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Olivia and her son are watching the set up for New Years. Noah wants this year to be over. Benson says everyone does.

Fin is with a woman who makes him herbal tea. He’s staring at her. He tells her she’s beautiful.

Carisi is ordering coffee and food for himself and Rollins. He takes a file from Rollins. She learns he’s alone for New Years and insists he come over.

Benson looks at a ring Fin is planning on giving to his fiancee (that we didn’t know he had.) Benson encourages him to hold onto love tight after the year they’ve had.

Kat goes to see a woman and is off duty. She kisses her.

Carisi arrives and plays with Jessie.

Noah wants to stay up til midnight. Benson turns on the TV.

Fin takes his fiancée to dinner. She says if he’s anxious they can go home. Fin toasts to them. He says she was his first partner and last year they found each other again. He didn’t ever want to lose her. He is about to propose when her phone rings.

Noah is asleep on the couch. Benson gets an alert on her phone.

Kat is dancing with her girlfriend when she gets an alert too.

It’s an Amber alert; she has to go.

Carisi and Rollins are asleep on the couch when he and Rollins get the Amber alert.

Kat offers to stay so Rollins can go. She says Carisi is watching the kids. The missing girl’s foster father works for CPS. Fought with the girl and saw her run away and get kidnapped. Fin is glad to be there and not to have to propose. They talk to the father, need info, parents don’t have much info. Could be the bio mom, who is a junkie.

At the squad room, Fin isn’t sure if this is a kidnapping or a runaway. Foster said is high up at ACS and it was near Gracie Mansion so this is a high profile case. Phoebe shows up just as the ball drops. She has arrested the mom before. Runs an illegal business out of a box truck.

Mom insists she hasn’t seen the boyfriend or the daughter. She has lots of excuses, says she’s clean now. Kat doubts that. Rollins says text Chili or you’re going to jail.

Cops arrest Chile for pimping. He insists he doesn’t do underage girls. He and his crew are all arrested. Nidia is not here. Girl has been found bleeding out on York Ave who matches her description. She was eight weeks pregnant, has Plan B pill in her system.

Nidia wanted to be a mom. She denies taking Plan B. She says didn’t AJ tell you? Isn’t he the one who brought me here? Benson asks what she remembers. She remembers bleeding and AJ saying he’d take her to the hospital. She says AJ knew she was pregnant and was talking her to the hospital. She is disgusted by the idea that Chile could be the father. She is in love with AJ. Just ask him.

AJ comes in and doesn’t understand why he can’t see Nidia. He says now that she’s okay, he can tell the truth: she ran away so he said she was kidnapped. Fin asks him about taking her to the hospital. They ask him about the pregnancy. He laughs nervously at the idea of him being the father. AJ says she’s lying and he needs to talk to her. Rollins says they need DNA, search car, etc. AJ says this could ruin his career. Fin says he gets it, but AJ is innocent. Why not clear this up? AJ says let me talk to his supervisor and he wants a lawyer.

AJ has no other complaints against him and doesn’t want to cooperate. Benson t thinks it’s possible someone slipped her the drugs without her knowledge. The dad texts her every day so they go to talk to him.

Nidia’s dad is in a VA rehab facility (missing a leg). He says she has no boyfriend and it kills him to have lost custody. He only met the foster father once. Always protecting her, always having his arm around her. She seemed happy. Before that she was in a group home. Nidia’s dad has lost everything but once he gets out of here he wants to be a real dad to Nidia when he gets out of rehab.

At the squad room, Nidia is sticking to her story. Benson and Rollins think AJ is a groomer. He tried to delete his history but he got the morning after pill. Fin says he has to tell Nidia’s father.

Nidia’s father comes to the arraignment. He wants to look the SOB in the eye. AJ pleads not guilty. Carisi requests remand. The judge doesn’t want to hear about bail. Mickey needs a smoke before going back to the VA.

