'Law & Order: SVU' Fans Grossed out by Twisty Ariel Winter Episode

This week's episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit explored the impacts of trauma, both on the victim of a horrific rape and the detectives investigating the case. "The Darkest Journey Home" featured Modern Family star Ariel Winter as the victim, Reagan James, a woman who woke up suddenly after a night of partying with friends and knew she was raped. The twists in the episode left fans at home disturbed and shocked, like many of the best SVU episodes.

Reagan was introduced as a hard-partyer who took off her engagement ring while out with her friends. She then went into a ride-sharing car with the driver Nick and another rider named Julius.

During the ride, she took a handful of pills and fell asleep. The next day, she woke up in her bedroom with her clothes on. She later found her way to the SVU's precinct to report something had happened to her, but she is just not sure what. Reagan later told Benson she thinks she was raped.

During their questioning, Benson and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) learn Reagan's ride-share trip took her to a bar in Sheepshead Bay. Benson sent Fin (Ice-T) and Rollins out to interview the driver and ride-share passenger. Meanwhile, Benson took Reagan to a hospital, where a doctor found evidence that she was held down and suffered injuries.

During the investigation, the team ran into plenty of lies and misdirection, from both Reagan and the perpetrators. Eventually, Benson and the detectives reach the truth. They discovered that Reagan was taken to a boat during the ride-share trip where she was gang raped by three men.

They discovered the owner of the boat was restaurant owner Anthony Marino, who Julius used to work for. Julius called Marino from the ride-share care, and surveillance footage from the restaurant shows that a mysterious fourth man was there.

"So this guy Julius gets into a car with a drunk girl, and he and the driver have two friends they can call at 1 in the morning for a gang rape?" Carisi (Peter Scanavino) asked. "What kind of animals are these guys?"

"Low-lifes know low-lifes," Fin reminded him.

Julius admitted to knowing Marino, but demanded a lawyer before saying anything else. Nick continued to keep his lies going, but Rollins eventually wore him down. They also brought Morino in, and he insisted he did not know what the other men wanted his boat for that night. Carisi and Fin demanded he help them try to find the fourth mystery man.

Benson used the new interrogation techniques she learned from Dr. Alexis Hanover (Amy Hargreaves) to help Reagan remember some helpful details. She remembered the man had a tattoo on his arm, which led the team to Frank Corso (Martino Caputo).

Later, Reagan was worried that her troubled past would help the criminals get off. Thankfully, Corso's DNA matched the rape kit. Still, the team feared Reagan would not hold up well on the stand, so Benson let Carisi make a deal with Marino to get the other guys in jail. The whole experience gave Carisi a crash course in making deals.

In the last scene, Benson explained to Reagan that everyone is taking a plea, and it will not be going to trial. That did not make it easier for her to get over this.

"Reagan, it's not going to be easy, but you survived the assault," Benson told her. "And you're going to survive this.

"You've said that before, too."

"I have... because it's true."

"How do you know?"

"Because I did," Benson told Reagan. "So if you ever want, or need to talk, I'm here... I know. It's going to be ok."


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

Photo credit: Barbara Nitke/NBC