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.