Law & Order: SVU season 18 episode 15 review: Barba’s past comes out

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Law & Order: SVU season 18 episode 15 was entitled “Know It All,” and it was certainly a different case than most that we see the Special Victims Unit take on. There are not all that many opportunities, after all, where we the tables turned on any one of our regulars where they are on the ropes.

For Barba, this happened tonight when he tried to recuse himself from a case over a secret coming out regarding his past. He was resistant at first to telling Benson, but eventually, he conceded that previously, he has given an addict a heap of money in exchange for testimony; she used that money to buy drugs and died, while at the same time he put a bad man behind bars. This conversation with Benson was harrowing stuff. While he wasn’t the one who forced her to buy those drugs, he did something as a means to an end that was scandalous enough that he knew it could put their case in jeopardy.

That case tonight revolved around David (the always excellent Chris Diamantopoulos), a powerful tech titan who was the targeted suspect throughout the episode. He was someone who was willing to do and say anything to challenge the SVU team while they looked into the death of a young woman named Jennifer who he was seeing … and who also worked with him. Out of all of the criminals that we’ve seen on the show, he’s certainly one of the most maniacal thanks in part to his own demeanor. He was the sort of person who thought he had the answers to everything, whether it be how to control women or how to keep the SVU from getting close enough to uncover the truth. What he didn’t plan for was a TV recording that showed him committing the act.

In the end, Benson got the evidence necessarily to put him away, and was able to do so without any more blackmail or secrets of the team getting exposed. Given the security crisis that continues to go on in this country, this is an episode probably scarier than most. Not only was a heinous sexual abuser at the center of the hour, but the methods that he used are the sort that everyone should be afraid of.

“Know It All,” ultimately, didn’t necessarily have the flash of “Net Worth” last week, by our estimation one of the best episodes of the season. Yet, it did have a strong performance from Diamantopoulos (who plays evil and cocky incredibly well) and offered up some personal insight that we don’t often get. Grade: B+.

What is your personal Law & Order: SVU season 18 episode 15 review? Be sure to share in the comments below!

(Photo: NBC.)

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