Law & Order: SVU‘s season ender on Wednesday added another tragic layer onto its stock-in-trade sexual violence by bringing illegal immigration — and New York’s status as a sanctuary city — into an already harrowing rape-and-murder investigation.
Along the way, Olivia Benson did something she’s never had to do in her entire time on the force. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, a brief recap of the back-to-back episodes:
Three masked men break into a Syrian family’s restaurant, steal the money, kill the father, rape both of his adult daughters, then kill one of those daughters. Along the way, the criminals spray-paint “Muslims must die” on the refrigerators.
Evidence leads Benson & Co. to realize that another man was in the building during the rapes and murder. Turns out, it was Yusef, brother of Maya, whose husband and daughters were attacked. He hesitated to come forward, though, because he’s an illegal immigrant and he’s gay: If he’s deported, he’ll likely be killed. But he can identify one of the men from the attack — Hector Ramirez, a worker whom the restaurant owners had to let go weeks before.
The SVU team promises Yusef that he won’t be deported… and then Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers deport him. When Hector won’t budge, Olivia uses the aforementioned tactic she’s never stooped low enough to employ: She threatens Hector’s illegal immigrant wife, Soledad, with deportation (and placement for her daughters in foster care) if the woman doesn’t drop her phony alibi for Hector. It’s a game of chicken, but Soledad eventually gives in for fear of losing her children. So yes, Liv wins, but it’s an ugly win.
Then they get Hector to admit that he was there — and to identify two white co-workers of his from another job, named Mitchell and Steven, as the ones who raped and murdered the members of the family.
Mitchell and Steven are horribly racist idiots who say things like “Mexicans love tequila and raping. Just ask the president.” And Hector testifies in front of a grand jury that they’d come along for a robbery of the restaurant (because he was angry about being fired and wanted to get back at Maya and her family), but then things had spiraled out of control while he watched.
Outside the courthouse, though, another white supremacist shoots Hector, who eventually dies. So the team is once more without the evidence it needs… until Maya suddenly remembers seeing the faces of Mitchell and Steven on the night of the attack. Liv is skeptical, given that the woman hadn’t mentioned that detail, but Maya says she’d been afraid of the men’s threats to come back and kill her if she said anything.
“Her story isn’t perfect, but it’s plausible,” Barba later tells Olivia before putting Maya on the stand… where she lies and says that she told Olivia about seeing the men’s faces weeks before Hector’s death. And Barba is kind of into Liv lying about it on the stand… though he won’t come out and tell her to perjure herself.
But Liv can’t bring herself to lie to the jury, which earns her the anger of Maya and her daughter, Lela. But a wife of one of the white guys overhears, and Liv exhorts her to tell the truth about her husband’s whereabouts on the night of the rape and murder — especially because he’s abusive to her, and putting him away would be a very good thing. So White Wife tells the truth, causing her husband to rush the stand in anger before bailiffs pull him away.
But don’t feel too good about the justice that is eventually served: Chief shows up at Liv’s office after the verdict to report that a mosque in East Harlem just got firebombed. “Five dead,” he tells a shocked Olivia and Barba.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the finale? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments!
Barba sucks. Bring back one of the real ADAs.
Lost a lot of respect for Barba…otherwise a decent episode.
I have watched L&O SVU since the beginning. Im so disappointed. Actually I can’t believe my favorite program had to get political. I know it’s based on true events that’s why I like the show. But I want to get away from all the craziness that’s going on today & everyone’s opinions. You Per trail of The two terrible man that committed the murder as if all Republicans & or people that believe in our president are racist and are ignorant people most are quite opposite than that. I see myself as an intelligent person and I Believe everyone is created equal and should be treated with respect. But I like Many I’m not naïve.
I don’t want to put my politics
Law &Order has ALWAYS been inherently a political show, and a left-leaning one at that. I’m not really sure why you would be surprised that they would cover this issue in this way…
The only time L&O really swung to the right was when Fred Thompson was involved, using the show as a platform for his ideology — such as it was — and his hatred of the news media. I don’t know if the ratings suffered, but the quality of all four shows did (TRIAL BY JURY was in that era). Maybe some of the people wanting to get rid of Barba would like Scott Baio to come on board! :)
Trial By Jury was canceled after a single season for a reason
I feel the same way. I recorded it and stopped watching after 5 minutes. The show is over for me, forever. Farewell it’s been a great run! It has never been as political and offensive as it was tonight, ever! I’ve been watching since the first season. Such a shame.
