The times, they are a' changin'... or are they?
On Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 11, Benson was surprised and frustrated that 1PP was resisting proposed police reforms even though it meant a lawsuit would proceed.
And she had to juggle the Jayvon Brown deposition with helping find the kidnapped sister of an advocate -- while being accused of not doing enough because the victim was Black.
These two parallel stories did a nice job illustrating the distrust that many Black citizens have of cops.
Not even Garland's reassurance was enough to stop Nicole from defying the cops' instructions and going to the press, which made things twice as bad for Sara.
It was understandable why she thought the cops didn't care about Sara's disappearance. After all, she's dedicated her life to demanding that the police take the disappearance of Black girls and women as seriously as they do White victims.
She was also a freaked-out relative of a victim, which informed her decisions, especially since she believed Sara had been kidnapped because of Nicole's activism.
Benson has helped calm a ton of victims' relatives over the years, but it's hard to say whether she could have done anything else to help this one.
Nicole was too bound up in fear and guilt, plus she didn't trust the cops to do anything to help her sister. So, of course, she would do whatever she thought was best.
Nicole: Can I ask why we haven't got the press involved?
Fin: The video had a green screen. There are no details to release to the public.
Benson: And the last thing we want to do is drive more traffic on the Dark Web to their site. We are doing everything we can.
Nicole: Then I have to do everything I can.
The only person who might have got through to her was Carisi, considering their relationship.
But even that was a big question mark.
Even though she's apparently dating Carisi, she might not have trusted him any more than she did anyone else in the department.
If she did, she probably wouldn't have gone on the news when she had been told that the cops didn't need or want any press.
The case itself was weird and confusing.
The kidnappers supposedly grabbed Sara in some sort of anti-Black act, but it wasn't clear what they hoped to accomplish.
They made racist statements about her on live stream, then threatened to sell her to the highest bidder, then threatened to kill her... only to let her go the second the cops showed up.
Initially, they forced her to have sex with her partner in what appeared to be a homophobic hate crime. Still, that angle quickly disappeared when they let Alicia go and tormented Sara on camera again.
This case was the weakest part of the hour, almost as if it were tacked onto the episode so that there would be a reason for Benson and Nicole to be at odds with one another.
SVU is normally good about writing coherent stories, but this one seemed like some bad guys doing random things to cause trouble... and then giving up.
Even an undercover was "arrested" for unclear reasons and then never seen again once he gave the required information.
SVU is usually better than this, and it should have been this time, too.
Nicole's dilemma did tie in nicely with the Jayvon Brown case, though.
I thought it was weird that it was common knowledge that IAB was going to clear Benson before any investigation.
I could understand them telling Benson that -- maybe. But why would Jayvon know it?
Or was he assuming that the cops would once again get away with mistreatment of a Black man without having any actual knowledge of what the plan was?
In any case, Jayvon is another one who has good reason to doubt the cops' word.
He didn't believe Benson was anything approaching an ally in his quest for justice, and why should he? The last time they met, she and Fin were arresting him when he didn't do anything wrong.
Benson did give Jayvon a ton of inside information that he used to make his demands, which Garland picked up on immediately -- but will 1PP use that against her in the future?
As Fin pointed out, 1PP is never going to change willingly. By the end of the season, Benson may well have to decide whose side she's on: the cops' or the citizens'.
The battle ahead will be ugly, as 1PP will fight with everything it's got to keep things the way they are.
The powers that be might have spared Benson for now, but there was an unspoken agreement that she wouldn't push TOO hard for things they don't want to do, and it doesn't look like she's going to cooperate.
One of the things it may use against her is her relationship with Stabler.
Garland warned Benson to keep her distance and claimed that Stabler was "going rogue."
I haven't seen much evidence of that -- over on Law & Order: Organized Crime, he is developing a relationship with his new boss, even if he also has PTSD.
But that doesn't mean 1PP won't use Benson's friendship, or whatever the hell it is at the moment, with Stabler to try to cause trouble if she keeps pushing for reforms.
And since Benson took Nicole's concerns about how other Black victims are treated seriously, I expect her to become more of a thorn in 1PP's side, not less.
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