Friday, October 7, 2016

Driving Miss Ego

Mariska Hargitay has played Detective/Sergeant/Lieutenant Olivia Benson for 18 years now on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. I have been watching as a regular and loyal viewer since around season 5. In fact, Casey Novak was my first ADA and I had to adjust the fact that there was another ADA (Alexandra Cabot) before her when I watched repeats! Anyway, during that time, Olivia didn't really annoy me. In fact, she was a favorite along with her partner, Elliot Stabler. Although I may have been one of the few who did not want to see Olivia and Elliot together romantically (I loved his wife Kathy), I thought they did have a good partnership. It was about the time of season 8 when Olivia went downhill for me. Nothing against Mariska, who really loves her character, but I think it was more TPTB (The Powers That Be) who wanted Olivia front and center as Mariska was winning awards, thus forgetting that the show was an ensemble cast. It became the Elliot and Olivia show. Not complaining about Elliot (although I am sure he has his own complaints from other viewers) because he did have a life outside of work. His marriage was going through a crisis, up and down with separation, reuniting, new baby, older children getting into trouble. Meanwhile, Olivia pretty much stopped dating, I do believe she fell in love with Elliot and knew he would never be hers so got wrapped up in her job. During season 8, Olivia was pretty moody. I call it the PMS season.

Then, after season 12, Christopher Meloni/Elliot Stabler departed from the show. Nick Amaro became her partner and Olivia started to finally grow. After 4 seasons, in the season finale when Nick announced his own departure, Olivia reassured Nick that he was a great partner to her. She grew while with Elliot, she was stuck. While there's some viewers that protested online, I think Olivia is right about that 100%! While with Nick, Olivia had two romantic relationships- even moving in with one, Brian Cassidy who was originally in season 1 where they had a very brief relationship. After breaking up with Brian, Olivia became involved with baby boy Doe after finding him in an illegal trafficking ring. With her biological clock ticking, she fell in love and eventually adopted Noah after many kinks (finding out who his biological parents were). Now, Olivia finally has a child and is  now in a relationship with Ed Tucker. She has a life outside of work! Yay! I am genuinely happy for Olivia.

But then, there's Olivia's work ethic. When Captain Cragen left for retirement, he put Olivia in charge. While Olivia is dedicated to the unit, I think she's too dedicated. I do not think she is fit to be the leader. Personally, I think Elliot would've been better but he is not on anymore. Even John Munch would've been a better fit. Not Olivia. Being on SVU has warped her mind. Fin Tutuola has been on almost as long as Olivia but still has a steady head. He knows what cases to pursue and what not, especially if he was told by the higher brass.
In a recent episode (Impostor), Olivia thought a man using a different name and identity to have sex with vulnerable and desperate women who were trying to get their child into college was rape. I disagree. Rape is sex that someone doesn't agree to but is forced- it is an act of power. In this episode, the "victims" were willing participants, the woman called him up, they were kissing and fell on bed. He asked her if she was sure and she said yes. Not rape. In fact, she thought it was best sex ever as she text him that. But some minutes later, she found out he wasn't who he said to be and text him that he raped her. When Olivia spoke to her about it, she did say she didn't mean the way it sounded. But Olivia was convinced it was rape. Fraud yes, rape? No. Even Fin and Amanda Rollins weren't too sure. At first, ADA Barbra wasn't too sure but pursued it anyway. Even the Judge and the Defense Attorney thought it was a waste of time. I agree with them! But Olivia is too blind and pushed it forward. Sure, the man was scum, but not a rapist. I guess for Olivia, one night stands that provide no names exchanged is also rape? In other episodes before, even in the Stabler era, Olivia has trouble of understanding the word 'no', especially from her bosses- Cragen and the higher brass. Whenever she's told to drop it, she doesn't. Usually, it opens a can of uncontrollable worms and compromises the main case or something. I get Olivia doesn't like to be told what to do, who does? But when there's more than one people who tell her No, she goes for it. Very determined, too much. It's getting tiring. Yet, if Amanda or Sonny Carisi gets over the top and pretty much do the same thing as Olivia has consistently done, they are bad cops and she wants nothing more than to fire them (especially Amanda) if SVU wasn't so short staffed. Pretty hypocrisy to me.

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