‘Law & Order: SVU’ Season 23 Premiere: Full Recap

by Amy Myers

Law & Order: SVU finally reappeared in our Thursday night lineup tonight, and we’re already itching for our next fix. The action-and-drama-packed episode had fans on the edge of their couch cushions for the full two hours. Need help digesting the Season 23 premiere?

Let’s break it down.

We first find ourselves in the company of the newly united Law & Order: SVU Detectives Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish). Following their steamy night in the Season 22 finale, the two haven’t been able to keep their hands off each other. To keep the precinct from finding out about their fling, the two continue to see each other in secret.

Shortly after, the one-and-only Law & Order: SVU star Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) appears in all of her typical glory. While driving home, she has former partner Detective Elliott Stabler (Chris Meloni) on speakerphone. Behind her, an aggressive driver turns on his high beams. Stabler advises Benson to pull over to let the driver pass. However, as she complies, the reckless motorist sideswipes the detective’s vehicle, pushing her off the road. Benson sustained a fractured ankle that is too swollen to be operated on and has to deal with the pain of her injury for the duration of the Law & Order: SVU episode.

Meanwhile, the precinct is hellbent on bringing down Congressman Howard and other powerful men involved in a sex-trafficking ring that forces women in low-income housing to sleep with well-paying customers. Howard shows no remorse and in fact, threatens the unit’s detectives when they arrest him for drugging a 16-year-old girl at a fundraiser and attempting to rape her. When the unit tries to gather witnesses to testify against the congressman, all except two victims are found dead the day before the trial.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Says Goodbye to Two Stars

The search begins for the two remaining victims that are fleeing for the sake of their own safety. Once located, the two require a little coaxing from detectives to stand their ground.

Meanwhile, Officer Katriona Tamin takes a bullet while visiting one of the victim’s homes. At the hospital, Tamin experiences an existential crisis that makes her question her purpose with the Law & Order: SVU team. Ultimately, the damage that her job causes outweighs her desire to provide justice and protection to victims. She turns in her badge and says goodbye to the SVU squad.

Later, we find out that Howard not only tried to drug one of the surviving victims but also got her pregnant when she was fifteen. To protect his reputation, he forced her to have an abortion. The presence of the witnesses and the incriminating evidence is enough to put him away but no other men involved in the ring see any punishment.

Lastly, we see Chief Christian Garland (Demore Barnes) submits his letter of resignation. He thanks Benson for her loyalty before leaving the precinct.