Agree!!!! Well said.
It’s a damn shame that this show is now one of the most political pieces of garbage on TV. The liberal left has invaded and taken over nearly all aspects of American life. Please just STOP with all of the constantly attacking any and everyone who doesn’t buy into the “no borders, no rules, Sanctuary city crap.
I agree too!
Per trail and you just called yourself intelligent?? Wake up, the world is a rough place and everyone should be exposed to the truth without any sugar coating. Kudos to SVU for showing us that.
Except it ISN’T the truth, that’s the issue.
You probably believed all the Japanese deserved being in the internment camps back during WW2 too.
Except when a Christian or Conservative doesn’t sugarcoat the truth or they disagree with a liberal, you guys cry ‘Hate speech’, ‘bigot’ or some kind of ‘phobe’.
Liberals can dish it. They sure can’t take it.
I agree. already deleted it from my DVR. The comments directed at our President were disgusting.
but were the comments directed towards the President false or exaggerated? Aren’t those the same rhetoric he touted over and over again during the campaign and the last three months?
Conservatives live in a bubble. How much you want to bet all these complainers said horrible stuff about Obama. The people here need to own up to their racism.
Expecting that people who enter this country as immigrants is not racist. Conservatives don’t want to stop immigration. They want a stop to illegal immigration.
The people writing this stuff are the ones living in a bubble. A huge chunk of the TV watching audience voted for Trump and they are getting sick and tired of the insults and jokes and negative characterizations.
I think it reflects the sentiments New Yorkers (in their majority) have of his policies.
Law &order Special Victims has always covered news taken from the headlines. I used to love the show but now it’s just a platform for liberal thinking! America yes America (do you remember what that is! When our ancestors came here with new hope. Wanting to EARN a living justly). They are called illegal immigrants for a reason! Come back to the USA when you want to pay you fare share!
It’s “fair” share.
When our ancestors came it was actually possible to do so legally. In todays world it’s almost impossible for someone who isn’t obscenely wealthy to do so legally. There’s so much bureaucratic red tape that it can take an army of lawyers years to work through. Not exactly welcoming to the “huddled masses”.
Didn’t our ancestors kill native Americans and take over their land? How do you people get so stupid? Are you sniffing lead paint on purpose or something?
Your ancestors came here with new hope. Mine came in chains and were raped, lynched, and forced to work for free amongst a people who thought they weren’t even human. For you and your ancestors America was “great” back in the good old days. Not so much for people like me. When I hear about the “great” good old days of America, I know what people are really yearning for — a place of white supremacy where people who aren’t white know their place and stay there. I hear the true meaning of those words loud and clear. So do many other people who aren’t white and blind to the truth that America was never a dream land for many people.
Our relatives were legal. Try again
You r racist against white people. I am black and realize that things weren’t great but thank god that now we have the same opportunities that they do. Would u rather live in Africa? We have things really good and mostly what I see now is black people hating on white people.
Nobody disrespected your orange president. The show displayed pure facts & how a certain Mr. Cheeto has enabled people to openly say the racist BS that’s on their mind.
Agree that the anti-Trump comments are over the top.
I agree! I have loved this show from the beginning and was extremely disappointed at how far they went with their own political agenda. Although, I have seen them slant left on occasion, it was never as blatant as it was last night. I don’t mind people having differing opinions or beliefs, that is what our country was built on. What I do mind, is that they (the writers of SVU) did not portray both sides the same. They made one side (liberal) look pristine and perfect but the other side (conservative) was made to look like nothing but a bunch of poor, meth smoking, drunk, racist, skin head-type people. This frustrates me as most conservatives I know, are not that type of person. If they wanted to portray both sides, they should have done it fairly to each. Make true representations of what the majority is REALLY like. I think each party has it’s extremists but not all liberals are and not all conservatives are. I have liberal friends and conservative friends and I love them equally and disagree with both on certain points. Most liberals do not look a certain way and most conservative do not look a certain way. This show was stereotyping on both ends. WE are ALL just everyday people trying to get by and THAT should have been represented on this show. Shows that do this are what is causing a further divide in this country and it makes me very sad to feel that we are loosing this great nation because of this type of thing. They are inciting hate between the parties and that is not right. I will not be watching this show anymore. That does not mean I am boycotting it or whoever advertises with them, I am simply going to turn the channel. Even if I think what they did was a horrendous injustice, they still have a right to do it. If I attempted to shut them down or protest the show just because I didn’t like what they had to say, that wouldn’t make me any better than the people I condemn for doing that very same thing.
