Law & Order: SVU Review: A Manhunt Ends as Jordana Spiro Joins the Show

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Fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The 5 episode search for Maddie that few viewers enjoyed has ended, and Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5, and we got as happy an ending as we could, under the circumstances.

We also got a new detective, and she appears to be the closest thing Benson has to a kindred spirit.

A New Direction - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5

Benson's been traumatized since Maddie's disappearance, tormenting herself with her realization that she passed Maddie and her kidnapper while coming out of the tunnel.

But she wasn't the only one upset. Her behavior was utterly rational compared to Agent Sykes, who she had to stop from getting in the suspect's face or taking her frustration out on Carisi.

A Suspect Claims Innocence - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5

Sykes' difficulty controlling herself and her traumatic backstory don't seem like they make her great SVU material. But then again, she has been an FBI expert on child abductions for a decade, and Benson joined the unit 25 years ago to turn her trauma into something positive.

She was guarded with Benson most of the hour, but Benson did her usual thing to get her to talk, and by the end, Sykes admitted she'd lost sight of who she was and wanted to work for SVU to get back to herself.

Since her sister was never found, there's a chance another case could lead to discovering her -- but let's hope this is the end of obsessing over one lost person.

I love that Olivia Benson is so dedicated and that SVU depicted her PTSD accurately, but fans can only take so much of that.

The FBI Searches For Maddie - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5

Plus, after 25 years with the SVU unit, Benson's experienced a lot of loss and painful situations. While vicarious trauma is a real thing, and it can build up over time, it was hard to believe that this case was consuming her when other failed missions had not.

Fin mentioned that he thought Benson was looking for a new Rollins. Could Sykes fill that role?

No one can replace Rollins, nor should they. Each new detective should be themselves.

But Benson needs a female friend in her unit. One of the reasons she was so heartbroken when Rollins left was that she and Rollins had fun together, challenged each other to be better people, and had a strong friendship.

Carisi is Skeptical - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5

That's much better than the tired TV trope of women at each other's throats. If Benson can have it with Sykes, I'm all for it.

Did Maddie's rescue else underwhelm anyone?

I'm glad she's finally been found and is more or less in one piece, but there wasn't a ton of action involved in getting her home, and the kidnapper's motives didn't quite make sense.

George held onto Tanya for a year, keeping her drugged like he did Maddie, and then tried to kill her, and I'm still not sure why he did that or why he took Maddie.

Not Waiting for Backup - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5

He wanted to sell her for money, but why did he choose her specifically? Was it because of the blow-up doll someone made out of her photo on Instagram?

He kept her drugged and rode around on trains for no apparent reason before finally making a deal with Fleming, who paid a lot of money so he could... look at her through a window and make her scared to move off the bed.

Her kidnapping was a traumatic ordeal regardless of the motives, but the whole thing felt random.

I'm glad she wasn't sexually assaulted on top of what was done to her, but the senselessness of the whole thing felt like a letdown after all these weeks of Benson agonizing over her fate.

Determined to Find Maddie - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5

Maddie was distraught but coherent, which was odd considering how much fentanyl she had been forced to consume before she was sold.

With fentanyl-related deaths at an all-time high, I couldn't help thinking that she was lucky not to have overdosed. She's traumatized but still accepts her parents' love and support. That was a good sign, though I'm not sure how realistic her response was given what she had been through.

I'm disappointed that Elliot Stabler didn't get involved. Stabler has crossed paths with fentanyl dealers and addicts in his recent cases and has worked with SVU on busting organized trafficking rings before, so it felt like a natural fit.

Besides Benson constantly playing with her compass necklace and Stabler leaving her a message once, the two have not crossed paths recently. I'm not a diehard Benson/Stabler shipper, but when an opportunity for them to work together presents itself, I'd like it to happen!

Too Close to Home - Law & Order; SVU - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5

Still, this case is finally resolved, and Benson can move on now.

I wonder if she'll keep up her relationship with Maddie's parents. She's grown close to them, especially Eileen, and they'll need support as Maddie adjusts to being home after her ordeal.

Benson will also have to adjust. Maddie's disappearance has been a massive part of her life for the past month. She'll always have another case and survivor to comfort, but that doesn't mean she can just put Maddie out of her mind now.

Who was that guy who gave the press conference? He was talking like the mayor, but he wasn't the same guy bothering McCoy on Law & Order Season 23 Episode 5.

Is that the new interim chief?

Bruno Helps Catch a Rapist - Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 4

Whoever he was, it seemed strange that Benson had to rush back so he could acknowledge her and promise Maddie the city stood behind her.

Finally, Curry and Fin had hilarious exchanges while Fin struggled to accept her presence in the unit.

Fin: Curry's IAB. Aren't you a Captain?
Curry: I'm not interested in pulling rank. Benson didn't tell you I was joining here? I'd like to be friends.
Fin: I don't talk to IAB. But I will eat one of your donuts out of protest.

Fin was softening toward her by the end, so hopefully, they'll get along now. But his responses to her in that first scene were comedy gold!

What did you think, Law & Order: SVU fanatics? How did the end of Maddie's ordeal work for you? And are you glad Agent Sykes is joining the unit?

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!

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

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Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 5 Quotes

Fin: Curry's IAB. Aren't you a Captain?
Curry: I'm not interested in pulling rank. Benson didn't tell you I was joining here? I'd like to be friends.
Fin: I don't talk to IAB. But I will eat one of your donuts out of protest.

Fin: Bruno! Since when do you make donuts?
Bruno: I didn't.
Curry: I made them.