Law & Order: SVU season 19 episode 21 proved itself to be a tough case for the entire team, but also specifically for Fin. This was a case that was really all about sex trafficking within a family, and one that took Ice-T’s character back to some of his old stomping grounds. He understood how times were tough; with that in mind, he sympathized with those involved in this case.
Yet, the longer that this episode progressed, the more complicated this particular case became, mostly because there were so many different people involved when it comes to what was a delicate operation. At the center of it was a young woman named Tiana who was being manipulated and controlled by her brother Malik. The same also goes for his mother. He was forcing them into prostitution and doing what he could to get more money for himself. This wasn’t about trying to “help” the family; instead, this was about him constructing what he wanted. Given that Fin was the one so personally invested in this, it made sense for him to get some of the most important evidence — including statements from witnesses and people involved.
The turning point for the case came when Tiana was overdosed by her own brother in an effort to keep her sent. It’s clear that Malik had his own troubled past because of his father and what he did; yet, he eventually went down a dark, difficult, and trying road. Tiana told him that she was going to testify unless he was willing to take a deal, and that is precisely what happened.
What was so powerful about this case is seeing just how Fin connected to the struggles of Tiana’s background without really having to say much at all; Olivia recognized how little he discussed his past, and the two ended the episode with a conversation about how much Malik’s actions were influenced by his upbringing. Because of the way in which he turned out, he feels as though others have the opportunity to see the same.
The anchor of this episode was Ice-T, who gave a very good, steadfast performance in navigating what was a tragic, difficult case in which there were people unwilling to turn on each other at first. Watching the way SVU navigates some of these cases remains one of its strongest selling points.
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