Cabot is back — for now

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March 10, 2009

11:38 PM

In “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” poorly written episodes with random plot twists are considered especially heinous. So what saved this week’s episode?

Alex Cabot.

That’s right, law enforcement fanatics; Stephanie March returns as Alexandra Cabot, the show’s first Assistant District Attorney. Cabot was forced into the witness protection program in 2003 after she was shot by some Colombian drug lords she was prosecuting. Then in 2005 she emerged briefly to testify against them. A few lines of dialogue establish that she has been working appeals since then.

This episode didn’t really go into why she has returned now — at least, not the canonical reason. In reality, the show’s new ADA, Kim Greylek (Michaela McManus), has failed miserably. It certainly hasn’t helped Greylek’s case that this season has been lacking in strong law-based plots.

This episode, thankfully, broke that pattern. There were plenty of great courtroom scenes. Unfortunately, as far as plot goes, this week’s episode was kind of ADD. “Lead” featured a guilty verdict of molestation in the cold open, a tiny little investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau, an entirely new murder, a borderline-retarded man wielding a gold-plated gun and a condemnation of lead paint in toys.

Why go from a doctor molesting teenage boys to lead paint in children’s toys? It’s just another spastic episode from an exceedingly second-rate season.

March is guest starring in the next five episodes while McManus sits in the time-out corner and thinks about what she did wrong.

Next week Carol Burnett guest stars as some sort of black widow killer. Looks promising, so stay tuned to this blog.

Also: Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson, is recovering well from a collapsed lung. She has reportedly missed filming only one episode, but rumors persist that she will leave the show after this season.

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