Who would’ve thought that one of the more interesting Carisi moments of this season of “Law & Order: SVU” was happening at the end of an episode all about ice hockey? The timing of it was what made “Great Expectations” in turn so interesting.
Structurally, this case was not a difficult case to get through given that the real guilty party was obvious a few minutes into the episode: The father of a kind in Kyle, who was charged with sexually assaulting his fellow teammate Jack with a hockey stick after he messed up during the game. At first, this looked like it may have been a case of hazing, but it turned out to be much more after this dangerous, controlling man was clearly out to do whatever he thought necessary, including some unspeakable acts, in order to prepare for being a part of the NHL someday. He hit Kyle, berated him, and caused injuries in the name of “making him a better player.” In turn, something, whether it be his fists or his words, was causing Kyle or the rest of his family to not want to report him.
One of the things that the episode did really well was have Kyle’s older brother be the hero, and the one who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to prove his father was an abuser: He confronted him and intentionally riled him up, just so that he could capture the true nature of what his father did on video. He basically sacrificed his own well-being in order to ensure that his brother wouldn’t be spending a good percentage of his life behind bars. Once Jack died in the hospital from his injuries, it only made things worse.
This episode did a very good job of exploring the family dynamics at play here, and how hard it can be in order to get someone to tell the truth, even if there is no other clear option staring them in the face.
Carisi’s revelation – This is where things got truly interesting to us, as he decided that the right thing in this instance was to make an emotional plea to Kyle to get him to admit to what his father encouraged him to do. He explained that when he was young, he decided that he didn’t want to charge a bully who smashes through glass. However, in making this decision, somehow else died years later of a stabbing. Had he spoken up, he could have thrown this guy’s life on a different path and it clearly haunts him. Peter Scanavino does a great job in these scenes of being so blunt and earnest; Amanda’s reaction to hearing this was poignant, given that this was a story she hadn’t heard before.
Basically, what we saw in this moment (which did lead to Kyle helping them to get incriminating evidence) was Carisi describing one of the reasons why he likely became a cop, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
Overall – “Great Expectations” may not have had a big-name guest star or a surprising twist during the case, but it gave you a solid “SVU” episode with an emotional Carisi revelation at the end. A nice follow-up to the 400th episode last week. Grade: B+.
Next week – You are going to see a case that has a personal connection to Fin. To read more about that, be sure to visit the link here. (Photo: NBC.)