‘Law & Order: SVU’ season 17 finale reaction: A shocking death (and how to move forward)

Cast -For executive producer Warren Leight’s final episode of “Law & Order: SVU,” he clearly decided to do so much more than just tell yet another story; he opted to pull at the heartstrings, and create an entire episode around dealing with death and the chilling aftermath of it. This episode proved to be devastating, and what is especially sad is that we should have seen it coming.

For example, we knew Mike Dodds was going to be in danger entering the finale; all the signs were there that he could die. We also knew that Andy Karl was new to the show this season, and therefore was in theory more vulnerable. Yet, there was a part of us that felt strongly like he was somehow going to figure out how to escape Gary Munson’s wrath alive. Even after he was shot, we still held on to hope.

Unfortunately, it was complications from the shooting that ended up doing the character in, and in turn we watched Peter Gallagher give one of his most powerful performances ever as the elder Dodds had to mourn the loss of his son, who died heroically, but in a situation that led to plenty of questions and concerns. Even Benson was doubting her decision to leave Dodds in the house with Munson, though in reality she did what she thought was best in the moment. She saved Munson’s children, while Dodds in turn ended up saving Gary’s wife. He just lost his own life in the process.

Heartbreaking as it may be, a story about remembering the fallen was the right way to end the Leight saga on “SVU”: This story proved to be softer, more personal, and based on the feelings of these characters rather than some sort of enormous shocker or cliffhanger ending. In the aftermath of Mike’s death, Carisi decided to stay with the SVU for the time being, while Tucker eventually opted to transfer out of IAB, feeling that he didn’t want to deal with questioning cops any longer. His relationship with Benson is also continuing, and in the closing minutes the two of them had a nice moment of romance as he offered to whisk her away on vacation.

If anyone has earned it, isn’t it Olivia? She’ll be back, and while these events may weigh on her, she’ll still find a way to move forward and be the best champion for the city possible. She always does.

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