Thursday, May 25, 2017

Law & Order SVU “American Dream” & “Sanctuary” Recap & Review


Photos by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

The opening scene of Law & Order SVU usually depicts the crime on which the episode will focus. Many times these scenes seem too staged or even cartoon-ish. But the two-part season 18 finale of Law & Order SVU opened with a shocking scene showing the rape and murder of members of a family at their restaurant which felt all too real. This realism was quite the departure for the show and it set the stage for two hours of tense drama which gave each cast member some time to shine.

The heinous nature of the crime required the involvement of Chief Dodds plus the Hate Crimes Unit. (I thought that Detective Lopez was greatly underutilized.)  One critical witness is lost due to some carelessness on Carisi's part. I assumed that once Yusef decided to leave his apartment that, even with Carisi tagging along,  something would happen to take this witness out of the picture. In this case, it's ICE who scoops up the witness and gets him deported with lightning speed. I know that sometimes our government agencies can be single-minded but I would never think that they could move that fast to both pull someone in AND get them physically out of the country, especially one that was so critical to an NYPD case.  This apparent battle for turf and different priorities for those agencies cost them that crucial person needed to convict the rapists/murderers.   I don’t fully understand the process of getting an illegal processed through the system, but it seemed unrealistically fast that they got Yusef on a plane and out of the country.  But for the sake of the story, I bought into it.

There was a bit of a role reversal when Barba was the person who seemed to be willing to stretch the rules to get a conviction. Usually it's Benson who wants Barba to perform some sort of legal magic or trickery.  In this case, it's Barba who gives the impression that it’s okay if Benson to be fast and loose with the truth. Could this be considered suborning perjury? Even though it’s not Barba who is calling her as a witness, it still felt wrong that he seemed to encourage her to lie to help his case. It's also hard to tell which side of the fence Chief Dodds is on in this matter when he essentially tells Benson no matter what she does, he has her backside. We all know there is no way Benson would lie on the stand. Lucky for all that the wife of one of the perps decided to come clean and tell the truth about her husband, destroying his alibi and sealing his fate. It's hard to tell if this case will cause a long term rift between her and Barba, but seeing that Benson has made unrealistic demands of Barba in the past and they've gotten over it, I sense that this won't have lasting repercussions.

Peppered within the story was political commentary about the current US President and the environment of intolerance and hatred that it has helped to breed and spread. This episode was chock full of well-deserved jabs. We weren’t even a minute into the episode and we got a poke at those who scoff at global warming and the possible demise of the EPA. Soon, we had commentary on immigration and raids (and rumors of raids), sanctuary cities, and that “that crazy thug in D.C.” The Law & Order brand has always done a great job in inserting political commentary, and it felt very welcome in this episode. In my opinion, this was one time where all these political and social references made perfect sense and enhanced the overall story.

It seems like it's been a while, but the area by the courthouse steps at 60 Centre Street has claimed another fatality. At least this time it wasn’t on the steps themselves. This courthouse is likely the deadliest fictional place in New York City.

This was a great finish to season 18, and we’re all looking forward to the new stories that season 19 will bring.



Here is the recap:

Cast:
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:
Peter Gallagher - Chief William Dodds
Pooma Jagannathan - Maya Samra.
Melanie Chandra - Lela Samra
Kirk Acevedo - Det. Ray Lopez
Emma Myles - Carleen Jenkins
Matthew Rauch - Counselor Jay Cochran
Nik Sadhnani - Yusef Massad
Meredith Holzman - Counselor Naomi Ziegler
Tyler Elliot Burke - Mitch Jenkins
Ben Thompson – Stevie Cole
Gil Perez-Abraham - Hector Ramirez
Massiel Mordan - Soledad Ramirez
Cara Ricketts –
Adam Arian - Enzo Salerno
Peter Wallack - Keith Skinner
Nuah Ozryel – Franl Ayemen
Mark St. Cyr – Jamal Turner
Patrick Noonan – ICE Agent Tim Nunn
Erin Noel Grennan – ASAC Andrea Phillips
Nick Ritacco – ICE Agent Rob O’Leary
Chris Cardona - ICE Agent #1
Patrick Byas - ICE Agent #2
Sawandi Wilson - ICE Agent #3
Steve Mones – Franco
Ashley Jordyn – Doctor
Michael Viola – Uni #3
Mack Kuhr – Kanann Samra
Shari Abdul – Shala Samra
Ali Lopez-Sohaili – Aakif Ahmadi
Naren Weiss – Daleel Hamdan
Maia Danziger – Judge Carolyn Pollack
Jason Kaufman – Capt. Phil Saunders
James Augustus Lee – Moto Dude #1
Steven DeMarco – Moto Dude #2
Dave Adams – ESU Sharpshooter
Jack Nawada-Braunwart – Noah Porter Benson
Marlon Perrier – Doctor
Rand Guerrero – Protestor #1
Jeanne Moffit – Protestor # 2
Billy Beyer – Protestor # 3
Henry Gagliardi – Tyler Jenkins

Part 1: “American Dream”

A couple out walking their dog pass the restaurant names “Samra”. Unbeknownst to them, inside the restaurant, members of the Samra family are being attacked, raped, and murdered at the hands of 3 men, one of which says this is not what they came here for.

Later, Benson arrives on the scene. Fin is already there and inform her that there is one DOA, Shala Samra, who was raped and had a fractured skull. Her older sister, Lela, was raped but she will live; she is at Bellevue with her mother. The father, Kanann Samra, is in critical condition with blunt force trauma to the head and two stab wounds, he is on his way to Bellevue too, Detective Ray Lopez introduces himself to Benson – she knows him – and he walks them through the scene. He explains that the mother said there were 3 perps forced their way in and tied them up. After they did the rapes and murder, they ran out the front door. Ten minutes later, the mother escaped and flagged down a cop. She didn’t say anything, Lopez adding the poor lady is a mess. They approach Rollins who is standing over Shala’s body, saying they did a number on this girl. As Benson and Fin look at the body, Carisi adds that the cash register and wall safe has been cleaned out. They dusted for prints but no match in the system. Benson comments if feels like more than a robbery gone bad. Lopez shows Benson what is written on wall – “Muslims must die”. Benson says this is a hate crime.

Later, back at SVU, Benson shows Chief Dodds CCTV footage from outside the restaurant at 10:10 PM showing three males in ski masks entering the front door. Benson explains TARU is going through the footage frame-by-frame; they are canvassing the neighborhood looking for video. Forensics is still going through the scene, the place is a mess. Dodds expresses concern for the racism and hate, adding it’s 2017. Benson counters it’s happening everywhere. Dodds says it shouldn’t happen here, not in New York City. They’re working this 24/7 – all hands on, all precincts, all boroughs. He adds that he sees Hate Crimes is already involved, and asks Detective Lopez what he has. Ray says they are talking to all their informants on the streets, prisons, and gangs. He just got off the phone with the head of the FBI Civil Rights Unit; they want the case and he told them it was theirs, unless they tell him it’s not. Benson quickly pipes in and says no, this is NYPD, a double rape, one murder. Dodds adds they will call them if they need them. The group walks over to the other 3 SVU detectives and Dodds asks what do they know about the family. Rollins explains that Kanann and Maya Samra emigrated legally for Damascus 25 years ago, their daughters Lela and Shala were born here in New York. Carisi adds it is a family-run restaurant in business for 15 years, there are no apparent financial issues. Rollins states they are like model citizens; they pay their taxes, there are no legal problems in their past, not even a parking ticket. Fin explains they are practicing Muslims, they attend a local mosque with no connection to any radical group. Benson comments, “The perfect American family.” Rollins gets a message on her phone and then tells the others that Maya and Lela are in stable condition and are willing to talk. Benson tells Rollins to come with her and instructs Fin and Carisi to go back to the crime scene and talk to anyone and everyone – neighbors, shop owners, competitors, patrons of the restaurant. She adds there are hundreds of Muslim restaurants; they picked Samra and she wants to know why. Carisi and Fin move to leave as Fin says they are on it.

