please the scientists.
    Robin Williams was very convincing in this episode; it's sort of reminiscent of "One Hour Photo" and of Martin Short's guest spot on SVU a couple years ago.
  • Robbin Williams guest stars in the 200th episode of Law & Order: SVU. He plays an engineer who turns to manipulating people into doing criminal acts and then begins playing games with the detectives when they begin to investigate.

    9.1
    Robbin Williams gave a very eerie and chilling performance as an engineer who turns to manipulation and games. He was a superb asset to an otherwise okay episode. I was definately hoping for something more from the 200th episode and was a little disappointed when they did not deliver with something as spectacular as all of the other previous episodes. The storyline was very good and it was rather unpredictable, however, it was just missing that special something. Christopher Meloni as Det. Stabler was very good at portraying a lot of emotion in this episode and it was not phenomenal acting that was in short supply during this episode. The writing in this episode was just not as amazing as it usually is.
  • 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.
  • This was a very good episode based on an event that happened in my home state of Kentucky. In the real-life case in KY the victim ended up suing McDonald's for millions of dollars and the manager and perpetrator did go to prison.

    9.0
    Robin Williams was very creepy, just like in the movies Insomnia and One Hour Photo. At first I didn't realize he was doing the voices to confirm his fishing alibi. If that was him doing the waitresses voice, it was pretty good. But when he did the motel clerk's voice, I could tell it was Robin Williams and realized he was tricking the detectives. I've heard of those "shock" experiments. You can read about more experiments like that in the Malcolm Gladwell book "The Tipping Point." I think I like Robin Williams better playing creepy than over the top funny. Sometimes he gets on my nerves when he is doing comedy. And I will probably start watching SVU more now that Jesse L. Martin has left the original L&O.
  • Robin Williams proves once again he's very capable at the dark drama roles.

    8.9
    This episode portrays Williams in his, in my personal opinion, finest. I can say I never 'got' Williams' unique and offbeat comedy. But after seeing him in One Hour Photo, I developed (no pun intended)a new appreciation for him.
    Here he portrays an evil, intelligent almost genius mindset, manipulating people into doing things, then blaming them for having a herd mentality. Especially nice was his taunting the doctor who he blames for the death of his wife and child. He continues to call the doctor, pretending to be a police officer telling him over and over that he knows what the doctor did, till the doctor finally can't take anymore and commits suicide.
    And the end was great. Though I had a hunch the screams were pre-recorded from the start, it still played out well. And I like the idea that it's left open. Maybe we'll see Williams again.
  • A little show that began in 1999...nine years and two hundred episodes later SVU is still the to watch on Tuesday nights!

    10
    WOW! Where do I begin? This was a phenomenal episode! I was on the edge of my seat during the last ten minutes of the show! Congrats to the cast and crews of Law & Order: SVU for 200 wonderful episodes! Mariska & Chris were fantastic! Robin Williams did a great job playing a twisted sinister bad guy! If this episode didn't have adrenaline in you pumping…then I don't know what will! This episode is exactly why I watch SVU! The actors nailed it! The episode did stand up to the hype of the previews and the articles! I can't wait to see next week's episode with Stephen Collins, fame from 7th Heaven and movies, guest stars as a father with a family that has a lot of problems! Here's to 100 more great episodes!
  • An episode that really blew me away!

    9.8
    This has got to be the best episode of SVU I have seen in a long time, if not the best episode ever. Robin Williams was perfect as a manipulative, demented engineer (Merritt Rook) who creates elaborate schemes in order to avenge wrongs done to him. He comes to the attention of SVU after he tricks a Happy Burger manager into strip searching a young female employee. He represents himself in the trial and not only gets away with it but develops a fan base (Sgt. Munch included)! The plot turns more sinister when they learn that Rook's wife and son died in childbirth and the doctor responsible soon died in a terrible car accident. Rook, impersonating a police detective, calls the doctor repeatedly, making him believe he would be charged with murder for their deaths. It puts the doctor over the edge and the doctor kills himself.

