The long wait is over! After a month's hiatus, Law & Order: SVU is back, and so is Detective John Munch.
Munch's visit on Law & Order: SVU Season 17 Episode 20 was one of the highlights of the hour, even if it was far too brief. I can't remember if the original case he and Fin supposedly worked on actually aired 12 years ago, but nevertheless it was good to see him.
The story of the week was nothing special, but it was entertaining enough, and the episode was worth watching just for Munch's final scene with Olivia and Noah.
I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but for some reason the case of the hour seemed familiar. SVU has probably done more than one photographer-rapes-model storyline in the 17 years it's been on the air. This one didn't seem particularly compelling.
Sally: I didn't want him to do that.
Woman: That's not what the camera saw.
Alvin's assistant Nora was both creepy and callous. Alvin was sleazy enough, though a good defense lawyer could probably make the case that he thought Sally wanted to have sex.
But Nora's smiling at the photos of the rape while Sally sat on the bed crying disturbed me, and her insistence that the camera showed a consensual encounter was also troublesome.
Was Nora a sociopath or did she honestly think Alvin did nothing wrong?
Don't worry, baby. I won't let you out of my sight.Matt
The addition of Sally's abusive boyfriend might have been interesting if it had been more developed. It was clear Sally was terrified of Matt, and there were several powerful moments. The moment when he came home, jealous of Sonny until he saw Rollins was there too, as well as Sally's decision not to testify, were pretty tense.
It would have been interesting to see the story go in a direction other than Matt being falsely accused of Alvin's murder. Alvin's death would have been more dramatic if he was shot as the credits rolled.
Perhaps Sally coming to Olivia privately and whispering that she wants to testify would have been a fitting part of this subplot. Anything except this murder.
By the time the murder occurred, it was so obvious Matt had done it that I never thought it would be anyone else. I also had no interest in who killed Alvin, unless Sally did it because she had no other way of getting justice.
Matt: Wait. You don't think I did it.
Fin: If it were up to me, I would put a slug in that guy. Sound familiar?
The sudden reveal that it was actually Alvin's brother (or maybe his sister-in-law) who killed Alvin seemed like it came out of nowhere, although it did give Mike the opportunity to share some of his backstory.
Mike admitting to Olivia that he hadn't made up the story about his always-in-trouble brother was a touching moment that added some depth to this story.
Munch: I've been teaching him an important life lesson: be anti-authority.
And then there was Munch. Munch's visit was short – too short for my liking – but very poignant. Whether he was making wisecracks about how wonderful it was that his former victim was now pimping out other girls or giving Olivia sage advice about not letting the job consume her, he made every scene he was in twice as interesting.
Munch's final scene with Noah was incredibly cute. I hope he visits Olivia and her son again soon and that Olivia takes his advice to heart.
Did you think Munch's visit was worth the wait? Did the case of the hour hold your interest? Sound off below!
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.