At 2284 3rd Avenue on Monday, May 1, flowers are being places outside the restaurant as a memorial and protestors are nearby as Carisi and Lopez arrive. They speak with a nearby shop owner who cops an attitude at first but with gentle pressure from Carisi, the man tells them a month ago, the Samra’s front window was broken and graffiti was on the door telling them to “go home, Muslims.” They didn’t call anyone, they were too scared. They replaced the windows and scrubbed off the graffiti. Maya said they wanted to stay focused on the good in people, now look where she is.

At Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Monday, May 1, Benson is with Maya, who said it was after 10 and she was locking up for the night. There was a loud banging and she thought a customer forgot something so she opened the door, which she now regrets. Maya Samra explains that 3 men in ski masks, they pushed in with guns. They were shouting “where are your papers – we demand to see your papers.” Then they ripped off their hijabs. Benson asks about their voices and if they had accents, and she replies no, they sounded like New Yorkers, young, white, she thinks. They forced her, Kanann, and the girls into the kitchen and tied them up and started breaking things. Kanann tried to get free and they started kicking him and they stabbed him. They wanted money, and one said the girl is cute. They were talking about Shala and then Lela. She shut her eyes but she could hear the sounds and then it was quiet. Benson says she is so sorry, she can’t imagine. Maya states she was helpless but when they left she broke free. She saw that Shala was dead. Benson suggests they take a break and asks if she can get her some water. Maya adds that one of them whispered and before Maya can say what he said, the doctor enters and tells her that Lela is okay, but then says it is her husband. Maya looks devastated.



Meanwhile, Rollins speaks with Lela, who wonders what she does now. Rollins asks her to tell her what she recalls, and Lela could smell tequila and beer on the one who raped her. She cries mentions her fiancé who flew home to Damascus in December as this father is sick, he has a green card and is trying to come back but can’t. She mentions he is more conservative than she is. She says she needs to speak to her mom to figure out how to explain to him what happened to her.

Carisi arrives at the restaurant scene and asks Fin what does he have, and Fin explains something maybe nothing. He states that CSU states there were 3 male footprints headed out the front door, and Carisi comments that is consistent with the mother’s story. Fin says there is more, and leading Carisi into the kitchen area where he says the officers found the back door unlocked and ajar, but the perps came in the front door. CSU found a fourth footprint fresh from last night heading out the back door. Carisi wonders if the perp was looking for an exit. Fin thinks not as that print does not match any perp or Mr. Samra. Carisi asks if Fin is saying someone else was there during the commission of the crime, and Fin replies it looks like it. Carisi questions that the person just disappeared into the night, stating they are looking for a ghost. Fin says it is a ghost with a size 10 shoe.

Back at SVU, Dodds is there as they review the evidence, hearing there is no DNA or semen. CSU is still working the scene. Lopez states another racist gang is trying to take credit which is standard operating procedure for them. Fin gets something from the tip line – a couple from the neighborhood out walking the dog who may have saw something helpful. Benson tells them to bring them in now.

Later, the couple is in SVU speaking with Rollins and Carisi and describe seeing someone run from the back alley at about 10:45. He was white with dark hair, medium height and thin, young, 20s. He was running like hell. The man says what is happening in the country is insane, asking that this is America.

Afterward, Benson, in her office with Dodds and Fin, summarizes that three men came in the front door, and Dodds says a fourth ran out the back, leaving a bloody footprint. Fin wonders if he came with the perps or was he an innocent bystander. Benson said Maya said they were heading home and the staff had left at the time the three perps showed up so the back door was most likely locked. Benson wonders if he not only left through the back door but came in that way. Dodds suspects he had a key, and tells Benson to call the family and see who else had a key to the restaurant.

At the residence of Lela and Maya Samra at 90 East 127th street on Tuesday, May 2, Benson and Fin question Maya and Lela, asking about who has a key to the back door. It comes out that Maya’s brother Yusef had a key but Maya is reluctant at first to say this, saying he is not involved. But Yusef matches the description of the man fleeing from the back door, and Lela wants know what happened. Benson wants his address, and when Maya asks them not to arrest him, Benson demands his address now.

Later, at Yusef’s address, a roommate answers the door and Benson and Fin enter the apartment with other officers, Fin serving the warrant. They quickly find he has exited through the fire escape and is running. Fin radios the officers below. They quickly apprehend him. Benson and Fin approach and when they question him about the restaurant and why he was running, and he was fearing deportation. He doesn’t have documents and is here illegally – and he s gay. If he gets sent back to a refugee camp, they will kill him.

Back at SVU, Carisi and Rollins question Yusef in the interrogation room. He says he knows what happened and saw it with his own eyes. He wanted to do something but was afraid. He loves his family and he let them down. He tried to text 911 and nothing happened. He heard the sirens and ran. He was not with those other men. He was there to do his chores. He wasn’t supposed to be there, he usually does chores in the morning. He was there around 10:30 and came in the back door. He heard the screaming and thought someone broke in. He saw the men in the masks and he hid. He saw three men and they were doing horrible things to his nieces. Only two of them were doing it, the other man was just standing there. He took off his mask for a few seconds and he saw his face, he thinks he worked for the restaurant.

Benson and Fin are observing and Benson is happy they finally have a lead. Fin is not sure he believes him and Benson thinks he was frightened. Fin asks why not call when it was all over, and Benson thinks he was ashamed and he is an undocumented gay Muslim and in his mind, if he reports this crime, he is on the next plane to Syria. Maya races into Benson’s office, worrying Yusef was arrested. Benson clarifies he is not under arrest. Maya begs her not to call immigration and Benson assures her they will not, saying they only are concerned with finding the man who hurt her family. Fin explains he was there and saw what happened, Benson adding he recognized one of the men as someone who worked at the restaurant.

Benson lets Maya into the interrogation room and Yusef embraces her. He apologizes, saying he could not get himself to admit he didn’t do anything. He asks for her forgiveness, and Maya says she loves him and needs him. Yusef explains he has seen the man somewhere and Maya recalls having to fire a lot of the help as they were undocumented and they were worried they would be fined or shut them down. She will give them a list of who they let go. She also provides a group photo from a previous restaurant party and when she shows the photo, Yusef identifies one of the men, and Maya says it is Hector. She let him go three weeks ago but they treated him like family, wondering how could he do this. Benson asks if she knows where he lives.

