Thursday, May 26, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Heartfelt Passages” Recap & Review

The season 17 finale of Law & Order SVU, “Heartfelt Passages” brought tears of sadness and, at the end, tears of happiness. It was an excellent  - yet tragic - wrap up to the story of Sergeant Mike Dodds, who heroically lost his life in the line of duty on his last day with the SVU. This episode also marked the end of Warren Leight’s tenure as showrunner.

Both Benson and Dodds make a critical mistake which leads to a hostage situation and to Dodds death. Benson takes Lisa Munson’s word that there are no guns in her house, and they enter a potential powder keg domestic violence situation without verifying for themselves that Gary Munson was not armed. While both Benson and Dodds missed this critical step, it’s Benson, as the senior officer, who must bear the responsibility for the error. Hopefully she has learned from this, and with the help of Dr. Lindstrom, will not allow what happened to hang over her for the rest of her life.

Benson's life – at least for now – will continue to have Captain Ed Tucker in it. In the final scene, Tucker gets on one knee to get to Noah’s level and for a second I thought he was going to ask Benson to marry him. But no. (I suppose this issue will be left to the new showrunner for season 18, Rick Eid.) Tucker did suggest he and Benson head to Paris – the city of romance – so maybe they will come back with wedding plans. At least fans got to see Benson plant a kiss on Tucker, giving us a glimmer of believable romance between the two.

Other members of the team also faced some choices here. Carisi has backed off his desire to be an ADA for the time being. Fin may be taking the sergeant’s exam but I don’t think Rollins had anything specific going on. Barba still must contend with a protective detail due to ongoing threats to his life. (As of this writing, I don’t know which of these actors are officially or contractually on board for season 18.)  Even Tucker is making a huge change by transferring from IAB to hostage negotiations. This action not only can help in avoiding any conflict with his relationship with Benson and her team, but also allows the character to be used later in a role that would be more supportive of the Special Victims Unit. This is a great move.

It was no surprise to me that Dodds would not make it out of this episode alive. If this was Star Trek, Andy Karl would have come on the show in a “red shirt.” He was always listed as a guest star, and we all know how expendable guest stars can be (especially when they get other jobs). I enjoyed having Andy on SVU and am sorry to see him leave, but happy that he has another role.

Even though Brad Garrett has always creeped me out, he did a fine job in the role of Gary Munson. As Munson makes it out of the hostage situation alive and claims he did not shoot the gun, it’s possible this story could continue at some point next season. Had Munson not pulled the hammer back on his gun, Dodds could still be alive; Munson may not have intended to shoot Dodds at the time of the struggle but Munson was fully prepared to shoot him before that.

But the big scene stealer was Peter Gallagher, who put forth an amazing performance when explaining to Benson that his son was brain dead. It seemed very real and I can’t imagine anyone watching this scene NOT getting at least choked up watching it. This was probably some of the best acting we’ve seen on SVU in the past few years and one of the best performances I’ve seen from Peter Gallagher. I assume with the death of Mike Dodds it’s not likely we will see the Deputy Chief return to SVU.

Lastly, this is the final episode from showrunner Warren Leight,  who has done a wonderful job keeping the show interesting and relevant. I cannot imagine the amount of work that goes into each episode, not to mention trying to give viewers a quality show within the confines of a limited budget. I know I have not given every episode a glowing review but the fact that I am still watching the show and spending the time to review and recap it confirms that there is much that I DO like about this show. It is obvious that Warren and his staff have put their hearts and souls into every word and into every scene. I am very thankful for all his work with Law & Order SVU and wish him the best of luck in anything he does in the future. All fans of the show – even if you agree or disagree with the direction he’s taken the show – should give their heartfelt thanks to Warren for keeping Law & Order SVU alive and thriving.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Andy Karl – Sgt. Mike Dodds
Peter Gallagher - Deputy Chief William Dodds
Robert John Burke – Captain Ed Tucker
Brad Garrett – C.O. Gary Munson
Jack McGee – Deputy Inspector Bob O’Brien
Karina Logue - Lisa Munson
Bill Duke - Counselor Ed Pastrino
Ramón Franco – Union Rep. Tony Rodriguez
Kevin O-Rourke – Dr. Rosenthal
Bill Irwin – Dr. Peter Lindstrom
Kathryn Rossetter – Ingrid
Stephen Bradbury – Judge Colin McNamara
Rebecca Brinkley – Alice Gray
Johnny Rivera – Felipe Heredio
Natasha Murray – Nurse
Dave Adams – ESU Officer #1
Isabel Harper Leight - Annie Munson
Rowan Williams - Tommy Munson
Jack Nawada-Braunwart - Noah Porter Benson
Jaren DiRoce – Matt Dodds

The episode enters with a short recap of “Intersecting Lives”

Barba is in court at Gary Munson’s arraignment. They are adding a superseding indictment, 15 counts of forcible touching and 28 counts of sodomy. While Union Rep. Tony Rodriguez and Gary’s wife, plus Benson and Dodds watch in the gallery, Barba asks that Gary’s bail be revoked.and that he be remanded to protective custody in Rikers. Fellow COs also watch the proceedings. Gary’s lawyer Counselor Ed Pastrino states that Gary is not a flight risk and he is the father of two young children who need him at home, as does his wife. The judge sees no need for remand – which seems to disgust Benson - but raises bail to $500,000.

Afterwards, in the ladies rest room, Benson runs into Lisa and tells her she is sorry and will leave her be. But Lisa asks her not to go as there are a dozen COs from Rikers out there and she can’t talk to Benson in front of them. They are working on raising Gary’s bail and she is afraid he is going to get out. Benson questions that Lisa would rather be remanded, and Lisa explains she did what Benson said and got tested for STDs and as soon as she got the results she called a divorce lawyer. She says Gary does not know and she stood by him today because she wants Gary to think she is in his corner so she can get her children out of there. Benson asks her to please listen to her; she wants her to and she understands her wanting to leave but in situations like this…Lisa finishes, saying women can get killed. Benson states they will not let that happen and asks if her father, who is NYPD, knows what is going on and asks if he supports her. Lisa says yes but he doesn’t think it is a good idea to be there when Gary moves out; he and Gary have history. Benson understands but asks in the meantime, does Gary have any guns in the house. Lisa replies that they confiscated his Sig when he was arrested and she searched the house and he doesn’t have any other weapons – except his temper. Benson says it would be best for her to get out of the house before he gets back and she should take care of herself and her children. Benson hands Lisa her card and says if she has any problems to call her.

Later, Benson is back at SVU with Fin and Rollins and they are having a farewell party for Dodds. Rollins hands him a piece of cake and says that it took a minute but he grew on her and she will miss him. Carisi adds they all will. Benson elbows Fin and says “Right Fin?” and he replies yeah, now everybody is telling him he needs to take that sergeant’s exam, thanking Dodds in a joking voice. They all laugh. Benson gets a call and it is Lisa; she is worried as she is packing up at home and Gary made bail. When Benson asks if he is inside the house now, Lisa quietly replies he is, with the kids but he is okay. She walks into the kitchen to be out of Gary’s earshot. Benson asks if Lisa wants her to send a squad car, but Lisa says no; it is embarrassing enough and Gary is starting to ask questions that she does not want to answer. Benson suggests that she come and she will bring one of her guys and they will keep it nice and quiet and calm and they will get her and her kids out of there. Lisa thanks her, and lets out a worried sigh as she hangs up.

Benson tells the others that Lisa called and they need to do a close job. Rollins asks if Lisa is leaving him and Dodds questions that Gary made bail. Benson replies yes, saying she needs a little support getting Gary out of there. Carisi asks if Benson wants him to go with her, and Fin says he will do it. Dodds says he will go, and Benson smiles at him, saying he is packing up and it is his last day. Dodds thinks that a guy like Gary sees a sergeant and a lieutenant, he will listen. Benson reluctantly says Dodds is right and Dodds suggests to get this over with.

Back at the Munson household, Gary questions Lisa who was on the phone, and she says it was the wrong number, He tells her not to lie to him, asking if is the attorney she has been talking to and asks if she thinks he doesn’t know. Lisa tries to explain but Gary grabs her and says if she thinks she is leaving him, she is dumber than he thought. She grimaces and he asks again who was she talking to. Lisa says nothing and he picks up her phone and looks at her calls and she looks at him with worry.

