Friday, February 2, 2024

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: SVU' - Fin and Bruno Help a Man Remember the Assault That Happened to Him in 'The Punch List'

NBC's Law & Order: SVU - Episode 25.03 "The Punch List"

The SVU helps a man come to terms with being victimized. Benson tries to support a victim's family when tragedy strikes twice.

"The Punch List" was written by David Graziano & Gabriel Vallejo and directed by Norberto Barba

A rapist confesses to the crime upon entering the SVU precinct. It's a shocking declaration at first. Olivia reacts with slight skepticism though. She is willing to listen to the story. However, she doesn't view the woman as deserving of imprisonment or intense interrogation until those details are known. Tess understands that a crime was committed. She's focused on what she did to an older man instead of what was done to her. It's only when Olivia shares that Tess was a victim that it dawns on her. She was willing to accept responsibility for taking advantage of someone when they couldn't consent to sex. It wasn't her idea. She was forced into it. She was held at gunpoint. She's devastated when she later learns the gun wasn't real. The threat was still serious. As a result, the criminals pay accordingly. That's what the law requires in this situation. It requires people to step up and defend those who have been victimized even when the case struggles to come together.

Dr. Ray was expecting a fun night out with his med school friend. Instead, Andy blew him off so he could go out with one of the nurses instead. Andy didn't even try to conceal it. That made Ray feel small in his life. He still went to the club despite not knowing anyone else there. He invited people in to celebrate. They took advantage of his generosity. Ray was a willing participant. His judgment was impaired. However, it's still easier for him to process the damage done to someone else than his own pain. He doesn't remember the sex. At that point, he had already passed out. The next morning he had no memory of how he got to that abandoned building. He just had to stumble his way back home. He felt shame. It was only when the police arrived that he had to confront what actually occurred. The evening would have be so much simpler if he picked up the tile his wife wanted. A spark was reignited between them eventually. This experience brings them closer together. Lives were still harmed in the process.

The doctor would be devastated if something horrible happened to one of his co-workers. Fin and Bruno look with suspicion at all the attractive woman who work at Dr. Ray's practice. He isn't creepy or demanding of them. The business is completely legitimate. Nothing suspicious or criminal is happening there. It's just a safe life. One where Dr. Ray still provides plenty of luxury for his family. He doesn't feel like one of the shining lights in the city. He's offered a changed perspective by this encounter. He helps the police provide justice for Tess. She is grateful for that. The arrests wouldn't have occurred without that cooperation. He wears a wire and arranges for another meeting with the two young men. They aren't criminal masterminds. They escalated this night of adventure entirely out of convenience. They still broke the law. They can't undermine the seriousness of the charges either. They acted with violence in order to get something they wanted. They had consensual sex with Tess. They wanted more from her. They expected her to perform. They forced it from her. They save the city from having to produce a trial. They are each still going to spend several years in jail.

Olivia must rely on her squad to investigate this case. She is distracted after receiving a call from Eileen, Maddie's mother. No progress occurs in finding her. The disappearance remains unsolved. The FBI has no meaningful leads for George from Canada. He wasn't on their radar before now. That's traumatizing too. Law enforcement is just now catching up to his reign of terror. He has already changed many lives. The police aren't any closer to catching him. This is the worst thing to ever happen to Maddie's family. Her father attempts suicide. He survives. He's revived at the hospital. Olivia reaches out with compassion to Eileen. She can't provide any answers as to why this occurred. She simply ensures Eileen doesn't have to experience the trauma of this moment any further. Olivia carries that burden herself. She removes the belt that was used as a noose. Olivia invites a naive officer along to experience the gruel nature of the job. It's difficult to remain composed. As such, it's natural to see Olivia entering therapy once more. She has endured many traumas over the years. She has overcome a lot. This is the latest obstacle she must handle. It requires a new approach. Hopefully, it will be just as healing as all her previous work addressing her traumas.