Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 12 Episode 6

Branded

3
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 20, 2010 on NBC
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
87 votes
5

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
The detectives investigate a case where two men have been raped and forever marked by a depraved lunatic, but as they search for a connection between the victims and the perpetrator it becomes clear there's also a link between the victims as well.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • zzzzzzzzzzz... what? I left the tv on?

    3.5
    I agree with LizzyBennett who said that the perp/victim was modeled after Lizbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Total rip off.

    That being said it wasn't even a good one.

    The ep dragged on and on without any real plot. Perp says a little rhyme and woom it's all upside down. I'm trying hard not to give you any spoilers, but this is such a mess I'm stepping in it wherever I look.

    Why did the judge who obv knew the real story show ZERO understanding for her? Why were the parts of the tape excluded? Who tested the girl's DNA? Since when does that work over night?

    And remind me again what the statue of limitation is on rape? Because I kind of think the "victims" could have just said so and it would've been a moot issue.

    The ADA being an ass on first glance but then turning out to have a heart of gold and risking her career in the very first case is getting SUPER old. Week before the ADA got fired the very same case she started on. What are you thinking?

    And we already had the mental breakdown and spiralling into criminal actions to save a case with Casey Novak. At least then it was semi-convincing.

    We need a charismatic ADA that everyone (including the characters(/cast?) respects as a member of the team and not some vile enemy.moreless
  • Branded

    4.5
    Nice episode, but did anyone else think that the story was a little bit influenced by Stieg Larrson's "Girl with a dragon tattoo"? Camille Walters being a troubled and aggressive but insanely intelligent young woman with a hate of authority figures and an inclination to not talking to defend herself is kinda exactly like the protagonist of Larrson's novels. Do the writers run out of ideas?

    And I am tired of the whole bad ADA turning into good ADA thing. They appear to be jerks at the beginning and later on, they do something to redeem themselves. It is getting quite boring after a while. All in all the episode was exemplary for where the show is heading in my opinion: warming up of old ideas and the repeat of the same old patterns over and over again. The only good thing are Hargitay and Meloni.moreless
  • This episode could have been so good given the subject matter, if only it hadn't taken almost thirty minutes for anything even remotely interesting to happen.

    5.5
    When two men are found bound in their homes with brands burned onto their chests and objects inserted into their anal cavities, Benson and Stabler are soon on the hunt for the perpetrator. At this point, things REALLY started to drag so much that I was convinced nothing was going to happen at all.



    Finally, soon after learning we had yet another ADA working with the Special Victims Unit, things started to get interesting when a young woman is caught on CCTV, about to attack Stabler, who has positioned himself in the home of her next intended victim. We learn that the woman was gang raped as a 14-year-old while at a summer camp and that the two men she did attack, and the one she was going to next, were her rapists. At this point we saw some superb acting from Mariska Hargitay and the actress playing the rape victim as they discussed what had happened to her. When we finally got to the court, the episode actually got interesting as the judge, for no reason that I could see, decided to exclude vital parts of the taped confession of the woman when she admitted to being the person who had drugged, tied and branded the men. Predictably, (as this is television and they have to make every post a winner)it turns out that the young girl became pregnant as a result of being raped and had to suffer the heartache of giving her baby girl up for adoption when she was just one day old.



    Given what the woman had gone through as a teenager, it disturbed me to see both the new ADA and the judge treating her more like a criminal than the victim of a prolonged and vile assault. The ADA, however, redeemed herself quite a bit when she handed Benson a confidential file to give to the defense. For me, this aspect was a bit tricky, as we never found out how she got the information contained in the file as it couldn't have been easy.



    The ending was a nice one, given the disturbing subject matter, as mother and daughter met properly for the first time outside the courtroom.



    Only the performances I mentioned above really saved this one for me. Cut out most of the first half an hour, and we would have had some interesting television.moreless
  • another great episode

    8.5
    A very well written and overall well done episode about a woman who was raped 14 years ago seeking revenge after hearing the daughter that she got pregnant with because of the rape laugh (as only a mother could know). Stabler and Benson seem to have the case wrapped up when the new ADA shows up (jury is still out on her; give her some time) and throws a wrench in the gears about not being able to convict based on what evidence and testimony they have. But she (the ADa) does turn the tables on everyone at the end so we'll see. Was great to see this episode, especially after last week's turkey.moreless
  • Branding this episode a good one...(Spoilers alert)

    9.0
    This is a clear-cut episode right from the word GO...basically what happens is a guy gets sodomised and branded "RUINER" on his chest by an attacker and while Benson & Stabler are investigating this attack, another guy gets attacked the same way with the word "TRAITOR" on his chest. The 2 victims deny knowing each other but with Fin following them, the detectives find out soon that these 2 guys do in fact know each other and are seen arguing with a third guy, Alexander. Even after visual evidence is put forth and all, all 3 guys claim they have no enemies and they don't know who could have done this. They just say that they do business together, and that's that. But you can feel they are lying and trying to hide something.

    Anyway, the detectives soon find out that on the day of the attack on one of the victims, a big box containing a vacuum cleaner was delivered which was not supposed to have been delivered at all. When they check with the vac cleaner company, the customer salesperson lets the detective know that a delivery had been done that day but which did not come from the company's computer system but from an untraceable IP address. And when Morales is engaged to find this out, he informed the detectives that the hacker is a genius since the IP addresses all have clones, which make finding the location difficult. And when they put 2 and 2 together, it seems the perp came in the box ("jerk-in-the-box") and manage to enter the victims' homes through some stairwell.

