There was no surrendering of Noah in the season 16 finale of Law & Order SVU "Surrendering Noah." (You didn't think after all the focus on Benson being foster mother that it would end in her losing custody?) Nick Amaro, after taking 2 bullets in a courtroom shoot out - and after being told he had zero chance for advancement in the NYPD - decides to make the big move to California to be closer to his family. Johnny D gets killed in that same shoot out, giving Benson that clear path to adoption. No surprises here. Still, it was a well executed wrap up to the season and to the Noah as foster child story line.
The end of the episode where Amaro tells Benson he is leaving was both touching and infuriating. The barely veiled diss to Stabler – or should I call him “He Who Shall Not Be Named” - was a head scratching moment. Amaro has been far more a thorn in her side than Stabler ever was. I could hear the Stabler fans collectively scream in outrage. Even I shook my head at what I was hearing. Are there such hard feelings on the part of SVU producers/writers with Stabler fans or Chris Meloni that they felt a put down to Stabler was necessary? That scene distracted me so much that it wasn’t until I watched the episode again for the recap that I realized the touching part of that scene with Danny Pino. Yes, we get it, Stabler is gone. While there are people out there who are still upset Chris Meloni is not with the show, my guess is the majority of current viewers have long moved on. It would have worked just as well for Benson to tell Amaro that he has helped her grow in the last four years, and leave out the Stabler reference. Sometimes I think it’s the producers/writers who can’t move on from the Stabler thing. If one wants to stop a smoldering fire, don't fan the flames.
Again I found myself questioning Benson's judgment. I understand her desire to be truthful about Noah's parentage, and how lying doesn’t work for her, but she should have listened to Barba (and Tucker). By coming forward with this information, she gave Johnny D an opening for his defense, Then, she’s outraged with Barba when he suggests cutting a deal when she was the one who ignored his advice? The more I think about it, I question why ME Warner gave Benson this information in the first place (in the episode “Undercover Mother” ), especially since Warner said the information was un-discoverable. This is really the trigger incident that put Benson between a rock and a hard place. I know Benson wanted to be honest about Noah’s parentage but in this case, she should know that sometimes one has to work the system and use the law to her advantage. I also was concerned the moment Benson gave Ariel her "fearlessness" necklace as I thought that could be perceived as bribing a witness. I guess in Benson's mind it isn’t okay to withhold information but it IS okay to bribe someone? Lucky for her, Johnny D started shooting when he did, because the defense attorney seemed poised to pounce on the issue of Benson's influence on the witness.
I also felt bad for Amaro when Benson crushed his hopes by telling him he had zero chance of moving up in the NYPD. I think he had to be informed of what he was up against, but her delivery of that message was lacking in sensitivity. (Never deliver bad news to an employee when standing.)
The courtroom shooting was no surprise as it was featured in the promo for the episode but at least the promo got fans guessing about who would get shot. Amaro gets hit in the liver and knee, the latter making him fit only for desk duty for at least while he recovers. Ultimately, this helps him make the decision to head to California to reunite with his family. Despite the fact that many Danny Pino fans already suspected he was leaving the show, I could still hear them screaming their disappointment in the final scenes. Good luck to Danny in his future endeavors; he was a great addition to the SVU cast. Now the questions are: Will they bring in another detective to replace him? Will Benson move up to Lieutenant and get a new Sergeant? Will she stay as Sergeant and get a new boss?
I shouldn't have to say this, but everyone knows that a phrase such as “we can protect you” means that someone will certainly die! I don’t know what the proper procedures are for the transport of prisoners, but I didn’t think they transported men and women together. Can anyone clarify? And, with Johnny D’s apparent reach to the victims even while he is in prison, they should have vetted the prison guards OR had the SVU detectives follow the van.
Despite my issues, this episode was very well done and it brought closure to season-long story lines which brings me hope for fresh stories in season 17 (maybe stories with less focus on Noah). I'm looking forward to it!
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay – Sergeant Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.
