Law & Order: SVU investigated the rape of a lawyer working on a case against the NYPD, but the resolution led to a strange reveal about the future of Olivia Benson's career.
"Blackout" followed as Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her team investigated the mysterious sexual assault of well-known defense attorney Nikki Staines (Callie Thorne), who was putting together a $50 million case against the New York Police Department before she was raped.
The episode also introduced celebrated attorney Rob Miller (Titus Welliver), who seemed to taken interest in Benson during a party hosted by the police department, where the rape allegedly takes place.
After the unit is tasked with investigating the crime, Nikki seems defensive against the police and reveals her phone disappeared after the attack. She also believed she was drugged before she was attacked, and that a member of the police department might be responsible.
"I have been personally threatened by cops dozens of times and now I have been assaulted after a police party, so why aren't you questioning them?" Nikki tells the unit in a tense moment during the episode.
Carisi (Peter Scanavino) seems reluctant to investigate the case, or look into the NYPD on the case given the lawyer's case against the department. However, Benson tells him that it does not matter after the lawyer's attack and they have to look into the police involved in her case.
Benson has to plead her case to Deputy Chief Dodds (Peter Gallagher) to subpoena the officers involved on her case, but he doesn't agree to her "fishing expedition" and points her toward Miller. Benson talks to Miller about his experience in court with Nikki, and he claims his colleague tends to lie when fighting her cases. Their conversation takes a turn when Miller asks Benson out for a drink, which she tentatively accepts.
Back at the office, Rollins (Kelli Giddish) begins to suspect Miller himself, opposing counsel on Nikki's NYPD case, and questions his motives. She goes to a coffee shop and interviews a former associate of Miller's, and admits Miller blacklisted him from the law after he caught him trying to get a job at another firm.
Rollins then goes to Nikki's home and asks about her relationship with Miller. The attorney is shocked by her partner's smear campaign against her and discovers Miller got privileged information from a judge regarding another one of her cases. The reveal leads the team to uncover a vast history of corruption brought by Miller, which should have put a damper on Olivia's drink, except for the fact she already suspected him and that's the only reason she said yes.
The drinks date ends up being a sparring match between the lawyer and Benson, when Miller claims he had a "consensual" encounter with Nikki the night of the incident and let her go after she insisted on walking home. Benson calls him out on his lies but Miller does not seem intimidated.
When Rollins comes to tell Nikki about Miller's reveal, the attorney walks back her accusations. Rollins asks if someone got to her but Nikki seems afraid and tells her to let it go.
After picking up her child, Benson is pulled over by the police and mistreated by the officer. The next day, she confronts Dodds about the events of the night before and accuses him of also being under Miller's influence. Dodds tells her that if they are going after the powerful attorney, they better have a solid case or else they will all be destroyed.
Dodds then meets with Miller and warns him of Benson's intentions, trying to get him to admit to having Nikki's phone. He dances around it at first but then he admits to finding the phone in his limo, and later insinuates he might do something to Nikki to stop the case from moving forward.
Miller suspects Dodds is wearing a wire and threatens to release a damaging memo to keep the chief quiet, but Benson and Carisi come out and arrest Miller for assaulting Nikki and planning to get rid of her. While he remains convinced he will be out of jail in an hour, Benson tells him none of his friends will protect him now that he has fallen from grace.
The investigation brings one final bombshell after Benson asks Dodds about the memo and he promises to get a copy to her. While the contents of the note are not revealed, Benson asks Fin (Ice-T) if he knew about it and if she should be worried about her job. He admits he knew about the memo, and that it happened when Benson's son had been kidnapped, but that he has always been in her corner and that will never change.0comments
The conversation is interrupted when Nikki arrives and Benson comforts her as both women celebrate the case being over.
What information was on that memo, and can it really affect Benson's career? Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.