Saturday, April 30, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: SVU' - One Detective Exploiting the System Enrages Olivia and Maxwell in 'Tangled Strands of Justice'

NBC's Law & Order: SVU - Episode 23.19 "Tangled Strands of Justice"

Garland asks Benson to reopen a missing persons case he worked as a rookie officer. A victim in one of Carisi's recent cases is arrested.

"Tangled Strands of Justice" was directed by Jean de Segonzac with story by Brendan Feeney and teleplay by Warren Leight & Julie Martin

A survivor of sexual assault expects their privacy to be maintained throughout their pursuit of justice. A rape kid is a very invasive procedure. Every step of the process requires consent. It can be an epic ordeal. The information collected is powerful evidence utilized by the detectives and prosecutors to pursue the case. However, every outcome is different. This show has proven the many different ways cases are ultimately resolved. Some have tidy and neat conclusions. Others are left open-ended. The justice system provides so many rights. It can still be abused by those willing to shamelessly manipulate it to their benefit. The system isn't fair. So much prejudice and discrimination is still rampant. It's a relief when Garland returns to the precinct with the news he's becoming a deputy mayor in the new administration. That's offered as hope for the aims to reform. He has continued to climb the ladder in the hopes of making a difference within the system. He's had to follow a new path. He has still landed in a place where he can do a lot of good. He helps provide closure for a family twenty years after their daughter went missing. That's complete. It still takes people within the system to have morals in how they choose to do their jobs. The SVU squad has access to the system that collects and reports sexual assaults. They have frequently used it to look for any similar cases to the ones they are currently investigating. Because of this system, they have found and arrested several serial rapists who didn't just strike in one jurisdiction. The system has made a difference. It still relies on the inherent goodness of the people with access to the data. It's not illegal to use the information collected to then identify and prosecute the victim of the crime for a different matter altogether. It's certainly unethical. Olivia is enraged by how someone could so callously exploit the system just so she closes cases. Detective Nadia Szabo embraces the mentality of doing whatever it takes to make her case. A young woman's life was traumatized. That sent her spiraling down the wrong path because the justice system didn't work for her. And now, she is victimized all over again because she did the right thing in undergoing a rape kit. Her DNA was part of that system. It shouldn't have been used to identify and arrest her for felony robbery. That's not the only way the detective could have made her case. It was the fastest. That's all that mattered to her and the Queens DA. Olivia and ADA Maxwell ultimately prevail in getting the charges dropped. They make a difference even though they aren't the ones calling a press conference to talk about this issue. They do the important work behind-the-scenes. The world should be comforted by their presence while questioning those who seek out the glory this profession rewards.

The quest for justice never stops either. Garland has never forgotten about the missing girl he was looking for when 9/11 happened. So many cases were dropped simply because that national tragedy took priority. The police were looking in the right area. They couldn't have brought her back to her family alive. She was killed long before she ended up in the river. Two decades later, her body has finally been found. It sends the SVU on the path of understanding what happened to her. It's easy for them to take over the case. Garland's insight is appreciated. He leads with compassion. This case holds personal resonance for him. It reflects the job he wants to do. He wasn't given the ability to do it. It's been taken away from him too many times by those who disagree with his methods. But again, he is still rewarded with a position of authority. He can make a difference. He knows he can trust Olivia. Solving this case won't revive Aretha. It will provide closure. The family will no longer have to live in the unknown. They can have a proper burial. They can move forward with a greater understanding of the dynamics that have defined them since that tragedy. Nina became addicted to drugs because she felt crushed by the burden of keeping her family secrets. She couldn't do anything that would upset her mother. She is too vulnerable whenever it comes to Aretha. Of course, that's the grandfather manipulating the situation to his benefit. When he sexually assaulted Aretha, he had no idea that he wasn't her biological grandfather. He had his suspicions. He promises he only ever treated his daughter as if she was related to him. That uncertainty gave him permission to act in the most heinous way without creating the most twisted outcome. That's how he can justify his behavior. He destroyed lives though. He created boundaries that seemed insurmountable. It took the police coming in to offer the truth. It's brutal and depressing. It needed to be said. Nina and her mother can reconcile. They can have peace in their lives once more. They are sparred from having to endure a trial. That's a blessing Carisi can extend to them. This team may not get to work together on an ongoing basis anymore. They still trust each other completely. That work remains vital. So many cases have gone cold. They can still be transformational to those who have yearned for answers over the years. They are worth pursuing no matter how traumatic it is to examine the past.