Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 10 Episode 3


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 14, 2008 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

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  • Great episode, "Swing" !!

    This episode was so well-done and so far reaching for those who are interested in introspection and questioning societal norms. I agree with his mother's perspective that Elliot did not follow his childhood dreams, and his mother could see that. Somehow he adopted a judgmental and heavy, heavy view of the world. With that world view, it's no wonder some people can't get out of bed for a month. Even though L&O itself has a heavy hand and world view, this episode really made me think and question what we consider "normal" - yes, Bernadette Stabler and her family shared the cost of her being like Maria in The Sound of Music - a "flibbertigibbet" - a problem to be solved by marriage and family, which brings about another set of problems, and maybe it's not right that we medicate people so they can fit into these boxes that themselves may harm us - that, in fact, result in the world that Elliot and Liv face on the job daily. And Liv's parting line to Eliot who could not understand how things managed to work out well, "Maybe God remembered how cute you were as a carrot," shining light on the connection between a crying little boy, an angry man, and God the Father. This is one of SVU's best and Ellen Burstyn deserved the Emmy for it. I think the writer(s) should have gotten an award, too.
  • Deep look into Stabler's character.Because he finds out that his daughter Kathleen has mental problems, Stabler has to contact his mother and we learn more about their complicated relationship.


    After Kathleen Stabler broke into a house because of drug influence the doctors diagnose bipolar disorder. To save her from going to Rikers Stabler has to prove that Kathleen's mental illness is genetic.
    Therefore Elliot contacts his mother who has bipolar disorder as well and tries to convince her to speak in front of the judge. She is played amazing by Ellen Burstyn.
    We learn more about Stabler's chilhood and past and it's very touching to see what he is willing to do to help his daughter.

    The scenesthat were really touching me was the one in the court room when Elliot decided to blame the burglery on his daughter and send her to Rikers cause she refuses to get medical help. And will be forced to in Rikers.
    Furthermore the one in the prison when Elliot's mum is talking to Kathleen and is talking about her life without medical help."
    "I lived the life I wanted to live. And I paid a terrible price."

    Last scene which I really liked is the one when Liv is talking to El's mother and she is showing him the pictures of Elliot as a child and in a carrot disguise :) Eventually Liv convinces Elliot's mother to tal to Kathleen and convince her to get medical help.

    Elliot's mother asks Liv not to tell Elliot that she talked to Kathleen. In the last scene at the court room Kathleen accepts the medical help and Stabler is confused about her changing her mind. Last sentence is Liv saying "Maybe God remembered howcute you were as a carrot"

    All in all I really liked this epiosde because it was very emotional and we learned more about the characters.

  • Very ordinary.

    I worry when I see episodes like this that SVU is losing its edge. This could not have been more of a cheap shot if they had tried. It was played purely for sentiment I know they like to do that with Stabler but ther was no narrative imperative driving the story. The subtext of mental illness was almost insulting to people who are genuinely living with bpd. I think it ties into the trend in the U.S. to medicalise normal behaviour (and of course to define normal behaviour in very, very narrow terms). It's the kind of episode that makes me question my commitment to the series
  • Generational impact of mental illness.

    This episode was focused on the generational impact of mental illness. Stabler learns of his daughter's mental illness following a police report on her. This takes him back to his estranged mother who suffered the same thing but chose not to medicate. His daughter self medicates with street drugs which I seemed to notice is a common practice of those that are bi-polar. Not sure why that is. Makes me wonder how many others on the streets that are doing drugs and don't know they have mental illness and need treatment instead however I liked how his mother described life while medicated - like someone scooped out her insides and left just a shell.
  • This episode focuses on Stabler's family. A somewhat slower more thoughtful episode that looks at the generational impact of mental illness, and family. We learn more about the Stabler family and Stabler's uneasy relationship with his mother.

    This episode focuses on Stabler's family and his daughter's battle with mental illness. Not the usual twists and turns in the plot, keeping you guessing till the end. A somewhat slower more thoughtful episode that looks at the generational impact of mental illness, and family. We learn more about the Stabler family and Stabler's uneasy relationship with his mother. Well scripted with a great performance from Ellen Burstyn, some fans may find however this episode deviates too far from the usual formula. Fans however will love the added depth to Stabler's character and insight into his childhood, and possible explaination for his current actions.
  • Over a decent episode in the series.

    I liked this episode. Part of the appeal is that of it supposed took place on Long Beach Island, NJ where I grew up.

    It is possible. It looked like the north end of the island. With it being shot from the beach toward the house, it's hard to confirm that because most people would not see that angle. Most likely it was shot on Long Island rather than LBI. Be nice to know for sure. And how they handled the bipolar issue was intereting. All and all I like the episode. Might not be a classic to some, but it was interesting.
  • This episode is a great treatment of the topic of mental illness, how society accepts such people, and the tension that is to be found within the issue of a patient's right to refuse or accept treatment.

