Law & Order: SVU season 20 episode 18 preview: A defense attorney is the victim

SVU season 20 artA number of main characters on Law & Order: SVU are very much familiar with Nikki Staines, and for good reason. Callie Thorne’s character is one of the most notorious defense attornies within this show’s larger universe, and she has squared off against Benson, Stone, and others over several seasons.

Next week on season 20 episode 18, entitled “Blackout,” the tables turn. Staines is going to go from being a rival to the victim in a horrific assault. The event comes about after a police charity event, and that raises the stakes and places Benson in all a more difficult position. This is one spelled out by the attached synopsis:

When Defense Attorney Nikki Staines (guest star Callie Thorne) is raped after a police charity event, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) reluctantly looks to her own for a suspect. Also starring Ice T, Kelli Giddish and Peter Scanavino. Also guest starring Peter Gallagher (Deputy Chief Dodds), Titus Welliver (Rob Miller), Ian Blackman (Judge Leonard) and Jerry Clicquot (J.J. Austen).

By the end of this episode, Benson may have to lead an investigation of someone within the NYPD, and we don’t have to tell you of some of the various complications that could cause. Think in terms of the blue line, a halo that exists around some police officers, or just a general credo that cops have to look out for other cops. There are times when you can’t just turn a blind eye, and you need to find a way to ensure real, tangible justice no matter who the suspect is. This is one of those times. There could be multiple branches of police involved, which is probably why Gallagher is returning in this episode as Dodds. He’s the sort of person who could be a valuable conduit in all of this.

We’ve said this before in discussing this upcoming episode, but in terms of great guest stars, this one may be second to none. Think about — Thorne’s a great actress who shockingly hasn’t gotten enough series-regular gigs following Necessary Roughness on USA. Meanwhile, Gallagher’s always been a fascinating force of nature on this show. If Welliver is familiar, you probably know him from Bosch, Lost, or a number of other shows. He’s probably at the peak of his career now despite having so many incredible years in the business. Even though he already has a great job that keeps him occupied for a good chunk of the year, it is still nice that he wants to do some other gigs. SVU certainly is one of the best ones out there, at least when you think about the amount of screen time you have in proportion to the impact that is there in regards to the story. Your scenes also feature raised voices, tears, and either a combative or defensive nature.

Just getting into a room and working with the likes of Hargitay, Giddish, and the rest of the cast has to feel like a gift in itself.

If you missed it… Head over to the link here to get a full review for everything that unfolded on tonight’s new SVU episode.

What do you want to see when it comes to SVU season 20 episode 18?

Be sure to sound off right now in the comments! (Photo: NBC.)

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