Sharon Stone on 'Law & Order: SVU' review: Fire, but no sparks

Sharon Stone began her four-episode guest-star turn on Law & Order: SVU in an episode filled with such clunky dialogue and improbable details that by the end, she seemed like a “special victim” herself.

Stone played ADA Jo Marlowe, and how unlikely is it that, with all the time Christopher Meloni’s Stabler and Mariska Hargitay’s Benson have spent together, he never mentioned that his old partner Jo wasn’t a “Joe”? Looking great even when doffing her heels for rubbery firefighter boots while investigating a possible arson blaze, Stone had to revive her best hard-boiled Catherine Tramell tone to sell hokey lines such as, “Let’s cut Pizza Face loose” and “Let’s light this baby up.”

If the guest star was failed by the script, Meloni and Hargitay must be wearily used to it by now; SVU has long been the most mawkish and overwrought Law & Order franchise. This week’s case was about two children dead in an apartment fire that investigators think was set by an acne-ridden pyromaniac — no, a desperate dad; no, a… aw, who cared? Stabler and Benson cared, of course: They continue to embody righteous indignation; no crime is too small to evade their angry glares and pious speeches when cuffing a perp.

L&O: SVU loves to find new kinkiness to exploit, and last night hit upon “pyrophelia” — a real condition in which the sinner gets off on fire (unfortunately literally, as we were shown tape of the jerk pleasuring himself while gazing at the apartment conflagration).

The interrogation scenes would have been almost laughable in a sitcom. In one, “Pizza Face” went into a swoony erotic trance as soon as Stabler lit a match in front of him. In another, Stabler wiped away sympathetic tears with his handerkerchief to build trust with the dead kids’ father, only to reveal to Stone and Hargitay that he’d used a wily trick I thought only worked in Bugs Bunny cartoons: He’d hidden a Bermuda onion in his hanky!

Even a stern cameo by Sam Waterston (yay, a new episode of the superior Law & Order next Monday!) or a nice brief turn by Brad Dourif as an arson expert couldn’t save the show for Stone’s debut. She got to have nice, big, table-turning scene in the final courtroom showdown, but it was too little, too late.

Did you watch SVU? What did you think of Sharon Stone, and the deadly fire episode?

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Comments (152 total) Add your comment
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  • Dav

    In the beginning I would have arqued that SVU was the best of the L&O franchise. Several seasons later it went downhill fast. The writing became so bad that it rendered the show unwatchable for me. Sorry to here it is still that way.

    • jared4ever

      You know everthing is falling apart when they have to hire all these “big name” stars to carry the weak dialogue and plot. I used to love this show. Now it’s just a who’s who of guest stars. I tune in just to see how most of them have aged in the 20 years since their last acting gig. (ie. Jaclyn Smith, Ann Margret, Susan Anton, Morgan Fairchild, Lena Olin, Carol Burnett and now Sharon Stone)It’s completely camp, but not in a good way.

  • Maureen

    I used to love SVU, but I’m becoming less of a fan. Last night’s episode, (and most of the episodes so far in my humble opinion) wasn’t that great. I don’t know if its the writing, I don’t know if its because the chemistry between Benson and Stable doesn’t seem to be there anymore. I don’t know if its the fact they keep bringing in these guest actors/actresses who seem to add nothing to the show (with the exception of a few). Bring back the SVU of the early-mid 2000s! :(

    • Maureen

      I meant most of the episodes so far in THIS season.

    • Brenda

      What’s especially about the guest actors/actresses on every week, is that almost every time you immediately know who did the crime in the end because you just know said person is going to be heavily involved in the crime. Obviously this isn’t the case all the time, but it is A LOT of the time.

      • Scott

        You have just mentioned what my wife and I call the Identifiable Actor Syndrome. It’s not just the big-name guest stars, but if you have ever seen member of a procedural’s guest cast, then you know who dunnit. The reason is simple: a show is not going to pay for a name brand actor to be window dressing or even a red herring. If they hire him/her then they’re going to use him/her. We estimate this to be true more than 95% of the time.

  • maiv

    I love SVU, but it really does have its cheesy moments and lines.

  • Deanna

    Sharon Stone….feh.
    I will not bother with SVU until that overrated Ham is off the screen. When Oh Lord will the Producers of this show get that they have some of the greatest TV talent wasting away in the background while they trot on “stars”. MORE FINN, MORE MUNCH!! MORE KRAGEN!!

    • LaBurque

      Yeah, Munch is a great character and so underused.

    • Sluebs

      I agree 100%

    • Justin

      More Finn? Axing Ice-T would make SVU immensely better.

      • Ice-T

        Axing me what?

      • Karen

        Oh man, this had me LOLing for about 30 seconds. Well played! :)

      • jennrae

        It took me a minute, but once I read it right I laughed my ass off. Hilarious.

      • Liz

        I was laughing so hard my husband asked me what I was laughing about. He didn’t think it was very funny but it set me off all over again. Finn is ridiculous! That comment was hilarious. Sharon Stone is overacting and SVU needs new script writers!!!

