Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 9 Episode 12

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Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jan 08, 2008 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (29)

7.0
out of 10
Average
265 votes
  • This episode makes you question whether the killer should be punished.

    9.0
    This episode was about the death of a serial killer known as the woodsman who has killed over 20 people The investigation leads the SVU to special agent Cooper from the BAU who has been working the Woodsman case When she was identified it made sense because she has more motive than anyone but it made people question whether she should be punished for killing a serial killer In the end Cooper felt she only had one way out when maybe she shouldn't have been punished for the murder of the Woodsman.
  • Pretty good for amateurs

    8.0
    Condescending yes a rip off of real cases yes but pretty good made Olivia look selfish and dumb the guest star Erika Christensen was great she could pass as a foster child and possibly as a person with a bit of interracial ancestry
  • Painful from Beginning to End

    1.5
    And not in the way the writers were hoping for. Law and Order: SVU is a show that rarely disappoints. I have only seen one other episode that I hate as much as this one. The premise of this episode sounds interesting at first: trying to catch a Serial Killer who tortures women. Unfortunately, the acting becomes cheesy. FBI Agent Cooper, whose mentor tracked the serial killers, joins Olivia. The character is insufferable though and while I think we were suppose to feel bad for her...the writers do not convey this. Agent Cooper is selfish and quite annoying, not to mention the actress does nothing to help the character come along. Her acting is flat and emotionless, even in the most emotional parts.



    As for the storyline itself, it was quite disturbing and SVU made it more disturbing with images and such. It was SVU trying to show heinous crimes and I was quite disturbed. But soon, even the torture became cheesy and excessive and it felt blah.



    The ending was supposed to be a twist but it was fairly predictable. The ending was just terrible and I didn't feel anything for Cooper. As for Olivia's reaction, it was so cheesy. This episode was too dramatic and it was trying to be super disturbing and super emotional like Saw meets daytime soap operas. Needless to say, I did not like it at all.
  • Really really really really Bad!!!

    2.0
    This episode was absolutely terrible. The guest stars were a bunch of whiny self absorbed crybabies, especially that FBI agent chick. By the way she was absolutely and practically annoying and selfish. Erika Christensen completely miscast. She looked like a scrawny wimp. Silly "bad Benson and Lake" scenes. The Woodsman the killer of the victims - ABSOLUTELY LAME!. Plot was stupid. The whole investigation scence was absolutely retarded Messing with Benson and Lake's mind of origin for no reason also it had nothing good about it. Not even action. The acting and the writing were a joke, the story was a joke. I mean good God that episode was horrible.
  • Review to up the average.

    9.5
    Honestly, I'm reviewing this episode to help up it's average. It was like a train-wreck to watch; from beginning to end. It had all the elements of a suspenseful drama/thriller: a vicious crime, a twist, a good character turned bad, and a violent/shocking ending. I loved seeing the FBI agent not able to cope with having a live victim to deal with; they did a good job of showing how out of her league the agent was feeling. As for Benson's reaction at the end, it's called shock. When a person is in a state of shock, they react exactly like Olivia did: they just shut-down. I was surprised not to see her have any fall-out in the next few episodes. I thought that there would be at least a mention of a mandatory counseling session or something.
  • Agent Benson leads the team, with assistance by FBI special agent Cooper on a chilling chase through Central Park to capture a sadistic serial killer before time runs out and another victim falls prey to the 'Woodsman'.

    5.5
    An episode where the viewer is tortured as much as the show's victims. Once again the show takes you on a terrifying journey as our team tracks down a sadistic killer. This time Benson is joined by Special Agent Cooper of the FBI to catch our killer before he ends the life of another victim. The non existing acting skills of Erika Christensen (Cooper)make this episode almost unbearable to watch. But close attention to detail when discussing the trauma of the victims and a the superb talent of the rest of the cast make this episode well worth watching, even despite the pain caused by watching Miss Christensen ruin every scene that she's in.
  • a killer referred to as 'The Woodsman' who rapes, tortures and decapitates his victims and leaves the bodies in the woods to be discovered?

    1.0
    a killer referred to as 'The Woodsman' who rapes, tortures and decapitates his victims and leaves the bodies in the woods to be discovered? George Marks from season 2 of cold case (the woods and mindhunter) anyone? this show used to be good. now they have sunk to the level of ripping off other shows. in typical fashion they tried to do the same thing - just bigger and better and consequently fell flat on their faces. i can hardly believe this show used to be such a well written, well acted show. Nw its just your average piece of cliched crap. so sad.
  • I really thought that this was a horrible episode. So many things about it drove me crazy. Suprise ending? Come on...