Peter Hermann - Counselor Trevor Langan
Robert John Burke - Lt. Ed Tucker
Jenna Stern – Judge Elana Barth
Lili Taylor – Martha Thornhill
Jayne Houdyshell – Judge Ruth Linden
Charles Halford - Johnny “D” Drake
Michael Kostroff - Counselor Evan Braun
Danika Yarosh - Ariel Thornhill
Jefferson Mays - M.E. Rudnick
Laura Gomez - Selena Cruz
Jas Anderson - Timmer
Jamila Velazquez - Pilar Morenas
Emily Althsus – Jesse
Bronwyn Reed - Lucy Huston
Thedra Porter - Chantal Jackson
Danielle Burgess - Nina Soren
Sipiwe Moyo - Officer Fox
Joselin Reyes - Paramedic # 1
Sadie Scott - Elana Mays
Zena Woody - Tanya Mejia
Arianna Groover - Juliette
Kyanna Simone - Laura (as Kyanna Simone Simpson)
Wendy Gutierrez - CO Stella Lopez
Mario D'Leon - CO Jerez
Adrian Matilla - Officer Gomez
Chazz Menendez - Pimp
Ryan Fame Quinlan - Court Officer
Bradley Dubow - Noah Porter
In her apartment, along with Trevor Langan, Benson explains the outlets are covered and there is corner padding, and Trevor says she has toddler-proofed every inch. She adds Noah has been eating a lot lately. As Miss Jackson inspects the kitchen, she asks about outdoor activity. Benson states Noah has scheduled exercise time at daycare and the babysitter takes him out every day. Trevor adds Benson spends weekends and mornings with Noah. Benson says at night they read; Noah didn’t have a lot of verbal interaction as an infant and she does not want him to get too far behind in his language development. Jackson asks if she sings to him as that is also important. Benson replies “Of course.” Jackson states Noah will need a taller bed before he climbs out of that crib. She then says Benson passed all her home studies and she will recommend Benson be approved as Noah’s adoptive parent. Benson grins and says thank you. Benson opens the door for Jackson to leave the apartment and thanks her again. Jackson turns and wishes her good luck. Benson turns and looks to Trevor, smiling. He is also happy and tells her, “That’s great, Olivia.” She asks what is next, and Trevor explains her will confirm with the agency that Noah is free for adoption and will initiate proceedings to go before Judge Linden. The paperwork looks in order. When Trevor mentions the birth mother is deceased and the birth father is unknown, Benson says there is something she should tell him. She explains how they stumbled on Noah’s birth father during an investigation, and we see how Johnny D and Timmer operated and how the detectives handled the case and how they caught up with Johnny D.
At SVU, Barba tells the SVU squad that Johnny “D” Drake has run out of delaying tactics and he will go to trial on 17 counts of rape, assault, trafficking and kidnapping. Carisi comments that it was nice working taking this from the Feds. When Amaro asks if Barba will need them to testify, Barba assumes that will not be a problem. Benson confirms not at all and Fin comments there are lots of witnesses and it will be a long trial. Barba wants him put Johnny D away for life. Rollins asks what can they do, and Barba tells them they have to re-vet all the witnesses – no surprises. As the detectives all get up to leave, Benson asks Barba us she can walk him out. As they walk to the elevator, he asks if there is something she needs to tell him. She explains she has decided to name Johnny D as Noah’s birth father on the adoption papers. Barba reminds her they talked about this and she is under no obligation to do that, it is not material to what he is being charged with. She says this isn’t about the trial. The adoption paperwork lists Noah’s birth father as unknown. Barba questions what is the problem, and Benson whispers that lying does not work out well for her. He sighs and says okay. He shakes his head as he walks to the elevator, saying Johnny D and family court are separate universes – he’ll never find out. Benson counters maybe not, but someday Noah might – or the courts. She does not want her life with Noah to be built on a lie. Barba cautions her, saying “Don’t do this. Johnny D is a psychopath. Do not open this door.” He steps into the elevator.
At Rikers Island on Monday, April 27, Johnny D’s lawyer Counselor Evan Braun comes to see him and drops the bomb that Ellie Porter (Noah’s mother) may be Johnny’s get out of jail free card.