    This episode is a great treatment of the topic of mental illness, how society accepts such people, and the tension that is to be found within the issue of a patient's right to refuse or accept treatment.

    Elliott finds that his daughter has been behaving in impulsive and self destructive ways, including excessive spending, drug use, and extreme promiscuity. These are difficult enough for any parent to accept, but the story comes to a crisis when his daughter OD's and has to have her stomach pumped. The doctor then lays the bomb on the Stabler's and informs them that, based on her behavior, their daughter is most likely bipolar and is in need of treatment.

    Elliott flies into denial, and his daughter refuses to believe that she has a mental illness. Absent of admitting so, she would have to face charges of a trespass that she committed at the beginning of the episode. She becomes defiant and belligerant, but there is nothing that the Stabler's or anyone else can do as she is not a threat to herself or others, and she is a legal adult.

    Elliott tries to reach out to his mother, desiring that she could tell the judge at his daughters trial that there is a family history of mental illness. His mother will have nothing of it, seeing herself as a free spirit. Elliott tries to reason with his mother but in the end is exasperated that she clings to her view of herself as an unapologetic eccentric, a personality that hurt Elliott as a child.

    Later Olivia secretly meets with Elliott's mother; we get a different glimpse into her life and living with her mental illness. She shares how in her day they committed her and forced medication down her throat. Although left unsaid, it is well understood that such draconian measures were mostly horrible excesses of the past. Elliott's mother however does agree to secretly see her granddaughter in custody and help her gain some perspective. Elliott's daughter feels understood and comforted from this exchange and is able to go in front of the judge and admit that she needs help for her mental illness. I have to give everyone high marks for exploring the difficult issue of mental illness, especially when this is part of the family secret, as it came across well and in a responsible manner.
  • We learn that Kathleen is in trouble

    In this episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the following happens. when Stabler is called in to a brake in, he asks Olivia why they have been called in. It is here that we learn that the person who broke in was his own daughter, Kathleen. Olivia and Elliott go in search of Kathleen and find her in a park, on a swing. They take her home. When at home Kathleen admits to her father that she took some pills that she got off of some girl. He tracks down the girl and discovers that she has drugs on her. We soon learn that the girl selling the drugs is actually an undercover cop. We then learn that Kathleen has snuck out of the house and Kathy has no idea where she has gone. The undercover cop tells them of a place where student go to get high. They go there and discover Kathleen there, after she has ODed. At the hospital they pump her stomach. The doctor tells Kathy and Elliot that he believes that she has bi-polar disorder. Olivia and Cragen turn up when the couple whose apartment she broke into claims she stole some things. El goes to see the new ADA where he is told the best thing he can do it to get Kathleen a good lawyer. He's also told that if she is admitted to a psych hospital, it will help her case, due to her disorder. When she learns about it, Kathleen flips. So she is arrested and Olivia goes with her, to look after her. Olivia stays with her, for as long as she can. We learn that Kathleen has to admit that she has a problem, before she can be committed and helped. So Elliott goes to visit his mother and asks her for her help. When he says that she ahs the same problems as Kathleen, she says that she doesn't and rambles on about how is she ok and there is nothing wrong with her.
    She walks out and El follows her. We learn it has been 3 years since El has seen his mother. We learn that she threaten to kill herself with a gun when El was little and even shot at him and his father. He then walks away and leaves her alone on the beach building a sandcastle. When Elliott returns the necklace to the couple, it makes Kathleen look even more so guilty. Kathy even slaps him. When Olivia hears about Els mother, and how it can help Kathleen's case, she goes to visit her. She pulls out a photo album and shows Olivia pictures of El when he was little and one of him dressed up as a carrot. Olivia manages to convince her to go and see Kathleen. Once there she gets Kathleen to admit that she has a problem and that she needs help.
    The next day in court, Kathleen pleads guilty and finally gets the help that she needs.
  • Absolutely amazing!

    It was everything I've ever loved about the whole L&O franchise - stunning twists, powerhouse performances, an intelligent script and amazing insight into human dysfunction - after watching it, I had a better understanding of just how devastating bipolar disorder can be to someone.