They definitely did not make the left look pristine. Olivia and Barba did things they had never done, It was surprising.
See, I took the episode another way. The hero of the episode was the white conservative mother who told the truth on the stand, imprisoning her guilty husband. She wasn’t portrayed as liberal, but did the right thing. The Muslim mother, who was a legal immigrant and “always paid her taxes” told a lie (understandedly) when in court. Also, I think it was important that this particular right wing criminal was extreme (meth head and violent), since he committed a heinous crime. I thought the characters were all nuanced: even Barba and Benson came down a few ethical rungs with this one.
I know hundreds of republicans, democrats, and even muslims, meth heads, drunks, Mexicans and gays through my work in the medical field. The vast majority of these are decent human beings with varying opinions, who love their families and would never commit an actual hate crime. I urge anyone who was bothered by this episode to reach out to someone in their life unlike themselves. Just have a talk. It can be scary, but you will feel a little more peace afterward.
The words and thoughts of the two white rape/murder suspects and the other white bigots depicted here — such as the gunman outside the courthouse — could have been copied and pasted verbatim from internet postings I used to deal with on a daily basis working at a daily newspaper in a small urban area. Seven years ago. The angry and hateful portion of the American right — which isn’t all of the American right, though all are complicit who don’t actively work to oppose this portion — has only increased its volume and venom in the years since then. If you’re mad … it’s because you don’t like what the mirror showed.
Exactly.. They want to be hateful ignorant racists without having to admit that they are in the wrong.
I totally agree. Dick Wolf got really preachy on this one. I found the liberal bias to be downright insulting and disgusting.
Of course you see yourself as an intelligent person. If dumb people knew they were dumb, they would never open their mouths. It’s called the Dunning Kruger effect, look it up. If you really want to know how smart you are, have someone give you an honest assessment of your writing and communication skills (if they’re honest, they’ll tell you they suck).. Also, take an IQ test. If you come out at 138 like me, only then can you objectivity say you’re smart.
138? Is that all?
I don’t usually respond to these things but I hope this gets back to NBC. I love this show but am also very disappointed with the emphasis on hating on christians (episode of bad church) and making muslims look so innocent. I know not all muslims r bad but if they would speak up more about what the radicals r doing it might help a lot. And with the Muslim related violence around the world constantly, no one wants to see these politically correct episodes. If they continue I won’t watch this show anymore, and I have watched it for years. We get enough of this political left crap in the media. They should remember that the majority of this country wants to do what is necessary to protect Americans and r good Christian people. I don’t mind them showing the truth but make it equal on both sides.
How can you say you are intelligent when your response has incorrect grammar?
Way too political for me. This show tonight was like an Award show trying to make their point about sanctuary cities. Well right after Manchester you can see the other point of view. There has been way too many political statements this year.
It is ignorant for the writers to believe that these issues are so black and white. This can only further the divide. It is not an issue of race or religion, it is about law and order and safety concerns on behalf of all good people. Something is very wrong with those pushing this agenda. Coincidentally, this episode followed the Manchester tragedy. They should have pulled this episode.
I love law and order but he makes me sick to see how the show goes out of the way to sound sympathetic to muslims and illegals. Shows should stay out of politic. Illegasl break the law muslims hàrbor terrorist snd ICE wouldnt grab a witness in a double murder homicide. Bunch of bleeding heart liberarls. Law is the law, lets not forget
“Out of its way?” Please, this show is showing exactly what extreme right-wingers think, and advocating that said extremists are dangerous.
Really got in the liberal agenda in this episode! Sure know it’s an NBC show!
We watch tv shows at night to escape the news and newspapers. We don’t need SVU writers/actors jamming politics down our throat. It is already happening all day long 24/7!
Shame on you! We are done with your show!
It’s Hollywood. Enough said.
New York City is in Hollywood? Hollywood’s a neighborhood of New York City? Man, Betsy DeVos’ miseducation policy is so strong it’s making people ignorant retroactively! ;)
If you’re watching a show about rape, murder and other sex crimes to escape the news and newspapers, you’re doing television wrong.
Dan, I do not know you, but you are the Hero of the Day for this post.
Thank you for pointing out what should have been obvious.
The entire L&O franchise has made its name based on the “ripped from the headlines” storylines. If you’re watching this show to escape, this has NEVER been the right show for you. 18 seasons of SVU and you haven’t realized that yet?
The most accurate comment yet. Ripped from the headlines . I remember an L&O Episode where they portrayed the victim as a “near truth” version of Steve Bartman and the detectives came close to justifying the homicide. Stupid? Pretty accurate for what happened in Chicago after bartman ended the cubs season.
The most “fair” they’ve ever been were two similar episodes on mandatory vaccination. Benson was on a different side of the issue as a parent than when she was a detective. Issues are based on the news. Disagreeing with verdicts and how things are handled is part of the appeal . Hell, I’m still trying to figure out how Stabler’s wife was actually executed several years earlier for killing a cop. Fiction folks…fiction!!!
Rape and murder as “escapism”? This show is “ripped from the headlines,” that’s the essence of it.
Rape and murder as escapism? Yikes
For a Finale this was one of the worst shows ever. SUV has become too much of a political show with so many episodes involving this president and his decisions. Could it be that NBC is controlling them to do this?! If so it is unfortunate.
For a Finale this was one of the worst shows ever. SUV has become too much of a political show with so many episodes involving this president and his decisions. Could it be that NBC is controlling them to do this?! If so it is unfortunate.
This was not originally the finale. It was supposed to air earlier in the season, but due to some things going on in the world, they waited.
Could it be that Donald Trump is such a force for evil and stirs up so many people to freely air their worst impulses that it’s impossible for creative people to resist commenting on the 900-pound rabid gorilla cranked up on meth and carrying a nuclear suitcase in the room? Just a thought.
But NBC’s cowardly refusal to air the most Trump-specific episode of SVU filmed this season certainly seems to have inspired the writers room to ruminate on the various aspects of his own deeply flawed character and the various malignant forces that enabled him to get into the White House: We had the Roger Ailes-ish episode, the story about fake news sites like Breitbart and WingNutDaily, this two-parter about the white working class that’s been fooled into hating Hispanics and Muslims instead of looking at the wealthy people who have really used and discarded them, and I think that even one of the Chicago shows dipped into the “crooked real estate developer” pool.
If NBC had done the right thing and let the Gary Cole episode air, maybe there would have been fewer subsequent episodes spent on the subject of Herr Donald and his stand-ins. Just a thought.
Did you see the post election map? With the exception of concentrations around NYC, LA, DC and a few other metro areas, the map was red with Trump supporters.
I’m sorry you are so upset your chosen candidate didn’t get elected, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who didn’t vote for her are evil, malignant, cranked up on meth, Hispanic and Muslim hating white working class fools.
As for being used and discarded by the wealthy, you’re talking about the wrong party. The DNC totally sandbagged Sanders because the wealthy influence peddlers and Cabinet wannabes – yes I mean you, Debbie – had hitched their wagon to Hillary, a terrible, entitled and morally bankrupt professional political class poser. I didn’t vote for him – I voted against her.
Too political and preachy!! I won’t continue to watch this show with an agenda!!!
It’s Hollywood as usual. Enough said.
Wth are y’all talking about? Barba is the best ADA of the entire series. His back was against the wall, he made a suggestion based on the limited options he had from setback after setback.
I agreeam. I love Barba, he is one of the best ADAs they’ve had. He is complicated, always wants to do the right thing and is honest when things cannot be done. He was desperate, as was everyone else, to get justice and the reason he didn’t outright implore Liv to perjure herself is because it is against what he really believes.
As for all the cries of this being one-sided, against whites and too liberal, that is ridiculous. Every day hate crimes are committed against immigrants and people of other races who were born here. This is a reality and it is wrong, period. SVU is a show that portrays reality (with a twist of drama), so if you don’t want to see what’s really going on in this country, it may not be the show for you.