Later, as Benson and Dodds are right outside the Munson house, Dodds comments to Benson that Lisa called but now she is not answering the door, wondering what is going on. Benson comments that it is quiet. Dodds asks what was Lisa’s exit plan, and Benson explains that Lisa said she rented a car, thinking that is it. But Dodds observes that is Gary’s car in the driveway. The front door opens and Lisa apologizes for keeping them waiting; Benson asks if everything is okay. But before Lisa can answer, Gary opens the front door little more and says everything is fine here. Benson looks like she does not believe this and Dodds looks at her with equal concern. Benson tells Gary that they are here at his wife’s request. Gary is standing right behind Lisa and she says she overreacted when she called them and they are handling things. Dodds comments that is good to hear, asking if they don’t mind if they come in. Gary puts his hand on Lisa’s shoulder and she states it is not necessary. Benson counters that they are already here and it is probably best if they just come in for a few minutes, and Dodds adds, “Just to talk.” Gary comments if they want to come in, come in, asking if he needs to call his lawyer. Dodds explains they are not here to talk about his case. Gary asks no, then says “Oh right, you’re here because Lisa wants to leave me, right? Forgive me. I’m just a big, dumb C.O. but I get it now.” Benson explains they don’t want any trouble and he states that neither does he.

At Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street on Monday, April 25, Barba is walking in the hall of the courthouse rotunda. He is getting off the phone with “Carmen” asking if this guy didn’t leave a number and saying he will be in the office in an hour. Counselor Ed Pastrino approaches Barba and asks if he has a minute. Barba stammers no, not really, he is on his way to a motions hearing and asks if Ed can schedule an appointment. Ed says it won’t take long and he sees Union Rep. Tony Rodriguez also approach and stop Barba’s exit. Barba sighs and turns around, then asks if his client is ready to plead guilty to multiple counts of rape. Tony tells Barba to be realistic, Barba doesn’t want to take a corrections officer to trial and he doesn’t want to put himself through that. Barba replies that he hopes that is not a threat. Tony said it is a reality; his guys already feel like they are under attack. Ed suggests two counts of criminal sexual act in the third. Barba asks, “So your guy does what, a year and a half?” Tony states that these women come on to him and they work him any way they can, he’s seen it. Barba, looking uncomfortable, says Munson is a CO and they are inmates and they are incapable of consent; it’s rape. Tony asks if he really thinks a jury will look at a bunch of junkies, then look at him and believe that? Barba states firmly, “Yes, I do.” Ed goes on to comment, “If these women even testify.” Barba shoots him a look and Tony calls the women low-lifes, they miss their own court dates. He tells Barba they are not making yours. Barba sarcastically thanks him for the advice, and as he steps away, he tells them that their guy is doing hard time and then he is going on the registry, adding it is over. Barba quickly walks away.

Back at the Munson household, Gary tells the kids that Benson and Dodds are their friends but the kids know they are police officers. Lisa wants to go upstairs with Benson to pack but Gary says no, only Lisa can go upstairs. Benson tries to make small talk with the kids and Dodds suggests he and Gary go into the kitchen.. When Gary offers him a beer Dodds declines, saying he is on duty. Gary opens his beer and says. “Not me, not ever again. You guys took care of that.” Dodds comments it is rough but this is where they are. Gary questions “we” and they turned his wife against him. Dodds says she doesn’t have his back, and where she is, it is over and it is better to find out now. Gary asks if that is instead of when he is in prison, adding he has seen that 1,000 times: The Dear John visit. Dodds comments that women have that switch and it is important now to make sure his kids are safe and they are taken care of. He encourages Gary to part on good terms and not to drag this thing out. Gary comments that whatever he thinks of him, his kids are his life and they love him, he is their hero. Dodds states that his kids need him and they know something is going on, they are watching him.

Meanwhile, Barba is in a courthouse elevator and before a door closes, the man who previously threatened him on the courthouse steps slips into the elevator and gets into Barba’s face. Barba looks to the emergency button and the man says that will not help him and Barba asks what does he want and who sent him. The man says Barba has made so many enemies he has no way of knowing, adding it is the same way he won’t hear the bullet that is coming for him. The elevator opens and the man slips out and Barba quickly hits the alarm. He tells an officer entering the elevator he is a New York City DA and that man just threatened him. He asks them to shut the building down and to get that security footage.

Back at the Munson home, Gary says goodbye to his kids and Lisa comes down with their things. They hug their father and Gary asks that he’s not getting a hug from Lisa. She glares at him and tells him to take care of himself. Benson moves to take the kids out and when Dodds asks Gary if they are alright here, he moves in on Lisa, saying she looks good and asks if she is wearing the jacket he gave her for her birthday. Benson rushes the kids out and she looks back to Dodds who nods at her and stays. Lisa takes off the jacket and pushes it at him but he grabs her around the neck and pulls a gun and points it at Dodds. He orders him to disarm or he will shoot Lisa and Dodds complies.

Outside as Benson loads the trunk of the car, Gary’s daughter wonders where is their mom and Benson says she will get her right now as she buckles her into the car.

Inside, Gary tells Dodds to walk out; this is between him and his wife.

When Benson tries to get back into the house, the door is locked and she calls out to Dodds, saying they need to get going. Inside, hearing the doorbell ring and Benson knocking, Lisa is still being held at gunpoint. Dodds explains they are not going to open the door again. Benson tells them the children are waiting for their mother to come out, Dodds says that is on hold right now. Benson suggests not talking through the door and suggests she call him. She calls Dodds and he puts her on speaker on Gary’s insistence. As Benson tries to talk Gary down, she looks around the outside of the house for a means of entry. Gary tells her Dodds is free to go and he doesn’t have a problem with him. Benson says he should let Dodds and Lisa go but Gary says he is sick of women telling him what to do, he knows that he needs to do. When Benson asks if they are okay, he says he and Lisa are unhurt and he has asked Gary if there is anyone he need to talk to, and Benson adds like a family member or his union rep/. Gary says he has nothing to say, and that Lisa – nobody – listens to him. Dodds and Benson assure him they are listening to him. When Benson says she is listening to him right now, he says “Damn straight you are.” He starts to cry and says he wants them to get his kids somewhere safe, away from her. Benson says that is what he is doing but what she needs him to do…Gary orders Dodds to hang up and he complies. Inside, Gary asks Dodds why he is still here, he doesn’t have to be a hero. When Gary puts the gun back on Lisa, Dodds tries to calm him but Lisa says he is not going to hurt her; they love each other. Gary cries and kisses her on the head, saying that is right. He tells Dodds to get out of there but Dodds will not leave. Gary points the gun at him and, crying, tells Dodds not to look back and to just go. Dodds won’t do that. Gary cries and Lisa looks worried.

Meanwhile, Carisi and Rollins are going over the threat made against Barba and the previous threat the man made. Barba says he has been getting threats all year and Rollins thinks this may not be just from Rikers. He explains he has been getting hang ups from burners and a few texts. Rollins says they will run the video through facial recognition and call intel to get him a security detail. Barba asks if there is someone there she can trust, saying the threats started when he indicted the three cops who shot Terrence Reynolds. Rollins says she is calling Benson, and she does so.

When Benson answers, Rollins says they have a situation here. Benson says they have a situation here too, and as cops race around the Munson neighborhood, Benson explains her predicament and when she sees that Chief Dodds has arrived. tells Rollins she will call her back. Deputy Chief Dodds is frantic as Benson explains the situation. When Benson says she was taking the kids to the car while doing the close job, she thinks Gary pulled a gun, DC Dodds questions that she “thinks,” asking that they didn’t search Gary. Benson explains that Lisa told them she searched the house and there was absolutely no weapons in there. DC Dodd says Gary is a CO and these guys always have a drop gun. Benson looks ashamed. As Lisa’s father Deputy Inspector Bob O’Brien approaches, DC Dodds asks why didn’t the Deputy Inspector have his guys help his daughter out, and Benson replies he didn’t think it was a good idea to be involved directly. DC Dodds complains that he let Benson and his son walk into this. DC Dodds greets O’Brien who asks that his daughter is in there with his son, and Dodds says god help them both. He greets Benson and thanks her for getting his grandkids out and asks what is the situation. Benson explains they believe that Gary is armed and asks if he has access to weapons. O’ Brien says no but he wouldn’t put anything past that son of a bitch. He asks if he has hurt Lisa Benson states that they don’t believe so, she last spoke to then ten minutes ago. Fin approaches and says they are trying to get a visual inside the house; there is no good place for the pole cams and he has the curtains pulled front and back. DC Dodds asks if there is another way inside like the side door or back door, and they have ESU teams ready with rams. Benson tells DC Dodds that they both know what happens if they hit that door, she does not want to take that risk with his son and O’Brien’s daughter inside. O’Brien says they have to get him to start talking and offers to call, but Benson explains Gary does not want to talk, they have been calling. DC Dodds comments that with all these indictments, Gary is not looking at negotiating his way out of there.

