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.
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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