‘Law & Order: SVU’ season 18, episode 7 review: Did Benson save Carisi’s life?

Law & Order: SVU logoTonight, “Law & Order: SVU” started things off with a conversation that was a little more personal than we’re accustomed to seeing. After all, it was Tucker and Benson sitting down for a dinner, discussing their future and what it could hold. Tucker is at a point in his life where he’s starting to see life beyond his job, and he wants to know whether Olivia is the person he wants to spend it with. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much more of an update on the two beyond this opening.

The case – On the surface, this one appeared fairly simple to follow given that it started off with when a woman in Quinn who was assaulted in a terrible fashion by a masked man, in her mind, there wasn’t a whole lot of a mystery as to who was behind it: It was in her mind Ray, a man who she claimed had a history of stalking her.

Given that this is a 60-minute show, it was pretty clear that Ray wasn’t going to be the responsible party … and that was made all the clearer when it was determined that his alibi about being at a church ultimately checked out. This forced her to say that Ray wasn’t actually stalking her for that long, and that she just had a “feeling” that she was being watched. It sounded a little bit difficult to wrap your head around at first, but the more we saw in this case, the more and more it started to look as though she was correct to have this sort of intuition.

One of the suspects started to surface in one of her work colleagues, a guy who kissed her on one occasion, and felt incredibly jealous when he realized that she could be seeing someone. He was outside her apartment on two occasions and even going into a fight with the guy he felt she as seeing, but signs didn’t point towards him being the assailant.

The twist – A cigarette outside of Quinn’s home seemingly belonged to Ray, and that raised a question: Was he framed, or was everyone at the church covering for him? It seemed more like the former. It was suddenly clear that none other than a former cop in Tom may have set him up. He was someone who was dangerous, capable of inflicting damage, and was smart enough to evade the SVU for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, there was no worse enemy for the SVU to face off against than a cop, since Benson’s negotiation tactics proved fruitless. This caused Carisi to put his own life on the line in order to save Quinn, and it led to a showdown that was both violent and terrible. Benson was able to save Carisi’s life when the gun was point at him, but it also meant having to shoot Tom in front of Quinn. This could be traumatic, but hopefully Benson’s words at the end of the episode stick with her. She cannot blame herself for what happened.

Overall – A gripping return for “SVU,” and we were fine that it was clear that Tom was the guilty party before we got around to the end. It was a painful, emotional episode with a dramatic conclusion; we do wish that we revisited Benson and Tucker, but we’re not going to deny that the content was saw was anything other than gripping. Grade: B+.

(Photo: NBC)

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