At the apartment of Hector Ramirez at 227 West 150th Street on Tuesday, May 2, Carisi and Rollins, there with officers, bang on the door for Hector to open up. A woman opens the door with the chain lock on, Carisi kicks in the door. As they race in, the woman moves to her kids, and Carisi finds them and assures them it is okay. He tells an officer to stay with him. Rollins and Carisi pressure Hector’s wife Soledad for Hector’s location. When Rollins threatens Soledad with taking her children away to social services, Soledad admits he is working at a new restaurant on 125th. As Rollins and Carisi leave, Rollins tells an office to stay with her to make sure she doesn’t call Hector.

They arrive at a restaurant and find Hector working in the kitchen. Carisi subdues him and cuffs him.

Back at SVU in interrogation, Fin and Carisi question him about Friday night. He pretends not to speak English but they know he does. He admits he was fired from the Samra’s restaurant and he was angry, they owed him money. They explain they have a witness who saw him with his ski mask off. Carisi thinks they guy who just watched was him and pressures him to come clean and cut a deal. He says the Samra’s were good people and said he did not rape or kill anyone. He is getting ready to talk and Rollins barges in, saying the interrogation is over, his lawyer is here. He says he does not have a lawyer, and Rollins explains he does now.

Meanwhile, his lawyer, Naomi Ziegler, introduces herself to Benson and Dodds, explaining she is an attorney with the immigration defense project. Dodds explains her client has been identified as being on the scene of the Samra double homicide, and Benson confirms he has been read his rights. Benson adds he has not yet been arrested but they have probable cause to believe Hector is involved in a hate crime. Naomi says Hector is done talking, no more questions, and she wants to meet with him now. Benson leads her into the interrogation room. Dodds thinks someone from the bust must have tipped her off, and Benson comments these immigration lawyers are popping out of the woodwork. Dodds says with all the raids and rumors of raids taking place, you can’t blame them. Benson thinks it is a good thing, it protects them in court down the road. Dodds wants Yusef in to make a formal ID.

Later, Benson and Rollins greet Maya and Yusef as they return to SVU. When Benson explains they need Yusef to officially ID Hector, Maya demands a guarantee that Yusef can stay in the US and no one finds out about his illegal status during the process. Benson assures them no one will find out, not from them. She worries if they deport him they will never see him again. Lela’s fiancé finally got a flight into New York. Maya says Lela doesn’t want to talk to him, she is not herself, but Rollins assures her this is normal, it will take some time. Benson assures them Yusef will be fine as New York is a sanctuary city and they are on their side. Benson promises them.

Shortly after, at a line up, with Barba, Benson, and Naomi present, Yusef quickly identifies Hector. Naomi tries to pressure Yusef that he is sure, and Barba stops her, saying this is not the place. As Benson signals on the window it is Hector, Naomi asks to talk to him again, trying to cut a deal. But Benson says unless he coughs up the other two perps, there is nothing to discuss. Naomi exits and Benson tells Yusef “good work.” Barba explains now they arrest Hector and charge him, but Yusef wants to know what happens with him. Barba explains to Yusef he needs to testify in front of a grand jury so they can formally indict Hector. Barba offers protective custody but Yusef says he will be fine. Barba urges him not to leave the city. Barba suggests a protective detail 24/7 and Barba prefers it be a detective. Benson gives the assignment to Carisi who leaves immediately with Yusef, telling him to stay with Yusef until the grand jury, even as Yusef protests. As they leave, Barba tells Benson to talk to Hector’s lawyer again to see if she has convinced him to make a deal.

In interrogation, Benson and Fin speak with Hector, there with Naomi, continuing to pressure Hector. Benson and Fin try to highlight they think he is a good guy. Benson outlines the heinous crimes and Fin threatens life in prison. He insists he was at home with his wife Soledad and she will back him up. Naomi says no more questions, and Benson says that is his right. She arrests him for rape and murder – with a hate crime enhancement. Fin cuffs him and he and Benson leave the room with Hector.

Afterward, Dodds tells Benson that Naomi is playing a game of liar’s poker, and Benson says pretty damn good, too. Barba asks them besides putting Hector at the scene, what other evidence do they have. Rollins says no forensics yet, and Fin adds Hector claims he was home with his wife. Benson says she is backing him up, too. Rollins states that they are looking for video around Hector’s apartment and going through his phone records and social media for anything to blow up his story. Dodds asks what about the other two perps. Benson adds they are talking to everybody that Hector knows, trying to shake something loose and it’s just a matter of time. She thinks these are not sophisticated criminals; it does not feel like an organized Muslim conspiracy. Dodds states in the meantime they need to arraign Hector to show the Muslim community they are making progress.

Meanwhile, Carisi is at Maya’s place with Yusef. Yusef makes a comment to Lela that he likes her skirt, but stops when Maya gives him a testy glare. He then says it is very fashionable. He then says he needs some cigarettes and decides to go to the bodega, Carisi in tow.

Outside, Yusef smokes and Carisi asks about the skirt comment. Yusef explains Muslims believe that modesty and hiding the skin in the shape of the body is important. It protects women from unwanted sexual advances. As they walk into a crowd of protestors, Yusef says everyone is so angry, and when Carisi says he gets it, Yusef thinks he doesn’t. He says people think they are all the same and Carisi thinks most of them know better. But Yusef doesn’t think so, do the protesters think things will change? He thinks the world or people do not change. Carisi says people are uniting and having their voices heard, refusing to be oppressed, this is what the country is all about and why Yusef came here. Yusef explains he came here because he likes to be alive. Yusef looks away and sees ICE officers approaching, and he runs. Carisi runs after him but is stopped by more ICE officers. Holding up his badge, Carisi explains who he is and why he is here and tries to get them to allow him to call the DA. When Yusef can’t provide any documentation, ICE takes Yusef away anyway. Carisi is enraged and tells Yusef not to say anything and ask for a lawyer. Yusef thinks he has been betrayed. Carisi asks an ICE officer where are they taking Yusef, but he gets no answer.

Meanwhile, outside the courthouse, Benson and Dodds exit with Barba who explains to the waiting press that someone has been arraigned and held without bail. Dodds says no comment, as does Benson. As they walk off, Dodds says arraigning a Mexican illegal is not the business they want to be in right now, it looks like they are making Hector a scapegoat, supporting that crazy thug in DC. Barba asks if it was a white guy with scary tattoos, and Dodds adds – but a narrative. Dodds adds it has been bad since the election but these ICE raids are making it worse. Benson gets a call from Carisi and is shocked and says she will meet him there. She explains to Barba and Dodds that Yusef got caught up in a protest and ICE snatched him up 15 minutes ago. She doesn’t know where they have taken him, she is meeting Carisi and the field office. Barba says he will get her a warrant. She asks him to let her know if he hears anything. She races off.

Later, with Carisi at the ICE field office, Benson tells an agent that she is looking for Yusef Massad who is a material witness in a pending double homicide investigation. He asks if she has a warrant, and Carisi replies they are in the process of getting one, and he says when they get one, they can come back. Carisi insists they need to find him right now, he is supposed to testify to a grand jury tomorrow morning. The man says that is not his concern. Benson asks where is his boss, and when he asks, “Excuse me?” Benson gets testy and says, “Go get your boss now. Look, I realize you’re young and just trying to do your job, but I’m warning you. I’ve been doing my job a long time and I got a lot of friends. “ He asks if she is threatening him, and Benson glares at him and nods. He takes them in.

