Even before writing this Law & Order: SVU season 18 episode 16 review, we knew that we were going to be in for a powerful episode. Not only that, but also one that is a case of absolutely shocking timing. When “The Newsroom” was written, it was hard to predict that Bill O’Reilly was going to be in the headlines over his departure from Fox News. This episode may have come more as a response to the Roger Ailes scandal that unfolded a little while back.
While SVU is fiction, the themes across this and many other scandals within the corporate world remain the same: Powerful, terrible men thinking that they can use their position in order to threaten and intimidate women. In the case of “The Newsroom,” the rapist was a powerful news host named Harold Coyle, someone who consistently used his position in order to blackmail his female anchors. He gave them big promises, but then used and abused them sexually. If they did anything to cross them, he had tapes that he could release to try and damage their careers.
For the longest time, he got away with it until Heidi Sorenson (an excellent Bonnie Somerville) gave a reaction in the midst of an on-air interview that she was a victim of sexual assault herself. She wasn’t at first willing to help in the investigation, but that eventually turned around. She was an asset in getting together the evidence, and it was ultimately her replacement in Margery (Peyton List) who helped to further ensure that Coyle was put away. She decided to record herself paying him a visit just to see what he would do if she requested her tape back. He tried to rape her, and this was all the evidence the SVU team needed to get the conviction they were hoping for from the onset of the episode.
In addition to getting a very well-constructed and timely case, there were a few other emotional moments tonight courtesy of the return of Peter Gallagher as Chief Dodds. He was valuable in showing a united front against Coyle, and by the end of the episode, we were reminded of the pain that he was still feeling over losing his son.
Our overall take
Given some of the recent headlines that were out there, we cannot deny that this was a chilling episode of SVU to watch. Nonetheless, this was one of the best ones of the season in cultivating a case that was all about changing a terrible culture and stopping someone poisoning an entire newsroom and, in turn, much of an industry. Hopefully, this case represents a major step forward for equality and proper treatment. Grade: A-.
What’s coming up on SVU?
We have another episode coming up entitled “Real Fake News,” and if you want to get more news all about it, head over to the link here. (Photo: NBC.)