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Law & Order: SVU: Olivia Benson’s Old Boyfriend Returns to Make Amends

by Suzanne Halliburton
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Remember all those raw emotions Olivia Benson dealt with in the 500th episode of Law & Order: SVU? Her first love returned. And she discovered several women had accused him of sexual assault.

It was an intriguing plotline for a benchmark episode. For 23 seasons, Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has stood up for victims of sexual assault. She goes after rapists, predators and pedophiles. And to think, she was engaged to a man who might’ve been in the relationship just to groom her, then leave.

Aidan Quinn portrayed Burton Lowe. And he’s back for Thursday’s episode called “Confess Your Sins to Be Free.” Here’s the plot tease for the Law & Order: SVU episode:

“When the only evidence in a crime is a church confession, Carisi must find another way to prove his suspect guilty. Benson agrees to meet with an old friend seeking to make amends for past transgressions.”

Quinn Isn’t the Only Man in Olivia’s Life to Come Back for Law & Order: SVU

Peter Hermann as Trevor Langan also returns Thursday. He’s Hargitay’s real-life husband. The two met on the set of Law & Order: SVU. And this will be his 36th episode playing a defense lawyer. He’s been a part of three episodes in season 23.

It appears Quinn was on set to film the episode in April. Fans of Law & Order: SVU were on hand to snap some photos.

Last October, as Hargitay did interviews to promote the 500th episode, she confessed she hadn’t watched it after she filmed it. It was an intense one. Here’s how the SVU writers introduced Burton Lowe. Since he and Olivia broke up decades ago, Burton became a famous true-crime writer. He also hosted a podcast. Now, he was trying to clear the name of a man imprisoned for raping and killing his girlfriend when they both were in high school. Burton was working with Nick Amaro (Danny Pino), a former SVU detective who returned for the 500th episode.

Lowe showed up unexpectedly at Benson’s office. And then the writers told the story of their relationship through flashbacks. Olivia dated Burton when she was 16 and he was 21 and in one of her mother’s college classes. Her mother broke them up. A relationship that seemed acceptable in the late 1970s, early 1980s, was presented through the lens of 2021. It’s now viewed as unsavory statutory rape.

Benson Confronted Burton at His Hotel

Olivia and Burton rekindled their romance. Then a woman stepped forward to say that he raped her. Others told similar stories. Burton got older but he liked his women younger. The celebrity writer/podcaster pursued the young women he encountered on the job. He wined and dined them, possibly only because he wanted to have sex with them.

Olivia confronted Burton in his hotel room. He didn’t react well, throwing a glass at the door after she walked away. So part of Thursday’s episode will be devoted to Burton trying to make amends. Stay tuned. Check out Outsider coverage of the episode here and here.