Inside the office of ASAC Andrea Phillips, she hangs up the phone tells Benson and Carisi they should hear soon. Benson questions why this is so complicated, and the agent explains it is a mess. They don’t have enough cells for all these guys and they are putting them in jails, prisons, and army barracks, any place they can find. It is not a well oiled machine at the moment. Benson complains this is absurd and New York is a sanctuary city and they are not supposed to be rounding up immigrants. Phillips explains that is their job, to round up illegal immigrants, adding it is not their fault NYPD thinks they are above Federal law. Benson leans in and testily states this is a double rape, double homicide so she is pretty sure that Yusef is more valuable there, testifying, than in a refugee camp in Syria. Phillips calmly replies that is why she is trying to help. Carisi asks when they grab somebody, what happens next, and Phillips states it depends on who does the grabbing and who does the processing, it is a mess right now. She gets a message and tells them she has some good news; Yusef is being held in Patterson, NJ, but it looks like he was deported previously for overstaying a student visa. She tells them to get to Patterson as soon as possible with a material witness warrant in their hand.

At Passaic County Jail in Patterson, New Jersey on Thursday, May 4, Barba is there with Benson and Carisi with a state court warrant. He is told by an officer that it doesn’t give Barba jurisdiction. Benson argues why they need Yusef but finds he is not there any longer. He is considered a national security threat and is being deported to Syria. The officer can’t disclose what airport he is at. Benson continues to argue the point but the officer says he doesn’t want to get into politics and says it is time for them all to leave before things get unpleasant. Benson angrily says they already are unpleasant, and the officer agrees, telling them to get the hell out of there. Barba asks or what, are they going to deport him to Cuba and take Carisi to Italy? Carisi says they are all on the same side here, but the officer hands the warrant back, telling them sarcastically to have a nice day. Barba snaps the warrant out of his hand. As Benson outlines a plan to get people at the airport, another officer working the desk says the plane left for Syria 10 minutes ago, saying sorry, he has bosses just like them. Benson sighs in frustration.

Back at SVU, Fin asks Benson and Barba if they really deported that dude, and Barba confirms he is over the Atlantic. Fin wonders if it is payback for not giving the case back to the FBI, and Benson replies who knows, with everything going on, they may have deported him anyway. Barba asks Rollins to tell him they have more evidence. She explains that CSU did find a couple strands of Hector’s hair at the scene. When Barba says he worked there for months, it would be easy to explain it away, Carisi says they clean the place, they have an A rating. Barba understands but no jury will convict on a few strands of hair. Benson asks about Yusef’s ID from an official line-up, the defense attorney was there. Barba states without Yusef, it is meaningless. They have to indict soon, and Benson dejectedly says she gets it. She asks what is he going to do.

Later, in the courthouse hall, Barba addresses the press, saying pursuant to Rule 188 of the Criminal Code, they have just released Hector. He adds he is still the prime suspect in this case and they expect to formally indict him in the near future.

Outside the courthouse with a throng of protestors, Benson and the detectives walk down the courthouse steps, Hector and Naomi passing them on the way down. Both sides of the protest factions face off against each other with police in between. As fighting erupts, Benson walks off with the detectives.

Back at SVU, as Lopez watches the news coverage, Benson and the detectives return to the squad room. He asks if they are alright, and Rollins explains for the most part, Fin adding it wasn’t pretty. Lopez tells Benson that unfortunately her day isn’t getting any easier: Maya and Lela are there.

In the interview room, Maya reminds Benson of her promise but Benson explains the situation and is forced to backtrack. They are upset Hector went free, As Benson is explaining they are not giving up on this case, Fin charges in and says they have a situation.

Elsewhere, police have arrived at a bar and Benson, Fin, and Rollins find Hector is being held at gunpoint by two males, middle eastern. Hostage negotiators have been calling on the land line and there is no answer. They let all the employees and patrons go. It is just the three of them. They are setting up pole cams now to see if they can isolate them. Benson pleads that she can’t risk this witness getting killed, and the officer in charge says they are on the same page, they do not want to lose a hostage. He says if they get a clear shot, they will take it. Benson is frustrated,

Inside the bar, one man holds a gun on Hector asking who killed Shala and Kanann. The phone is ringing and the man with the gun tells the other not to answer it. The man argues with Hector as a camera snakes into the room. They have a visual in the back window and the man in charge asks if they have a clear shot. They do. He tells them to take him out, and as Benson asks him to wait, the shot is fired and the man with the gun is hit and he drops. The police swarm in and arrest the other man. Benson and the detectives also enter, Hector commenting that they were going to kill him. Rollins says they didn’t,  and Benson tells the officer to get Hector out of there. Benson looks at the dead body on the floor, and she shakes her head and looks at Fin, then looks stunned as we fade to black.


Part 2: “Sanctuary”

In the squad car, Hector tells Benson they were going to shoot him but she asks what was he doing in the bar. He was trying to get drunk, he was not looking for trouble. The must have been following him and then they put the gun to his head asking who killed Kanann and Shala, which he denied. Benson says he let it happen, he let those girls get raped and he let Shala and Kanann die. She adds unless he tells them who was involved, this is not going away. Fin knocks on the car window and says Hector’s lawyer Naomi is here. Benson steps on the car and when Naomi chastises her for questioning Hector without her, Benson reminds her Hector is a victim. Benson tries to argue the point but Naomi says Hector is done talking. Benson says that is her choice, and Fin adds it is a stupid one at that. He adds it is obvious he wants to cooperate. Naomi insists he has a rock hard alibi that he wife will corroborate and they have the wrong guy. Benson brings up Yusef and the lineup and Naomi says he is now in a refugee camp somewhere in Turkey. Benson tersely states that does not mean the ID in invalid. Naomi counters the state doesn’t have enough evidence to convict and she excuses them to take Hector to the hospital, unless Benson wants to arrest him for being held hostage.

Dodds arrives and Benson and the detectives explain a hostage taker is dead – a local business owner – and the other is a student. Neither one has a record or ties to terror activity. Carisi says it was personal; one was tired of the racial slurs and wanted to get justice. Benson explains they help him at gunpoint to reveal his co- conspirators but he didn’t. Fin says his lawyer has him convinced he is innocent. Benson says the wife is backing up the story so they need to crack her, and Dodds tells them to do it fast, this needs to end before somebody else gets killed.

At the apartment of Hector Ramirez at 227 West 150th Street on Thursday, May 4, Soledad is blaming Rollins and Carisi for what happened to Hector. They pressure her to tell the truth, and Carisi threatens her with perjury and Rollins brims up Soledad’s kids again. She throws them out.

Elsewhere, Benson and Fin cross a line of protestors outside Samra’s. They knew the man who got shot and they find out he had a gun. Benson says they need to put pressure on Hector to cooperate and ask if there is anything they can remember that would put Hector at the restaurant that night. Lela thinks there isn’t. Maya said when they first came in, someone turned off the security camera at the front door and went to is like her knew it was there. Benson thinks this is helpful.

