‘Law & Order: SVU’: Benson’s Future With the Department Is in Jeopardy After Episode 4

by Suzanne Halliburton

Olivia Benson elevated her dislike of new Law & Order: SVU chief Tommy McGrath, threatening to quit as the episode ended.

The reason? Benson (Mariska Hargitay) didn’t like that McGrath (Terry Serpico) chose to bring charges for one rape victim and not another one. One rape victim was the daughter of a fellow member of the NYPD. Another was a single mother involved in a possible custody suit.

The Law & Order: SVU case of the week involved a man who raped at least two women in front of their small children.

The first was Crystal Nunez, whose son was asleep in her bed. There was no doubt she was raped. But she also had the DNA of three men in her rape kit. And none of the DNA belonged to the rapist.

Then, Peggy Grogan was raped. She is the daughter of a police inspector. And McGrath thought her case would be far easier to prove in court.

It turns out the two women, who on paper had nothing in common, did have a common link. They took their kids to the same ice cream truck. Travis Hilsdale, the man who scooped the ice cream, always offered extra rainbow sprinkles. He, in fact, was the rapist. The man could easily follow these young mothers back to their homes.

Benson, Fin, Rollins and the new guy, Velasco, arrested the guy. But McGrath forced A.D.A. Carisi to bring charges only on behalf of Peggy. He told Carisi that defense lawyers could bring up reasonable doubt with Crystal. And Crystal didn’t know about this decision until she was in the courtroom and heard prosecutors drop the charges related to her rape.

Quit or Retire? Topics Came Up Twice In This Law & Order: SVU Episode

Twice in this Law & Order: SVU episode, Benson thought about quitting her job. Earlier in the episode, her therapist suggested she retire to spend more time with her son. But she told the therapist  “I need to work. I love my job.”

Then came the blow up with McGrath. As the episode ended, Benson confronted McGrath:

 “As I told you before in my office, I won’t turn my back on any victim,” she told her new micro-managing boss. “If you stand between me and any victim of sexual assault again, you can take my shield and my gun.

“In fact, if that’s not understood, take it now,” she said.

McGrath, with a nervous smile, said: “OK, Captain Benson. OK, I think we understand each other.”

“I hope so,” Benson snapped back. Then the Law & Order: SVU scene went black. It wasn’t exactly clear if Benson quit. But she laid down the rules with McGrath when it came to representing the victims.

The SVU crew thinks Velasco (Octavio Pisano) snitches to McGrath. But Velasco also did good work in the episode, figuring out how to get physical evidence to prove the rapist was at Crystal’s place. And he also wrestled the rapist to the ground and handcuffed him.

Stay tuned for next week. The episode is called Fast Times @theWheelHouse.