Law Order SVU Recap Season 18 Episode 3

Law & Order: SVU Recap: Liar Education

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

A terrible guy gets some less terrible (but still pretty morally gross) women to sleep with him by lying to them: Is it rape? As this week’s Law & Order: SVU explores, the answer depends on whom you ask.

Read on for the highlights of “Imposter.”

TALK ABOUT AN ENTRANCE EXAM | Moments after sending her husband and teenage son on a college visit — “Oh, and don’t forget to mention your three-week seminar in Nairobi!” — a rich Manhattan housewife gets in touch with her lover and meets him for a quickie. Soon after he leaves, she texts him twice: Once saying they’d had the “best sex ever” and once (10 minutes later) saying that he’d raped her. What?

Rollins, Fin and Carisi come on the scene after the woman, Laura, overdoses on pills. At the hospital, Laura’s husband is beside himself when he learns about the other man. “We were happy,” he says, shellshocked. “At least, I thought we were.” A rape kit confirms sex but does not indicate violence, and Laura’s in a coma, so she can’t shed any light on the matter.

A conversation with Laura’s son reveals that she was a hovering, overbearing mom who really, really wanted her kid to attend the prestigious Hudson University. (Side note: GOOD GOD, WHY? After 18 seasons of the SVU team visiting that hellish institute of higher learning, I’m surprised that place hasn’t been shut down for hazardous conditions. Remember when Olivia said Noah would never go there?)

A TERRIBLE REALIZATION | So Laura’s been sleeping with a guy who she thought was the director of admissions at Hudson… except he’s really a campus security guard who works in the department. “Have you Googled him or looked him up?” Olivia asks, and when the New York City Police Department is taking its cues from Catfish: The TV Show‘s Nev and Max, we are at a low point, indeed.

Turns out, Laura found her bed buddy on Instagram after she hooked up with him the last time — in those 10 minutes between texts — and then felt so bad about herself, she took too many pills. And she only slept with the guy because she thought it would help her smart-but-not-remarkable son get into the school. Oops! “So you didn’t know the true identity of this man, which means you never consented to having sex with him,” Olivia says, her wheels clearly turning.

DIFFERING VIEWS | But not every member of the squad is on board with charging the guy with rape. “I mean, back in the day, I pretended to be Melly Mel’s cousin” to get some action, Fin points out. “I think it’s disgusting, but where do you draw the line?” Rollins muses to Carisi. And when they find the guy — named Tom Metcalf — and bring him in, he’s unrepentant about his manner of luring ladies. “If you ask me, it’s a brilliant strategy. Like taking advantage of the tax code. You finda loophole, you exploit it,” he brags to Carisi. And though the four other Hudson-hopeful moms he duped feel stupid for sleeping with a schmoe instead of a power player, none of them want to press charges. “We were two adults playing a game, and the hustler got hustled,” one says. Still, Laura’s willing to press charges, so Benson has Tom arrested.

Law Order SVU Recap Season 18 Episode 3THE SINS OF THE MOTHER | There’s a whole bit with Tom’s high school pal getting involved in the case, but it ultimately doesn’t matter: The judge thinks that Barba is pushing an agenda — given that there’s no actual law saying you can’t pretend to be someone else in order to get someone to show you their nether regions — and strongly suggests that the lawyer back off. So with Tom’s own attorney admitting that her client is “disgusting, [but] not a rapist,” the sleaze’s charge gets knocked down to criminal impersonation in the second degree: a misdemeanor.

When Benson goes to break the news to Laura, she comes upon an horrific scene. As first responders mill about, Laura sobs over the body of her son… who has succumbed to the pressure thrust upon him — and the shame of his mother’s actions — and jumped from the family’s brownstone to his death.

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!

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  1. Rob Horine says:

    When I found out my mom was cheating on my dad, I just sat down at the TV and watched “Match Game”.

  2. I laughed at your comment about the (thankfully fictional) Hudson University. Honestly I don’t know why any TV character would go there. The only time I can think of where it was mentioned in a good way was on BATB (where it was the place that JT taught at.)

    • H says:

      Last Time we went to Hudson it was the episode mirroring the UVA/Rolling Stone fiasco, so maybe after the fake rape story the University’s reputation had been rehabilitated, or more probably rape victims’ stories are questioned again (I’d like SVU to tackle that issue).

  3. Cheyenne says:

    For once I’m rooting against the victim. Any parent who would have sex with an admissions officer (or who she thinks is an admissions officer) to get her kid into a prestigious college is beyond despicable.

    • H says:

      As is the case many times lately, Rollins is right and Olivia is way in over her head. What I don’t understand is why is Barba, who appears pragmatic and knows the sistem, always indulges her against his better judgement. At least this time he was scoulded.