In Barba’s office, Fin explains they found Hector’s prints on the camera which Barba says is useless. Rollins counters that he was let go three weeks before the attack, and Carisi adds Hector worked as a bus boy not in charge of security. Barba states it is weak evidence. Benson says they all understand, asking them to calm down. Barba brings up Hector’s wife, who is illegal. He suggests calling ICE – or threatening it. Carisi is shocked at the suggestion, reminding him this is a sanctuary city, but Barba counters that she is lying to protect a suspect in a horrific crime. He shouts at Carisi to call him crazy, but his sympathy is with Maya and Lela, not the wife of the perp. Carisi comments to Benson but she stands up and says this is NYPD policy and they all agree on that but this is different. She is not a shill for the Feds and she doesn’t give a damn about immigration status but right now, what is happening in this city – they need to play every card in the deck. She tells them to bring in Soledad and her kids too. Rollins and Carisi remind her of the late hour, but Benson says NOW. Benson storms out.

Later, in Benson’s office, Benson and Fin pressure a frazzled Soledad, threatening that she could lose her kids. Soledad doesn’t seem to want to break, but when Benson picks up the phone and puts in a call to Special Agent Phelps, Soledad quickly folds and admits Hector was not home until late. He woke her up at 2AM and had blood on his shoes, She asks to see her kids and says she will tell them everything. Benson thanks Phelps, saying she owes her one. Fin asks if she was really going to do it, and Benson says Soledad just boxed Hector into a corner so he has no choice but to take a deal. She tells Fin to go pick Hector up.

Later, with Hector in interrogation with Naomi, Fin and Carisi outline what has transpired with Soledad and he has now been put at the scene. They mention the hate crime kicker and despite Naomi trying to stall, Hector wants to talk. He admits he was drinking with two guys he knows from a job – Mitch Jenkins and Stevie Cole. He was pissed about being fired and they wanted to mess with the Samras. They were going to trash the place and send a message but Kanann fought back. Mitch kicked him and stabbed him and then they went after Lela and Shala. He wanted the money, he did not want what happened and things got out of control. Mitch lives in New Brunswick and Stevie lives in queens. Carisi heads out of the room.

At Tommy’s Moto Garage at 6814 Cooper Avenue in Queens on Friday, May 5, Fin and Carisi, along with additional officers, ask for Stevie and he is quickly apprehended.

Elsewhere, Lopez arrests Mitch Jenkins, his wife Carleen arguing with Rollins. Mitch yells for Carleen to call a lawyer. Carleen gets out of control and Rollins forces her into a chair to get her to stop and tries to calm Carleen’s son. Rollins lets her go to take care of her son.

In SVU interrogation, Fin and Carisi question Stevie. He denies doing anything and says that Hector have them up to cut a deal. He says he couldn’t have done that, that is not who he is. He asks for a lawyer.

Meanwhile, Rollins and Lopez question Mitch and he thinks it was Hector who smelled of tequila, as they love it and they love raping, adding just ask the president. Lopez and Rollins continues to press him, Rollins mentioning what Lela recalls, and Mitch makes racial comments, saying she can get on the stand and convince 12 Americans she is telling the truth. He denies doing it but wishes he did, because the terrorists deserve whatever they can get. He mentions a family member being killed on 9/11 and then calls Rollins a stupid, white, liberal. He asks for a lawyer, calling Rollins a bitch. Rollins moves quickly around the table to get in his face and says she will see him in court, he will be indicted first thing tomorrow. She storms out, Lopez in tow.

At the Grand Jury Part 14 on Friday, May 19, Hector admits he waived immunity for his testimony, he pleaded guilty to a crime (murder in the second degree and kidnapping) and that he’s received no promises in regards to his sentence. He outlines for the jury what happened that night.

Afterwards, on the courthouse steps with Benson and her detectives standing behind him, Barba announces to the press that the grand jury has indicted - for rape, kidnapping, and murder – Mitchell Jenkins and Steven Cole. He turns and tells the detectives they have their work cut out for them. Benson says they are ready, Shots are fired and everyone ducks or cover. Carisi races off in the direction of the shots. Officers have subdued the shooter. Carisi finds Hector on the ground, shot. He tells Benson, Barba, Fin and Rollins that Hector has been shot. Benson is floored.

At the hospital, Benson is on the phone with Barba telling him the bullet nicked an artery. Barba told her he needs Hector alive. Fin says he needs a beach house in the Hamptons. Rollins and Carisi explains the shooter is Keith Skinner who went to high school with Stevie Cole. They don’t know if Mitch or Stevie set this up but Keith said he was a patriot, followed by racial slurs. A doctor comes out and tells Benson that Hector did not make it. Carisi comments this was their only witness, and Benson says they go back in and keep digging; they need to put those two punks in the vicinity Friday night. She will call Barba. Soledad arrives with her kids and hears the news, and angrily pushes Benson tries to console her but Soledad pushes her away. Soledad is completely devastated, and she sobs.

Carleen Jenkins is at SVU and Carisi and Rollins question her and Rollins and Carisi threatens Carleen with her kids if she continues to lie. She insists she is not lying and shouts for her to leave her son out of this. Rollins brings up that they know about the fights she and her husband have and that she has called the cops 4 times but dropped the charges. Rollins says she is giving her a chance to save herself and Carisi brings up her son. Carleen shouts that he doesn’t give a damn about her son because he is not an immigrant, queer, or trans-“whatever the hell they are called”. She thinks a regular white kid is a curse and nobody cares about him or her and this is why they are in this mess. Dodds is observing with Benson and Barba in Benson’s office and he comments about all the hate. He asks what is happening in this country, it is like all of a sudden people feel free to say all the horrible things they are thinking out loud, no common decency or no filter. Barba thinks people have always felt this way, now they just feel empowered, they have permission. Benson says she gets it, asking if they can really blame Carleen, saying she is angry, frustrated, is married to a rapist and murder who clearly intimidated her to cover for him. Barba counters she is playing the role of a dutiful wife. Benson says she is a dutiful abuse victim. Barba states either way, she is backing up her husband’s alibi and they have to prove she is lying. Benson states they are all over it, asking them to trust her. Dodds thinks somebody had to see those three on Friday night. Benson explains they are canvassing the neighborhood and they will find something.

Later, Lopez tells them they caught a break at a deli 3 blocks away from the Samra restaurant. It is a video inside the store which places Stevie and Mitch there at 11:30 PM, 30 minutes after the unis responded to the Samras and puts a dent in Mitch’s alibi. Carisi says they will just have to give this to the defense and they will just adjust the timeline of the alibi. When Benson tells Barba this is where they are, he says they need more, he can’t take this to trial. Hector’s grand jury testimony is not admissible, he already tried with the judge. Benson sees Maya arrive who tells Benson she recognizes the faces of the attackers and she knows who they are. She said she could not tell her before that she saw their faces as they threatened to kill her and Lela if she told them. Now they are in jail she is not afraid and now she wants to testify.

In the interview room, Maya explains to Benson and Barba that they looked her right in the eye when they left and threatened to kill her. She said they took the masks off for a few seconds, and Lela did not see their faces. She just wants to tell the truth and put them in prison. Barba agrees, as long as this is the truth. She insists it is.

Later, in Barba’s office, he and Benson discuss this latest development and discuss whether Maya is telling the truth or not. Barba says they have no proof she is lying so she is credible. Benson asks if he is going to put her on the stand, and Barba says they both know that victims and witnesses change their stories or what they recall all the time. Her story isn’t perfect but it is plausible. Benson questions that plausible is the standard. Barba replies at this moment in time, yes. He adds he is not omniscient and does not have a crystal ball – and Benson cuts him off, saying nobody wants these bastards to suffer more than her – and Barba cuts her off and says our legal system is the best there is but it is not perfect, or pure. It never was.

