Friday, May 10, 2024

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: SVU' - Olivia Examines Cold Cases Hoping to Providing Answers to Agent Sykes in 'Marauder'

NBC's Law & Order: SVU - Episode 25.12 "Marauder"

Agent Sykes struggles to cope on the anniversary of her sister's disappearance. Benson suspects a cold case from Manhattan could help her get closure.

"Marauder" was written by Brendan Feeney and directed by Juan J. Campanella

When Agent Sykes embedded in SVU, it was only a matter of time before the team investigated her sister's disappearance. It was part of her tragic backstory that informed her work. She has so many pent-up, unprocessed emotions from this formative event. She believes it's better not to investigate because that would only cause her parents more pain. The family was devastated by the discovery of a body twenty years ago that wasn't Crystal. Sykes couldn't put her parents through that again. And yet, this pain hinders Sykes in so many ways. Olivia worries about her. She hasn't come into work for days. It's a sullen time because it's the anniversary of Crystal's disappearance. Olivia understands completely. She's still warned not to investigate. She doesn't listen. Sykes heads to her next case in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Olivia begins looking for patterns in cold cases. She ultimately finds five other disappearances in the area with similar details. She wants to solve this mystery to provide resolution and peace to Sykes. It's still largely about what Olivia needs and hopes to achieve.

It's striking how little Sykes is incorporated into this search for her sister. It's a crucial detail about her life. However, Olivia wants to keep this newfound progress secret. She doesn't want to offer hope without any tangible leads. Sykes is reluctant to even try therapy in order to address her underlying issues. When Sykes hunts down predators, she imagines they are responsible for what happened to Crystal. That has almost derailed cases in the past. It makes her unreliable on the witness stand. She has to explain her rationale for losing it. Olivia took her in. She saw her unit as a place for Sykes to land and grow. Of course, Sykes has to want that too. Olivia chooses not to listen. Sykes is meant to accept that. It only works because Olivia is successful. She finds answers. She unearthed Crystal's body. The man responsible for what happened is arrested. Sure, his well-being is preserved. He at least has something to lose which makes him more accommodating to a deal. Olivia navigates all of that. She's still kicked out of the room when Sykes is forced to confront her sister's body. She has to reckon with that all on her own.

Fin has Olivia's back no matter what. They have worked together for a long time now. Notably, they were both already on the job when Crystal went missing. It happened in a different jurisdiction. They didn't have the technology or expertise back then to make a difference. They have the authority now to investigate. They want this closure. Fin follows Olivia's lead. They still hit dead ends. They face resistance from the team as they don't know why they are looking into these cold cases now. They must follow the orders of their commanding officers. That's how this work operates. They have to trust it will lead to something meaningful. The pursuit of justice is valid. It's important for Olivia to get that for Crystal. She's doing all of this for the lost girls taken from their lives. She asks for forgiveness from the loved ones left behind. She still needs their consent in order to examine all the evidence again after all these years. Technology has come a long way. That provides the evidence necessary to identify the suspect. It only happens because of a false confession though. Cal walks into the precinct claiming he killed his cousin. That's the only way the team can exhume the body and see if the forensics match to close the case for good.

Olivia needed these big actions to happen. She suggests it's the only way to get justice after hitting resistance from the rest of the family. The unit needs new evidence to come forward in order to officially reopen the case. Olivia is worried about jurisdictional issues too. The killer hunted in several states within the same area. He operates within a hundred mile radius. That's a lot of ground to cover. It also means many people have the ability to throw up hurdles. Olivia must overcome all of those. She does. She's skilled in doing so. She knows how the system operates. The legal motions are solid. She also has to be creative in order to produce these results. She doesn't even get a lecture from Curry about how this breaks the rules of the profession. It's simply acceptable because Sykes needs this clarity. She's furious when she eventually finds out what Olivia is doing. She may not want to stay at SVU following this breach of trust. However, she has the possibility of moving forward without holding onto this anger any longer. She doesn't quite know what to do with that. She lets out her emotions. That's soothing in a way she has never felt before. Olivia finds peace in that despite going behind her back. That's the catharsis offered. It came over twenty years too late. People were still committed in getting justice. That matters too despite the many hardships over the years.