    So again Benson & Stabler re-visit Alexander and he is not forthcoming and then by a stroke of luck, they manage to see an identical vac cleaner box being delivered just when they are leaving. So the next instant, we see the detectives camping out on Alexander's home and they view the box through an internal monitoring system and after waiting for hours, the box produces the perp, all in black. They manage to catch the perp and it's a female! And none other than the vac cleaner company's customer service person who was assisting the detectives earlier on in the case. Her name is Camille.

    The detectives get introduced to a new ADA (sorry, didn't catch her name, didn't care to since all of them don't stay on that much anyway except for you know who, and I was thanking God it wasn't Paula Patton since she was damn irritating in last week's episode but then I digress...). Anyway, this new ADA's kinda cute and she seems on the ball and all.

    So Camille is not talking and upon Benson's straight-from-the-hip questioning, Camille only says this verse, "I'm a nobody, who are you? Are you a nobody too?" which leaves us wondering what the hell happened to her.

    So again the detectives are at a standstill because the perp is not talking and when the 3 guys were brought in to ID her, all of them say they can't believe she attacked the 2 of them since she is petite. And, they say they don't know her.

    This is where Dr Huang brings in his profiling expertise and he tells the detectives that Camille would have kept a physical reminder of something that relates her to the victims and with a search warrant in hand, the detectives raid Camille's flat. They find a camp photo taken many years back with a young Camille and some kids in camp and with an adult in the photo who is none other than Alexander. So the detectives go to the camp and talk with the coordinator there and she tells them that Alexander is not a nice person, he was a lifeguard in the camp, and the other 2 victims were actually volunteering in the camp also. She also tells the detectives that one morning Camille looked out of it, and when she asked her what happened, Camille told her the same "nobody" verse which she said to Benson. So again, Benson goes to interview Camille who is in the joint by now, and Camille tells her she was raped by all the 3 men, with Alexander being the leader. She says she wishes she had branded Alexander too with the word "HELL" since that was where she was going to send him. And Camille lets Benson in on another secret, she says one day she heard some laughter as she was walking and she knew that must be her daughter since the laughter sounded so identical. So now we know that that rape produced a daughter whom Camille had to give up for adoption the day after she gave birth. She doesn't know who the father is, could be any one of the 3 victims-turned-asswipes.

    The new ADA now tells the detectives that she can't be defending the perp despite Benson telling her that they can't really go after Camille since she is the REAL victim here and the guys are the perps. Benson wants to do a DNA kit and find out where Camille's child is but that would mean opening adoption records and all. The ADA is not supportive of this and tells Benson that she should let her do her job and walks out, with Benson staring after her.

    In the courtroom, Benson is on the witness stand and the jury have just viewed the footage of Camille in the joint confessing to Benson. However, the judge has deleted the scene where Camille says the 3 guys raped her and Benson is aghast this would influence the jury to look at Camille as the perp, and not the victim. Benson lets the judge know what exactly she feels and the judge nearly holds her in contempt of court. Then Camille shouts that all the 3 guys are rapists and the new ADA looks kinda confused with all the furore around her.

    Next scene we see Benson giving a piece of her mind to the new ADA who looks extremely cool with a salad container in front of her. She understands where Benson is coming from and gives her a file which holds confidential information about Camille's child. Benson looks surprised at this turn of events and wastes no time in looking to bring the child for the trial the next day.

    Camille's child, who is a teenager, testifies in court that according to the DNA results, Camille and one of the victims are her biological parents. All hell breaks loose in court when her natural father stands up in court and says that yes, it's true, they raped Camille and he points the finger at Alexander, and he shouts before the police lead him away that Alexander has raped more women and he paid these women to buy their silence. So the 2 guys get sentenced for perjury, but Alexander is looking at a long jailtime given his crimes and Camille meets her daughter and she is sorry it had to be this way. The daughter is understanding and says she is not and they both hug. It was a nice ending. And I'm looking forward to next week's episode.moreless
Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

Det. Olivia Benson

Ice-T

Ice-T

Det. Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola

BD Wong

BD Wong

Dr. George Huang

Dann Florek

Dann Florek

Capt. Donald Cragen

Christopher Meloni

Christopher Meloni

Det. Elliot Stabler

Kevin Alejandro

Kevin Alejandro

Victor Ramos

Guest Star

Michael Gladis

Michael Gladis

Bill Dixon

Guest Star

Meredith Patterson

Meredith Patterson

Joyce Dixon

Guest Star

Lindsay Crouse

Lindsay Crouse

Judge Andrews

Recurring Role

Joel de la Fuente

Joel de la Fuente

TARU Tech Ruben Morales

Recurring Role

Anne James

Anne James

Dr. Jane Larom

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Melissa Sagemiller makes her first appearance as ADA Gillian Hardwicke. Neal Baer has named all the ADAs in honor of Kim Novak in some way since he took over as showrunner. "Gillian" comes from Novak's movie Bell Book and Candle and "Hardwicke" is from The Notorious Landlady.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (Elliot and Olivia look at a picture of Camille with a man.)
      Elliot Stabler: Her with her dad before he was sent away to Bellevue?
      Olivia Benson: We're all branded, I guess. By our parents, our childhoods.
      Elliot Stabler: Think you turned out all right.
      Olivia Benson: Makes one of us. (she smiles)

    • Olivia Benson: Are you proud of yourself? You trashed her.
      Gillian Hardwicke: My job's to win the case.
      Olivia Benson: No, your job is to make sure that justice is done! Convicting Camille isn't justice.
      Gillian Hardwicke: That's for the jury to decide.
      Olivia Benson: The jury is going to throw the book at her because you turned her into some crazy slut. Congratulations!

  • NOTES (2)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Elliot Stabler: "Go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200."
      Elliot is reciting the instructions found on Chance and Community Chest cards in the board game Monopoly (depending on the version).

    • Camille: "I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody too?"
      These lines are from Emily Dickinson's famous poem, "I'm Nobody! Who are You?"

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