Law & Order: SVU season 20 episode 8 had the challenge of taking another difficult story ripped from the headlines. It also eventually delivered one of the most twisted cases of the entire season.
Let’s kick things off with the foundation for this case: The SVU did their part to investigate what happened after a young woman, a VIP waitress at a notable New York restaurant, was found in a position where it appeared she was sexually assaulted. At first, she did just about everything that she could to keep the case from moving forward, largely in fear of her job and her notorious boss: Andrew. As it turns out, he’s a predatory chef who has been taking advantage of women for the better part of his adult life. He’s just been able to get by using his fame and his power for an advantage.
What made things all the more complicated here was the presence of his attorney — someone who had quite the reputation as an advocate for women in the city. Yet, at the same time he had privately squashed a number of different allegations that Chef Andrew had been accused of over the years. He was just as much a hypocrite as anything else and that was exaggerated further the moment that it was revealed that he had an accuser of his own. As it turns out, there was a woman named Bethany who claimed the attorney sexually assaulted him while in high school. At the start of this episode, it felt like SVU was doing something here based on Mario Batali and other restauranteurs accused of assault. By the end of it, meanwhile, we were venturing more into Brett Kavanaugh territory. There were no direct comparisons given that the stories were slightly different from the headlines; also, the same goes for the end result since both Andrew and the lawyer ended up being arrested.
As for how the arrests came about, that was a master stroke of SVU genius. In the closing minutes of the episode Benson and the rest of the SVU team convinced the lawyer to wear a wire in order to sell out Andrew. What they needed here was twofold: A confession on the recent rape and then a confession on Bethany. They ended up getting a confession on #1, and basically Andrew corroborated Bethany’s account on #2. They were able to get them both and that was that.
What we saw through SVU season 20 episode 8 tonight is another example of a case where nothing is quite as it seems on the surface. This one proved complicated, twisted, fascinating, and of course horrifying as many of these cases are. Sometimes, perception means nothing and it’s what happens behind closed doors that is all the more important.
There were also some small interpersonal conflicts that were present here, included Benson trying to come to terms with the latest conflict between herself and Noah; meanwhile, Fin’s commentary regarding Dr. Al Pollack caused a little bit of trouble between himself and Rollins — he was concerned that he overstepped. Yet, at the same time Rollins did his best to make it clear there was no beef, no reason to fret. The focus remains for them on the cases rather than just some comments made in the moment.
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