Some characteristics of the Law & Order franchise that has made it so popular among viewers since it's first air date in 1990 is great story telling and its ability to raise moral and intellectual questions to the viewers about how we choose to keep order in our society. Tonight's episode of Law & Order SVU was a special treat. We had the opportunity to see and hear the characters express their beliefs and thoughts about the criminal justice system they have sworn to uphold.
Olivia Benson is the Captain of a detective unit who focuses on crimes of special victims (#SVU: Special Victims Unit). She leads Detective Amanda Rollins, Dominick Carisi and Fin Tutuola as they solve crimes across New York City. In this episode they all prepare to testify during a murder trial in which all of the physical evidence points to a young woman murdering her husband in cold blood. The intangible evidence seems to point to suspicion that the woman was physiologically abused by her husband for six years prior to the incident.
While Carisi pleads for the woman's soul from the perspective of a strict abiding catholic lawyer convinced that the evidence "got it wrong this time", Rollins challenges his views with a self-righteous attitude steaming from her abusive childhood that causes her to see the world as binary (right vs. wrong). Rollins accuses Benson of seeing everyone as a "victim" such as the alleged murderer in this case. Benson subsequently accuses Rollins of having too little empathy. Fin, remains the neutral firm voice throughout the episode.
This episode teaches us that our experiences throughout life, in fact, shape how we view the world. Therefore, we shouldn't just be tolerant of the opinions of others but we should listen to them and embrace them before we respond, before we act. If you are interested in what my actual opinions are about the moral questions of this episode, connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook! Meanwhile, here are 5 reasons to absolutely love Detective Benson during this episode:
1. She has absolutely no tolerance for bullies.
If you are a true fan of the series you already know that whenever a bully or criminal challenges Olivia she makes it a point to look them directly in the eyes, never backing down. In this episode, she does the same when Rollins takes on her and Carisi in demanding they do things by the book irregardless of what they feel. Rollins insists, "It's way above our pay grade to care about these things." Olivia replies, "...but we must!"
2. She takes the time to (truly) get to know her team!
When Fin insists that the case is just another day in the office for him. Olivia responds -"Fin, your BS doesn't fly with me."
3. She is the the perfect balance of compassion, toughness and vulnerability.
The fact that Olivia struggles with the choice of lying on the stand shows us her compassion and her ability to see things from all perspectives despite her duty and oath of representing the criminal justice system. She has no reservations as a leader when she all but begs Fin to tell her what to do at the last minute disclosing her vulnerability in not always having the answer.
5. Her final decision.
Go watch to find out what Olivia decided!