As the phone rings inside, Gary is getting nervous and Dodds continues to try to diffuse the situation, telling Gary to think about his kids. He tries to suggest Gary can make a deal but he says there is no way he come out of this and asks if he knows what will happen to him in prison. Dodds says in these cases, 9 out of 10 COs don’t even go to trial and Gary has choices and options. Gary says that is Dodds’ life; if he wants to go to college it is paid for and Lisa’s father couldn’t even get him on the job, but Dodds is that Golden Boy who gets to decide whether they live or die. He points the gun at Dodds and says if he wants to live, he walks out of there right now. Dodds says he told him he is walking them all out of there together. Gary pulls back th hammer on the gun and readies to shoot and then calls Dodds and idiot. He says Dodds has his has his whole life ahead of him;  Gary says his own life was his wife and family and she stabbed him right through the heart. Lisa says if she could take this day back she would but he says now you can’t, it’s too late. Dodds makes a play for the gun.

Outside, Benson and Fin wait with Dodds and Obrien and they hear a gunshot. DC Dodds orders them to move in and Benson yells out for everyone to go NOW. The police break down the door and they race into the house and yell for Gary to drop the gun which he does. Gary says he did not fire, saying it just went off. As Benson and Fin run inside, they find Dodds on the floor, bleeding badly. Fin yells that Dodds is down and orders someone to look at him. As DC Dodds races to his son, Benson radios the 10-13 that an officer is down. Dodds says he is okay but his father tells him to stop talking, he’s lost a lot of blood. DC Dodds tells Benson to get the EMTs in here NOW. Benson and DC both call out to get someone in here as DC Dodds tends to his son. The EMTs come in as DC Dodds tells Dodds to hang in there. Benson looks very concerned.

As they put Dodds in the ambulance, DC Dodds tells Benson they will need blood, and Benson tells him they are on it, and to go and they will meet him at Lincoln Hospital. She pats her hand on the ambulance before it speeds off. Carisi and Rollins run up and Benson explains Dodds took a bullet and it is bad. He lost a lot of blood; it was a gut shot and they took him to Lincoln Hospital. Carisi moves to the car and says “let’s go” but Benson stands there, frozen in place, shaking her head. He asks if she is alright and she sounds like she is beginning to cry, She answers no, they didn’t search Gary so she left Dodds in there. Rollins tries to console her by putting her hand on Benson’s shoulder. Benson cries, saying, “So this is on me.”

As they enter the hospital waiting area, DC Dodds tells them that the shot to the abdomen and the bullet hit an artery and he lost a lot of blood but he is a fighter. Dodds is B negative and but the blood bank is going through what they have fast. Carisi explains he is type O negative and that works, asking where he goes. Dodds points him in the direction and Carisi races off and Rollins goes with him. Doctor Rosenthal approaches and tells DC Dodds and Benson that Dodds has a lot of vascular damage but they stopped the bleeding for now. He is still in surgery and there is a risk of sepsis and organ failure. If they get through the next hours, but if DC Dodds has not reached out yet to any family who should be here, he should get them here. DC Dodds looks numb as Benson asks if there are any calls she can make. DC Dodds says he hasn’t spoken to his mother in years – the last he heard she was living on some ashram in southern India. Benson asks about his other son Matt, and DC Dodds is surprised Benson knows about him. He says he is in Mexico getting his life together for the 50th time and he will text him again. Benson mentions Dodds’ fiancé and DC Dodds says her name is Alice and she is in Chicago and he will call her too, adding she loves Mike. Benson smiles.

Later, Fin arrives and gets an update. Rollins comments about Dodds getting a bullet on his last day with SVU, and Fin thinks he will be okay. He adds the last time Dodds ran into a bullet he bounced back pretty fast; he is a tough dude. Rollins explains it hit an artery. Fin has a stoic face and replies that he is just saying.

Meanwhile, Benson calls Lucy to explain the situation and Tucker arrives. He asks if she is alright, and Benson tells him what happened and that she left Dodds in there and she had a feeling. He tells her not to do that, there is a 100 ways it could have gone. She regrets not having Dodds walk the kids out to the car. He holds her hands and tells her to look at him, asking is she needs something to eat or coffee. She tells him to just be here, and he says he is not going anywhere. DC Dodds approaches and says Dodds fiancée is flying into La Guardia and Tucker says he will have aviation pick her up, and he exits and so does Dodds, leaving Benson there alone in her thoughts.

Later, O’Brien and DC Dodds commiserate and the doctor enters. He explains Dodds is recovering and is in ICU and he is still under the effects of anesthesia so he will be in and out. As DC Dodds races to see him, Benson, Tucker, and O’Brien feel relief.

Dodds talks with his father asking is Lisa is alright. DC Dodds says she is, thanks to him. Dodds says he blew it but his father says he didn’t Dodds regrets not searching Gary and she should have known better. His father reminds him that he saved a woman and two children and that after this, he can put the hero thing aside for a while. He replies “whatever you say, Pop-Pop.” DC Dodds looks surprised at being called that. Dodds says he bets his father is pretty pissed off at him right now, and when his father asks if it is because he got shot, Dodds says it is because he had to call mom. DC Dodds explains he has not been able to get a hold of her right now but that Alice is on her way, adding that Dodds got lucky with that girl. He says he knows.

Meanwhile, Rollins tells Carisi that facial recognition got a hit on the guy that threatened Barba. He is not a CO, his name is Felipe Heredio who is a lieutenant in BX9 and he put his brother away a couple years ago. Carisi says it is personal and Rollins wonders if the brother cut a deal with the COs upstate. Carisi says should tell the lieutenant, and moves into the waiting area to tell Benson. They see her sitting with Tucker, and she is asleep, resting her head on this shoulder. Carisi pauses.

Later, after Benson hears the info and asks where is Barba now. Carisi explains they got Barba a security detail over his objections. Benson asks if they have a last known for Felipe and Fin states it is almost dawn and he will be home. Benson tells them to start knocking down doors and urges them to wear their vests. Rollins says they are on it. A woman walks up to Rollins and asks where she can find Benson, and Rollins points her out. It is Alice.

Benson takes Alice into Mikes room and he tells her she is okay. He calls out to Benson and says, "I told you I was englazed. You’re…”  Benson tries to understand and Dodds goes on to say, “This is my…my fi…” and Benson finishes, “fiancée.” He smiles and Benson tells Alice she was hoping they would meet at the wedding. Dodds asks, “Can you give me a couple of days? I got shot” and Benson says “Yeah. Again.” She tells him to try not to turn this into a regular thing. She then wakes DC Dodds and says Alice is here and should they give them a minute. He gets up and they leave the room as Alice consoles him. Dodds tells his father “thanks officer” and Benson and DC Dodds get a quizzical look.

Outside the room, Benson worries that Dodds sounds out of it but DC Dodds thinks it is because they have him doped up. Benson thinks his language is off but DC Dodds thinks he is drugged, but then admits he did call him Pop-Pop which was the name of his grandfather. Benson does not think it would hurt to mention it to the doctor, and she asks the nurse if they can speak with Dr. Rosenthal.

Later, the doctor is examining Dodds and Dodds is rattling gibberish. Dodds temp is up and he is tachycardic. The doctor calls for an emergent head CT. Alice looks frantic. As they move Dodds for the CT and as Dodds looks very ill, the doctor tells his father and Benson when they know something they will let them know.

