Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18 Review: Blackout

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I love a good corrupt cop story.

Cops have a lot of power, and citizens don't always have the resources to fight the bad ones. But when someone tries anyway, you can't help but root for the underdog.

Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18 took a slightly different tack, giving us a story about a corrupt attorney who was getting some major players in the legal system to cover for him. All the elements of a great story were there, but was it wrapped up too quickly?

(TALL) Charity Event - Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18

The first half of the hour was filled with twists and turns, making it hard to know who to believe.

I pegged Rob Miller as problematic from the second he came on screen. He was coming onto both Benson and Rollins and was generally gross.

Titus Welliver Guest Stars - Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18

I suspected he might be Nikki's rapist, but then she insisted over and over that a cop did this to her and SVU was covering it up.

For a minute, I thought she had staged the whole thing to help her lawsuit. Then I felt terrible for thinking that when the truth came out.

Related: How Law & Order: SVU Has Evolved Over the Years

SVU is the poster child for the believe survivors movement and rarely depicts someone making a false report.

But still, there were enough red herrings to make Nikki's story unbelievable at first. Every other word out of her mouth was about cops threatening her or covering up that one of them assaulted her. She had no memory of the event, and there was nothing on the security cameras.

And the medical report showed there were no genital injuries.

All of that could easily have added up to a staged attack to try to bolster her case. I'm glad SVU didn't go there, but they did a great job of planting seeds of doubt in viewers' heads!

Carisi: I understand she's the victim, but I'd rather be on the side of someone who's not suing our department for 50 mil.
Benson: Okay, well that doesn't matter now.

I'm also thankful that Carisi and Rollins being on opposite sides of this one was both short-lived and civilized.

Rollins' belief in Nikki's story made sense. After all, she'd been raped by a cop too and knew how hard it could be to get justice in this type of situation.

Carisi is always cynical and looking for holes in survivors' stories, so his attitude wasn't a surprise either.

Talking to the Defense Attorney - Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18

It could have got ugly between these two, but this time they were able to discuss their points of view and move on to investigating Miller together. That was a refreshing change!

Benson On the Case - Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18

Did anyone else think Benson tipped her hand way too early?

Sure, Miller realized she was investigating him, but what was the point of accusing him point blank of rape and warning him he could get arrested before she was ready to close the case?

It was obvious he was going to retaliate, and she had already told him she was picking up Noah after this, so him going after her with Noah in the car was a no-brainer.

Related: Get True Crime Files by ID via Prime Video Channels for Over 1,000 Real-life Mystery & Suspense Shows!

The scene where she was pulled over and harassed by a state trooper was chilling, though. Miller was a powerful guy who had no morals -- who knew how far he'd go to intimidate Benson?

Peter Gallagher Returns - Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18

The whole thing was wrapped up quickly after that. Benson's confrontation of Dodds was tense and exciting, but within minutes, he got what he needed on tape, and Benson and Carisi could swoop in to arrest Miller.

Dodds: Olivia. I'm not saying you're wrong.
Benson: Then what are you saying?
Dodds: That if we strike at the king and miss, it's both our heads on the chopping block.
Benson: Then let's make sure we don't miss.

It was getting towards the end of the hour, so there was no other way to resolve it. But after all that build-up, the climax fell flat because it was so easy.

I didn't think it was believable that a guy like Miller would fall so easily for one of his blackmail victims wearing a wire, either.

Dodds was super obvious about it, and Miller had already figured out Benson was trying to set him up earlier.

Miller: Let me tell you something. You're either a wolf in this life or you're a lamb. My father was a lamb. He had a little shop and the wolves in the neighborhood stole everything, and when there was nothing left to steal they'd take my sister into a back room and my father did nothing to stop them. I learned right then and there that I'd rather run with the wolves.
Carisi: Shut up. [Handcuffs Miller]
Miller: I'll be out of these cuffs in an hour.
Benson: You may be surprised. When word gets out that you've been arrested, your friends will turn on you. That's the thing about wolves. No one helps them when they're bleeding.

I guess Miller was more interested in bragging about how he could get away with all of this than in avoiding incriminating himself. 

I'm not a fan of that trope. I find it silly. But I liked Benson putting him in his place about his attitude!

His statement that this all started with some robbers who raped his sister was interesting. Did he not see he was causing Nikki the same type of pain from which his father didn't protect his sister?

Nikki: Rob Miller was right. Everything that happened was consensual.
Rollins: While you were unconscious?

As rushed as the ending was, it was almost worth it when Nikki broke down in Benson's office.

Nikki had been mad at the world and blaming the cops for not getting her justice throughout the hour, and when all was said and done, she couldn't keep her guard up anymore.

I'm a sucker for Benson inspiring survivor scenes, and this was no exception!

It was hard for Nikki to reconcile her defense of other rapists with what had happened to her, and Benson was the perfect person to comfort her because of her own experience with PTSD after a rape.

Benson On the Case - Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18

What in the heck was in that memo, though?

I remembered Fin confronting Dodds about a memo once it was brought up. It must have had something to do with Olivia's job security. But are we ever going to find out what it said and how Fin stopped Dodd from executing it?

Your turn, SVU fanatics! What did you think of "Blackout"? 

Did you realize Miller was no good early? Was the cops' takedown of him satisfying?

And what do you think the story is behind that memo?

Watch Law & Order: SVU online and then hit the comments with your thoughts!

Law & Order: SVU continues to air on NBC on Thursdays at 9 EST/PST.

Blackout Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (14 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 18 Quotes

Dodds: Detective. Sergeant. Am I allowed to say how wonderful you look tonight?
Benson: Only if you say the same to Fin and Carisi.

Two hours of glad handling the brass. I am so ready to go home and put my feet up and watch TV.