    When they attempt to take Rook back into custody, he ends up kidnapping Olivia. He wants Benson and Stabler to atone for the police who didn't believe him when he was a boy trying to help a young girl who was sexually abused. The most powerful scene comes at the end between Stabler and Rook. I had chills and Robin Williams' voice was freaking me out! The only reason I didn't give this episode a perfect 10 is because my logic got in the way. There's never a good reason offered for why he targeted the Happy Burger to begin with. I don't buy that he would go to such extremes because he doesn't like processed foods. But more bothersome, he's deeply impacted by the sexual abuse of an 11 year old girl from his childhood. In fact, so impacted that he wants to get even with the police. However, he manipulates an adult man into strip searching a young teenage girl, getting him to remove her clothes and has the man touching the girl. It's not very plausible and takes away, slightly, from the brillance of the plot. But, hey, other than that, an absolutely amazing episode!!!
  • Watch out, there is a twist around the next corner...

    2.0
    I have never been a big fan of Robin Williams but he won me over with this performance of a control freak who disdains authority which we find out goes back to the death of his wife and unborn child. The only part of the story I have trouble with is the end; there should have been noticeable ripples in the water if indeed that is where he ended up. The usual good comradery between Eliot and Olivia helps add to the story, as does some more than usual screen time for Casey Novak. Congrats SVU on your 200th empisode!
  • The Robin has landed now I just hope he flies away.

    8.1
    Weeks and weeks this has been the episode that everyone, from television to magazines, has been talking about as being one of the most emotional, deep, original, and nearly everything else and for the most part they were right this episode wasn't all to bad but then again it was the hype that killed the Robin and the episode.

    Robin Williams guested stared on last nights episodes and his character concept was good, of being a manipulative engineer taunting the detectives in a little game of cat and mouse, but its just so hard to have Robin in a serious role without something going wrong. His best movies are his comedic ones in which he shines but place him in serious roles he just starts to fall apart. He did bring life into the character he portrayed and he played games with the detectves all the way through, and even his very many vocal impersonations came into the picture - having a cell phone with a label for each one of them, one way to fool the police.
    The storyline was a very deep but at the same time very drawn out or boring one in which we start out at the fast food chain "happy burger" where everything is as happy as to believe. From thier we are thrown for a loop when screams from a terrified coworker can be heard coming from the managers, locked, office. The detectives come and get the man to open the door in which we find a woman tied up with only an apron on - since this is SVU she was no doubt sexually abused as well. The man's defense is that a unknown police officer told him to do it and that he was only following the orders he recieved over the phone, of all things. The detectives find the real culprit, played by Robin Williams, but he is set free after successfully defending himself in court and becomeing a true "hero". His battle cry is "no Sheep" in which we have to break away from the ordinary and live for ourselves, not to be pushovers and ones to only take orders or comnmands. The detectives resent him and as his popularity grows it gets worse. Finally they have what they need to take him down once and for all but things get more complicated as Olivia goes missing. Stabler finds her at a record studio where she is tied up and allegedly getting electricuted by the mad engineer, Robin Williams. They play a game and Stabler wins and in the end it was pre-recorded screams that he heard and Olivia was fine. As they all leave, with Robin in cuffs, a secret button is pushed and the building behind them explodes, creating a distraction and the detectives loosing the culprit once again.

    Judging by all the went on in this episode is was pretty well put together but at the same time it dragged along in parts and some of the scenes could of been alot better. The ending was terrible in the way we are lead to believe that the guy drowned with no evidence to force it. Seemed sort of rushed for my liking. Also, the concept for this episode seems to have been done, and alot better, time and time again with a sort of "Saw" essence in the air, with Robin as the deadly JigSaw or puppet pulling the strings.
    One of the biggest reasons that this episode failed was the sake of over exposure by everyones part. With claims that this is going to be the best episode ever and the Robin Williams will breathe new life into the show and his take on serious / manipulative characters.
    With everything I saw and read I really was expecting alot more then what I saw, even if my just a little bit more.
    This episode gets an 8.1 out of 10.
  • 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.
Saturday
No results found.
Sunday
9:00am
USA
10:00am
USA
11:00am
USA
12:00pm
USA
1:00pm
USA
2:00pm
USA
3:00pm
USA
4:00pm
USA
5:00pm
USA
6:00pm
USA
7:00pm
USA
8:00pm
USA
9:00pm
USA
10:00pm
USA
12:00am
USA
Monday
1:00am
USA
2:00am
USA
3:00am
USA
4:00am
USA
5:00am
USA
7:00am
MNT
8:00pm
MNT
9:00pm
MNT
More
Less