Tonight, Law & Order: SVU season 20 episode 7 delivered one of Sasha Alexander’s best performances. Yet, it was also one of the most harrowing cases we’ve seen in twenty years on this show.
At the center of the case was Sasha Alexander’s character Anna, an extremely successful businesswoman and mother who eventually was accused of murdering her own parents. She even confessed to killing them. So what was the trial eventually about? Whether or not she was truly guilty of what happened. She claimed that she was “outside of herself” at the time of the deaths and she didn’t know precisely what she was doing. There was just an “other woman” who was committing heinous acts because she felt like it was necessary.
Here’s where the defense really started to fall apart when it comes to the insanity plea: The defendant making it clear that the kids were better off being dead because the world would swallow them up. If she had a real understand and cognizance of why exactly she did these acts, could she still be not guilty for what actually happened? Her attorney claimed that this was a result of his client suffering under societal pressure to be the best, the most successful, and the most capable.
This was a tough case for the SVU to take on just because you’re trying to be the judge and jury on someone else’s mental health. How do you even begin to take something like that on? The defendant, in the end, was given a somewhat split verdict. The jury couldn’t handle the idea that the same woman would have killed her children, but her husband? That was somewhat different.
The end result of everything was tragic, just as it was in the beginning — Anna died after hanging herself in her cell.
What a performance by Sasha Alexander tonight in transforming Anna into someone haunted and complicated. We don’t really think that this episode is meant to create some sort of larger generalization about societal pressure or the modern working mother; instead, it was just more about one woman and what happened to her family. It also touched on the definition of insanity and what sort of consequences you hand down to someone like Anna. Is it true that many women endure countless instances of pressure? Absolutely, but very few murder as a result of it.
What did you think about Law & Order: SVU season 20 episode 7 overall? Share some of your thoughts now in the attached comments.