Since the focus of Law & Order: SVU Season 16 Episode 12 was Amaro and his father, I want to get the names out of the way real quick: I'll call our favorite ill-tempered detective, Nick Amaro, Amaro like I usually do, and I'll call his good-for-nothing dad, Nicolas Amaro, Nicolas. Or, wait, should I just go with Nick and Nicolas?
Yeah, I think I'll actually do that.
Bear with me.
NIck and Nicolas hadn't seen each other for more than funerals, or "events," since Nick was 15. Knowing what we already know about Nick's difficult past, and his more recent bouts with anger management, it was easy to spot all the signs from the first scene.
Right from the start, the tension was high whenever these two confronted each other – Nicolas with his gutter-y, yet breathy, delivery, and domineering presence, and Nick seeming like he was a hair away from being set off.
Armand Assante did a great job as Nicolas Amaro, but our very own Danny Pino stole the show with his intensity and layered performance.
I still have nightmares where he used that same language.Amaro
Nick Amaro had some tough choices to make this episode, and he defended what he believed to be true – despite his sister's complaints and his own mom's reservations. We all knew Gabriella was telling the truth the first time around, and that Nick was in the right to get his father convicted, even if his own family was against him.
So it was her fault? She deserved it, just like you did?Amaro
By the end of the episode, in another powerful scene between father and son, Nicolas actually admitted to being "forgiven" by Gabriella for the incident. And to think he used that as a reason why Nick should let bygones be bygones. Then he tries to win Nick over by appealing to his old age and the fact that he can't change the past.
He did get one thing right though – it is up to his son to stop the pattern of abuse present in his family history. And I think Nick is up to the task.
I said what I said on the stand, because I'm too - I'm too old for jail. I put you in a horrible position. Can we start fresh? I mean even Gabriella's forgiven me!Nicolas
Benson tried to fill her role as a motherly guardian whenever Nicolas appeared, but she couldn't protect Nick for too long. They even had a small spat in which Nick said some regretful comments – which he immediately took back. He realized that Benson was just trying to help him control his problem.
But he had to face his father and it was important he held it together. At least he got some sort of gratification. Whether it was when his father was grilled by Barba on the stand, or when he kinda-sorta apologized at the end of the episode, Nick got more out of his father than he predicted.
Amaro: Okay pop, you're always right.
Nicolas: Ha, took you long enough.
Speaking of Barba, he was kind of off his game the first time they appeared in the courtroom. Nicolas had a great attorney that helped turn the whole room against Barba's narrative. They loved Nicolas, despite him being, in my opinion, a scumbag.
When it's all said and done, Nick's had a rough upbringing – and no one can expect more out of him than he's already given. Even though when Nicolas said it, he was being somewhat condescending, Nick really did stand up for himself. That's more than he can say for his mother, which probably breaks his heart. His father had a deep psychological toll on his entire family.
He beat my mother, and she'd testify for him if he'd ask.Amaro
The rest of the team was absent tonight, aside from a few one-liners here and there. They just had to sit back and watch Nick's family troubles come to a head at center-stage. And no one wanted to see private matters turned into a debacle.
Watch Law & Order: SVU online to catch any moments you may have missed from this tense episode, and let me know what you think down below! I was a fan for most of the episode, Mariska Hargitay herself on the director's chair this time around.
The directing was strong and direct – unlike Law & Order: SVU Season 16 Episode 11. Also, make sure to check out Law & Order: SVU quotes for some more of my favorite exchanges throughout the intense showdown between father and son.
Let's hope that the appearance of his father doesn't revert Nick to a lesser state -- one not as in control of his anger, and in turn, his life.