Afterwards, Benson and Tucker are in the waiting room discussing the latest. DC Dodds walks in and says Alice is at the deli and asks if they want anything. Benson says no, they are good. DC Dodds says his son is lucky to have Alice in his corner, she is just a great kid. Benson agrees. DC Dodds adds that Dodds’ brother, who never comes through, is catching the first plane out of Mexico City; he always looks up to Dodds. Dr. Rosenthal enters and calls over to DC Dodds. They walk off to talk and Benson looks worried.

Later, Benson is in Dodds’ room with DC Dodds. Dodds is on life support and DC Dodds explains that there were clots in his brain and it started bleeding. They tried transfusing platelets but it was just a massive stroke. Benson, looking stunned, says she is so sorry. DC Dodds says they can see him breathing and his heart is beating and it’s strong but neurologically he is already…DC Dodds can’t say the words, just saying the only reason to keep the machines on… He tries to talk but breaks down into uncontrollable sobbing and stammers that it is for his organs. Benson tries to console him as he sobs and continues to say he is sorry.

Afterwards, Benson walks out of the hospital wing as Carisi, Rollins, Fin, and Tucker are waiting in silence. Her sad look tells them the news, Rollins walks off in tears and Fin stands there, stunned.

Later, they all attend Dodds’ funeral with many in law enforcement in attendance, in full dress. As the casket is placed into the hearse, they all salute.

Afterwards, they all gather at the local bar and celebrate Dodds’ life. Rollins asks Benson that how, after Benson reamed her out for slipping that video to New York 1, Dodds walks in and told him that he did it. Benson admits it was not in so many words, but he told her not to ask too many questions. They all laugh. Rollins, smiling, called Dodds a son of a bitch for letting her twist in the wind. Fin says Dodds had her back, saying “good for him.” Carisi is talking with Barba who says they have not arrested Felipe yet but they have unis posted on his block. Barba says he is not worried, not in here. He grabs his drink and he and Carisi clink their glasses.

Benson sits down with DC Dodds and he tells her Dodds’ mother did not want a funeral, he wanted to spread his ashes on the Ganges. He says she has been helpful to her and Mike’s brother. She has more perspective. He is upset that, on his last day at SVU his son does this . His son knew better and has known since he was six when DC Dodds was a beat cop. DV is the most dangerous situation in the world. He asks what the hell was he thinking? Benson explains he wanted to be like his father: a hero. Fin calls out for all to listen up. Rollins tells everyone to raise their glasses and says, “A toast.” Carisi says, “To the bravest cop we ever worked with, Sergeant Michael Dodds.” They look to his photo and someone says, “To Dodds” and they all repeat this, including a somewhat misty-eyed Benson.

Back at SVU, Barba is with Carisi and Rollins, and sees Felipe in a line up and picks him out. He says he looks smaller in there, and Rollins says they usually do. As Rollins and Felipe’s lawyer walk away, Carisi tells Barba that while Felipe was in holding he told him he was paid $250 each time he talked to him. Barba says, “$250 , that’s it? I should be offended.” He asks who paid him but Carisi explains Felipe would not say, but based on what he did say, threat assessment will keep a security detail on Barba 24/7. Barba sighs. He asks Carisi if she still wants to be an ADA, and Carisi explains that he has been thinking about it. Barba heard there was an opening in Brooklyn, but Carisi says he took an oath to protect and serve and he does not want to leave – not now anyway. After what happened to Dodds, it doesn’t fell right, Barba comments that he gets it, saying in the end, we are all just passing through. He asks how Benson is doing and Carisi replies she is taking it hard. Barba pats Carisi on t he shoulder and walks off.

In the office of Doctor Peter Lindstrom, at 26 West 82nd Street on Thursday April 28, Benson discusses the recent events and her regrets. She thinks she should not have left Dodds in that house; she has more experience and maybe she could have talked to him. Lindstrom does not agree she could talk Munson out of it or overpower at 6’8” man with a gun with nothing to live for. He reminds her about getting the two kids out and they have their mother Benson says that Chief Dodds doesn’t have his son, asking does he deserve that. He asks does she mean why does she deserve to live when Dodds is dead? He says Benson has to mourn this loss but can’t judge herself for being relieved that she survived. She asks, “I can’t?” He says she is lucky to be alive and Noah is lucky he is but that is not why she left that house. He says he knows she thinks she knows everything but no one could have predicted what was going to happen there. He adds it was Dodds’ time, it wasn’t hers. She nods and gives a tearful smile.

Later, Benson is out for a walk with Tucker and Noah. She tells Tucker she feels so exhausted and Tucker says it is probably better than numb. He doesn’t know how she is still standing after the last few days – the whole year actually. She says she is lucky she has this little guy – Noah – to wake her up at 6 in the morning. Noah sees a dog and says “Big dog” and they laugh and Benson says he is right it is a doggie. Tucker tells her he put transfer papers in today – hostage negotiations has an opening. Benson looks surprised and asks if he is leaving IAB. She comments after all this time its…and Tucker says it’s like letting go of a rope. He explains that, at the funeral, he realized he can’t spend the rest of his life obsessing about whether or not a cop is lying to him. Benson comments, “Wow Ed. You know I never did ask you how you ended up in IAB to begin with.” Tucker says that it is a long story, then says actually it is not. He explains that after his ex and he, and starts to explain that she… He doesn’t finish and says he thought he could never trust anybody again. Benson says he joined IAB to confirm that belief. Tucker states it turns out he was wrong, and says, “Olivia Margaret Benson, I trust you.” She smiles, and Tucker adds, “And this little guy.” He gets down on his knee to Noah’s level and says, “We have a good thing going here, the three of us.” Benson says. “Yeah we do.” He gets up from his knee and says “So…” and Benson says, “So…” and Tucker suggests it would be nice to get away for a while, and asks how she feels about Paris. She smiles and says “Paris?” and Tucker shrugs and replies, “Yeah.” She continues to smile and says, “I like it.” She smiles and kisses him. They walk off to the water’s edge;  the view is of the Statue of Liberty. They laugh as they playfully lift up Noah who is walking between them, and put him back down as we fade to black and conclude season 17.

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Ariel Triton said...

The death of Dodds was heartbreaking. However, I still can't stand Tuckson, and the rest of the episode, outside of the hospital, was boring and lifeless. Goodbye, Warren Leight. You will not be missed. You have made Olivia a glorified hooker and repeated countless storylines. All that said, the finale sacked, but God, those hospital scenes were heartbreaking.

Ariel Triton said...

I meant sucked. I hate autocorrect.

Nancy R said...

Doesn't Raul Esparza's appearance at the NBCUniversal Upfront indicate he'll be returning for Season 18?

Chris Zimmer said...

@Nancy R - one would think so but I still don't know if anything has been made official for any of the cast for season 18 (save Mariska, who I think is a given).

Moo said...

The acting in this episode was stellar, especially from Andy Karl and Peter Gallagher. The hospital scenes were so well done that I got emotional even though I knew it was coming and didn't care for Dodds all that much.

But it just tried to suspend disbelieve too much for me to enjoy the episode. Olivia has worked SVU for 17 years, she knows DV is the most dangerous situation, she even acknowledged the danger here by asking if Munson had a gun. There was absolutely no reason for her not to confirm that. It made even less sense for her character than the time she let the mentally ill nun alone in her apartment with her son, and that's saying something. It bothers me that repeatedly this season, they've been writing Olivia to be very sloppy in her work. If, as daddy Dodds claimed at his funeral, mini Dodds was also that aware of the dangers of DV then he also dropped the ball in an unrealistic way. They are trained for situations like this. Why are they suddenly incompetent?

Also as sweet as it was for Carisi to give blood to the cause, medically it doesn't work like that at all. Unless there was a mass shooting or something the same day, that hospital should have had more than enough blood for one man. And if they didn't there are safe and fast procedures in place to get it from other local hospitals. They would not have been able to simply take Carisi's blood and put it in Dodds. If his giving blood had actual plot relevance I'd be more forgiving of the inaccuracies, but as Dodds was fated to die regardless it was just needless emotional manipulation of the audience. (As a side note, on the subject of Carisi, I think it's cute that at some point after meeting and looking up to Barba he must have changed his goals from being an immigrations lawyer to a prosecutor, but that's still something I would have liked to see actually brought up on screen. I feel like they've done a lot of telling and not showing in the characters' personal lives and expect the fans to just nod and go "oh, so that happened at some point. Okay.")

