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Mariska Hargitay and Camryn Manheim Teamed Up for an L&O Crossover Moment
Benson had to make a call to a close friend.
It was an eerie return to Season 24 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the squad struggled to acclimate to an SVU without Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish). Benson has some big obstacles ahead of her, and it will be interesting to see how she tackles them in this new post-Rollins world. But lucky for her, Benson jumped back into the action with the helping hand of a Law & Order fan favorite.
From the beginning moments of Season 24, Episode 10 (titled "Jumped In"), it was obvious that both Benson and Fin (Ice T) both found the new squad setup strange. "I see a lot of people come and go," Fin said while staring at Rollins' old desk. "I never thought she'd be one of them." But alas, Rollins is off enjoying married professor life, and it doesn't take long before Benson has a big mess on her hands.
While heading home with her son, Noah, Benson notices her building was tagged with similar graffiti she saw in the BX9 gang case from earlier this season. After telling Noah to head inside, Benson is approached by two young gang members. She tells them to stand down—but suddenly, a mysterious third gang member takes Benson down on a motorcycle. The two other teens then viciously beat her, but before killing her, Benson shoots one of them in the knee. They teens quickly flee the scene.
Benson is left in pretty bad shape after this encounter, which inspires her to work with the Bronx SVU unit in hopes of secretly taking down the BX9 gang. (She also heard the Bronx SVU had an overload of cases, so visiting their precinct kills two birds with one stone.) While Detective Muncy (Molly Burnett) and Velasco (Octavio Pisano) track down the teenager Benson shot, Fin and Benson head to the Bronx to check in on the borough's SVU. And boy did they have a ton of work to do.
Benson meets Bronx SVU's Terry Bruno, a detective infamous for suing his department for wrongful termination and winning, leading him to receive a sizable settlement. Confused about why Bruno would still work for the department that wronged him, Benson learned he stayed because of the dozens of cases that have gone unsolved due to the department's malpractice. Benson asks Bruno to allow them to help with the case that kept him up at night, which proves to be complicated.
Why? The case is closed. A group of deaf schoolgirls was sexually assaulted, and a man was arrested, but the assaults continued after his imprisonment. Bruno believes the department put away the wrong guy. Benson begins by asking to meet these unheard victims with an American Sign Language interpreter, which leads her to call in some favors.
Cut to Benson brushing shoulders with Law & Order's endlessly lovable Lieutenant Kate Dixon (Camryn Manheim). We love a crossover moment! Kate asks Benson to give her the low-down, and Benson explains that she requested an interpreter but didn't have the time to wait for one to arrive. Fluent in ASL, Kate steps in to help interview the long lineup of victims whose testimony hadn't been taken seriously before.
Benson receives some flack from her superiors for meddling in closed cases instead of closing open ones, but they are immediately shut up after a deaf girl is found dead and sexually assaulted in the same area as the other assaults. Knowing the culprit has escalated to murder, all hands are on deck for tracking down the serial rapist.
Working alongside Fin and Bruno, the squad uses DNA evidence from the murder to locate the actual suspect. Benson and Kate visit the suspect's deaf mother, and they discover that he is hiding in the woman's basement. They swiftly arrest the man, and he provides a full confession, the first win for the Bronx SVU. Even better, Benson gets a call from Muncy explaining that the gang member who attacked her woke up in the hospital.
The episode ends as Benson visits her assailant, and it's crystal clear that she has justice on the brain after being attacked in front of her son. Stay tuned.
Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.