Friday, September 30, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: SVU' - Olivia Must Work With a Captain Who Has Very Different Priorities in 'The One You Feed'

NBC's Law & Order: SVU - Episode 24.02 "The One You Feed"

A group of teens terrorizing tourists has the SVU squad working overtime. McGrath teams them up with the Bronx gang unit to track down a crucial lead.

"The One You Feed" was written by David Graziano & Julie Martin and directed by Norberto Barba

Crucial decisions are constantly being made about the best tactics to address crime. People in power have different ideas and have their own priorities. It's never just one person making a decision either. So many people are inspired by Captain Olivia Benson. Knowing she is in the job ensures the proper passion and determination to get justices for victims is offered. However, she is one part of an entire system. Her perspective is important. Her arguments don't always win. She has bosses she must appease. She works with prosecutors who have a different job in securing convictions. This is all a very delicate balance. The show has dealt with these issues previously. Olivia always reassures victims that no one is perfect. Every case is complex. It's her job to fight for each of them. She will always prioritize these cases in a system that seemingly always has much bigger issues on its mind. The SVU squad is forced to work alongside a gang unit from the Bronx. Some teenage members of a gang rape and kill members of a family visiting from Ohio. The task force feels pressure to arrest the suspects quickly and bring them to justice. The victims want that as well. They want to return home as soon as possible. The political leaders of the city want to send the reassuring message that police are doing their jobs effectively and quickly. The detectives feel that pressure. It makes them question the tactics of those they are now forced to work with. Olivia has no idea what Captain Duarte is capable of doing. She doesn't know how he leads his team. He walks into the squad room with the arrogance of knowing he's in charge. He is aware of the rising influence of BX9. He is eager to poach any detective willing to address this rising threat. Of course, that shows the sharp differences between him and Olivia. Duarte targets Velasco because he assumes they have the same vested interest because of their shared ethnicities. Meanwhile, Olivia sees how well Detective Grace Muncy deals with a victim. She showcases the skills of doing the job effectively. That's what remains inspiring after so many years pursuing this work. Olivia sees how this job weighs on people. Rollins is already back at work after getting shot during the crossover event. This is the same pattern she has followed before. This isn't her first time getting shot in the line of duty. However, it's the first time she had something to lose. She was careless with her life before. And now, she has so much that fills her with joy. She can't risk losing that. That may weigh heavily on her ability to do the job. Olivia sees that. She expects her detectives to be honest with her. Sometimes she has to force it out of them. She still has a keen eye for what's going on.

Olivia also suspects Duarte pushed a killer off the roof of a building. She has no reason to inherently trust his word. She has to wait for the autopsy to confirm it was an accident. With that corroboration, she feels more safe sharing her workplace with his team. They still have differences about how to handle this case. Olivia understands that these teens were recruited into the gang against their will. They still committed crimes that must be punished. It's up to the prosecutors to determine what kind of sentences they receive. Duarte wants to threaten them with these charges in order to target the people in charge of the entire gang. That's where his focus is. He doesn't care about the small crimes on the streets. He views targeting the organization as the mature viewpoint. Both sides of the law belittle the other. They believe their way is the right way to conduct themselves on the job. Everyone is entitled to those opinions. Fin is comforted by the clarity of SVU cases. These are bad guys with no ambiguity. They must be held accountable for this behavior before it makes way for even more heinous crimes. Duarte believes drug trafficking is destroying the neighborhoods. It's not confined to one section of the city. It's something everyone must be aware of. The arguments are made. These deals can't solely be offered by the captains in charge of their units. Nor is it a simple decision for the prosecutor they regularly work with. It's about the people who shape policy at the head of the DA's office. That focus has to remain clear. Maxwell understands Olivia's perspective. They have a mutual respect for one another. She will advocate on her behalf. She offers no guarantees. She still delivers the outcome Olivia wanted. She ensured no deal could be made to dismiss these charges altogether. They couldn't be overlooked in order to address the more systemic issues facing the city. That may be short-sided. People are aware of that position. They are frustrated. They still have a job to do. Prison sentences are delivered. It just means the two surviving criminals turn against each other. They can't cooperate and enjoy freedom by turning against the people in charge. Olivia provides closure for the family that came to the city and were left permanently traumatized. Duarte returns to the field eager to pursue the next possible angle against these gangs. Their paths may cross again at some point. McGrath may see the benefit of them working together when another crime takes place. The focus on humanity allows this to have an immediate impact. That's life-changing in many different ways. Olivia has experienced that across two decades in this line of work. She hopes to pass on the right lessons. Every situation is still difficult. It's hard to grapple with that sometimes.