'Law & Order: SVU' Fans React to 'Intense' Unconventional Episode

Even after 20 years on the air, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit continues to find new ways to [...]

Even after 20 years on the air, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit continues to find new ways to shock viewers. This week's episode, "Part 33," was one of the most unconventional hours in the show's history, with the SVU split over whether or not they should tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth on the stand.

At the start of the episode, Annabeth Pearl (Daredevil's Amy Rutberg) walked into a bar wearing only a nightgown and carrying the weapon she used to kill her abusive police officer husband. A.D.A. Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) is sure this is an open-and-shut case, especially after Annabeth confesses to the killing. But as longtime SVU viewers know, nothing is just black and white.

When the trial reached Part 33, where Stone calls the detectives to the stand, Odafin Tutuola (Ice-T), Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) argue over what they should tell the jury.

Carisi revealed that he knew that Annabeth's husband, whom he considers a terrible man, deserved to die. Both Fin and Carisi give testimony that appears to put Annabeth on the road to freedom. Their testimony could make her look sympathetic to the jury, proving it was a justifiable homicide.

Before Rollins took the stand, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) finally arrived. The two got into an gut-wrenching argument, with Benson ripping open the emotional wounds left by the abusive relationship between Rollins' parents. Rollins wanted to make sure Annabeth is put behind because she felt Annabeth was as weak as her own mother.

On the other hand, Benson, who almost always takes the side of the victim, insisted Annabeth was stronger than Rollins was giving her credit for. Benson reminded Rollins she has no idea what it is like to really face terror.

While Rollins was on the stand, Fin made his case to Benson, suggesting that a woman as strong as Annabeth deserves to have a life without her abusive husband.

"So you're telling me to lie," Benson said.

"I'm just saying, that woman is not going to get hurt again," Fin said. "But that's just me."

Benson has to testify in the end, since she was the detective who got Annabeth's confession. Stone asked her if Annabeth showed any remorse while giving her confession, and Benson tried to dance around the subject at first. Eventually, Benson shook her head and muttered, "No... She said that she was glad her husband was dead and that she prayed about it for years."

The ending was ambiguous, but Benson's words likely helped convict Annabeth.

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

Photo credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC