Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 2 Review: The One You Feed

Benson has her work cut out for her!

Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 2 was the second time in as many weeks that she had to push for justice for a rape victim, even though it meant someone else would lose out on their chance to land a big fish.

She also dealt with a lot of other nonsense, including Duarte’s questionable behavior and his attempt to steal one of her detectives, tried to give Rollins some much-needed support, and hired a new detective. Talk about busy!

Duarte is a fine foil for Benson, but what was up with that semi-flirtation at the end of the hour?

He may be a maverick like Stabler sometimes is, but that doesn’t mean he and Benson will ever be a good match, and there’s enough drama without him trying to catch her attention.

Velasco: You’re trying to bring the heat to get justice for non-white victims.
Duarte: Guys like you and me do what we have to, just like Italians take on the mob.

Duarte’s reasons for wanting to get rid of the gang leader were understandable, even if his methods were questionable. He wasn’t a random bad cop who enjoyed power for its own sake; he wanted to rid the streets of a violent, notorious gang and get justice for victims that the system tended to overlook.

While I’m not sorry that Velasco is staying at SVU, a Duarte/Velasco spinoff might have been fun! Velasco hasn’t been at SVU long enough to be missed, and their shared desire for justice for the Latino community would make Duarte easier to bear.

It would have been an even trade since Benson got Muncie.

Molly Burnett will make a fabulous addition to the SVU cast. Her character is already growing on me after one episode.

Muncie was in an interesting position in the gang unit. As the only white detective, she could not do undercover work with Latino gangs, which was a compelling switch of the usual trope involving token minorities in mostly-white units.

Although she stressed that she wouldn’t stay in the gang unit if she didn’t respect Duarte, she didn’t need much convincing to move over to SVU. One conversation at the vending machine with Benson and she was in!

I liked the way Muncie and Benson bonded, and I was as impressed as Benson was with the way Muncie handled Nora’s panic attack.

Muncie had the same empathetic tone that Benson usually uses. Benson has been in charge of the unit a long time; now, we’ve finally found someone who is similar to the younger, pre-command Benson.

Sadly, we will lose Rollins soon, so Muncie will also be her replacement.

It’s somewhat obvious what Rollins’ exit story is likely to be. Carisi and Benson kept commenting that Rollins seemed tired and encouraging her to go home, which she refused to do.

She also told Benson that when she was shot, she realized she wanted to live for Carisi and for her girls, so her awareness of how much she has to lose will undoubtedly play a role in her eventual exit.

One of two things will happen with this. Either Rollins will decide that she can’t risk it all now that she’s finally found happiness or she will burn herself out with her refusal to take time off so that the decision is made for her.

Given that she refused to go home even when she was wincing with pain, my money is on her burning out sooner rather than later.

The case itself provided a compelling dilemma. While Benson was right that the optics were terrible of letting two boys go who had raped a young tourist, Duarte did have a valid argument: in the long run, New York would be safer if he eliminated the gang before it grew even stronger.

The way Duarte wanted to deal with the gang is the same way organized crime detectives build cases against mob bosses.

This is not likely to be the last we hear of this gang or of Duarte’s quest to eliminate it. Could a crossover with Organized Crime be part of a future storyline involving BX-9?

Velasco: Everything all right, Sarge?
Fin: Well, this whole planet is floating in the middle of an explosion. Is anything ever all right?

FIn had some great one-liners, but I’d love for him to have more involvement in cases!

There’s no need for his sole purpose to be the wise older officer who advises the young ones! He was annoyed with McGrath putting Duarte on the case and dug into his background, but then Fin disappeared until Valesco needed advice.

That felt like wasted potential. Fin should have had a more active role in the case throughout the hour.

If anyone was going to get in Carisi’s face about the deal Duarte wanted to make with the rapists, it would have been Fin. Instead, he was calmly turning off news coverage and making sardonic comments while waiting for Benson to bring back news about what would happen with this case.

Finally, while the case was compelling, it wasn’t exactly about a teen gang terrorizing tourists; it was about gang members who terrorized one specific family.

If the gang returns in a bigger way, McGrath might declare a citywide emergency. That’s the story I expected tonight.

The one we got instead kept my attention throughout the hour, but it was different from what I thought it would be.

Your turn, SVU fanatics. Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts about the gang unit, the new detective, and everything else that happened.

Don’t forget to watch Law & Order: SVU online if you missed anything.

Law & Order: SVU airs on NBC on Thursdays at 9 PM EST / PST.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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