At SVU in the squad room, the Carisi rambles on about why the Feds gave them the case. Amaro seems mentally disconnected from the discussion and Fin says they should have shot Johnny D when they had the chance. Amaro gets up from his desk and walks into Benson’s office. Benson is sitting at her desk on the phone with Barba and Amaro knocks on her door and asks if she has a minute, and she does. He said that Fin mentioned Benson is up for Lieutenant and that she might need a new Sergeant. She replies that right now that is just talk. He explains the deadline is Friday, same as the Sergeant’s exam and he just registered, Benson looks surprised and says, “Oh.” Amaro says he would like to try moving up the ranks and after watching Munch – and her – it is a track he can see himself on. She explains that she had to approach Fin first as he has seniority. Amaro comments that knows that, adding that Fin told him he is not interested in the administrative part of the job, but Amaro is. Benson stands up, smiles, and says “Okay. Good” and then – “Start studying.” Amaro smiles and says he already has.
In motions court part 21 on Tuesday, April 28 with Judge Barth, Barba fights Braun’s motion for dismissal who states Benson hid the information about Noah, the child she is trying to adopt, and pursued Johnny D because she was motivated by denying Johnny D’s parental rights. Barba argues the timing issues but Braun thinks this is a vendetta. Barba brings up the situation regarding Johnny’s arrest and that he is a career criminal, and Braun argues Johnny’s DNA was never in the system and thinks Johnny is a victim of a single minded blood feud. Barba thinks this motion is an overreach and as he ramps up his argument, Barth tells him to save the ivy league oratory for trial. Before she rules on the motion she wants to speak with the ME’s office and Benson.
Elsewhere, Benson sits at a bar as Lt. Ed Tucker meets her. She thanks him for meeting her there. He asks if the squad knows about her situation, and she replies they do now. She explains she did not know Johnny D was Noah’s father until after the arrest. He says the ME confirms and they don’t have a problem with it. He says she probably should have kept it to herself, and the scumbag will use any leverage he has. But as far as IAB is concerned, she has no liability. She thanks him. He asks if that is tea she is drinking and she says it is. He tells her “Man up, will ya?” He sits down and Tucker asks if he can get two glasses of…and Benson finishes “Nero D’Avyla.” Benson says while he is here, she wants to run something past him. She explains Amaro wants to take the Sergeant’s exam and would make a good #2. Tucker says it does not matter if he gets a perfect score on the test, he’s damaged goods. She argues he is a solid cop and is turning things around. He reminds her Amaro shot an unarmed 14 year old kid, chased after three others with a baseball bat, and beat in innocent suspect in a schoolyard. She tells him to stop; in those case he was exonerated. Tucker states technically yes but realistically, the way One PP sees it, Amaro could cure cancer and they will still not promote him. He knows she likes Amaro but this is never gonna happen. She says “Got it.”
At Barba’s office at 1 Hogan Place on Wednesday, April 29, Braun visits Barba and tries to offer a deal.
Afterwards, Barba is walking outside with Benson and she rejects the idea that Johnny D will relinquish parental rights and waive visitation and Noah will never have to know Johnny existed. Benson says Johnny doesn’t get to do this. Barba states they offered a plea of 3-5 years for prostitution which he agrees is not enough – Benson should “Not enough!” - and Barba says he can sell them on one count of trafficking and plead it down and Braun indicated they might accept 10 years. Benson screams “Yes, because he knows if this goes to trial that Johnny D will spend the rest of his life in prison. He sex trafficked young girls. He raped them. He brutalized them. He does not get to plead this down because I want to make my life less complicated.” Barba says okay but adds there is something she needs to know: regardless of whether he is convicted or not, he can still appeal for parental rights and has a good shot of getting parental visitation. She could be taking Noah to prison to visit Johnny D until Noah is 18. Benson looks conflicted.