    2.3
    I really thought that this was a horrible episode. Yes, I get it, Erica Christensen is hot. But how did that blind the producers and directors of the horrible acting that she was doing? The delivery of every line was so fragmented it made me cringe. It was if she was acting for a stage play instead of a television series. Thank goodness Mariska was there to balance her out. But where was the rest of the cast? With key players obviously missing it added to my disappointment.

    This episode was poorly written and poorly acted. I hope that next week redeems the qualities that we all love in SVU.
  • It grabs hold of you and doesn't let go until way after the credits have finished rolling.

    10
    In the last few seasons there have been some amazing Olivia centered episodes, and this was one of those. In this episode when a young woman shows up dead, a mans body discovered with hers, Olivia and Detective Lake are teamed up with a young FBI agent. At first it starts out a little slow but it gets to a point where you are on ht edge of your seat, wondering why it you feel so nervous. Sadly we do not see Elliot, Fin or Munch in this episode but we get a little more attached to the incredibly dreamy Detective Lake. This episode really is amazing and a must see. It has a surprise ending that jumps out at you. Do not skip over this episode--it was more than amazing.
  • A very good episode

    9.2
    First, let me say that I hated that actress that played Agent Cooper. She was a horrible actress. Just bad.

    I missed Stabler and Tutuola in this episode, but at least we had an explanation for their absences. Why wasn't there an explanation for the absence of Munch?

    I really liked how shocking this episode was. All of the cops looked shocked and sickened and when that happens, it increases the average person's discomfort. The woman that they found was scary to see. I didn't blame Agent Cooper for killing the psycho killer. He was a sick creep and he deserved what he got. But I was very annoyed that Olivia was so attached to that woman. When the agent committed suicide and Olivia started crying, I was yelling at my TV screen. I like Lake more and more. I liked how he found the evidence in the apartment, laying on the bed and perusing the room. The episode was a great follow up to the average episode that aired previously.
  • Obvious plot twists and horrible acting drag a wonderful franchise down to the level of regular television shows.

    1.3
    How could anyone who enjoys this series stomach this episode? Erika Christensen's 'acting' was absolutely autrocious. It sounded as though she was reading from cue cards and could not understand half of the words she was repeating. And the big surprise ending? Please - you didn't see that one coming from the middle of the episode on? I think the look on Olivia's face at the end was her jumping for joy inside that she would not have to appear in anymore episodes with Erika Christensen.

    It's only natural for a show that has been on as long as SVU to have some bad episodes, but in the hands of a more competent actress, this could have been a believable episode.
  • Welp, that episode killed another little piece of my soul... (warning, contains spoilers)

    9.5
    Painful to watch as in good but emotionally hurtful.
    I don't know why everyone is complaining about Erika Christensen's acting. She wasn't the best actor the series has had, but if anything it was a little above mediocre, not bad. I was still able to feel for her character's situation, which was important to me. If anyone wants to complain about acting, I'd like to point out the damper Mariska Hargitay put on her otherwise good performance this episode with her reaction to Cooper's death. (Crying lessons please). Otherwise the rapport between her and Christensen's character wasn't all that bad- how Bensen goes from grudging respect for Cooper to worry over her fragility to a mixed anger over her behaviour.
    Plot and writing-wise, I was pleased with the episode. While SVU frequently sets out to shock, Cooper's suicide (And good lord the scene with the woman in the drawer. Rough, Dude) had my heart rate going. It was good that rather than simply try to shock, this episode did give a little bit of feeling for the victims, like the sadness for only learning the first name of the one victim-Amy-before she died. This episode flirted with ethical problems- what would we have done in Cooper's place?- but doesn't really take them far enough for serious consideration.
    Overall, because of the dramatic effect it had for me and because I continue to think of it days afterwards (it's something I look for) I would rate 'Signature' very highly and hope to see such quality in the future.
  • "those who fight monsters should make damn sure they dont become one" - Special Agent Lauren Cooper

