Tonight, Law & Order: SVU season 20 episode 14 delivered a challenging case entitled “Part 33” that raised many questions. Was it justice for Annabeth Pearl to murder her husband?
This was a case that divided the entire SVU team from top to bottom. Annabeth’s husband was abusive — he was angry, hurtful, and he made her life into a living hell. When he didn’t like the dinner that he made, she killed him. Their relationship history was under the microscope, including just about every single issue that they ever had. What complicated this particular matter further was the deceased’s connection to the police. That made him someone that a few people wanted to fight for.
For Olivia Benson, she had sympathy for Annabeth and what she went through — she wanted to support her in some capacity, but it was hard to figure out a clear angle. Stone, for most of the episode, didn’t want her in the courtroom. He knew that she would argue for a different resolution. Yet, Amanda didn’t have the same sympathy and felt like Annabeth was a killer. Carisi was more on Team Olivia, and it took most of the episode in order to make some of his own thoughts clear.
All of this led to Olivia coming to a hard decision: Whether or not to lie on the stand regarding what Annabeth did in interrogation. Did she express remorse for what she did in interrogation after the fact? She could have painted her in a more sympathetic light, and there was a part of her that really wanted to do that; unfortunately, Olivia is nothing but truthful, and it was her testimony that like sealed Annabeth’s fate. Olivia knew it, and then the screen faded to black.
It was a smart choice to have SVU end tonight without actually telling you the verdict, mostly because that wasn’t quite the point. It was about the cross-section of empathy and justice, of wanting to believe in someone even when it was hard.
Did Annabeth deserve to go to prison for much of her life over what she did? That’s for the viewer to decide and that was some of the brilliance of this episode — beyond the fantastic performances of Mariska Hargitay and Kelli Giddish, who were amazing from start to finish here. We took a look at this case from all angles and were reminded, in the end, that sometimes with SVU, there is no clear verdict and there are no clear answers. This is a complicated world and so many of us really just have to make the most of what we have.
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What did you think about Law & Order: SVU season 20 episode 14, and the difficult quandaries that were at the center of it? Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: NBC.)