Fin goes to meet Mickey. Mickey wants to see AJ come out. Fin get s a call. Mickey shoots AJ at point blank range as he comes out. (Who didn’t predict that?)

Barba meets with Benson and Fin. He has been doing Innocence Project work. Fin and Benson “hypothetically” ask him about Mickey’s case. They want Barba to defend Mickey.

Barba goes to see Carisi about Mickey’s case. They debate the case. Carisi asks if Barba is representing Mickey. Barba guesses so. Carisi says okay what kind of deal? Man 2? Barba says no to Man 2.

Barba goes to see Mickey who is afraid he’ll never get out of prison. Barba wants to talk about his life story, his time in the Army, when he became a dad.

Mickey is released ROR. Barba is going for jury nullification. Garland comes in and wants to talk to Barba. Garland doesn’t want Barba to use SVU to buttress his case. Or to claim vigilante justice is okay. He leaves. Benson asks what he was doing here. Barba says Mickey deserves a defense. Benson wanted him to cut a deal. We can’t send a message that we can take the law into our own hands. Barba says he doesn’t work for the DA anymore. He is defending the case.

There are contrasting opening statements. Barba is putting the NYPD on trial. Carisi says it doesn’t matter that Mickey is a veteran. They go to jury selection. Carisi runs out of objections to jurors.

Rollins comes to see Carisi, who complains about Barba. She claims that she is not helping Barba out.

Carisi questions Fin, who testifies to what Mickey did.

Barba cross examines. Why did Fin get in between the officers and Mickey. Barba questions him about AJ’s guilt. ACS nor SVU never knew AJ was a serial rapist. Barba almost gets held in contempt and makes impassioned speeches anyway.

Mickey takes the stand.  Mickey talks about how he lost his leg. All he cared about was his daughter. ACS lied and made him believed Nidia was safe when she wasn’t. He cried when he learned what happened. He wanted to hear AJ admit what he did but he pleaded not guilty. No remorse, no shame. He lost control and he had to protect Nidia. He didn’t remember much after that. Barba asks a leading question about him snapping into soldier mode. Mickey was recruited to protect women and children in Afghanistan from rape.

Carisi cross-examines. Mickey got the gun into court illegally.  He called his name and killed him. You think you can get a jury to believe that you killed him by accident? Mickey says he thinks he was in Afghanistan. Carisi pushes him and he says he would do it again if he had to, to protect this daughter.

Barba says he is open to a deal. He knows Mickey won’t take the deal. When he was an ADA the NYPD was respectable. Carisi says bull market on vigilantism? We have armed militias in our cities. Barba says let’s see tomorrow if you learned anything from watching all my closing arguments.

Closing statements. Barba says Sharma was a serial predator that no one stopped, and now the government wants to punish Mr. Davis for doing what no one else would do.

Carisi says we understand the emotion but who do we want to determine which laws we obey and which we don’t? We’re lucky that we have a justice system. No doubt as to evidence or law. You have to convict.

Barba joins Carisi for a drink. Mickey convicted of Man 2. Fin thinks Mickey shouldn’t go to jail. Barba has to leave for Florida. Fin lets slip he is engaged. Everyone leaves but Carisi and Rollins. Carisi admits he feels lousy. Rollins points out Carisi won.

Barba runs into Liv outside. He wants to walk with her. He asks if she’s mad at him. Liv said what if they’d gone for Man 1? How much of this was about Barba? The way he had to leave? Maybe you were defending yourself. They talk about how this last year has been all about loss. She hopes this year is better.

Law & Order: SVU
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Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 4 Quotes

Rollins: What is it?
Carisi: Amber Alert. 13-year-old girl taken a block from Gracie Mansion.
Rollins: SVU requested. So this is how 2021 begins.

Noah: Are they still going to drop the ball?
Benson: Of course they are.
Noah: If there's going to be nobody here, why are they putting those [barriers] up?
Benson: They're just setting up. Hey Noah, we're gonna watch the ball drop on TV just like any other year.
Noah: No, it's not. I just want this year to be over.