I think the promo also detracted from the impact of the episode by giving as much away as it did, but it's my understanding that the studio puts them together, not the show staff. Related to that, though, I've been getting pretty irritated by how Leight and some of the other show staff use Barba on Twitter and in interviews, dangling the promise of something significant going on with him to reel in viewers only for his storylines to be background dressing at best. It was claimed he would be at the center of the plot going on in this finale and he was in it for a total of what, seven minutes? Benson didn't even react to the danger he's in other than to give Rollins, Carisi, and Fin the order to go hunting down the guy who made the threats. Given how close they've become as friends, I would have expected at least a moment of her scolding him for his carelessness in the episodes wrap-up scenes.

I would also have expected at least a throwaway line regarding Munson's fate, but they dropped the ball on that as well.

Overall though the hospital and funeral scenes were easily some of the cast and camera crew's best work, and while I normally roll my eyes when Twitter starts talking about award nominations, I do think Gallagher in particular really did an outstanding job.

xohr x said...

it was a good finale, had lots of similarities to the chicago pd finale tho :D not that that's a bad thing, the chicago finale was amazing, it's just kinda weird with them both being dick wolf shows and all :D

Erica said...

We all pretty much knew Dodds was going to die, just from the promo, which is kind of a shame. But it didn't make it any less heartbreaking.

I thought this was an amazing episode, tense from start to finish, with stellar performances from all. I'm sorry they felt the need to kill Dodds; we all knew he was leaving the show, but they could have left his character open. Still, it made for gripping drama.

Sorry, but I don't like Tuckson either. I just don't buy it, not after all the years of his being such a rat bastard. Plus, I don't think those two have any chemistry. Still, Olivia deserves some happiness, and if this is the way it's going to happen, then so be it.

I love this show so much. Can't wait for #18.

Margot Undercliffe said...

When he started I didn't think I would like Dodds as he was Daddy's boy put the job. However, he turned out to be hardworking and loyal both to Olivia and to the team, eg He had Rollins' back. I'm actually sorry to see him go as his character took pressure off Olivia. In the end, you couldn't help but like the guy.

Once again, Olivia was too trusting of a victim and it turned out costly.

We all suspected he would die, especially as Munson had it in for him right from the beginning: the good son v the bad son-in-law who couldn't make the grade. but hard to watch. I personally am never a fan of them killing off characters that I like. However, we forget when watching these shows how police enter these dangerous situations every day.

I do wonder how DC Dodds will react next year. He loved his son and has lost his good one. SVU has been a bit rogue under Olivia, charging in where angels fear to tread. I don't think things will be easy for them with 1PP next year.

The deleted seen from Depravity Standard said that Barba was kept awake all night worrying about the police going to trial and now it turns out that is when the death threats started. However, the guy was right: he has so many enemies he doesn't know who.

Thank you for all your hard work Chris.

BrightEyes said...

I agree that the hospital scenes were really good and really heartbreaking. I love Andy Karl so I was sad to see him leave, but I can understand why.
I'm a bit torn about his death. We already knew Andy was leaving so we knew a departure was coming. Also the early spoilers that someone was going to die made us prepared for it, so I wasn't as much of a chock as I like my tv-deaths to be :)
The fiancé was a bit random (like they really wanted to point out how sad his death was), I wish they just would have focused on Andy and Peter Gallagher since they are really wonderful together.

As much as I like Fin, his character has really annoyed me lately - I wish they would move his character forward or just loose him from the show.

I wonder if they are going to bring in a new character next season?

Alex said...

I called the BX9 twist last week.

Given how the finale went, at the end when Benson and Tucker were swinging Noah, I expected him to fall over the rail into the river...

Writers, stop trying to manipulate us into seeing Carisi as a Literal Saint. That isn't how blood donation works. His donation would never have gone into Mike's veins, ever. He isn't going to literally SAVE THE DAY every single time. You're making him a horrible Gary Stu and it is annoying.

I am disappointed to the point of anger that this "Barba-centric" finale had him in three scenes with no resolution to the threat storyline. Way to yank Barba fans' chains one last time, Warren.

Finally: So WL said throughout the whole season that the theme was transitions, but really I didn’t get that vibe. The only ones to actually transition were Amanda and to a degree Fin. Lieutenant would have been a transition for Olivia, if she had been acting as a normal sergeant before this and this was her first time commanding the squad on her own- but it wasn’t. So no change there. Barba being under pressure is not a major transition, and even if it was it was hardly shown enough to count. Carisi passed the bar, but again, with him staying in SVU, how big a transition/change is that?

Amanda transitioned by becoming a mother; Fin MAY have transitioned by becoming a grandfather, but even then we haven’t seen it, so it doesn’t fit under this season’s theme regardless.

No, the real theme that came across in the episodes was trust. Where it should be given (the Amanda/Carisi friendship and possible relationship); where it shouldn’t be given (Rollins and her family); where it is earned (Tucker/Olivia) where it is lost (Olivia and George; Olivia and Barba at some points); where it is in doubt but ultimately stabilizes (Tucker/Olivia; Olivia/Amanda). Where it is betrayed on a less personal level (Rudnick the M.E. being a serial killer; Barba being targeted by the police department he’s supposed to work with). What it can do for you when you have it (Amanda gaining a companion and caretaker for Jesse) or when you lose it (Barba having a 24/7 detail).

Those are my thoughts.

JS Mc said...

I agree with almost everything said...NBC did give away too much in the preview so we knew Mike Dodds was doomed but it was still very sad & moving! Excellent acting & writing there.
What happened to Barba? Are we going to have to wait until September to see what occurs? What happened to all those protesters & threats? Just the one guy was shown...Wasn't these 2 episodes supposed to be centered around him?
I really can't take Tuckson either! It is soooo NOT cannon! Liv dating & falling for Tucker is about as believable as Bat Girl falling for The Joker! JMO There's absolutely NO chemistry between them & every word & action seems forced!(I liked David & Brian but they never tried to get her or anyone in the SVU crew fired... It was like Tucker had a vendetta!)I just can't swallow that relationship! (Bobby Burke is a great actor but Tucker is a zero in my book! He's the villain we all LOVED to Hate...)
The writers need to stop listening to those fans who just want Liv to be in a relationship regardless of who s/he is...Most of us fans who have watched the show for 17 years know that would NEVER occur...But for some reason they continue go against cannon to 'make Liv happy' when the cannon said she would never really be...I do like Noah but I fear her drinking may end that relationship also).
I just wish they'd get back to more victims & their stories & less personal stuff like it used to be. (Steps off soap box...)
Thanks for all your hard work Chris...We appreciate it!
Please writers don't turn this great show into a night time soap, none have lasted very long...JMO

JS Mc said...

Correction: Weren't these 2 episodes supposed to be centered around him?

Charliejamezz said...

I loved this episode and completely hated it at the same time. Dodds leaving was very expected but I still found it very sad since I have been very found of him throughout the season. I found the hospital scenes very believable but to be honest it felt a little strange having almost all the scenes play out there. As much as I loved Dodds and the fact that they give him a heroic and real end, this is a police show and not a hospital show.I too think it is annoying that Olivia makes these weird misstakes that are not like her at all. I can't stand when writers write things that are completely out of character just for the stories sake.

The real dissapointment here, since I am a complete Barba fan, was his storyline. What happened? I get really angry at the fact that they never follow up on things like his argument with Olivia or in this case with the threats. Will it end here? Also Barba's and Olivia's care for each other just didn't show in the episode which also bothered me. They never showed her being worried about Barba for real and they also didn't show Barba ask her how she was doing instead of going to Carisi. I am really worried that their wonderful relationship has changed.

Before I finish I have to say that I both agree and disagree with everyone calling the show a soap opera. Sometimes I also feel that things get a little bit too much, but otherwise I love the fact that they bring in more of their personal lives since the characters are the reason I watch the show.

Thanks once again Chris for an awesome recap! :)

Margot Undercliffe said...

I couldn't agree more on Barba not going to Olivia but asking Carisi. There is now a disconnect between them.