  4. Tori Coop says:

    What’s up with SVU recaps? Blah.
    KILL BARBA. I hate that character more than I’ve ever hated anything.

  5. George Lewis says:

    Nowadays they even say a man can rape his own wife LOL. Crazy world. Now the libtards want to say if someone lies about who they are it’s also rape LOL? So if a cougar lies about her age is she raping me? That’s cool, I forgive her. Can I sue her though if she has big bucks?

    • Martina says:

      A husband CAN rape his wife and vice versa, in fact a very good friend of mine was raped by her husband, I don’t think there is anything LOL about it. Just because you marry someone it doesn’t mean you have given consent to sex anytime, anywhere your partner wants it.

    • Jada says:

      That line of thought of yours is quite disgusting and I feel sorry for your partner if you ever get married

  6. N says:

    Much as I love you guys, this one was really weak. Way below your standard.

  7. emy says:

    I’ve watched L&O forever, but I truly dislike the new angle of its late few episodes. Even Olivia’s character which i liked, I find now very rigid and without true compassion. Hope it will be better in the future

    • H says:

      She was too compassioned this time.

    • Charlie says:

      I agree…………..

    • Wendy says:

      Totally agree with you Emy, hated this episode, and the last one too. Only the season opener was worth watching. Liv is becoming very unlikable, and can it be that they have run out of plotlines? This was very weak, maybe Dick Wolf is too busy with all of his “Chicago” shows to pay attention to SVU anymore.

    • Kat says:

      Olivia is quickly becoming one of my most disliked characters. She comes across as thinking every man is a rapist.

    • Totally agree…I think the need to ‘modernize’ the series a bit.

    • ravenangel68 says:

      After everything Olivia has been through it would make less sense for her to be jaded and untrusting. Maybe you guys live to much of a justified or lack of traumatic life events or maybe you are just to young to have experienced these types of crimes yet. I truly hope you never have to. I can totally see how and why Olivia has become the way she is. I respect the writing team for allowing her to be more real. It wouldn’t be realistic if she were Mary sunshine after all of that.

  8. Elaine says:

    What is wrong with these people?? Sleeping with someone you think can help you or your child get ahead?? Does that ever work, of course not!! It didn’t work in Hollywood and it still doesn’t. I think the women who did this had very low esteem, and it is sad that in this day and age women are still fighting for equality. We must keeping fighting, but not in that way of using your body, we are too good for that!!

    • Johnny Styles says:

      You are absolutely right. Plots like this just serve to perpetuate stereotypes about mothers and women in general. I expect better from SVU. I know they like to go all “ripped from the headlines,” but this was a bit much, to say the least.

  9. Ron Foster says:

    Love it.Looking forward to next week

  10. girlfrombk says:

    Stupidest. Episode. Ever!!! Leave it to Law and Order and everything that’s even remotely sexual is going to end up a crime! Was the guy a creep? Yes. And shame on him for tricking those moms but there was no crime, they were all willing to do the deed and got played! Let it go!

  11. Lexi says:

    The past 3 years, at least, this show spirals down a little more each episode. I hope they don’t try to make it to 20 seasons. It will truly be unwatchable by then, more so than it is now. This is why I watch Criminal Minds live and fast forward through a majority of SVU. And add me to the growing list who hates Rafael Barba. He’s just so…ew.

  12. Bill says:

    I’ve watched this show since Season 1 and have either strongly agreed with the sexual assault allegations made and the verdict that following or that in a few cases there could be two sides to the story. This is the first time when I have thought the Detective Benson was dead wrong. The perp in this case was definitely a major a**hole and calling him “disgusting – as his own attorney stated – is an understatement. But a rapist? No, not even close. Millions of guys (and even a few women) have pretended to be something or someone they are not to get someone into bed. That may be deceitful behavior, but it’s not rape, I’m surprised this show even tried to make such a claim, based on the evidence presented. However, Barba did bring up an interesting case (not sure if it was true) about a guy who pretended to be his twin brother and had sex with his brother’s wife. Was that rape? I would say, yes. Just as much if a person crawled into bed in the middle of the night and had sex with someone’s spouse pretending to be that spouse’s husband, wife, etc. and the spouse believed it as well. It may technically not seem that different from what the University security guard did in this episode, but I doubt any jury would agree those situations are comparable.

  13. Luis says:

    I hear faint echoes of the classic “L&O” episode where McCoy prosecuted a gun manufacturer for murder for making the gun that was used in a massacre. He got the jury to convict the manufacturer, only to watch the judge take the jury the task for failing to follow his instructions and dismiss the entire case because the homicide statutes don’t cover responsibility for the manufacturers of weapons.

