First of all, I need to rejoice. Last night’s episode was a difficult one to watch, but for all the right reasons! Having had an in-law with Alzheimer’s, this episode struck close to home. Seeing the most vulnerable people victimized has always been a part of SVU and this episode was no exception.
We’re introduced to the “Mama” in this case, Madeline (Fionnula Flanagan), an elderly woman living in an assisted care facility. Madeline is suffering from dementia but is present enough to tell her nurse that she was raped. The difficulty for the team in investigating this case is that Madeline drifts in and out of lucidity. Finding the perpetrator is hard enough with so little to go on, but then asking a jury to convict will be nearly impossible. Thankfully, the whole team was on their A-game last night. They’re able to take the piece-meal clues and to find the rapist. In a gross, but not entirely surprising, turn of events we realize that he’d basically been raping this woman because of his twisted relationship with his mother.
Getting justice, in this case, was hugely important. To protect the defenseless has always been SVU’s aim and here they truly did. The vulnerable elderly, shunted aside in so many cases, need someone to speak on their behalf. These are the people we should most care for, and yet so often are left to their own devices – or to be preyed upon by the heartless. SVU is at it’s best when it focuses on the victims, and this was a prime example of how to do so.
The strangest thing for me this episode took place almost entirely behind the scenes. Detective Tutuola (Ice-T) gets promoted to Sergeant at the beginning of the episode. Great news – except it means he will no longer be working for LT Benson (Mariska Hargitay). We get a single scene of Tutualo in his SGT uniform looking forlorn. Then, at the end of the episode, he’s magically back on the squad. When Benson asks him how he was reassigned he tells her that she doesn’t want to know. Like. What? First off – how? Second off – you’re telling me the LT in charge of SVU doesn’t know who’s coming back to work for her? So weird.
In the end
I felt like we needed last night. We needed a case that was good old-fashioned SVU – vulnerable victims, heartbreaking stories and no-nonsense investigating. I’m tired of seeing this team walk the legality line and was so happy to see none of that last night. A much better episode than the past month and a half. Now I’m ready for the season finale next week!
SVU next airs on Wednesday, May 23rd at 9/8c for a 2-hour season finale.