Laurie Fanat said...

It's a shame that the show puts out a really good episode and it is the last one of the season. The quality of the episodes this season was inconsistent. A hand full of good epsiodes and a lot of average ones, with a few awful ones thrown in. Warren Leight's been getting a lot of press but honestly, I think all he did was keep a show that was on life support ON life support. SVU is average at best. Why do I watch? I have always been a fan of the show and now I worry that I am hate-watching it. The network probably could care less as long as it gets the eyeballs it needs for the advertisers.

The network needed to spoil so much of the episode in the promo in order to sucker in the viewers. SVU has had better numbers for a few episodes this season so the viewership should have been better.. Rick Eid will have his hands full as showrunner and he needs to change the tone of this show to get viewers back. If they add another person to replace Dodds, they need to pay some money and get someone with a name that will draw.

The Barba story in this episode was a dud.

The end of the episode felt like it was written as if it was the series finale: Benson has a child, a guy in her life, and they walk off into the sunset.

By the way, I too thought that it looked like Noah was going to be tossed into the water!

Benson used poor judgement by going to Munson's home and leaving Dodds alone. She should have sent someone with experience in domestic violence. Benson isn't acting like a lieutenant, she's acting like a rookie.

There were parts of the episode that were well done and Peter Gallagher's scene with Benson when he explains his son's condition was so well done. I could almost feel the sorry coming though the screen.

LlamaJ said...

What an amazing episode. I was sad that Dodds ended up dying (I thought he would pull through) but it was well done by all the actors. Someone please tell me I'm not the only one who shed some tears during that funeral scene....

One thing that bugged me as that Munson kept saying that his family was his life. Even while he is holding his wife at gunpoint he is still keeping up that charade??

ChristiRN said...

Just a few random thoughts about last night's episode...

The 2 most poignant scenes of the episode were when Dodds Sr was telling Liv about the massive stroke and he broke down and then Liv walking down the stark white hospital hallway in total silence towards her squad. I couldn't help but get choked up. Peter Gallagher's performance was exquisitely heartbreaking.

Liv also made a major mistake when she and other members of the squad didn't escort Lisa Munson back to the house after talking with her in the bathroom; instead, she didn't go until Lisa had called her. I wonder if an investigation is done of the whole situation, there may be repercussions she may have to deal with in Season 18.

Brad Garrett got some much-deserved praise for his performance in both last week and this week's episodes, but I also thought Karina Logue was really good, too. They definitely have some acting genes in the Logue family.

I wasn't really sure of why they threw in the storyline about Barba getting death threats; it just seemed like it was filler when it could have been a major storyline on its own. Maybe they are setting up story to launch and explore in depth next season?

Rollins annoyed me as she usually does. Her reaction to Dodds Jr's death didn't ring true as she hadn't shown any warmth or even respect towards him just a couple of months ago. And running after Carisi a few times, like when he went to donate blood-what in the world?

It's a shame that they killed off Andy Karl's character. Once we realized he wasn't there as a spy for his dad and was his own man, I liked the character. RIP Dodds Jr.

It was nice to see Liv happy at the end of the episode, and also nice to finally see a little romance between her and Tucker. They looked more like people in a committed relationship than just drinking buddies.

Lastly...looking forward to season 18. :)

ladybug81 said...

I went into this episode with low expectations seeing how much of it was given away in the promo. I know most of us figured Mike was going to die so it was expected, but I still like to have a few surprises in my season finales. However I do think this was one of the better episodes of the season, if not one of the best. I think I'm one of the few who really liked Mike and I hated to see him go. I think it would've hurt less had he died from the gunshot wound than the way he did. Andy Karl and Peter Gallagher really knocked it out of the park with their acting, and I think Mariska's acting was her best this season. The scene with her and Dodds Sr in the hospital then in Lindstrom's office was some of her best. @LlamaJ you weren't the only one to shed tears at the funeral.

When it comes to the Tuckson moments, meh. I'm not a big fan of the relationship, mostly because there doesn't seem to be any chemistry between them. I know many are fans of the 'ship' and that's fine, but it just doesn't come across as real to me. It always feels forced. Now I was a big Bensidy fan and at times it felt forced as well. Is it the writing? Maybe. Mariska and Bobby seem to get along great in behind the scenes pictures, it just doesn't translate when it comes to Olivia and Tucker.
The fact that Barba's story line was hyped for this episode and then we hardly saw him was a let down, along with he and Olivia not seeming to be to concerned about one another. I know she had a lot on her plate, he did as well, I thought we could've at least seen a little concern between them. The characters have blown a little hot and cold the last few episodes. First they were mad at one another over Olivia's failure to tell him about Tucker then him reporting them. A few episodes ago they're acting like nothing ever happened but we didn't see any reconciliation. I was also a little disappointed that the big secret about Olivia was her middle name. I don't have a problem with them revealing her middle name, it's kinda nice to know, but don't hype this huge reveal then it be her middle name.

This season has been very hit and miss for me. There were good episodes in addition to last night, Collateral Damages, Community Policing to name a few. Overall though it has been a rather boring season. I can usually remember most episodes in a season and what happened, I can't with this one. I can't even remember what the premiere was about.
When it comes to Warren I appreciate what he has done, even though there have been many times I've disagreed with a story line or direction he took the show in. One problem I have had with him and a few writers, is the way they seem to like to pit fans against one another from time to time. Or sometimes tweet things to make some feel that if you don't love every idea, episode or story line you're not a true fan or 'die hard'. Maybe that's just me. One thing I very disappointed in this season, and the last, was how they focused on how much Olivia was drinking. How many times this season and last did they make a point to focus on a wine glass or bottle, Olivia at a bar? Now we find out it was nothing, just a moment. I think that was a bit of a cop out. There was a lot that could've been done with that and I think they missed an opportunity with it.

All in all, I'm a little sad to see Warren leave, a little nervous about a new show runner, but I'm excited as well. I know Julie and many of the writers will be staying on board, but with Rick coming in it'll mean new ideas as well. Here's to a new and exciting season!

Alphamutt said...

I love Benson and Tucker (and Noah) together, and I think the chemistry between the actors is very real. I hope this relationship continues to gradually build next season. My big pet peeve about SVU is Kelli Gidish, or perhaps just Rollins, not the actor who portrays her. As far as I'm concerned, there has never been a single believable storyline including Rollins. I cringe whenever the actor delivers a line. Rollins is a caricature, not a character, and that sucks, because there are totally underused characters (and potted plants) who are much more worthy of screen time.

SnowQueenShipper said...

@Alphamutt Sadly, I think you're the minority. Most everyone hates Tuckson, from what I've seen. He's just Olivia's unrealistic bed buddy of the week. As for Olivia, Olivia has gone way downhill these last few years. Her true character ended around the time Leight took over (and no, I don't actually care about Elliot being gone). Leight is a jerk who only listens to the fangirls who stroke his ego. Notice that the things he retweets are the ten fangirls who call him a god.

That aside, I actually like Amanda. You and my girlfriend both seem to hate her for little reason. I would take her over Beck any day.

SnowQueenShipper said...

@Alphamutt Sadly, I think you're the minority. Most everyone hates Tuckson, from what I've seen. He's just Olivia's unrealistic bed buddy of the week. As for Olivia, Olivia has gone way downhill these last few years. Her true character ended around the time Leight took over (and no, I don't actually care about Elliot being gone). Leight is a jerk who only listens to the fangirls who stroke his ego. Notice that the things he retweets are the ten fangirls who call him a god.

That aside, I actually like Amanda. You and my girlfriend both seem to hate her for little reason. I would take her over Beck any day.

maryjanejeff said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was not a fan of Beck. Nothing against Connie Nielsen, but Beck reminded me of the immature, Overzealous new kid in town who tried way too hard to impress everyone and make an impact, only to cause nothing but headaches for themselves and everyone around them.

D.Chester said...

You said everything that I felt.

Ariel Triton said...

I think part of the flaw was in the execution of her story. She existed purely to whip the EO shippers into a frenzy. Exhibit A; The kiss that shall not be named. She therefore had no decent background, beyond her husband's murder. She was just...well, a plot device, really.

The same can be said for Brian. Olivia regretted sleeping with him and flat out rejected him. Then, they are magically in love over a decade later? How many people can relate to that?