    Seeing Eliot's mother helped make more sense of how Stabler became Stabler than anything he'd said or done previously in the series, and for the first time in a long while, I was actually able to emotionally connect with the character. I loved how they had laid the groundwork for this episode with moments in other episodes like Kathleen's stealing her dad's credit card, getting matching tattoos with her boyfriend, her drinking and so forth, and Alison Siko really brought Kathleen's inner turmoil to life. She was able to swing from the rage, recklessness and hyperactive impulsivity of her manic to the fear, shame and confusion she felt when she was more lucid - all the while still retaining the core of this girl we've gotten to know in bits and pieces over the years. Ellen Berstyn, rightfully, has gotten a lot of praise for her performance as Stabler's mother. She was heartbreaking when Eliot confronted her, pleading for her to recognize what was wrong with herself and admit to it for her granddaughter's sake, and even moreso when Olivia went to see her. But for me, hands down, the best scene was when she went to the jail to talk to Kathleen. Alison and Ellen played off each other to perfection. As far as I'm concerned, they BOTH gave Emmy-worthy performances, and I really hope that Alison's work won't be overlooked. I've lived with depression for most of my life - really serious depression - but I've never experienced the manic side of bipolar, or known anyone who has. I have to say, by the time the hour was done, I felt almost lucky to have depression - or maybe I should say I felt lucky to only have depression.
  • Stabler's daughter is arrested and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He must ask his mother for help, who he has been estranged from for years.

    The writers handled the topic of bipolar disorder well, and Ellen Burstyn's portrayal of Stabler's mother was very heartfelt. The actor playing Kathleen showed talent that has not been seen before because the portrayal of Stabler's family is generally very limited. Benson helps Stabler by bringing his daughter and mother together. I think that her admonishing Stabler about not sharing his personal life with her was unnecessary while he was in the throes of family drama. Overall, it was a great episode. However, SVU writers need to recheck their math. Kathleen's character was twelve years old when the show started in the 99-00 season. Here we are at season 10, and Kathleen is only supposed to be nineteen.
  • Stabler gets called in on a b and e (with a little shower scene for good measure) and wonders why SVU is on this case. Lo and behold, it's his (unfortunate looking) daughter as the perp and bi-polar hijinx ensue, with a little Old Ma Stabler reveal.

    Downright the most unwatchable SVU I've ever come across. And I've watched them all (except for the two before this, thanks a lot NBC for letting me know this show was even back on...!)

    Seriously, wtf? I understand that we'd like to know more about the characters and all that, but this episode just made me sad.

    Poor Stabler. The dude knocks up his wife at 17, never got to be the architect he wanted to be because he had to follow in his father's crime fighter footsteps, and now his daughter's in jail revealing to grandma that she's been a drugged up, wiener pin-cushion with "lots of men." On top of that, everyone's pissed at him for not "pulling strings" and "sweeping this under the carpet" when he decides to not only do what's best for his daughter, but HIS JOB!

    Woof. The daughter really could be a lot better looking, too? She wasn't kidding when those blokes were just using her for sects, that's for sure.
  • A bold and new venture for SVU

    This episode was truly incredible. Not only did we get to see more of the Stabler's personal lives, but we met Stabler's mother played by the amazing Ellen Burstyn. The scenes between Elliot and his mother were Emmy worthy in my opinion. I hope that the producers decide to do more episodes which delve into the personal lives of the characters. All in all I was truly impressed with the direction of the episode; for once we got to see what it's like for the defendant, even if it was Elliot's daughter. And what is going to happen between Elliot and Kathy? I am looking forward to more scenes between Isabel Gillies and Christopher Meloni.
  • To boldly go where SVU has never gone before...

    Gripping, well-written, well-acted story about Detective Stabler's family as he tries to come to grips with his daughter Kathleen's condition which apparently she inherited from his mother, played very convincingly by Ellen Burstyn. A rare but welcome departure from the normal twists and turns that SVU churns out. A very indepth look at Stabler's childhood and the struggles and episodes he (and his late father) had to content with regarding his mother and how she comes (with Olivia's help) to help Kathleen deal with her situation and how she can turn things around. Definitely Emmy caliber performances, especially by Burstyn.
  • Great ep.

    The series takes a very interesting spin here. The perpetrator this time is a teen-aged girl--Stabler's daughter, Kathleen. She breaks into a couple's house, climbs into their shower and steals a diamond necklace. After a drug overdose lands her in the hospital, the doctor's discover the cause of her erratic behavior: a bipolar disorder. The homeowners press charges, and the theft of the diamond necklace is a felony that may land Kathleen at Rikers. Her illness, however, will put her into a hospital rather than prison, if she will own up to it. Kathleen refuses to do so, angrily declaring that she is not crazy. Desperate to get Kathleen out of jail and into treatment, Stabler turns to his estranged mother, who has suffered with the same illness most of her life. This all adds up to a very emotional episode. The scenes between Stabler and his mother, who is excellently portrayed by Ellen Burnstyn, are touching. They give us insight into Stabler, as well as the troubles that his family has faced over several episodes. Great writing and great acting.