Back at SVU at the coffee station getting something to drink, Rollins says to Amaro she is surprised that Amaro applied for the Sergeant’s exam, and he asks why. She replies she doesn’t know, asking what does Liv say? He states she thought it was a good idea. Rollins pats him on the arm, smiles, and says “Alright!” Amaro comments that Rollins should think about taking it, she would be on the fast track and she doesn’t want to be a detective forever. She comments that she does, and states “I’m good as I am. My life is perfect.” Amaro says it must be nice. Carisi, sitting at this desk, asks if anybody has heard from the Sarge, noting that she is late. Fin, also sitting at his desk, doesn’t look up and comments that Benson is dealing with a lot right now. Benson races into the squad room and is happy they are all there. She informs them she just met with Barba and the judge threw out Johnny D’s motion so it looks like they will be going to trial in a few days. Amaro asks if she is going to testify and she states she has to, she was the first one on scene. Carisi says if Barba does not call her, the defense definitely will in order to cast shade on her. Fin dryly adds that he still says they should have shot him. Rollins says “OKAY Fin.” Benson informs them that Barba needs to schedule prep time with all of them and he also wants to assign each of them to one of the witnesses, Fin questions if it is as bodyguards, but Benson explains it would be as confidants so they knew they are looking out for them and also so they can let Barba know if anyone gets…shaky. Amaro says so they will bond with them, and Fin asks about Selena and Timmer, the deal says they have to testify. Benson says they are both up at Sing Sing and make sure they feel secure. Amaro states that Johnny D is not getting away, and Benson says, “Yeah.” She asks Amaro if he has a sec, and they walk into her office. Inside, he tells him she talked with Tucker and explains that it is not Tucker, it’s the department, and Tucker thinks there is no point in Amaro taking the Sergeant’s exam and they will just round robin him out. Amaro looks stunned and says forget it, and says Munch said not to fall in love with a job because she will never love you back. He walks out of her office and shuts the door hard.
At the Church of Saint Andrew Safe House on Thursday, April 30, Rollins and Carisi speak with a few of the girls about testifying and they seem willing to help.
Back at SVU, Benson meets with Ariel and her mother Martha Thornhill and she wants to prepare them to testify.
At Sing Sing, Amaro speaks with a ragged looking Selena who thinks if she testifies she will be dead. He assures her they will protect her but she doesn’t believe him.
Also at the prison, Benson and Fin speak with Timmer who seems over-anxious and says Johnny D will go down, telling Benson he will take care of that for her, calling her babe. Fin calls him on it but she tells him it is okay. She explains that Barba will prep him and advises no embellishments. Timmer says he’s got this and then says he meant no offense. She says none taken but Fin looks skeptical.
Outside, Fin tells Benson he thinks Timmer is working them and doesn’t trust him. Benson comments he doesn’t have to trust him, the only way he lives to see summer is if Johnny D gets sent away. Fin comments if she says so. Benson gets a message and says Amaro finished with Selena and is on his way out. Fin asks if he is okay, saying Amaro was all business about taking the Sergeant’s exam and after he talked to her, Fin saw Amaro throw his prep book into the garbage. Benson replies NYPD doesn’t want to promote him. Fin says, “Oh wow, that’s tough.” Amaro approaches and says he trusts Selena about as far as he can throw her. As Fin says the same for Timmer, Benson watches children with their parents there for visits being led into vans. Amaro sees her staring and suggests they get out of there.
In Supreme Court part 21 on Friday, May 1, Benson testifies about the investigation regarding Johnny D and Ariel and the other girls and how the girls are broken in. She said they rescued three girls and describes their injuries and they later found the girls were gang raped and tortured. Barba submits the ME reports about what the girls suffered. She said Johnny attempted to escape with Ariel as a hostage, holding her with a shard of glass but he eventually surrendered and they arrested him and read him his rights. She identifies Johnny D. Under cross, Braun brings up that Benson is a foster mother to a toddler, and Barba leaps up and tells the judge they have been over this. Judge Barth cuts him off and has Barba and Braun approach. Barba argues Benson became aware Johnny was Noah’s birth father after Johnny was in police custody, but Braun counters it was not after the investigation was completed. He adds the ME’s office confirms Benson was notified one day after the arrest which was before Johnny D was charged. Barba thinks this is irrelevant but Braun thinks the jury needs to hear about that conflict of interest and even the DA’s. He asks Barba when he first became aware of Noah’s parentage, and when Barba says that may fall under attorney-client privilege, Barth says they were both working on the case for the city of New York, so she doubts that. She suggests to spare Barba the embarrassment and ethical jeopardy of answering and he should agree to drop the objection. He agrees. As the other detectives watch in the gallery, Braun brings up that in the adoption process she noted Johnny Drake was Noah’s father. Braun tries to make it sound like there was a conflict but she tersely states her only interest is making sure that a sadistic violent sex trafficker be brought to justice. Braun says her anger seems personal, and when Barba calls out to the judge, Braun withdraws the comment. When Braun concludes, Barth tells Benson to step down. When Barba seems to want to continue, Barth calls for a recess for the day and the prosecution will continue at 9AM the next day.
