'Law & Order: SVU' Fans Applaud Story Taking Down Incels

This week's episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit found Benson and her team investigating a string of break-ins in New York City. At first, it looked like a case of mistaken identity, but they discovered the crimes were linked to a violent online subculture. Fans at home praised the episode for the actors' performances and the twists.

The episode, titled "Revenge," started with a pizza delivery man assaulting a couple. It was the latest violent break-in, and the team believes they might have something to do with an online group.

Early in the investigation, the team thought the assault was a case of mistaken identity. The person they believed to be the criminal was supposed to attack someone else, but they later discovered the attacker is linked to an online subculture known as "incels," men who feel they are entitled to women.

The assaults keep getting worse, with the man being beaten and the women being raped. The first half of the episode ends with the suspect killing a man.

The team discovered that three "incel" members had a "Strangers on a Train-esque" plan. One of the three, Tony (Steven Maier) took out revenge on Carol (Kennedy McCann), a girl he wanted to go to prom with, but she had no idea who he was. In the end, Tony told Carol he found out every little detail about her and killed her fiance, who did not "deserve" her. Tony said he found her cell number and called her to ask her out to prom, but she never answered. In the last-second twist, Carol told Tony she never ignored him. He had the wrong number the entire time.

"My mind is literally blown. This episode is so crazy. It definitely picked my brain," one fan wrote.

"Revenge" comes after last week's topical episode, "Zero Tolerance," in which Benson and Stone did whatever they could to reunite an undocumented immigrant with her daughter. Benson tried to arrest a federal agent who was ordered to take the young girl back to a detention center.

In the end, Stone was able to pull some strings to reunite the girl with her mother, but in the end, Benson saw firsthand how children are separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rollins' story also took a new turn. In the season premiere, she told Benson she is pregnant and was thinking about getting an abortion. In "Zero Tolerance," she told the baby's father, Dr. Al Pollack (George Newbern) and was surprised to hear him suggest an abortion instead of offering to help her raise it. At the very end of the episode, she told Pollack she was going to have the baby and has no need of him.

Law & Order: SVU is now in its historic 20th season and is more relevant than ever in the age of #MeToo. However, even Mariska Hargitay said the show idealizes how sexual assault cases are handled.

"One of the major things I've heard [from viewers] over the 20 years is 'I wish you were the detective on my case,'" Hargitay said during the Tribeca TV Festival last month. "I think our show in many ways is an ideal unit of how we wish sexual assault and domestic violence was met in the world. Survivors are believed. Period."

At 20 seasons, the show is now tied with the original Law & Order and Gunsmoke for the most seasons for a primetime scripted drama.

New episodes of SVU air on NBC Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.

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