Law & Order: SVU Review: Blinded by Justice

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After a long hiatus, Law & Order SVU returned with a new installment that's was dramatic as it was frustrating.

"Justice Denied" explored the controversial issue of false confessions. Benson once again took center stage in the unfolding drama of a possible coerced confession, and unfortunately, didn't come across as the good guy. 

Surprisingly, the phenomenon is much more common than one would think. It's scary to think of how many people continue to sit in jail like the angry and frustrated Omar Pena.

A Case Reopened

The big issue with Pena's confession was that Benson was the one who got it out of him ... after nine hours of questioning. Despite the ever-increasing evidence indicating that Pena might be innocent, Benson refused to consider that she might have made a mistake. She was very combative when Amaro suggested that sometimes even the best detectives can get too invested in certain cases.

Unfortunately, Benson's single-minded focus on Pena blinded her to the facts of the case. When she realized her mistake, she was incredibly disappointed in herself. But it didn't have to be that way.

Why does Benson always set herself up for these kinds of disappointments? Does she honestly think she's the only detective who hasn't pushed a little too hard on suspect?

Over the course of her very long career, we've seen Benson make errors in judgement. It was probably worse this time because someone spent nine years in prison due to her mistake.

Despite the episodes attempt to invoke some sympathy for Benson, I didn't feel sorry for her when she discovered the truth about Pena. It was Pena who deserved that sympathy, and I resented the fact that Benson was sort of made into a victim by the episode's end.

Ah, Benson. Without the shared star power of her former co-star Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay is usually forced to carry the series. For example, last week's episode explored her still troubled relationship with her brother, and her romance with Haden has been the focus of a few episodes like "Official Story" and "Father's Shadow."

She's a strong actress, so it isn't hard to enjoy her scenes. However, I'm feeling a little bored with her storylines; perhaps, this break from her relationship with David will mean a break from Benson as well.

Yes, sadly, we've apparently reached the end of David and Olivia's relationship. Having failed to disclose their relationship, the two were almost exposed by Ellis. Fortunately, he was a good friend (but a poor lawyer) and gave Benson some time to find the new suspect.

Once they dodged that bullet, the D.A. placed another obstacle in their path. The conflict between their two jobs, especially with Haden reviewing her former cases, was too much of a burden. They both chose their careers over their elationship, and it was sad to see such an adorable couple flame out so quickly.

Is it the show's intention to continually make Benson miserable? Would she be somehow less compelling if she was actually happy?

On the bright side this week, I enjoyed watching Amaro not only stand his ground on the Pena issue, but also continue to support Benson when she began to doubt herself.

I definitely agreed with Benson when she said he was a good partner. Amaro has the kind of calming and logical presence that really balances out some of the more hot-headed detectives.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (29 Votes)

@Ttgirl I think you got it wrong the episode. Nobody tried to make Olivia a victim. She was traumatized and unhappy with the mistake he made. Very natural. Tortalmente agree with the opinion of Bill. The author was very brave to show that police officers make mistakes. And if Olivia Benson was wrong, what's wrong with showing. Nobody wants to make the star of the show Mariska. It does not need. It is a dedicated actress.


I think L&OSVU has lost some of its punch, lately it hsa become the Olivia Benson show, too much importance is given to her character and ego over the actual crime or it's resolution, and an example of this is the attempt to make her into the victim of last night's episode,who cares? The real victim was Pena, Guillermo Diaz btw, did an amazing job with the role. Would have preferred to see more of him than her. On a related this story line (a facsimilie of it) was previously done with Meloni's character trying to right a similar wrong. In the end however, through a technicality, the guy remained in story lines needed.


In case you didn't know Christopher Meloni will be on TRUE BLOOD this season......starts in June. I was sad to see Olivia and David break up. Why can't they just let Olivia be happy??????


The writing IS amazing! Love the new cast memebers


Glad to see the last of Harry Connick Jr.;He just can't act. I'd love to see more of Andre Braugher. He is sympathetic in whatever role he plays. (Loved him in Men of a Certain Age.) Right now no one in the regular cast has the grit to move the show forward. I hate to say it, but i think this L&O will be following its brothers into oblivion.


Great episode. And I applaud the series for being so honest about the subject of false confessions. From everything I have read on the subject, it does happen much more than a lot of people think. While many of us are quick to commend the police for getting a criminal to confess to a crime, we tend to want to look the other way when their intense pressure tactics result in someone admitting to something they didn't do just to stop the relentless assault on their senses. And the result can often be a gross miscarriage of justice, just as what occurred in this episode. False confessions in The West Memphis 3 and Amanada Knox cases are just a couple of examples of what can occur when the police are more concerned about just getting someone to admit to a crime, regardless whether they committed the offense or not. .


Spectacular episode. Mariska Hargitay is the best dramatic actress on television. Varren has done a great job. SVU has never been so good. I regretted the end of the novel Olivia / Haden. I was sad to see the beautiful sad eyes of Olivia.
Fans of resentful Meloni continue to defame the series. Without even watching. They do not know what they are missing.


Great episode. Mariska beautiful and talented as always. Fans fanatics Meloni do not forgive his departure. SVU would do well to forget and leave comments for people who watch and enjoy.


It is really a chore to watch this show anymore. Is Hartigay pregnant again, or has she just beefed up? It's like she could hardly move last night, all clad in black. I just can't get fired up about this show since Stabler is gone. Sorry.


Why is this already up??? I am just now watching it and I'm on the east coast. Lol

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Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 17 Quotes

Benson: He was about to confess.
Cragen: Doesn't mean he did it.

I'm not going to chase you. I will shoot your ass from right here.