As Bensons steps away from the stand, Johnny D asks how is his son. The court officer tells him that is enough. As Johnny goes on and says he has seen pictures and can’t wait to meet him, Benson stops and states that is never gonna happen.
As she walks into the court hallway with the other detectives, reporters call out to her. She comments that Johnny got to her but the detectives rally to support her. Barba says he is going to move up Timmer and Selena to testify and asks them to be transported. Fin says he will call and have them transported. Rollins adds it is still early and asks if he wants them to take them out of Sing Sing and give them a pep talk? Barba thinks this is a good idea and tells them to go – now. He directs Benson to the stairs away from the reporters.
Later, Rollins and Amato are walking out of the prison with Selena and she is worried she will live. Rollins says they will protect her but Selena is skeptical.
Meanwhile, Fin and Carisi get Timmer into the prison van and he comments he will not let them down. He wants to change his life and says he was doing some reading, citing the autobiography of Malcolm X, “Soul on Ice” and cites Eldridge Cleaver and trusting to his higher education. Rollins and Amaro bring Selena to the van and she gets in. Amaro tells her this is her last chance and she glares at him.
Later, the prison van is parked and one of the female officers is outside the van smoking as the other officer is exiting a store with coffee. He asks her how long she has been out of the van, and she asks if he is going to write her up. He is annoyed and asks that she couldn’t wait 20 minutes, and then a banging noise comes from the van. They open the van door and find Timmer dead in a mess of blood and the officer orders Selena to drop the knife. She drops it and says Timmer attacker her and she had to fight back, she thought Timmer was going to kill her.
At the ME’s office, Barba races in with Rollins and Carisi and asks how did this happen? Carisi explains one officer pulled over for coffee and the other a smoke break and they figured since Selena and Timmer were testifying that they were on their team. Barba comments “Or not” and asks for a complete investigation on both officers.
Inside, ME Rudnick is doing the autopsy and said Timmer’s carotid and jugular were severed and be bled out in less than a minute. He thinks Selena used the element of surprise and sliced his throat from ear to Adams apple before he knew he was under attack. Selena has some cuts on her hands and arms but absent video proof it is hard to know the sequence. Rollins thanks him and she and Carisi leave. Rudnick asks Barba how the trial is going, and Barba replies better before this happened. Rudnick comments Johnny D is a monster and mentions the victim’s injuries and asks if the jury understands the significance of his report. He states every one of those girls had left ribs 8, 9, and 10 broken, commenting it is a strange coincidence unless one man has a pattern to his beatings. Barba says they will be calling him to testify to that. Rudnick adds it is horrible to think a man could do that to a woman, and even worse he might get away with it. Barba stares at him and says sarcastically, “Thank you for your faith in me, doctor.”
In jail, Selena insists to Benson and Rollins that Timmer pulled out the blade and came on her and told her she is never going to testify and he would kill her first. Rollins challenges that just grabbed it and slit his throat, and she says that is right. Benson comments she is half Timmer’s size and asks how did she grab that blade, did she have help? Selena states Timmer threatened to kill her son and she found the strength to fight back. Rollins looks at Benson and rolls her eyes and shakes her head. Benson says she will still have to testify, and Selena refuses. She does not care what happened to her but worries for her son, saying they don’t know Johnny like she does.
Meanwhile, in prison, Amaro and Fin speak with Johnny D and Braun and accuse him of having Selena kill Timmer. He and Braun deny involvement and Johnny D says Timmer would never testify, asking if they bought Timmer’s Eldridge Cleaver line. Fin says they are done. Braun brings out a teddy bear which Johnny D says is a present for his son. Amaro laughs and tells him they will make sure he gets it, and he and Fin leave without taking it.
Back in Barba’s office, he shows Benson the Ledger headline “Blood Witness” and says the female CO was dating one of Johnny D’s pimps and she slipped Selena the blade. Benson informs him they have doubled security on the four girls – Jesse, Nina, Pilar, and Ariel. Barba thinks Johnny is already in their heads. Benson wants to keep going and Barba asks that the longer they wait, the more spooked the girls get? Benson nods. He tells her to make sure they are ready to take the stand tomorrow.