    • Pat D says:

      I remember that episode well. McCoy was prosecuting because he claimed the gun was knowingly made to be too easy to modify into an automatic weapon. The one bearded judge, who seemed to have it in for McCoy, dismissed the case until the appellate court overruled him. But like you said, he overturned the verdict by claiming burden of proof was not met. He then gave a pretty impassioned speech where he seemed to agree with McCoy that what the gun manufacturers did was repugnant, but that the law just didn’t prohibit it. Even as someone who supports gun control, I had to concede that he was right in his thinking.

      But he and McCoy would butt heads again after that.

  14. Burton K says:

    You gotta be kidding. The writers are desperate for story lines because guess what folks? What happened isn’t rape. And Olivia Benson’s role is getting just plain stupid. Not everything that happens is a sex crime.

    Is the the guy that has sex with the MILF trying to get her son into a prestigious school a jerk? Yep, A-1. But the woman got played, not raped.

  15. A says:

    I wish we could get an episode with just Barba. He’s the best thing about this show.

  16. S says:

    Worst episode ever. I’m disappointed. Completely takes away from real rape victims.

  17. Clau says:

    I didn’t like this episode.
    The case was stupid and Olivia acted in a completely unlikable and stupid (blind? naive?)way.
    The victims here weren’t victims.
    The only thing they were victims off was being filmed during sex and the videos getting uploaded to the internet. But that wasn’t even touched on.
    So the guy lied about who he was, but the women still made decision to have sex with him. They weren’t in any way forced, which is the definition of rape. There was no violence or blackmail.
    I was so glad for that last ‘victim’, who actually had some sense and see it for what it was. ‘The user got used’ or however that went.

    I like how she fights for rape victims. But this… it seemed like she’s just seeing rape everywhere now, even making it up.
    And Barba disappointed me. Off all the ‘cases’ to ‘side on’ with Olivia he chose this??

    I really hope this episode was just a one time mistake.

  18. Tori says:

    Get rid of ADA Barba and get a real tough as nails prosecutor. He’s terrible. It’s bad enough that he looks like a squirrel with his cheeks stuffed with nuts, but we have to also watch him and his terrible acting along with his big cheeks.

  19. Mike says:

    By far one of the worst episodes yet. I’m sorry but they should have sped things up to where her son committed suicide and then have they yet the guy for murder. Prosecuting a guy for lying about his name to get laid will have the jails packed with 1000’s of college guys. Although I thought the story line was a good start it did not go the best way possible and Olivia is getting overzealous in this one

    • Mony says:

      This episode is an excellent at depicting the overzealous detectives and DAs with their own agenda to prove their cases no matter what the costs to anyone’s lives under the guise that they are upholding our laws to protect us, which justifies their actions without remorse, just like the pyschos their prosecute. Rape-shouldn’t it involve some kind of trauma that affects you for a possible lifetime? Instead, rape laws are now trying to encompass way too may situations. 2 people conning or manipulating each other to gain something happens in almost every situation in life. Usually, only one will end up with their expectations being met. The other will feel used, taken advantage of and possibly angry to some degree depending on the thickness or thinness of your skin. Most of us chalk it up to experience and get on with our lives being a little more cautious and not so trusting and some will hold a grudge forever. But, somehow, when it comes to sex, we can legally, get even. Someone’s life is traumatically affected all because someone can’t handle the outcome. (I had sex with him because he told me he will love me forever and I believed he would marry me and take care of me-NOT). Sometimes, we are responsible for our own crappy situations and decisions- Own it and get on with your life without taking someone down.

  20. DeeK says:

    I agree with the majority — absolutely worst episode ever. Yes, I see this series ending this year. And it is time for Liv to get her hair cut. It looks terrible.

  21. BM says:

    So glad I’m not the only who thought that the case was weak. I found it rather contrived and thought that the one mom had it right: the hustler got hustled.

  22. Tim says:

    Why is the wife portrayed as a victim? Seems to me the Husband and Son were the victims for her reckless behavior!!

  23. Scott Walton says:

    The worst episode ever. Who let this tripe even be filmed. wasted an hour of my day. Who ever wrote this episode never mind that who ok’ d this should be fired .

    • malaspina1 says:

      @Scott You are 100% correct.What rubbish!I recorded the programme and zipped through the commercials so I only wasted 45 minutes of my day.

  24. brian says:

    if barba wanted to proseucute that man for rape he should have proseucuted the lady for prostitution that’s what she did

  25. Angelica says:

    I have rolled with SVU from day 1. This one right here was some BS! Regrettable sex is NOT rape.

  26. Shan Berenson says:

    I haven’t watched a whole lot of SVU, (please don’t lynch me), so I must ask, how often do episodes end so abruptly and without a real conclusion?

  27. Snork says:

    Let’s just hope Olivia doesn’t discover Tinder. She’d work herself into an early grave!