In Supreme Court Part 7 on Tuesday, May 23, Maya is on the stand and states that the two defendants, Stevie and Mitch, were the attackers, along with Hector. She explains two of them took off the ski masks when it was over and threatened to kill her and Lela if she talked. Anger changed her mind.  Her husband and daughter is dead and her other daughter is in so much pain it is hard for her to process it. She doesn’t care if she lives or dies, this is why she decided to tell the truth. Under cross examination, it comes out that the morning after the incident, she told Benson she did not see their faces, yet the day after Hector died, she told Benson she did see their faces. The defense lawyer accuses her of lying and that she changed her testimony to increase the odds of winning the case and get justice for her family. He also said she waited until Hector was dead to tell Benson because she thought that was the only way to win the case. Maya pauses, and says that is not true. She states she told Benson weeks before Hector was killed. Benson looks stunned and alarmed, and Barba looks frozen.

Afterward, in the courthouse hall, Rollins tells Benson she believed Maya until she made that comment about telling Benson before. Benson says it never happened. Rollins thinks she is desperate. Barba approaches to speak with Benson and Rollins says she will see Benson back at the squad. Barba explains he just got an updated witness list from the defense and Benson’s name is on it and he wants to question her about the phone call with Maya. Benson says it’s the phone call that never happened, asking if Barba knows that. Barba comments if she says so. Benson wonders what he means by this, and they move off to speak privately. Barba tells Benson that Maya has had a horrific trauma and maybe she forgot the exact timing of the phone call or the content of the conversation. Benson looks surprised at Barba and asks if he is suggesting she back her story. Barba replies he is suggesting she is human and he is not telling her what to say. She says it sounds like he was. He counters that this is a different case with different circumstances and she needs to do what she believes is right, simple as that.

At home, Benson spends some time with Noah, waiting for Lucy. There is a knock at the door and it is not Lucy, it is Chief Dodds. She asks that he talked to Barba and he says he did. Benson says she does not need advice and he says he is not here to give advice. He is here to offer absolution. He says there are no good choices here, but there are no bad choices, if that makes sense. She replies not really. He explains no matter what decision she makes, she’s good, he will make sure her backside is covered. Benson counters that she didn’t know her backside needed covering. He explains that over the years he has been in this situation a few times and he played it both ways; he’s forgotten certain things to get the right result and remembered certain things that helped get the wrong result. He says God’s honest truth, it feels the same. But that is him, he is good at rationalizing things, it comes with the territory. He moves to leave, and Benson asks what would he have told Mike. He replies the same thing he just told her. He leaves.

At Supreme Court Part 7 on Wednesday, May 24, Benson is on the stand being questioned by the defense. During her testimony, she admits that Maya did not call her until after Hector was killed. Benson tries to rationalize the difference in Maya's versions to the trauma that Maya suffered, but the defense lawyer thinks Maya is lying. Barba objects and the judge sustains it.

Afterwards, Benson leaves the courtroom and she Maya and Lela approach her, upset that Benson said she would help them. Benson apologizes but Maya thinks she does not care. Maya rips into Benson but Lela pulls her away, saying they will be okay. Carleen, waiting in the hall, sees this and realizes what has happened. Carleen admits she knows what her husband did and Benson explains to Carleen what kind of man her husband is, and the next dead woman on the floor may be herself. She tells Carleen to tell the truth not for Maya or Lela but for herself and her son – take that first step. Carleen asks to what, and Benson replies freedom and safety.

At Supreme Court Part 7 on Wednesday, May 24, Carleen testifies that her husband was not home with her that evening. She admits she lied to the police the first time. Today she is telling the truth, she didn’t see him until early in the morning and he had blood on his pants and shoes. He leaps up and calls her a lying bitch and races over to her, saying he will kill her. As court officers restrain him, the judge calls for order. They take him and her out of the courtroom. Barba looks relieved.

Outside the courthouse on the steps, Barba speaks to the press and protestors, saying today justice was served. Benson stands behind him with Maya and Lela. He states the victory will not bring back Shala and Kanann Samra or erase the tragic events of the crime, but it may help the Samra family and this great city begin to heal. Maya and Lela move off into the crowd. Fin says to Benson it was a hell of a case, and Benson says it was a hell of a year. Fin states they got a conviction, that is all that matters, and Benson comments she wishes it was that simple. As she walks off, Carisi, standing with Rollins, says he will see her tomorrow.

Back at SVU, Barba walks into Benson’s office and asks if he can buy her a celebratory cocktail. Benson declines, saying she has to get home. He asks if she is upset with him, and she replies no. He asks if she is disenchanted. She replies that they all have to answer to their own gods. He comments that luckily his is more accepting than hers. She smiles. Dodds enters and says he is sorry to interrupt. She is surprised to see him and asks what is going on, wondering if he is okay. He states that a mosque in East Harlem just got firebombed; five dead. Dodds looks at Barba, Barba looks at Benson, and Benson looks stunned and sits down. As they ponder this in silence, we fade to black.

Season 18 ends.

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36 comments:

joshtoth83 said...

Wanted to clear up something on the issue of deporting illegal immigrants. There are two avenues to remove an illegal immigrant. The first method is through the courts, however ICE has the authority to remove an immigrant through administrative removal proceedings. Those proceedings make it possible to remove someone rather quickly and given the fact that Yousef previously overstayed a visa that made him a priority for removal. Hope that helps.

Chris Zimmer said...

joshtoth83 - yes that does help! Thanks for the explanation!

Mrs. D. said...

Great recap but correction: ICE agent O'Leary played by Nick Ritacco (NOT Rick).

chillicothe20 said...

I really enjoyed it. It was very well-paced throughout.

It WAS predictable that the brother would be deported. The second they promised everything would be fine, we knew it wouldn't. The second Carisi left with him, it was clear something would happen. However, it did not feel expected the way it happened. And I did enjoy the trip to Jersey where Barba got to be sassy.

On Barba, his half pushing Liv to lie (or maybe omit the truth) was sort of uncharacteristic. I knew Liv wouldn't lie. Her principles are very solid. I was expecting the case to go south at the point. Dodds was interesting. I love Peter Gallagher (is he back for next season). He was great throughout, and I liked his impromptu visit to Liv's (though she ought to check the peephole on her door!!!). He and Barba seemed to be harden by the difficulty of catching and convicting criminals in a way Liv isn't. Obviously she has seen so much, but she still seems to feel they can win by doing the right thing.

Fin was barely around in the episode, but Rollins got a lot to do. I loved her getting tough with the suspect's wife, who was clearly lying. She was also great in the interrogation later. Rollins is a great character when not dragged down by personal drama (like her sister).

Overall, I enjoyed the two-hour all-in-one format. It was like an SVU movie.

Thanks for all your work on this site.

Bring on next season!!!

Roselynn Finch said...

I am so tired of the political agenda of this show. Trump is not perfect. But illegal aliens do need to go. Sanctuary cities should be illegal!

Ana Andrade said...

Awesome finale. Can't wait for next season :)

Chris Zimmer said...

@Mrs. D. - thanks, fixed!

magix74 said...

I really enjoyed ese episodes. Thought they were the best of the season. Yes, it was predictable that the brother would get deported but it was great that SVU took this issue on. I hope there are more episodes as good as this next season.