    9.5
    let me just throw this out there...wow. amazing. disturbing. saddening. all of the above and more.
    i loved the storyline, however i didnt really like the actress who portrayed cooper. it almost made me happy that she offed herself in the end so she wouldnt be in anymore episodes in the future. but that aside, i loved how kick ass benson was. i mean i knew she kicked ass before, but some of her one liners and things she did showed how involved and dedicated she was to this particular case. i think cooper's presence also had something to do with that. when they found moore's hideout and went inside, i dont think i took my hand off my mouth until the hospital scene i was so captivated and mortified at the same time. how could anyone do that to another human being?!
    and the ending scene, i felt so bad for benson. i only wish elliot had been there for her to give her comfort because she wasnt getting any from lake. or even much from warner when she showed up. liv is definitely going to need to see a specialist! and when cooper and liv are talking about how the job is liv's family, it seemed as if it might get her to thinking about life and things she hasnt even been able to accomplish because of her long hours on the job. i think we are going to see liv start spreading her wings soon and she is going to try and settle down a little more, maybe start a family.
    and of course, what is soon to be widely known as the infamous "i've got too much too lose" line. that was great. (we know who your talking about olivia! your gunna have to admit it whole-heartedly sooner or later :))
  • Benson joins Special Agent Cooper on the search for 'The Woodsmen', a serial killer who tortures his victims for days before brutally killing them.

    10
    This episode was absolutely amazing. It had great acting for every moment! The story was very chilling and the ending left me stunned and shocked. I really enjoyed viewing the parallels between Benson and Cooper. Coopers powerful statement can summarize a lot of feeling on SVU over the years, "Those who fight monsters should make damn sure they don't become one." The final suicide shock was brought straight home to Benson, concerning her feelings towards victims, Stabler, the job, and perps. Mariska Hargitay did an amazing job once again. Thought provoking and provocative, one of the greatest I've seen of Law and Order SVU.
  • Classic SVU epsisode. Like the preview said, nails digging into your leg!! This is exactly why SVU is my all time favorite show!!

    9.5
    Mariska does it again. Her acting was phenomenal. The overall story was very creepy which kept me on my feet. The horrific scene at the end when Agent Cooper committed suicide was a jaw dropper. Olivia's horrific scream defietly woke me up. First time we've seen Olivia's emotions since "911", "Philadelphia" and "Florida" Definetly a scene for an emmy nomination. Of course the episode that Elliot is in Montreal something tramatic happens in which Liv needs comforting! First time since "Florida" that Olivia has said anything about not having a family. But when Agent Cooper asked something about quitting, Liv just responds by saying "I've got too much to lose." Assuming she was talking about Elliot :)
    Overall awesome episode!!
  • Olivia and FBI agent lauren cooper investigate the vicious murders of women, pursuing a serial killer known as the woodsman. However the plot thickens and turns trying to pursue this suspect.

    9.7
    Law and order svu has truly done it again. This episode has to be the most exciting one this season. Olivia really got to shine in this episode and Lauren Cooper was a great addition and the actress who played her was truly fantastic. The episode was a little disturbing in some parts but it was quickly overshadowed by the turn of events. There was not a single boring moment in this episode, the entire storyline seemed to fit together perfectly. A great episode to discuss certain moral issues and what is right and wrong. The ending while a little predictable didn't disapoint. This was probably one of the more gruesome episdoes of svu and dealt first hand with torture and terror. If you find horror movies offensive you might want to skip this episode but if you like a good intense television episode I'd recomend this Signature has to be the best episode of season 9 and one of my favorites.
  • An exciting episode with Oliva working along side Special Agent Cooper (Erika Christensen), to bring down a sadistic serial killer known as 'The Woodsman.'

    10
    An absolutely thirilling episode, with some real tense moments that worker to create a superb psychological thriller of an episode.

    Olivia naturally seemed wary of Cooper, which lended itself well to the ending, with her seeming to not quite be able to pinpoint what exactly she was thinking about Cooper, but then beeing suitably upset with the conclusion.

    Christensen gave a stunning performance, she played the character beautifully, so that the imaginary Cooper was really a percievable reality. Christensen showed real promise in this episode and as an actress I certainly hope to see more of her.

    I loved the ending. Marika Hargitay once again played a blinder and whilst I laughed when I heard that scream come from her, it really was a work of art in terms of her acting ability. The natural reaction was incredible and made the whole thing so believable, because there was no stoic front. She was a woman who had trusted this woman, tried to help her, but most importantly, realated to her and to watch her shoot herself would have been really horific and Mariska portrayed Olivia's grief and shock beautifully.

    I thought this was a wonderfully crafted episode and incredibly well acted. One of the best.
  • What a shocker.

    10
    S.A. Cooper's demise was not totally unexpected the way that events unfolded throughout this episode but what was disturbing, was detective benson's reaction to the whole thing. They made her look as though she just zoned out squatting in the apartment while the m.e. and forensic people gathered thier evidence and later brought out the body past her. Cooper who was a FBI BAU agent, semed more human than Benson when they went to gather evidence from the last vicitm they found alive.
    On the whole I thought the writing for this episode was very well done the characters including the "woodsman" were well developed
  • An amazing episode !!!

