Law and Order: SVU (S19E21) “Guardian”

Last night’s episode was a hot mess of twisting, tragic turns. With a 16-year-old female victim, Tiana (Rachel Hilson), a shady older brother and a surprise testimonial at the end, we were kept on the edge of our seats the entire time.

***spoilers ahead***

We meet Tiana after her brother Malik reports to the police that she was raped by several members of a local gang. Unfortunately, during the investigation, the detectives discover that Malik had been pimping his sister out for money, there was no rape. First off, how is there no rape if she’s underage? I’m confused because I don’t believe that a minor can legally give consent to adults, paying or not.

credit @nbcsvu

The investigation focuses on Malik at this point, however, Tiana is totally unwilling to testify against him. At this point, I wanted to throw something at the screen. The team of detectives starts directing their ire about the case towards the one person who should never feel it – the victim. In fact, at one point Benson (Mariska Hargitay) actually threatens her with arrest if she won’t testify!! I can’t even believe this. I’m still unsure as to how Benson justified this in her head, she’s always been an advocate for rape victims, she’s explained to others numerous times why she understands if they don’t want to testify. Yet this young girl she’d threaten? Maybe it’s time for Benson to do HER job as SVU LT and hire a victim advocate who can speak on their behalf.

Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) moves forward with the case after Tutuola (Ice-T) is magically able to find a man who drove Tiana to her “appointments” and kept track of everything. Timing is everything. Sigh.  Stone takes an impossibly difficult case and does his magic. When Malik’s defense attorney puts Tiana’s mom on the stand to testify that Tiana was willingly sexually promiscuous, Stone gets up and we get our big reveal. Malik pimped his own mom out! Tiana was obviously devastated by this news and she finally confronts Malik. Malik finally does the right thing and agrees to take a deal rather than make his sister testify.

credit @nbcsvu

Not a happy ending. Sure, Malik ends up in jail, but since their mom is in jail as well Tiana ends up with child services. No one wins. I have to say again if Tiana had been treated with the kindness and respect you’re supposed to show a victim, much of this may have been avoided.

Rachel Hilson was fantastic as Tiana. I can’t wait to see what she does next. She was beautifully emotive and spot-on in every scene, she was definitely the star of the show. I loved seeing Ice-T take the forefront on this investigation. He’s been in the background for too much of this half of the season.

credit @nbcsvu

Issues

Let’s talk real quick about Rollins (Kelly Giddish). Rollins shot a victim last week in a hostage shootout,  one created by her own illegal actions. Apparently, Benson was correct in telling her the shooting wouldn’t be a problem though, since Rollins was right there, back on the job. Not a word about last week. Not a word about consequences or rules, or how to properly treat a victim. It’s as though nothing happened. A teaser came out that the season finale is going to be “shocking” for one of the characters – I truly hope it’s some sort of “come to Jesus” meeting for Rollins. Between her terrible treatment of a victim in the episode Service and the shooting last week, I’m pretty much done with Rollins. Not a lot of sympathy in these quarters.

       Favorite Moments:

*Fin leading the charge, seriously, so happy to see more of Ice-T

*Stone in the courtroom – Philip Winchester always a pleasure to watch work.

I’m not sure what has changed for me, starting with the episode Service this show has just rubbed me the wrong way. Let’s hope and pray we get some old SVU magic working in the last 2 episodes of the season.

SVU airs Wednesday, May 16th at 9/8c

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Photo credit spoilertv.com and @nbcsvu