  • craig

    they used the same plotline in a episode of “Cold Case” a month ago!…and P.S. I am still pissed about how L&O missused the great Ann-Margret earlier in the season!

    • Scott

      Exactly! Right down to the initial suspect running outside without burning his feet. Assume this must have been a “ripped from the headlines” detail that multiple shows’ writers/producers saw last year.

    • Kai

      I knew i had seen it somewhere before!

    • Kai

      I knew I had seen it somewhere else before! And i though CC did it much better too. I still love SVU though.

  • Jennifer

    “Boom?” I thought the ep was called “Tourch.”

  • Jennifer

    “Boom?” I thought the ep was called “Torch.”

    • Ken Tucker

      You are correct; I apologize.

  • mythoughts

    This show used to be probably the best cop/lawyer drama on TV – flawless acting, terrific and intriguing plot lines, top to bottom great show . This season has been nothing short of awful, predictable and cheesy. Hate to say it but they need to throw in the towel. SVU has apparently run its course.

    • rachel

      Totally cheesy. I agree with Ken. Enough with trying to win fans over on shock value alone. Try writing a good script.

  • mccliza

    I never watch any of the L&Os, but I caught sight of Miss Ice Pick while channel flipping after “Idol.” I watched from the wrist-slitting on, and I kept thinking, “Is this show always this hokey?” Couldn’t believe such a long-running franchise can be so poorly written. Never again.

  • LoyalSVUFan

    Once again, Ken Tucker you have embarrassed yourself by your lack of knowledge about what you write about. The episode you’re referring to is titled “Torch”, not “Boom”. I also love that you claim the original Law & Order is superior when NBC has dragged it out for over 20 years with none of the original cast still intact. If you’d look at the numbers, you would also know that SVU is the highest rated of all the L&Os, so there must be something the fans like.

    • Ken Tucker

      Please see above apology re episode title mistake.

      • scrutinizer

        And don’t you think that the “other” ADA, Alex, is better in the role? At least she doesn’t constantly smirk and mug for the camera the way Sharon did last night. Many people have said Stephanie March is a bland presence on the show but I always thought she added a bit of class and quiet, intelligent understatement to the show. I miss her already :(

    • Dav

      Yes he got the title wrong but the other stuff is subjective and you need to back off Ken. Just because the original Law & Order doesn’t have the original cast doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, in many cases a cast change has helped invigorate the show. And his comment about superior is in reference to the quality of the writing and acting not to viewer numbers. I realize you may not agree but it’s a personal opinion which he and anyone else is free to express. Personally, I agree with him.

    • maryb889

      @LoyalSVUFan: I, too, am a loyal L&O (any version) fan. I think L&O:SVU could benefit from a cast shake-up (particularly at the top…yes, I mean Benson and Stabler). And if you don’t think the original L&O is superior you 1) haven’t seen it in the last couple of years or 2) you are in serious denial. Frankly, even the D’onofrio-less L&O:CI is superior to the current L&O:SVU.

      • George M

        I totally agree with maryb889 and Ken Tucker — Benson and Stabler pull this show far below the quality of the other 2 L&O franchises.

    • Amiee

      SVUFan….get back to me when SVU has been on the air for 20 years.

    • mack

      LoyalSVUFan…Ken Tucker’s right and you know it. He ain’t perfect but he’s right. Some parts are totally laughable. The onion in the hanky? My god SVU get some real material.

    • Abby

      There’s probably a reason why the original L&O has been on for 20 years – quality. I also think the cast changes have contributed to the quality – it keeps things fresh. And just so you know, ratings do not always signify quality – look at the ratings crappy ‘reality’ shows get.

  • Cliff

    “Clunky” is a great description of the episode (and unfortunately, for most of this seasons SVU’s)…I never bought that SVU would be called in for an arson, even if children had died in the fire. And I couldn’t believe an ADA would sandbag a fire marshal on the witness stand. But I give Sharon Stone credit…she does look great, and she had a great presence without going the “look at me I’m a movie star!” route. Hopefully her character won’t end up being bats**t crazy like Christine Lahti earlier this year. But I’m already expecting a seduction scene for May sweeps that puts Stabler’s marriage in jeopardy for the umpteenth time.

  • Marsha

    I thought Stone was good for a change. As for the show, really hokey. Come on writers, you can do better than that. He!!, I could do better than that.

  • Sleepy Time

    This episode put me to sleep. I guess that’s why I don’t watch SVU any longer….YAAAWWWNNN!

  • Fisher

    SVU use to be a great show that I never missed. Now it is the biggest joke. I think Meloni and Hargitay are tired of it as well and only hung on because of the money. Maybe when their contracts run out this time they will walk away and find something more worthy of them.

  • jfms777

    Both L&O: SVU and CI have crumbled. It is amazing the original L&O has gotten better this year. But, as you have mentioned, ratings are ratings. SVU will get renewed. I wish NBC would do special 2-hour movies to combining the original L&O and CI, merging all the actors in one story.

    • JND

      I think CI has vastly improved w/ the addition of Goldblum. Maybe SVU needs some new blood.

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