Law & Order: SVU season 19 episode 18 review: Jim Preston’s surprising story

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Law & Order: SVU season 19 episode 18 proved to be a firecracker of an episode. It somehow managed to touch on many different social issues over the course of the hour … and definitely proved to be emotionally effective every step of the way.

The victim at the heart of this episode was a young woman named Skye a.k.a. Sandy, who worked as an escort and was raped in a seedy hotel. At first, she wasn’t altogether keen to testify; yet, eventually she was convinced to go through with it thanks in part to Benson.

The first surprise of the hour came with the fact that there were three members of the Army who were at the hotel that night with her — including a young private who was there to presumably lose his virginity. At first, he tried to take the fall for the rape to protect his commanding officers; yet, soon after that he admitted that this wasn’t actually the case. There was a single rapist that night, a powerful man named Tyler Jones. Yet, trying to pin him for the charge was not easy — he was a respected member of the military accused of rape by an escort. This meant that Stone, Benson, and the rest of the team had to look towards the final man who was there: Jim Preston.

Through much of the case, Jim proved to be a tough nut to crack as he refused to go along with any investigation. By the end of the episode though, it was a little bit more clear as to why that was: He was a transgender man afraid of the persecution that would come with being on the witness stand. Being in the military is about courage, and this was the argument that was used in order to convince him to go through with it. He made it clear that Tyler was the rapist and in the aftermath of that, we saw Tyler receive the sentence that he deserved.

The best moment of the episode had to be when Preston’s Army colleagues, who he had helped to train, all stood and saluted him at the conclusion of the trial.

Why does Rollins hate escorts so much?

For most of the episode Amanda made it very clear to Skye that she thought she wasn’t worthy of the attention she was receiving. Yet, by the end of the hour we started to finally get a little bit more of an understanding about that. She revealed to Skye that it was her own experience with being cheated on in the past that caused her to formulate such a low opinion of them.

CarterMatt Verdict

Overall, SVU season 19 episode 18 painted a really strong picture of the complications and red tape surrounding crimes by active-duty personnel, while also bringing in some modern-day issues like transgender rights for soldiers. This was powerful and thoroughly compelling from start to finish. We’re also glad to have that Rollins button at the end so we had more of a thorough understanding as to why she couldn’t emphasize more throughout the hour.

What did you think about Law & Order: SVU season 19 episode 18 overall? Be sure to share some of your thoughts in the comments below!

(Photo: NBC.)

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