    9.6
    The FBI is searchin for a serial killer when they found his last victim at the park and a man dead by her side, they later find out that he was the killer.
    They go on a chase to find his last live victim that is locked in a storage place, they saved her, but she dies.
    Olivia later finds out that the FBI agent was the one that killed the serial killer.

    A great episode with a lot of drama and intense moments, like the ending when the girl kills herself. This was a very good episode, hoping for more like this.

    Just missed Stabler a little :)
  • A chilling, Benson focused episode, that finds Olivia working with FBI behavoral analyst Cooper,(who is relatively inexperienced in the field) to bring down a viscious serial killer known as the "Woodsman"

    9.8
    There were a few heart pounding moments in this episode that made this segment memorable. Particularly harrowing was the revelation of the killers lair. Much has been said about the weak portrayal by Erika Christianson. It started off nasally and she seemed to be channeling a second rate Clarice Starling. And while I will agree that her acting was very wooden at the beginning, she became less so as the episode progressed. I will even go on to say that after repeated viewings of this episode (And yes it is worth watching again) she becomes almost interesting, particularly in the interrogation scene and at the end of the episode. Despite the absence of Stabler, Fin and Munch what makes this episode one of the best is the performance by Mariska Hargitay. Without revealing too much it is in this episode that she brought tears to my eyes. She displayed one of the most real moments I have seen on T.V Truly great performance. This is also the first episode that I began to really like Adam Beach's character. Despite some weaknesses in the portrayal of agent Cooper this is still my favorite episode of the season--- At least so far
  • This is the best of the season so far!

    9.7
    That's right! I'm calling it. We're getting back into what makes this series great, evil villians, shocking surprises (Finding out that the killer was really one of the victims found dead was shocking!), and some great originalty.

    Oh sure, SVU has teamed up with the FBI before once in a while, but this one really blows all those others away. A great actress as the investigator from the Criminal Behavoir Unit (Anyone thinking Criminal Minds all of a sudden) was cast and did her part well. Her final words left me agreeing with her.

    The villian's hideout reminds me of something from Saw or Hostel. Kind of cool thing in my view. Overall, one of the best episodes this season, but I wonder where was Elliot during the whole show?
  • Detective Olivia Benson and Special agent Cooper you forces to find an unbelievably cruel serial killer. However, not everything (or everyone) is as it first appears.

    9.0
    When two people, a man and a woman, are found dead in the park, Special Agent Cooper wastes no time to get to the crime scene. It appears as though the woman was a victim of 'the woodsman', a cruel serial killer, who has killed in several other states, hence the involvement of the FBI. However, the dead man who was found next to the woman doesn't fit the profile. We soon learn he was the serial killer and was executed by someone, but it's unclear by who.

    In the meantime Benson and Cooper join forces to try and find the killers 'torture chamber', because they fear he might have held another woman there. They eventually find her, but she's very weak and dies in the hospital. By now it has become clear that Agent Cooper is too emotionally involved and Benson suspects that she killed the serial killer. They find the evidence and go to Agent Coopers apartment to confront her, where she kills herself right in front of the detectives. A very shocking ending!

    This episode was really great! Although some of the other detectives, Stabler, Tutuola and Munch, weren't in it, Benson and Lake more than compensated for it. It was an exciting episode with just the right amount of drama. Exactly why I love this show!
  • Just one surprise ending!

    9.6
    Great show as it focuses on a sadistic killer as Liv teams up with an FBI agent played by Erika Christensen. As that there is something fishy with the agent. While they bond a bit. You know that something is rather strange about the agent. This had you on the edge of your seat. As this really would scare the living daylights. Liv shows her emotions well and that she finds out that the agent is not who she claims to be. Lake is a great addition to the cast. As I think Adam Beach plays Lake really well. The ending was a huge shock with the agent commiting suicide. Over the killings. Wow!
  • A woman's body is found murdered in a park alongside a man with a bullet in his head - Benson and Special Agent Cooper join forces and suspect "The Woodsman", a serial killer Cooper has tried to catch for years.

    9.0
    It was one of the best episodes I've seen. I'm truely not a, or I wasn't an SVU fan until last night. The episode was wonderfully thought out and the plot twist was great. I figured out that the FBI agent was involved when they found the bound woman in the drawer--but it kept me on edge the whole hour! But the end was the biggest surprise of all. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it; but you won't in the least be disappointed.I loved it, was great! Second only to "Mean" another SVU episode. Check them out.
  • amazing episode. focuses on liv and FBI agent cooper tracking down "the woodsman" only to figure out he's already been found...and executed.

