'Law & Order: SVU' Fans Celebrate Carisi's First Case Win in Mariska Hargitay-Directed Episode

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans had reason to celebrate Thursday night after Domenick Carisi won his first case as an assistant district attorney in a special episode directed by Mariska Hargitay. The dramatic episode told the story of a stripper bravely coming forward to accuse a famous former athlete of rape. It was the first time Carisi had to go to trial himself since becoming the new ADA to the SVU at the start of Season 21.

In "She Paints For Vengeance," artist-turned-stripper Monica Russo (guest star Tonya Glanz) accused Markeevious Ryan (Wole Parks) of raping her in the private room of a strip club. Feeling that no one took her allegations seriously at first, Monica created billboards around New York City to get extra attention for her case. Eventually, it finally landed before Capt. Olivia Benson (Hargitay) and the rest of the SVU team.

The SVU team had trouble getting Monica to take their efforts seriously, and things took a difficult turn when Monica staged a protest she broadcast online. After she was arrested, Monica caught the attention of Counselor Dara Miglani (Mouzam Makkar), who found other women who accused Markeevius of rape. Carisi (Peter Scanavino) first thought these other women might be able to help them convict Markeevius without needing testimony from Monica, but the judge would not allow it.

When the first day of the trial came, Carisi felt outmatched by the much-more experienced Counselor Elana Barth (Jenna Stern) and almost wanted to quit after she tore apart Monica on the stand.

However, Olivia worked her magic to inspire Carisi to pick himself up. On the next day, he still struggled to figure out where he was going as he questioned Monica, but Monica kept calling out Markeevius as a coward. This inspired Markeevius to take the stand against Elana's wishes. During his testimony, he let it slip that other women have sued him for sexual misconduct.

After three hours of deliberations, the jury found Markeevius guilty, giving Carisi his first win.

At the end, Monica showed the SVU team a new billboard she completed, one that shows the SVU team as angels who helped her vanquish a devil. On the bottom of the billboard are seven keys, one for each year Markeevius will spend in prison.

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Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

Photo credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC