Law & Order: SVU season 19 episode 16 proved to be one of the most complicated cases of the entire season, largely because at the center of it was an ethical quagmire.
Here is the short version of what we saw tonight: A doctor found herself on trial after she was found to be illegally harvesting organs from young patients so they could be used in transplants. In her mind, what she was doing was ethically correct — the parents she was taking them from had not explicitly objected, and she knew that she was doing this in order to save lives. Yet, at the same time she wasn’t exactly getting the stamp of approval in order to do this, either. It was the parents of a child in Zoe who really accelerated the case to the courts.
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Basically, what we saw over the course of this episode was Benson, Stone, and the rest of the team struggling to figure out precisely what they were going to do — at the end of the day, the doctor did break the law and she had to be prosecuted over it. It was hard to flip a jury since she was so steadfast in some of her answers and it took a good bit in order to break her. Eventually, Stone did with one simple question after learning that she had a son who died because he didn’t get a transplant: Did she give up on Zoe too quickly in order to help another child? Did she treat Zoe the same way she would have her own son?
Stone’s declaration of “playing God” to the jury helped to negative the doctor’s own attorney, who died her best in order to proclaim that the ends in this case justified the means. The end result was simple: She was found guilty of forgery on all 32 counts. Her work is now over, and it proved that she became a little too zealous in her decisions to move quickly on a transplant when she really didn’t have to.
For Stone, at the end of the case he faced another dilemma: How much he should ask for when it comes to sentencing. For now, it doesn’t appear as though there is a clear answer. To make matters all the more tragic, the little boy who would’ve been saved by Zoe’s heart died. This was a case without victory; it was one surrounded in sadness from all directions.
This was a great episode of SVU largely because it wasn’t black and white in the way that many others are. The mere act of what the doctor was doing was powerful.
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