Later, Rollins and Carisi bring Pilar into the empty courtroom to rehearse. Carisi reminds her Johnny D will be in the courtroom and they want to make sure she is prepared for that. She will look him right in the eye. Barba enters and thanks her for coming in and they begin practice. As Barba begins rehearsal, the scene changes to the trail. She talks about meeting Johnny D and then begins to waiver. She looks at Johnny and then says he offered her money to clean his apartment. Barba is stunned and reminds her she is under oath. But she says Johnny was not a sex trafficker who beat and raped her. Benson and the detective watch from the gallery. He brings up her grand jury testimony and she states she said that because she was illegal and did not want to be deported. She says Johnny D never hurt or raped her; he loves her and she loves him. Benson looks frustrated and Johnny looks satisfied. Barba tells Judge Barth he needs to confer, and she grants a one hour recess.
During the recess, he confronts Pilar, with Benson, Rollins, and Carisi present. Pilar says she told the truth. Barba tells them to get Pilar out of there, and Carisi and Rollins take her out. Braun walks in with a satisfied smirk and tells Barba the deal he shopped is off the table as Barba’s star witness is dead and Pilar reversed her testimony. Reasonable doubt is now very reasonable. Barba replies whatever he is selling, he is not interested. Braun lays a file folder on the table and says they might be interested in this. Benson picks up the folder and she sees that Johnny D is requesting an emergency appeal to reinstate his parental rights and stop the adoption of his son – Noah Porter…Drake.
Later, over beverages with Barba, Benson tells him that Tucker said this would be a bad week. Barba comments he has been calling in favors to make sure the right judge rules in the appeal. She says that Trevor Langan, Noah’s attorney, says the best move is for Barba to get a conviction. Barba says that is a good idea but these girls are just so scared of their live and they are scarred and he is afraid they will fold too. She says there is somebody who knows exactly what they went through.
At the Church of Saint Andrew safe house on Monday, May 4, Benson speaks with Ariel and gives her the “Fearlessness” necklace that she wears all the time, saying it works. Benson pus it on Ariel and Ariel thanks her. Afterwards, Benson explains the situation with the four other girls about Timmer and Pilar and they she needs them to tell their story and what they suffered and let the jury see the monster Johnny D is and they will send him to prison for the rest of his life. She asks Ariel to speak and she talks about how Johnny D treated them so he could make money. She lived in fear and she cried every day until she couldn’t cry any more. Then she just became numb, like all of them. They are free now and Johnny D doesn’t control them or own them. They don’t have to be afraid any more. Benson says to testify is the only way to prove that and to promise themselves and each other that they will get on the stand tomorrow and tell the truth. They all promise.
In Supreme Court part 21 on May 5, all the girls give compelling testimony.
Later, in Benson’s office, Amaro tells Benson the girls did great today, Barba too. The judge had to adjourn before Braun could cross. She thinks the jury is not sleeping tonight. Amaro comments between what Johnny had done to them and what he is doing to her…Benson says he is not going to do anything to her. He says he was wrong to add to her stress about being a Sarge and was sorry he put her in that position. She says she knows how hard that must have been for him to hear and she is sorry. She says they will get through this, and he says yes we will, and then says he will see her in court tomorrow. He ask if she saw the look on Johnny D’s face when those girls testified, then adds Johnny knows he is done.
Photo by: Michael Parmelee/NBC 2015 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
In Supreme Court part 21 on Wednesday, May 6, Ariel is on the stand under cross, and wearing the “Fearlessness” necklace. She admits she was not kidnapped by Johnny but he held her prisoner as did others. She has not testified against those others. He asks if Benson personally prevailed on her – he corrects to say pressured her – to testify against Johnny? Benson nods to her and mothers to go ahead. Ariel states Benson asked but she wanted to, he is a horrible man and he raped her repeatedly. But several women stand up and yell out that Ariel is lying and the judge calls for order. Barth says one more outburst and she will clear the gallery, and Pilar shouts that Barth can’t tell her to shut up. Barth says that’s it and calls the officers to get them out. As the officers move to take out the girls, other men in the gallery also interfere and the detectives move in to help. Johnny uses the distraction to flip the table in front of him and grab a court officer’s gun and holds it to the court officer’s head. Benson and Amaro pull their guns and Amaro shouts “He has a gun!” and yells for Johnny to drop the gun and let her go. Johnny fires at another court police officer who falls to the ground and then at Judge Barth who also drops. Johnny heads out the door and Amaro follows as Benson yells for him not to. He proceeds into the hall and tells Johnny to drop it and as the door closes, the flashes and sound of gunfire ring out.
