Law & Order: SVU may have made you wait a long time for the episode entitled “Something Happened,” but here is the good news: It was very much worth the wait. If you’re looking for a signature Mariska Hargitay performance, this installment has it.
Given its limited sets this very much had a bottle-episode feel to it. Almost all of it took place with Benson hoping to break through with Laurel Linwood (Melora Walters), a woman who was initially found within a museum showing signs of being raped. We started to understand more of what transpired with her and over time, the reveals played out almost like a slow drip. The man who raped her was found dead, and while she was reluctant to speak on it much of the episode focused on getting her to open up and admit to killing him — while also getting to the bottom of why.
As it turns out, there were many psychological connections between the man she murdered and her own father, a horrible man who molested her sister. As unspeakable as what happened between the two, she spent her whole life feeling less-than and wondering why she was not worthy of attention. Benson tried her best to understand her, but what really made this episode interesting was how Laurel fought back. She challenged Olivia on her own history with her father and did everything in her power to get to the bottom of some of her own history.
It’s not every week we hear Olivia open up about her past and the tragic way in which she was first conceived as a child of rape. It’s heavy material, and Hargitay nonetheless knocked it out of the park. Laurel was in part right: You could see the pain in her eyes as she detailed her history but also something else: Determination. That is why she stuck with wearing Laurel down until she got the truth, even if it meant not allowing anyone else to see inside the room. This was likely exhausting for her, but she stuck with it. She felt personally challenged and had to get this right. This is the sort of episode that reminds you why this is Olivia’s true calling.
There really was so little of the supporting cast this week that it’s hard to comment on much of what they were doing. What we wonder is just what this episode was like to film, given that Hargitay and Walters (who was outstanding throughout the hour) probably spent days filming in this one room. One reveal, one more, a fight back, and then eventually the truth. The case was closed, but we have a feeling that this will be one that sticks with Benson for some time.
An outstanding episode and, bar none, one of Hargitay’s best performances on the show in years. Law & Order: SVU reminded us all tonight that you don’t need several sets or a ton of guest stars in order to tell a great story. You can make things small, intimate, and all the more painful because of it.
The only issue is that while the episode was hyped around Benson’s secret, we don’t think there was anything that revealing in here for longtime fans.
What did you think about this episode?
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