I *agree…stupid fat fingers :-).
I feel like half these people are the same or have never watched the show. SVU has always had a political slant as it’s basically a show about finding those that typically violate women and bringing them to justice. It’s also set in NYC which is a more liberal setting. If you want an apolitical show, for the most part you’re out of luck and that’s ok. It’s ridiculous to say a show (especially one set in the present) should address the current political culture.
Sorry. *shouldn’t address the current political culture
One of the best SVUs in a long time. Barba’s actions tonight were troubling … but he’s always been the most aggressive ADA on the show. In a way, it seems he fills the loose cannon void left when Stabler handed in his papers.
That’s a really good point. I’ve never thought about Barba that way, but you’re right. He really does fill the void that Stabler left in a way that none of the others ever managed to (no matter how much they tried to force Amaro into the role.)
Personally I’m a fan of Barba, but then I was a fan of Esparza’s Broadway work long before he joined SVU. So it could just be that I’m a fan of the actor.
Intense! And timely. Seriously, some of these comments 🙄. L&O shows have always been ‘ripped from the headlines’.
I thought it was great, and sad. Lots of gray areas in law enforcement. Doing the right thing may not always be the best thing.
Ugh, get rid of Barba. He’s always been like an overzealous chipmunk on steroids. He’s always been terrible, but after tonight I think he may finally be the reason I give up this show. Call me when they get a good ADA again and maybe I’ll come back.
Great show, as always!
This episode made me laugh. It was soooooo Trump bashing that it was hard to watch. The characters were so pigeonholed – deplorables against poor immigrants – it was like watching a Trump protest run by Rosie O’Donnell. Not everybody who voted for Trump is a racist, uneducated bigot. Not every Muslim is a terrorist. I was disgustingly disappointed by the portrayals in this episode.
Not everybody who voted for Trump is a racist may be true (it also may not be), but it is a fact that Trump does not condemn white supremacists, and as such they feel more free to speak their minds. Plus, Trump himself is racist
I know this was on NBC but I don’t believe I have ever seen an episode of scripted TV that was this political biased and so hard core to the left.I’m not a Trump supporter but this was a level of ridiculousness I only expect on the news channels.
Too political on too many issues. Hate crime, refugee, illegal immigrants, gay, women suppression, ice v nypd, why did the writers bother to include a rape. Oh yer that what it’s supposed to be about. more and more episodes on political issues. Lost me. I’ll watch something else next time.
This is the real world and people are even more angry on the outside because of our so called president. This was a very good episode that is happening every day and I give a thumbs up to Jenson for her ethics being true to her job .
It was so ‘on point’ bringing together the state of our city, state, country today; like an instruction manual on all the hard work and inefficiencies. The ICE part was exasperating, in all it’s truth. The ignorance and hatred, the white mother, the Syrian mother, the Salvadorean mother, the gay brother. All the strings were so true and well knitted. Barba and the chief’s willingness to obtain the ends by blurred means. Yeay Benson. And then, the ending, leaving us standing at the doorway to yesterday and tomorrow in this continuing situation we are living through. Kudos to the writers and all involved.
I expected the ending to be news that the Syrian man who was deported had been killed because someone had found out he was gay, but the ending we got was truer to life: There will be another mosque bombing or fire, and that would be heard about, whereas news on plight of an individual refugee takes time to reach these shores, if it gets here at all.
I’m done! When they called the President of the United States “that thug in D.C.” I lost it and turned it off and will not watch this show anymore!
I agree. I turned it off.
I bet you said alot of racist and unkind things about Obama…so please stop being a hypocrite.
I cheered. Thanks for reminding me of the exact line — I’d told my mother he called him “that raging madman in Washington.” But “thug” is more succinct.
Well, it does reflect the feeling many New Yorkers – myself included – have towards him.
Your response is EXACTLY why they did the show. Our “ptrsident” is not only a thug but an impeachable thug at that.
Katy, I completely agree. I’m done with this left-wing mouthpiece
It’s a hard episode to watch from the beginning til the end. to the many who turned off the tv due to “bias”, what part of the show is not relevant or exaggerated in the US today? Just because it does not align to your political beliefs does not mean that ugliness portrayed in the show is not happening around us.