While Law and Order: Special Victims Unit isn't airing for the next two weeks, the next episode is slated to be one of the series' best.
The episode, entitled "Something Happened," makes the bold move to shake the show's typical structure and instead focus on one interview Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has with a rape victim, Laurel Linwood (Melora Walters).
In the advance screening shown to press, Linwood is found in a state of shock during the episode's opening moments and is quickly brought in for an interview. Aside from a few brief asides, the remainder of the episode centers around Linwood trying to recall the events of her night.
During this process, Benson is forced to confront her own demons from the past, some of which date back to the earlier seasons of the show.
Aside from the intriguing narrative structure, the performances from Hargitay and Walters push the show's 19th season to new heights. Walters, best known for her role on HBO's Big Love, gives a compelling and frantic take on a woman dealing with trauma, and Hargitay stretches her emotional range to bring out emotional depth rarely seen in Benson.
While this episode may not move forward some of the season's overarching plots, it's high quality narrative is worth the pause. "Something Happened" is proof that procedural dramas like SVU can step out of their comfort zones and deliver compelling TV on occasion.
So while fans will have to wait until Nov. 29 to watch the new episode, it will surely be worth the wait.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.
Photo Credit: NBC / Michael Parmelee