    9.4
    let me just throw this out there...wow. amazing. disturbing. saddening. all of the above and more.
    i loved the storyline, however i didnt really like the actress who portrayed cooper. it almost made me happy that she offed herself in the end so she wouldnt be in anymore episodes in the future. but that aside, i loved how kick ass benson was. i mean i knew she kicked ass before, but some of her one liners and things she did showed how involved and dedicated she was to this particular case. i think cooper's presence also had something to do with that. when they found moore's hideout and went inside, i dont think i took my hand off my mouth until the hospital scene i was so captivated and mortified at the same time. how could anyone do that to another human being?!
    and the ending scene, i felt so bad for benson. i only wish elliot had been there for her to give her comfort because she wasnt getting any from lake. or even much from warner when she showed up. liv is definitely going to need to see a specialist! and when cooper and liv are talking about how the job is liv's family, it seemed as if it might get her to thinking about life and things she hasnt even been able to accomplish because of her long hours on the job. i think we are going to see liv start spreading her wings soon and she is going to try and settle down a little more, maybe start a family.
    and of course, what is soon to be widely known as the infamous "i've got too much too lose" line. that was great. (we know who your talking about olivia! your gunna have to admit it whole-heartedly sooner or later :))
  • A good epiode with some faults.

    9.4
    Overall, this was a great episode. it kept you guessing. One thing I saw wrong with the episode was with Erica Christensen. Erica Christensen was simply horible in this episode. Some of the worst acting around. Other then that, it was a great episode. When giving my 9.4 rateing I ignored her acting and focused on the story itself. the ending was sortof unexpected, atleast for the first 50 minutes. Once Benson and Lake arrived looking for the gun, you knew something like that was going to happen. I truely thought she was envolved in the killings, like Martin Short was in the episode Pure.
  • Olivia teams up with the FBI to catch a sadistic serial killer.

    9.0
    This case ranks high in my "That's Just SICK" list. Torture pre- AND post-mortem? And those stuff in the serial killer's torture chamber? And that video tape? Good God.

    I would've given this a higher score for the shock value if I didn't read the episode description. That was a major spoiler, in my opinion, but I can't do anything about it now and it doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the episode.

    When the trailer said "Mother of surprise endings", I told one of my friends that I better not be disappointed - and disappointed I wasn't. It wasn't the "mother", but I was a bit shocked (mainly by Olivia's scream).

    I was also shocked by that awful grey coat Casey was wearing during arraingment. O_o

    Lake was okay in this episode, particularly when he was looking for that "trophy" (aka the shell casing) and talking to himself. I imagine I'd have the same 'WTF' expression Capt. Siper had. I would've loved it more if it was Fin who was looking at him.

    One of the reasons why I think this episode is special is because of Olivia. Now we all know she's one tough cop, being exposed to rape/murder/child molestation everyday, and we rarely get to see her break down. The last time I remember was back in the 7th season ("911"). Seeing her losing it, even taking Lake's hand for support, was absolutely heartbreaking.

    Despite the spoiler I had, I'm giving this episode 4 out of 5 NYPD badges. Great performance, great story.

    I just realized, this episode is the 100th episode I've reviewed. How about that. ^^
  • Talk about the mother lode of all torture chambers

    9.6
    Bizarre but very well put together episode dealing with a serial killer who takes torture to the extreme. An FBI agent(whose inability to deal with victims is obvious) who has been tracking this killer assists Olivia in tracking him down only to find out the last victim was the killer himself. Finding the key in his apartment they eventually discover the torture chamber of extreme horror and another kidnap victim who later dies. Eventually it is discovered that the FBI agent sent the email that led them to the body of the killer and the walls start to close in on her.
  • FBI agent is twisted too.

    8.3
    Erika CHristensen played FBI agent Cooper. She was not the most convincing (Watch her in the movie "Traffic"). But the story revolves around her and Olivia investigating a serial killer. Detective Lake assists.

    This was a creepy story, kind of reminded me of the movie "Hostel." It's not often we see torture and it's tools to this degree on SVU. From the beginning you sort of get the idea that Cooper is involved so that plot twist is not as pivotal. The whole episode was not as suspenseful as usual. You kind of knew where it was going.

    This episode dealt minimally with the prosecutors. Not the best episode, not the worst. This was the first time I liked Lake as a detective even though his role was small.
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