'Law & Order: SVU': Benson Discovers Sisters' True Tormentors in Shocking Case

The newest Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode seemed like an open-and-shut case, but it quickly led Olivia Benson and the team down the path to a shocking reveal of who the real culprit was. It was an amazing twist that had fans' mouths agape

In "Exchange," a young girl, Emilia Barassi (Anna Van Patten) was raped and assaulted in a taxi cab. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) learned that Emilia was a foreign exchange student from Italy.

Although the cab company had no log for a cab picking up Emilia outside her friend's house, the SVU team thought they found the culprit when they tracked down Emilia's phone. However, when they banged on the apartment door, they found Emilia's sister Lara (Isabella Pisacane), not the cab driver. After Lara finally gave Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Benson the phone, which helped them track down the driver, Oscar.

When Fin (Ice-T) and Carisi (Peter Scanavino) picked up the driver, he asked the two "What did she expect?" This convinced the team that they solved the crime, especially after the driver pleaded guilty. Benson then gave Emilia a card for a therapist, but Roger (Darren Goldstein), the man she is living with, took the card first.

It seemed like the case was over, but Rollins came in with video from Emilia's phone showing her having sex with two older men. Considering she was only 15, the men were doing something illegal. Emilia insisted what the video caught was only a one-time thing, but Benson reminded her it was wrong. Emilia said she never did it again and feared Richard would send her back to Italy if he learned about it.

Rollins later identified one of the men in the video as a developer named Alex, who insisted he was not the man in the video. Still, Fin and Rollins arrested him.

Later, they confronted Lara after learning she was the one who filmed the video at a party. Lara claimed she met a man named Bob at a bar who invited her.

Next, Carisi and Rollins visited Roger's wife, Mary (Erin Dilly), at their home. Carisi mentioned that Emilia sounded like she was trying to hide some things, which led Mary to admit that both Emilia and Lara were sexually abused by their father in Italy. But Carisi noticed there wasn't a single door for the sister's bedrooms.

Emilia later admitted she was assaulted by her father when she only 4 years old. She blamed herself for what her father did, and Benson tried to convince her this was not the case. While Emilia explained to Benson what happened to her, Lara told Rollins she was also assaulted at 4 years old. When Rollins told Lara about there being no doors for their rooms at Richard's apartment, Lara shrugged it off. Lara said it was Richard who helped her realized she was molested.

Curiously, the stories Lara and Emilia told abut being assaulted by their father were exactly the same. Suddenly, the team began suspecting something was up with Richard, especially after Fin met with another former exchange student who said Richard made her watch homemade pornography.

Next, Benson told Emilia she believes she was brainwashed into believing her father assaulted her. Benson showed her real photos from her mother's Facebook page and asked if she was really molested by her father. Emilia realized Richard was not loving her, but really molesting her.

Fin and Carisi later confronted Richard, who was convinced what he was doing "wasn't dirty." He believed he was showing them the way the world really works. Rather than face time in prison, Richard jumped off the balcony. Mary told Benson and Carisi that she wanted to help the girls, but was too afraid to say anything because he would leave her behind.

In the last moment, Lara tried to overdose on pills, still convinced Richard loved her. Lara's stomach was pumped and saved. In the end, Lara and Emilia's mother agreed to come back to the U.S.

"Welcome to America. Land of the free..." Rollins began.

"...Home of the sick bastards," Fin finished.

In the last scene, Benson told Lara her father will be released from prison. Her mother arrived, and tearfully hugged her and Emilia in the end.


SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

Photo credit: NBC