Law Order SVU Recap Season 18 Episode 2

Law & Order: SVU Recap: Second Verse, Worse Than the First

Need to catch up? Check out last week’s Law & Order: SVU recap here.

Vice President Joe Biden swings by this week’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to congratulate Olivia and the unit on their work freeing a man wrongly convicted of sexual assault. The veep is there to draw attention to the national rape-kit backlog — a worthy cause — but given the way the hour ends… perhaps it’s a good thing Biden hops on Air Force Two well before the episode gets underway, eh?

Read on as we review the major action in “Making a Rapist.”

HISTORY REPEATING | The hour opens with Biden addressing a press conference at the precinct, saying that the time lag in testing rape kits fails “so many women.” But he cites the work of “my friend here, Lt. Olivia Benson” in cases like a recently exonerated New York man who was freed from jail after 16 years when an untested rape kit in Detroit proved he was wrongfully convicted.

The man, Sean, is there — as is the woman who accused him, Melanie, and her adult daughter, Ashley. After the press conference, the trio surprise Olivia by mentioning that they’re all friends; Sean is even going to come to Ashley’s upcoming wedding. But later that night, Fin and Rollins are called to Melanie’s house: Ashley has been raped, strangled, bleached, burned and a few other terrible things… though she’s still alive. To make matters worse, Melanie is pretty sure that she heard Sean’s voice in the house before the attack.

UP ON THE ROOF | The unit is, understandably, hesitant to haul Sean in for questioning, what with the whole making-a-giant-mistake-that-ruined-his-life-back-in-the-day. But when they learn that he’s asked a friend to lie about his alibi, and that Ashley’s fiancé hates him, Sean starts looking rather shady. And then, Ashley dies.

A look through Ashley’s social media accounts points the SVU gang to a weird neighbor guy who likes to hang out on his rooftop, smoke weed and do unsavory things like stare at Ashley through her bedroom window. The guy’s name is Charlie, and I blame him directly for me having to Google “Coney Island white fish” after Carisi says he finds one in the kid’s hidey hole on the roof. (Ick. Also, don’t Google that. It’s not lose-your-lunch gross, but you could live your life not knowing what it is.)

(You’re Googling it right now, aren’t you? Go ahead. We can wait.)

Law Order SVU Recap Season 18 Episode 2STAR WITNESS? | Charlie tells Rollins and Carisi that Ashley “definitely liked to tease him,” but it soon becomes clear that Charlie is not 100 percent there, and that he is easily swayed by the perceived attentions of the fairer sex. Though he is in possession of the bloody kitchen knife used to kill Ashley, he’s soon ruled out as a suspect: Charlie’s girlfriend has video of them having sex at the time of the murder. Lovely.

Rollins shows Charlie a photo of Sean and asks him if that was the man he saw leaving the murder scene. Look, absolutely everything I know about our legal system I learned from this franchise, and even I wouldn’t depend on this twitchy kid to be a crucial witness. But when Charlie says yes, Sean’s their man, Rollins and Carisi take him at his word. (Side note: Someone in the writers’ room lurves Kelli Giddish, based on the sheer number of times Rollins is described as pretty or attractive during the episode. I mean, they’re not wrong, but no need to rub it in for us normals, SVU writers.)

And when Fin finds Ashley’s engagement ring in Sean’s sink drain, the cops bring him in. Sean’s lawyer is quick to hint at a frame-up. “I know what it’s like to be raped!” Sean yells, claiming he could never do that to his friend. “I went in when I was 18, 140 lbs. What do you think happened?” Oof.

JUSTICE? | By the time we get to court, it’s looking more and more like Sean did it — blood on his shoes, etc. But when Charlie’s testimony falls apart like a post beer-pong game of Jenga (“I thought she wanted me to say it was him,” the idiot says about Rollins and Sean), the burden of convicting Sean once more falls upon Melanie.

Ashley’s mom refuses to testify, saying that she was absolutely sure it was Sean who attacked her all those years ago, and she was wrong. What if she’s wrong about hearing his voice in the house on the night of the murder? So Barba compels her to testify, treats her as a hostile witness and gets her to admit that the reason she’s hesitant to say Sean was in the house is because she feels guilty for sending him to prison in the first place (and therefore turning him into the rapist and murderer he is). When she finally crumbles and agrees, Sean’s lawyer cops a Murder II plea with the caveat that he address the court and say what really happens.

So he does. And it’s awful. Basically, Sean got drunk and told Ashley that he liked her. When she laughed at him, he raped and killed her, then bleached and burned her to destroy the evidence. “I didn’t want to do it,” he tearfully admits. “It just happened.”

Outside the courthouse, Melanie sadly notes, “At least I know he did it this time.” When Benson assures her it’s not her fault, the grieving mom asks, “Then whose is it?”

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Tori Cooper says:

    Horrible horrible horrible episode. And when is Olivia going to be Olivia again and not just Mariska in (expensive) cop clothes. Ridiculous. The real Benson disappeared around season 4 or 5, unfortunately. Also, KILL BARBA.

  2. CK says:

    Is VP Biden a fan of this show? Did no one in his office get an advanced copy of the script?

  3. Emma says:

    The VP is there and no Dodds Snr. Even more unbelievable than the rest of the show.

  4. AnthonyH says:

    Thanks for posting this summary, so I don’t have to watch this crappy episode here on the West Coast. I watched the first couple of minutes, and right away I knew this was going to be a stupid, horrible episode. Your summary confirmed it for me. This show is rapidly heading towards cancellation.

  5. cuius says:

    Given the recent movie “Confirmation” – not exactly tactful for the VP to be appearing in an episode on this subject

  6. PatriciaLee says:

    About the episode, the husband says, “Good. It was good, but a little sentimental at the end.” For myself, I’m not into such bleak plotting, and I am getting tired of constant downers. Surely, these geniuses can write some hopeful stories.

  7. men wouldn’t like it cause it deals with issues on DV and rape kit backlog. Thats not important to them because rapists should be allowed to go free because they feel that its ok. While the episode dragged a bit its going till 2020, so if you dont like it dont watch it. Go to singin azz Empire but I heard people getting sick of that whole gay agenda too so that might offend men because of man on man sex. Neither offends me. If you dont like it dont watch it. its extremely simple.

    • James says:

      You need to share what you’re smoking with the rest of the class. “Men don’t care because it deals with DV and they want rapists to go free”??? Jesus you’re crazy.

  8. DL says:

    I haven’t seen the episode, but it certainly sounds like it was trying to make the point that those who are wrongfully convicted or imprisoned for non-violent offenses can become violent or unstable due to psychological damage and PTSD from incarceration. This is a real phenomenon, and I’m not sure why the reaction is so negative.

  9. Wendy says:

    I am a huge SVU fan, and this episode left me feeling pretty bad. That is until I googled Coney Island White Fish, now I am just grossed out! I really wish Elliot would come back and snap Olivia out of her funk!

  10. Ro says:

    These recaps are the best. Thanks!

  11. Zoe says:

    Fire the showrunner as soon as possible.

  12. Debbie Connell says:

    Whi is the actress portraying the mother, Melanie?