Laurie Fanat said...

I thought these were decent episodes. They gave the cast some dialog that they could show some passion and emotion. It was more lively than most episodes. Some was predictable (Yusef being scooped up by ICE) but all in all, I thought it was good. I didn't expect a cliffhanger. If this would have been the last episode of SVU ever, THEN I would have called it a dud of an ending. My thinking: they knew the series was going to be renewed when they did this episode. If they didn't know, we would have had a much different ending.

Barba giving Benson a green light to Benson to lie was a head-scratcher. Benson has asked him to find loopholes so many times and he's stood firm that this flip in his behavior seemed off to me. Did Barba just want one for the win column for a high profile case? I also think Dodds and Benson have a great chemistry. I hope Peter Gallagher continues to recur.

I concur on the lite use of Kirk Acevedo's character. He was window dressing. I was glad to see him in this episode and he'd be a great permanent addition to the cast. Now that Chicago Justice is over, I wonder if Jon Seda would cross over to SVU? Speaking of the Chicago shows, I was shocked to read today that Sophia Bush is leaving Chicago PD. I didn't see why. That could hurt that show, she's a big draw.

I am interested in hearing who the new SVU showrunner will be. I liked the general direction SVU took this season (less silly personal stories) so I hope the new showrunner will not revert to stories that are character- centric.

Gentry Harms said...

I grow ever tired of Hollywood proselytizing us about their personal gripes about Trump and politics. We get it, you're butthurt that you lost and you intend to make the next 4 years unbearable with incessant whining and claims of incompetence. We watch TV to AVOID such soapbox sermons. I wonder if those on the FAR left realize the damage they are doing to their own agenda with these tactics. The mere fact that SVU is championing the ILLEGAL act of being a "Sanctuary City" shows Americans that you are more interested in those here illegally than those who were born here. Not a good look.

Gentry Harms said...

I grow ever tired of Hollywood proselytizing us about their personal gripes about Trump and politics. We get it, you're butthurt that you lost and you intend to make the next 4 years unbearable with incessant whining and claims of incompetence. We watch TV to AVOID such soapbox sermons. I wonder if those on the FAR left realize the damage they are doing to their own agenda with these tactics. The mere fact that SVU is championing the ILLEGAL act of being a "Sanctuary City" shows Americans that you are more interested in those here illegally than those who were born here. Not a good look.

Jane said...

I thought this episode was So heavy handed....OK, we get it, you don't like Trump and his immigration policies...We don't need to be hit over the head with it. Liberal preaching at it's best...

Roselynn Finch said...

SVU is liking watching an episode of The Young Turks, at this point. White Americans, straight people, and everyone in between are bigoted on the basis of their race, orientation, etc, according to these media sources. SVU attempting that Trump episode is just proof of how low it has fallen. It's trash, and I can't wait for it to be cancelled.

Moo said...

I thought the constant string of bad things happening to nearly ruin the case was a bit over the top and exhausting, but otherwise it was a really good pair of episodes. I also agree that the hate crimes guy was way underused!

The one other thing that really bothered me was the bit with Barba nudging Benson to fudge the truth and her being upset by that. The thing is, Barba has allowed a victim to fudge the truth on the stand before and that victim was Benson, during the William Lewis trial. She may not have felt comfortable lying on the stand in this case, but it didn't make sense for her to be surprised that he'd suggest it - especially when she often bends the law in other ways. Her comment to him about God at the end also felt out of place, but that might be because her weirdly religious dialogue from last week's ep is still fresh in my memory.

Tari C said...

Well - Will never have to struggle through another season. The Chief calling the President of the United States "a crazy thug." Endorsing sanctuary cities. Police who will not follow the laws?? This was the worst and most political episode yet. Am so done with the elite liberals.

Jane said...

The Law and Order franchise has always tackled political and social issues...Abortion, gun control, immigration, police brutality, but I never felt I was being hit over the head and lectured too until last nights episode. That was the most disappointing thing for me.

OhSusannah said...

I agree that the two-hour season finale was basically pretty good. SVU has dealt with Muslim issues, hate crimes , etc in the past, with no one crying foul that they are liberal crazies with a hidden agenda. It must be the very recent political climate that the Trump era has ushered in, obviously.I agree Kirk Acevedo as Det Ray Lopez was extremely underutilized, inexplicably so. He should have been center stage at some point- Det Amanda Rollins was featured a great deal more in this episode. I too am sorry to see showrunner Rick Eids move on so abruptly after just one season at the helm. I liked Warren Leight in the past, but the show is a crime show. Year after year of Benson-centric episodes I found grating after a while. The show is an ensemble cast, essentially and each actor/character deserves equal screen time. I know Benson/Mariska are the major players in and on the show but I'd like to see more interaction in the coming season.

Dana said...

This is the last SVU episode for me. After last week's repulsive episode implying all Christians, white people and Midwesterners are idiots, I was almost done. This episode, with its constant snarky comments about the president and ICE and its celebration of sanctuary cities was almost unbearable to watch. Islamophobia is almost a nonentity yet they always make it into such a big thing, I googled firebombing a mosque and got three incidents - two in California and one in Perth, Australia several years ago. According to the FBI,the majority of hate crimes are perpetrated against Jews. I just can't watch this stuff any longer.

Sherry Tevis said...

Well I just want to say thanks as I fell asleep right after Liv found out she would have to testify!I woke up at the last scene in her office! ARGGH! I figured she would tell the truth..so thanks for this extremely detailed synopsis! And people if you don't like it, don't watch it.

Sherry Tevis said...

Well I just want to say thanks as I fell asleep right after Liv found out she would have to testify!I woke up at the last scene in her office! ARGGH! I figured she would tell the truth..so thanks for this extremely detailed synopsis! And people if you don't like it, don't watch it.

Sherry Tevis said...

Well I just want to say thanks as I fell asleep right after Liv found out she would have to testify!I woke up at the last scene in her office! ARGGH! I figured she would tell the truth..so thanks for this extremely detailed synopsis! And people if you don't like it, don't watch it.

IRON BLACK SABBATH MAIDEN said...

Good Episodes But I'm Sorry They Didn't Feel Like Season Finale Material. On Chicago Fire, PD, Med They All Finished With A What The **** Is Going To Happen Next. This Just Felt Like A Regular Episode In The Season. Acevedo I Was Thinking At First Showed Up Cause Maybe Someone Like Carisi Or Barba Was Leaving The Show And Either Acevedo Would Of Taken Over For Carisi Or Carisi Would Of Become Next D.A And Acevedo Taken His Place As Detective. My Grade For The Episodes Is 8 1/2 Out Of 10. And Once Again Just Like Every Year Mariska Hargitay Said It Was Going To Be Best Season Finale Ever Which In My Opinion Is The 2nd Worst Only To Season 7 Finale.

IRON BLACK SABBATH MAIDEN said...

By The Way Thanks Again Chris For Another Season Of Hard Work Recaps On Your Part!! I Hope To Be Seeing More In Next Few Years From You.

Chris Zimmer said...

I've been sitting back and watching all the comments on this episode and have held off replying. Clearly there are differences of opinions on the political and social commentary made in the season finale. I enjoy these kinds of stories that bring out diverse opinions. It's something that's been missing in SVU for a while. Maybe that's why some people feel it was too much. But for me, I enjoyed the subtle and not-so-subtle political digs in both these episodes. It reflects perfectly what's going on in the world right now.