Photo by: Michael Parmelee/NBC 2015 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Afterwards, Amaro is on a stretcher being taken to the hospital. Rollins tells Benson she will ride with Amaro to Bellevue. Benson races in and Barba tells her the judge is okay, she got hit it the shoulder. Ariel tells Benson she thinks she is alright. Benson races into the hallway and sees Carisi crouched over the court officer and she is dead, a point blank shot through the temple. Fin tells her Johnny D is dead, two in the chest from Amaro. He asks if Amaro is going to make it, and Benson replies he is en route to Bellevue.
Benson, along with Carisi, race into the hospital and Rollins tells her that Amaro is in surgery. A bullet hit his liver and they have to do an emergency laparotomy and now they are working on his knee. Carisi says the liver can heal itself but a bullet to the knee…Rollins, sounding annoyed, says she knows that. He says he is sorry and moves to get them some coffee. Tucker approaches and asks if Amaro is okay, and Benson says “Considering.” He asks about Johnny D and Benson explains he is dead, the court officer too and a judge and a CO got hit. Rollins asks what was Johnny D thinking grabbing a gun and shooting a judge, adding no way he was getting out of that building alive. Tucker thinks that is exactly what Johnny D was thinking. Benson nods.
Later, Benson gets home and Lucy is there with Noah and Benson thanks her for staying. She says Amaro is out of surgery and his mother is with him and it could have been worse. She takes Noah and Lucy says Noah did not want to sleep without his mom. She hugs him and repeats several times, “Mommy’s home.”
In the family court meeting room on Wednesday, May 20, Benson is there with Noah and Trevor who brings the judge up to speed on Johnny D and they can’t locate any living blood relatives. The judge asks Benson if she is willing to raise Noah as her lawful child, and she says yes. The judge asks that this child will inherit from her and will be treated no differently than a biological child, and Benson says yes again. Linden says she knows it has been a long year and a hard process, but everything seems to be in order. Benson smiles and the judge congratulates her and Noah Porter Benson. She signs off of the adoption. The judge wishes Benson and her family the best. She says they did it, smiling and calling him Noah Porter Benson.
Photo by: Michael Parmelee/NBC 2015 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Afterwards, there is a party at Benson’s apartment and Fin, there with Carisi and Barba, congratulates her. Benson says Amaro is on his way. She adds that he is only two weeks into PT so it is going to be a long road. Amaro arrive with Rollins and he is walking with crutches. He brings her flowers and she thanks them for coming.
Later, Amaro tells Benson he will be hobbling around for 3 months and maybe a cane. She says he will be on desk duty for a while and they will work it out. But, he tells her he hasn’t told anyone else yet but he has been talking with his delegate and with his knee injury, they are going to try to force him out. She tells him to hold on, they are going to fight that; he is young and in good health. But he counters he is not going anywhere in the department anyway and he can retire now with ¾ pay tax, free, and start over again in California. She looks stunned and asks if he is sure. He says Zara is in LA and Gil is in San Diego – he is sure. She seems to get choked up and says she does not know what to say. He says he knows he wasn’t what her old partner was to her. She says, “No, you weren’t. I grew more in my last four years with you than I did in the twelve years that I was with him. You know that relationship - whatever it was – didn’t allow for anything else. But with you – with your support – I have a family. “ Amaro comments, smiling, “Yes you do.” She adds, whispering, “You helped me grow.” He says, “I appreciate you saying that.” She goes on to say, “Wow. So, whatever happens Nick Amaro, friends for life.” They both get teary eyed and Amaro says “Friends for life.” She hugs him and sadness comes over his face.
Afterwards, Fin makes a toast “To family” and they all raise and clink their glasses. As they all take a drink, Amaro looks to Benson as she cuddles to Noah as we fade to black.
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