‘Law & Order: SVU’ season 18, episode 1 review: Benson’s back — and so are ghosts

Benson -After eighteen seasons on the air, you would start to think that “Law & Order: SVU” episodes would have a tendency to just blend together. We are very pleased at present to report that this is not entirely the case. “Terrorized” was an episode that kicked off the season into high gear, had a shocking moment with a young child pointing a gun at Olivia Benson, and featured a courtroom stand-off to determine the status of a rape victim who needed the help of the judicial system, rather than just being lumped into a dangerous label.

For those who appreciate scenes featuring Mariska Hargitay and Raul Esparza, this episode brought that in spades as Benson pushed Barba to prosecute and get justice — it took some time, but it was the possible existence of a video featuring terrorist threats and proving a rape that turned some of the case around. There was a moment during the trial that harkened back to the San Bernandino tragedy earlier this year, as the existence of this video required breaking into a phone, one that the manufacturer was fearful to unlock for privacy concerns.

As a whole, this episode was a chilling reminder that sometimes within the world of “SVU,” justice is almost impossible to achieve.  Benson at least was able to achieve the safety of the child, and allow for some semblance of healing. There’s a hope for a brighter tomorrow for him, but not one that is going to come after a parade of roses and sunshine.

For us by far, the hardest part of this episode was seeing Benson deal with Deputy Chief William Dodds, a man who was still clearly blinded in his job by what happened to his son — and in turn, the sense of blame he was throwing on Olivia for it. Her personal struggles dealing with the death of the younger Dodds still defined Olivia at times in the premiere, but luckily, she did have both Tucker and Noah there for her in the closing minutes. We were reminded of the weight of her job, but also the respect she’s deserved and the support she had from those she cares about. This was as solid of a premiere as we’ve had, and a worthy introduction for Rick Eid as showrunner. Grade: B+.

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