News of the new showrunner, Michael Chernuchin, broke the day after the finale aired. I think this is an excellent choice and I'm now really looking forward to season 19.

IRON BLACK SABBATH MAIDEN said...

Actually One Thing That Rubbed Many People The Wrong Way Was The Episodes Came Out A Day Or Two After What Happened In Manchester And I Forgot The Other Place, Many Felt It Was Wrong Timing But It Was A Season Finale How Was SVU Supposed To Know About What Was Going To Happen? I Never Talk Politics Or Religion But In This Case I Understand Why Some Feel Like They Do.

DaveInAtlanta said...

I too was watching the comments and saw that there's a difference of opinion about how politically driven the show has gotten. A couple of points:

1. This is not the first time REAL politicians (or political figureheads) have been alluded to. Keep in mind how ADA Novak (A true O.G. in my book) subpoenaed Donald Rumsfeld (And almost got cussed out by the DA in his office for it) in an earlier season. Politics has always been on the sidelines. They either mention "the new mayor" or "the new administration" in some fashion to put their fictional unit in the context of what's happening in New York.

2. Yes, it is a little preachy. And I cringe when a show as good as this goes for an easy "uh huh" from the Left. Now don't get me wrong, the show is about a NEW YORK CITY POLICE UNIT. The politics in that region lean a little bit to the left. But the show has gotten away from a discussion on these issues to a consensus on these issues and that's disturbing. Remember how the writers used to have Fin, Olivia, Munch, and Elliot all in the squad room discussing the sides of the issue without putting weight on any side in particular. That's what's missing and people can feel that about the show.

3. I will watch next season for continuity's sake, however if they really want to do a favor to the fans, they need to have the current writers room sit and REALLY watch the first 10-12 seasons of the show. We as the fans need appropriate callbacks. They need Christopher Meloni to come back in some capacity and do a story with Liv that's true to the show. Cassidy will need to take a break from being Mayhem (among other things) and join the cast. People need to come out of retirement, the writing needs to call back to the past and the political slant needs to go. The issues can remain, but the discussion of all sides needs to come back. I agree last week needed a voice from rural America to refute the broad generalization of people of Christian faith.

I love this board and Chris, thank you for this forum and your recaps and reviews

gummboote said...

Certainly better than the last few episodes but... if Benson had backed up Maya's statement, would the defence have left it at that? Wouldn't they have wanted to know why some kind of facial descriptions weren't circulated? Or to see some documents recording the new information at the time? Mightn't they have called every member of the SVU team and asked each one if they'd known of it?

The end of the trial was a cop-out. It seems unlikely that Carleen would have been impressed by Benson's sympathetic act when she'd just seen her dump on a woman she was supposed to be supporting.

MsUn PC said...

I am a big fan of SVU. I've watched for years and years.
I hate it when someone is attacked just because of their race or religion.
But, Muslims aren't always the victim.
I would love to see a couple of episodes spotlighting the hate towards Christians because it's happening. Christians are also being threatened, raped, murdered, tortured and ridiculed.
Not all Muslims are bad. Neither are all Christians.
I would love for SVU to show that real Christians aren't the intolerant, stupid, crazy nut jobs the media makes them out to be.
I will continue to watch.
Just don't step over to the Left completely. You don't need to use propaganda.
Showing both sides would be fair.
I just hope that if SVU does decide to shine some positivity on Christians, that others won't throw a fit.
SVU needs to show more diversity when it comes to beliefs.
I can't wait to see what the next season brings. Hopefully not propaganda.
I can always hope.

MsUn PC said...

ETA: Concerning last week's episode, "Conversion", that was no church. That was a cult.
But, no one had any of the characters talk of it possibly being a cult. They just kept referring to it as a church.
Hopefully, people with common sense wouldn't lump them in with real Christians. Because that's not what real Christians do.

MsUn PC said...

Agreed.
I have no problem if a person comes to this country legally.
But, I have no problem shipping ILLEGALS out.
But, unfortunately, there are people that can't get that. They choose to see only bits and pieces of my comment. Like me saying to deport illegals means I want all of them, legals too, kicked out.
But, on SVU, Benson and others seemed to have a problem with Immagration deporting the ILLEGALS.

DaveInAtlanta said...

I agree (in part) with what MsUn PC said. And again I think that the balance of these issues is missing from the show. I long for the days where Stabler (the resident Catholic) was a voice of balance from the Right. I remember a line from him when he and his partner were somewhere and a pro-life protester said something along the lines of "abortion is murder" and Stabler's quip (while pointing at Benson) was "that's what I keep trying to tell her." I laughed out loud because it was apparent that the balance was there. However, being slightly conservative didn't interfere with him doing good police work. And that's what we're missing, instead of constant talking points and "amen's" from the Left, we need a voice that echos the counterpoints. Now to the point about showing Christian persecution. I think it would be healthy, however it might feel staged in New York. Internationally I know there a Christians persecuted to the point of crime, but it wouldn't feel authentic happening in New York. Maybe I'm wrong. And yes, there needs to be a counter force to Olivia's "do-right-by-all-and-forget-the-law" persona on the show. I'm okay with happy endings when all is said and done, but somebody on that force needs to be able to knock her down a few pegs.

Tara McDonnell said...

Don't like it,don't watch it.It's that simple.

Draven Long said...

This was wonderful. In my opinion, it was the best episode of the season, because it was so political and so relevant in 2017.

The opening scene really did feel too real. It was a huge departure from normalcy.

Everyone had a chance to shine, and that was greatly appreciated. Lopez, I agree was underused however.

I tell no lie when I say that I jumped when that gunshot sounded. If I recall correctly, the fatality at the courthouse, prior to this one, occurred in Season 15. I believe it was the episode "American Tragedy."

We all know that Benson has been called a bitch so often she takes it as a compliment at times, but this was a first for Rollins, and I loved her reaction. Perfect example of Rollins in badass mode.

It was a slip-up on Carisi's part when ICE took Yosef away. Who knows what happened to him when he went back to Syria. One could only hope he would make it back to NYC someday.

I couldn't believe the chief of police, and Barba of all people, encouraged Benson to purjure herself. That's such a ridiculous notion that I was laughing throughout the next commercial break. If anyone thinks for one second that Lieutenant Benson, who has been doing this job for 18 years, would lie on the stand, they must have never seen the show before.

It was upsetting when Hector was killed. Even though I knew it was going to happen. In fact, that was one of only three things that I found inevitable. This, the Yosef fiasco, and the guy who exploded in the courtroom.

I was glad that the one woman finally got up on the stand and testified against her husband. He knew she was telling the truth, he just didn't want to admit it, so as any fool could see it coming, he charged toward her, screaming and raving as he was taken out of the courtroom.

Other than that, this was a great finale. Everyone shined, and I was quite surprised at (almost) everything.

To me, the ending felt like a small cliffhanger. I could see this being the basis for the return episode.

Season 18 wraps, and with it we say goodbye, and some of us say good riddance, to Rick Eid. Can't wait to see what Michael Chernuchin does to SVU!

Bring on Season 19!

Darrell Russell said...

Is it Hector or Yusef who is the illegal gay immigrant?

Amaan Mahmood said...

Yusef was the illegal immigrant

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