There are a lot of episodes of “Law & Order: SVU” that are hard to watch just by the nature of their subject matter. In a way, you need an iron will to watch the series in general. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. But there was one episode from season 9 that fans agree was almost a step too far.
“Undercover” involved Benson and Fin going undercover, naturally. They infiltrated a women’s prison where there were complaints of rapes by a guard. The two detectives go undercover to catch the guy in action. I bet you can guess where this is going.
Fans find it hard to watch because Benson is almost raped in the basement of the prison. Luckily, Fin rescues her in time, but fans constantly comment on the real-looking fear in Benson’s eyes. She’s trapped, and about to be assaulted; this is the main character here, our beloved detective, and something’s about to happen to her that she’s not just going to walk away from.
On Reddit, “Law & Order: SVU” fans aired their grievances with the episode. One commented what we’re all thinking: “that episode is SO hard for me to watch.”
Another agreed, writing, “I simultaneously didn’t want to see it but couldn’t turn away. [Mariska Hargitay] is such a good actress it felt so real and the fear in her eyes seemed legit.”
‘Law & Order: SVU’ Writer Describes Episode as a ‘Challenge to Write’
In an interview with Jezebel from 2019, “Law & Order: SVU” writer Mark Goffman spoke about the most controversial episodes in the series. “Undercover” was definitely one of them.
“[Showrunner Neal Baer] and I debated for a while over whether we were going to have to [include] the attempted rap,” Goffman said. “I wanted [Benson] to go undercover because I thought there’s no way to fully see and understand this problem unless you experience it. When I decided to write the scene of the attempted rape, we just said, ‘Well, you know we’re going to have to go as close as possible.”
Goffman called Mariska Hargitay’s performance “haunting and intense.” I’m currently watching “Law & Order: SVU” from the beginning, and I dread reaching this episode. I can’t imagine how Benson reacted after. Just the sheer mental recovery she had to have gone through after that case.
There was an episode in season 2, called “Manhunt,” that made me feel like that. Munch and Fin search for an abducted girl taken by a man who has evaded them before. It was Munch’s case, and they never caught the guy. But he kidnaps, tortures, rapes, and kills women; when the police finally locate the guy’s cabin, there are at least 18 bodies buried in shallow graves. Munch and Fin check out the underground bunker, and it’s filled with torture devices. Munch’s desperation at wanting to find the guy was palpable, as he kept evading them at every turn.