You know what’s scarier than the threatening-looking bad guy with scars, tattoos and a menacing, faraway stare? The one who’s affable, hardworking and has a stellar rep as a family man. He’s the person whose side everyone takes, allowing him to get away with murder — or rape, as in the two-part season finale of Law & Order: SVU airing on May 18 (“Intersecting Lives”) and May 25 (“Heartfelt Passages”).
After 17 seasons, you might think that the producers would run out of ways to shock, but apparently, this one has it all: domestic violence, sexual assault and, of course, very powerful storytelling on every level. No wonder they couldn’t fit it all in one episode.
I totally love that Brad Garrett was cast. He’ll throw everyone off guard as Rikers corrections officer Gary Munson, the last person anyone would suspect of sexually assaulting female inmates both in prison and after they’ve been released. “This guy is pretty dark and disturbed,” Garrett said. Mariska Hargitay added, “Oh my gosh, he is truly chilling… you get goose bumps.”
After his arrest, Munson’s union not only stands by its man but targets the SVU unit, especially ADA Rafael Barba, who tells Benson, “Someone just tried to kill me.”
He starts receiving death threats, and it seems his typical tactics of not backing down and mouthing off only make things worse. I understand his alternative response is pretty unexpected. To me, this means he’s leaning toward one extreme or the other; as in going into hiding or taking the law into his own hands, which is totally against the beliefs of a prosecutor. Fortunately, though, whichever path he follows, Olivia and company have his back. In fact, word has it that Christopher Meloni’s Elliot Stabler may be back to help his former colleagues.
This may not be the first time that the SVU had to take down one of its own, but it is the first time the rest of the force is against them, which takes the story to a higher level. The case turns into a media circus, and it doesn’t help that the mayor’s office is riding the fence.
“I read the season finale and I was so deeply moved and deeply inspired. I couldn’t put it down… couldn’t stop crying,” Hargitay told E! News. “After doing a show for this long, there are these moments that come up that are so earned and so painful. For Olivia, something very tragic happens and something so beautiful happens, which is so much like life, right?”
Life on SVU anyway. This show just never fails to satisfy. I guess that’s the reason they’ve been renewed for season 18 in the fall of 2016.