The show is a caricature of its former self. I watch because I feel like not watching means I can't truly call myself a fan. But, at this point, it's almost physically painful to watch. It's actually the SFU now. The special fanfiction unit. And for those of us who relate to the show as survivors, it's heartbreaking. People hate on Amanda and others all of the time. But, let's be honest, Olivia Benson is Mariska, not Olivia Benson at this point. The show, alas, is far past its prime.

Anne said...

I have very mixed feelings about this season. I love 2.0, I don't miss Stabler (I miss Amaro though), and season 14 was my favorite of the whole series. So this is not about dislike of the Leight years. And I like seeing the characters' personal lives. But so many episodes in this season have been, frankly, boring. The Greg Yates thing was dull and felt like a failed attempt to do another charismatic serial killer (a la Lewis). Tuckson feels forced to me and they have no chemistry (though I am glad he is leaving IAB). So many plotlines this season have been driven by Olivia's poor judgment -- Townhouse Incident (which I hated) and now this one. How is she making these absolute rookie mistakes that have now resulted in death? It's just a very weird decision on the part of the writers. Amanda has exhibited extremely poor judgment for like, 3 seasons. Dodds grew on me, but I'm glad he's gone. Fin and Barba were criminally underused the entire season.

Peter Gallagher did a beautiful job here. I've always liked him (I think he and Olivia make more sense as a couple than Olivia and Tuckson). But that ship has sailed.

I'm sure all the writers work hard -- they are all pros, have been at this for a long time, and know procedurals. But sometimes when I go on Twitter I wonder if they are too influenced by the fans who are all about the ships. Obviously the writers will prefer the fans who like everything about their work, but there's a weird echo chamber there where either you LOVE everything or you're just a hater who should just shut up and stop watching the show.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to season 18 and a new perspective. And thank you Chris for providing this great forum every week!

Anonymous said...

My problem with Tuckson among others is the it was so unnecessary. There is no other man in NYC? Somebody who doesn´t work for NYPD or isn´t a lawyer? It could ´ve go: "This is Joe, we met in a museum, he works in finance." Or something like that.
She is the main character in this show. We can see her private life even when it´s not related to her work. If he would be nice to her and she would look happy who would complain? They would avoid rewriting history, ruining Tucker´s character and alienating a half of the fandom. I think it was poor executed bad idea that maybe looked good on paper but it shouln´t happen in the first place.
I´m not happy how they write most characters lately so I didn´t enjoy this episode very much. Plus adding character´s background in the last minute just to make his death more sad is very poor writing IMO. Also it´s frustrating that they have such great actors available and they are not able to write good material for them. For example lack of Barba this season is a scandal. I´m really exited for new leadership :)

Chris, I love your blog, thank you for recaps and reviews :)

Charliejamezz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charliejamezz said...

Another thing that gets me real upset is the lack of court scenes! Its LAW and order right? I can't even remember when the last real court scene was! Starstruck victims? I know Leight did'nt like court scenes, but come on! I have had no problems with the storylines this season, more the fact how they used them. They never follow up on things which irritates me! Excited for next season and hopes that the new writer doesnt write anything out of character!

Cappi said...

Thank you Chris for the wonderful updates that you put your heart and soul into. I am very thankful for a Season 18 and am really tired of reading all of the negative comments. I love this show for what is is--a great set of actors doing their very best with the stories they are given. I, like most others, love Raul Esparza[and I'm a senior lady!] I would love for him to be in a lot more scenes and maybe that may happen next season. However, if it doesn't happen I will continue to look forward to each Wednesday night for my favorite show on television. A thought--I was hoping Olivia and Hank Voight from Chicago PD might get together. I saw some possible chemistry there. I will miss Andy Karl but am looking forward to see who comes along next. Again, many thanks, Chris.

Doreen Chiapparelli said...

This finale was EPIC. I loved it. The promos gave away dodds bit the fact that he was out of the woods then the sudden turn was crazy. Peter Gallagher was a scene stealer jut when liv walked down that white hall way...Great scene. I am starting to see chemistry between Olivia and Tucker. This gorgeous strong badass woman had been alone too long!!It's bull#### I love the direction that leight took this show. They didn't shove Tuckson down our throats, took it slow...Been watching since day one and I'm in till the end! GREAT JOB

Doreen Chiapparelli said...

This finale was EPIC. I loved it. The promos gave away dodds bit the fact that he was out of the woods then the sudden turn was crazy. Peter Gallagher was a scene stealer jut when liv walked down that white hall way...Great scene. I am starting to see chemistry between Olivia and Tucker. This gorgeous strong badass woman had been alone too long!!It's bull#### I love the direction that leight took this show. They didn't shove Tuckson down our throats, took it slow...Been watching since day one and I'm in till the end! GREAT JOB

Margot Undercliffe said...

Having tortured myself by watching this again, I actually think it would have been a fitting end to SVU but a longer episode dealing with Barba too.

I love Olivia as a detective and her empathy for victims. But this season has shown than she doesn't have the pragmatism to be a leader. An SVU detective of 17 years experience yet she believes an abused wife that the abusive husband didn't have a gun. Yes, Dodds should have checked too. She also left the detective with one year in SVU behind. Compare her to Dodds Snr who immediately understood the situation and the rookie mistakes and how dangerous the situation was from the beginning. An investigation into the mistakes will not go well and I wonder if it is why Tucker leaves IAB as his team, not him, will do it.

Fin's lack of involvement, Carisi with a new career if he chooses. Drama queen Rollins. Dodds Jnr was actually the most normal person in the team. The fractured relationship with Barba and Benson. The season has been tired. I'm not sure it can be retrieved.

Unknown said...

I don't like how this season fractured Olivia and Barba's friendship and revealed Tucker as Olivia's new Boyfriend. I am having the hardest time accepting the Tuckson ship. I'm a big time supporter of Barson so this season broke my heart. I'm also disappointed that the last two episodes didn't feature Barba as much as they hyped them to. I feel that Munson and Mike Dodds stole the spotlight in the finale. Considering Raul Esparza isn't in any hurry to explore Barba's personal life, I can only hope that Season 18 features more Barba centric episodes. And mends Olivia and Barba's friendship because I like them together over Tuckson.

BensonFan said...

The character Charisse, from the photos from the previous episode, reminded me of the girl from Season 9's Undercover, where there was another story of COs assaulting female inmates.

Being that I haven't watched SVU for several episodes, I don't know...but has the chemistry between Tucker and Benson improved at all? If Olivia's happy, that's good.

Ariel Triton said...

@BensonFan No, it hasn't. It's an awful pairing with no chemistry, so improvement is not an option. :(

JSlayerUK said...

It's interesting - I'm in the UK and hadn't seen any of the promos, so Dodd's death was a shock that made the episode brilliant. I had a feeling he would die because things were going too well (that and Finn's "Terrorism can get you killed" line last week) but the misdirect of his recovery then stroke was a real twist in the gut. From the reaction of other people, I think the episodes are better if you watch them without seeing the promos.

Alphamutt said...

Benson is entitled to moral support, friendship, understanding and comfort in a relationship. Not all couples are born into Disney-like perfection, the kind that makes forest creatures or inanimate objects break into Elton John lyrics. They have both been hurt, are cautious and smart about taking the big steps. I think the chemistry between the two actors and the two characters is pitch perfect.

Ariel Triton said...

Giving Olivia a new bed buddy every month is not chemistry. It's "fan" service.

BensonFan said...

Benson is hardly getting a new bed buddy every month. She's been with three guys that I can think of in the past five years (Harry Connick Jr.'s character, Cassidy, and Tucker).
Let's not shame her.

Alphamutt said...

Puritanical thinking aside, @ Arial Triton, women are no more hard-wired to be madly in love with every one of their sexual partners than men are. As @BensonFan pointed out, Benson has had just three serious relationships in 17 seasons. Where you get your bed buddy of the month idea is beyond me. If an unmarried male character had only three partners in 17 years people would think he was a romantic, or a priest, but a female character is basically called a slut. So not cool.

Alphamutt said...

