Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16 Review: Eternal Relief From Pain

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Will Amanda ever learn to say No?

She may be tough with suspects, but when it comes to her family, she's a pushover.

Kim showed up yet again on Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16 along with Amanda's father, and Amanda allowed herself to get caught up in their chaos.

Rollins' Sister Returns - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

It's never good news when Kim comes around.

Not for Amanda, and not for viewers either, as they have to sit through the latest problem Amanda caused herself by not standing up to her drug-addicted sister.

Amanda: She claims that the doctor she gets her oxy from is extorting her for sex. I don't know whether or not to believe her.
Fin: She's a junkie. She's working you.

Considering that Kim's bad habits and lack of conscience almost landed Amanda in jail for murder in the past and this time, Kim got arrested for abandoning her toddler to go do drugs, it's no wonder everyone was skeptical of her claims.

Had SVU followed through on the original case instead of going off in a strange direction, there might have been a strong story there, though.

A Tough Prosecutor - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

The doctor in question called the victims addicts and whores and specifically said Kim was a prostitute.

Had this gone to trial, it might have been a compelling story about the way addicts, sex workers, and other less-than-perfect victims are treated when they try to seek justice for sexual assault.

Hadid: Do you think he's the only doctor doing this?
Benson: Isn't that for the DEA to investigate?
Hadid: The DEA has no clue how to investigate sex crimes. And now we have leverage.

Instead, Hadid insisted on some sort of wild goose chase to get other doctors that didn't make much sense.

And it made even less sense that the prime suspect was an old friend of hers that she didn't want to believe was guilty.

Talk about missed opportunities.

Investigating a Doctor - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

The case seemed to be little more than a plot device.

Sure, the team was investigating a sex crime, but the investigation was little more than an afterthought.

The bad guys were all caught easily, an arrested suspect turned on her superiors in minutes, and even Hadid's betrayal turned out to be an elaborate parallel undercover operation so she could catch Harrington herself.

SVU excels at illustrating how sex crimes affect victims. But this time, that was entirely missing.

The only stories here were that Kim was disappointed when her father turned out to put his addiction over his children again and that Hadid was disappointed that her old friend turned out to be corrupt.

A Fancy Lunch - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

Even Amanda's battle for custody of her nephew was strikingly devoid of drama.

The judge reluctantly granted custody on the condition that the home be drug-free and Kim didn't have any unsupervised visits. Mr. Rollins' overdose broke both of those conditions 30 seconds after custody had been granted, but nothing happened except Kim freaking out.

Amanda's nanny took care of everybody until her mother decided to move to New York so she could take Mason herself.

And we didn't see the mother, either, even though that should have caused some drama. Last time she was in town, she lashed out at Amanda for allowing Kim to be arrested and abandoned her while Amanda was pregnant.

Investigating a Rich Doctor - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

But this time...nothing.

If Amanda was going to have custody of Mason, something should have come of it, either a court battle or Kim trying to manipulate her way into unsupervised visits. 

The whole Mason drama fell flat because anything that happened with it happened off-screen.

Another angle SVU could have taken but didn't was exploring Benson's guilt over her brother's death and how it related to this.

A Pill Prescribing Doctor - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

Kim's story might or might not have been true, and if that doctor hadn't propositioned Amanda, it would have raised that question. 

If Benson then insisted on investigating while everyone else thought Kim's story was BS, it would lead viewers to wonder whether she was driven by the need to protect a potential victim or guilt because Kim reminded her of her late brother.

Benson even had a throwaway line about how she cut off her brother like Fin suggested Amanda cut off her sister, but it didn't go any further than that, and it should have.

Going Undercover Again - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

The only interesting aspect of this story as it was written was Hadid.

Hadid is often shady and always seems to be connected to the wrong people. 

She's tipped people off before and interfered with investigations that shed light on people she wanted to stay out of trouble.

So it wasn't surprising that she was determined to protect her old friend Harrington.

The reveal that she was wearing a wire was a nice twist. For once, Hadid seemed to be doing the right thing...sort of.

Kim Returns - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16

Her explanation for not tipping off Benson didn't make much sense. She was essentially working at cross-purposes with the rest of the SVU team, and it could have ended badly.

That must have been a microscopic bug, too, because Harrington hugged Hadid and didn't feel a wire or anything else.

In any case, I'm not sure that her secret undercover mission redeemed her.

She didn't tell anyone what she was doing and she was hoping to get proof that Harrington was innocent.

Plus, she blew the other cops' cover, and if he was a sufficiently bad guy, that might have been extremely dangerous.

Informants get killed all the time. Pointing out two undercover cops to a suspect seems like a terrible idea, to say the least.

What did you think, SVU fanatics?

Was any part of this messy story satisfying for you?

Hit the SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.

Want to see Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 16 again?  Just watch Law & Order: SVU online right here on TV Fanatic.

Law & Order: SVU Season 21 continues to air on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST.

Eternal Relief From Pain Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (23 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 21 Episode 16 Quotes

Amanda: She claims that the doctor she gets her oxy from is extorting her for sex. I don't know whether or not to believe her.
Fin: She's a junkie. She's working you.

Kim: Where's Mason?
Amanda: He's with Child Services. As he should be because you left him with a stranger to go do drugs!
Kim: I turned the sink on so that if I OD'd someone would come help me.
Amanda: That's your idea of a plan?