And giving fans what they want is hardly a crime. Television is meant to be entertaining, and catering to the majority of viewers is smart from a ratings and advertising standpoint. There are plenty of alternatives to SVU for those who have so many problems with almost every aspect of this drama. Bosch is great, as are Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey, Wallander and The Fall.


Thanks again Chris for another season of great recaps, as far as the episode I don't ever recall any TV series that the guest star gets most of the attention not saying it was bad because from a scale of 1 to 10 I'll give this season finale an 8 1/2 out of 10 now on the other hand Chicago p.d a perfect score but that's for another blog. As a few people have mentioned about Barba getting threatened I would of thought the show would of ended like that instead of happy ending, it was good to hear tucker give his reasons why he joined I.A.B since he never trusted no one. One last thing I guess the rumors of meloni making an appearance in season finale were false and also about Fin and his son were supposed to have something happen that was going to keep us guessing what's next, again thanks so much Chris for your hard work on the recaps and I haven't commented in a while but it is season finale so I wanted to show you the respect you deserve and earned for your hard work and go warriors again.

Ariel Triton said...

Okay, thank you for the personal attack. I have not slut shamed her in any form. She has had two highly unrealistic boyfriends within two seasons: first, a glorified one night stand, then this guy. The fans of the old Olivia do not support these ludicrous pairings. But I did not, at any point slut shame her. If the writers want to cater to a minority in the fandom, all of the power to them. But the majority of us are against the one night stand gone bad known as Bensidy and now Tuckson. Have a great day!!

Ariel Triton said...

And, my puritanical thinking aside (not even sure where you get that from), those of us who don't care for the show are just as entitled to vent about it as you "fans" are to stroke Leight's ego, call every episode epic, and tell us we have no right to watch it. Because the old SVU is my second favorite show, next to OUAT.

BensonFan said...

If your last comment was directed at me, I did not intend to personally attack you. I'm truly sorry if it came off that way. You used the phrase "bed buddy every month," which maybe you meant as an exaggeration, but it comes off as shaming Olivia for her choices. But I do agree with you on the point that her pairings haven't been suitable. I thought Hayden was okay, but Cassidy and Tucker aren't, in my opinion.

Anyway, I don't want to clog up the board anymore with our sort of off-topic discussion. I apologize again if I offended you. Wasn't my intention at all.

Ana Andrade said...

@Ariel Triton- you did slut shame Olivia. Or did you not see your previous comment were you called her a glorified hooker? She has only been with 3 men in a span of 5 years. I don't know about you but that's not a lot. There's a difference between not liking who she's with and saying that she sleeps with someone new every month. And as for the "majority of us that's against Tuckson", I would hardly call the people constantly posting negative comments online a majority.

@BensonFan - check the final scene of the episode. I personally think that Olivia and Tucker's chemistry has improved. And this is coming from someone that's neutral about the pairing.

Amy Majdalani said...

So, I'm legitimately curious now. What are that stats of people for Tuckson vs people against Tuckson as of this the end of this season? Are people still divided over it or did the divide shift to a majority opinion now?

Margot Undercliffe said...

I personally don't have a problem with it now. Olivia has been to hell and back and is, in many ways, quite damaged. She also has Noah who is the child of Johnny D and one of his sex slaves. A lot of men couldn't deal with the issues. Tucker understand Olivia, where she has been and what she has been through. It isn't a "wonderful" relationship, but a real one of older more jaded people who care about each other and have each other, they get each other and he is strong enough to stand up to her.

She will never get with Barba but they have a chemistry that Tuckson doesn't have. However, they would be a disaster together as they are both so strong willed and he isn't quite as mature as her and quite spoilt. Barba and Noah - I still remember the way he held him when he went to her apartment. LOL! Besides, there is the Barba/Carisi bromance going on.

Of course, Elliot and Nick's heads would explode if they knew.

Gentle Breeze said...

I thought this was a great episode. Great acting all around. I have been watching SVU since the beginning and loved the direction Warren Leight has taken it. The characters are more multi-dimensional with real lives and not just murder and mayhem. Will miss Andy Karl but know the stage is his first love. He went out with a heartbreaking performance. Bravo to him and Peter Gallagher!

I love Olivia with Tucker. I saw this coming since season 14 so I wasn't at all surprised when they finally connected. Tucker has been a little sweet on her for a while but tried to hide it under his tough exterior but Leight did a good job with subtle hints over the past seasons so it was a natural evolution.

Loved how Olivia exlained why Tucker was so hard-nosed when Barba found out about them "He has to be. He's doing his job!" I think that realization came as she matured in her job over the years. In all cop shows IAB is viewed as the enemy, so I think over time Olivia gained new perspective and probably grudging respect for what IAB does.

It takes a strong man to handle Olivia Benson and Ed Tucker seems to be the right one for the job. They trust each other and he is willing to support her "always". Tuckson all the way. Hope they enjoy Paris!

Ariel Triton said...

The fact of the matter is, it is the writers who are slut shaming her by implying that she can't be happy without a man. It is quite sexist and infuriating, compared to the old Olivia. The old Olivia would never have dated Brian or Tucker. And from what I have seen, the majority is indeed against Tuckson. Some of us are just more vocal than others. A cursory glance at the comments for the past few episodes reveal as much.

But I am not slut shaming for being upset that Leight is a sexist man who decided a strong female cannot exist without an unrealistic boyfriend and a kid she never would have gotten in the real world.

Laura Haseley-Wilson said...

I think if Mariska Hargitay and/or Ice T leave, the show will start to go downhill quick.

Adriene Gomes Matta said...

I never liked Tuckson. Always thought the characters had no chemistry. Their scenes seems forced, i can´t see any emotion, just two people that the writers put together for to please the fans.Olivia is unrecognizable, Tucker´s character was ruined just like Olivia and Barba friendship, which chemistry was amazing. I don´t watch anymore because SVU became another show. And to be very honestly, THANK GOD WARREN LEIGHT LEFT THE SHOW.I hope the new showrunner fix all the mistakes of this guy.

Amy Majdalani said...

I never liked Tuckson the moment it was revealed. I both like Warren Light for bringing the characters of Nick Amaro, Amanda Rollins, Dominick "Sonny" Carisi Jr and ADA Rafael Barba. And I also dislike him for making Olivia and Tucker a couple and nearly ruining Olivia and Barba's friendship in the process. Hopefully, the new showrunner, Rick Eid and exc producer Julie Martin will mend Olivia and Barba's friendship. And have Tuckson blossom and then crash and burn. And have Barba aid Olivia in picking up the pieces of heartbreak. (My first attempt at comparing Tuckson to how long fresh cut roses last, which is about a week in water) It was hard to watch Manhattan Transfer as Olivia defended Tucker in that episode.
I keep watching because of Barba, if he goes a couple of episodes into the next season, then I'll stop watching. I can filter out Tuckson as along as Barba still remains.

BensonFan said...

I do not see any chemistry between Barba and Benson. But I don't see any between her and Tucker, either. I still wish she'd get back with Hayden.

I too am glad Leight is leaving. Maybe I will start watching the show again once he's gone. But I'm not sure because I have a feeling things will continue along the same lines as they are right now.

dimshades said...

"great episode"? I was just starting to like Dodds and they kill him off. Yeah right. He was brain dead/had a bad stroke, in the end we saw him still breathing though. Why'd they kill him?! It was so sad, he was about to get married too.

Also, that "gut shot" looked like it went on his hand, not gut when he blocked the corrupt CO when the gun went off. I was so excited for Dodds to depart the way he was supposed to - being a hero at SVU and then hopefully not having much damage to him, and then going on to Joint Terrorism. BUT NO. HE HAD TO /DIE/. Why is it every time I like a character they either die or transfer out? I liked Monique or whatever her name was way back when, then Fin replaced her almost immediately. Then I liked Munch, and then he initially left too. Then I liked Nick, and then he wasn't on the show anymore (I assume because Danny Pino had other things he wanted to do). And now Dodds grew on me and he's dead. this always happens. lol

Also, Ed and Olivia suck as a couple and I want her to find someone else.

gengen 52 said...

Peter Gallagher killed it in that scene. He definitely deserves an Emmy. Raul Esparza is still my favorite.

Mike said...

Question about the flag draping the coffin. It appeared not to have the correct number of stars, and i thought instead of the stripe being red in color it was green. Did anyone else notice the flag?