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What Happened on Law & Order: SVU This Week? March 21, 2024

Benson and her elite squad leave no room for disappointment — stay up to date on their latest case in Season 25 of SVU. 

By Jessica White

Season 25 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is jam-packed with thrills and courtroom chaos. Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) excels in seeing justice served as she and her squad heroically tackle every case that comes their way. 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays on NBC and next day on Peacock.

RELATED: Law & Order: SVU Season 25 - Premiere Date, Cast, Details

Read on, below, to learn what happened on Law & Order: SVU on March 21, 2024: 

What happened on Law & Order: SVU this week? (March 21, 2024)

Read the official logline for this week's SVU episode, below: 

Season 25, Episode 8 ("Third Man Syndrome"): "A brutal assault in the street leads Carisi to pursue hate crime charges; Benson must support a homebound witness who is too scared to speak up."

What was the main case on Law & Order: SVU this week?

The episode kicked off with a boy's night between the artistic Javier and his older cousin, Mateo. Their festivities were tragically cut short after they were attacked by a group of three men who assumed the men were dating, slinging homophobic slurs as they approached. When Javier attempted to defend them, he was brutally attacked by the assailants, who mutilated his entire body as Mateo ran. 

Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) appears in Season 25 Episode 7 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

One of the most disturbing details of the harrowing hate crime was the number of witnesses — an unhoused man heard the homophobic remarks from afar while an agoraphobic woman saw the entire ordeal. Javier was hospitalized for his extensive injuries, which is where he met Benson and the SVU. As the city became frenzied with news of a hate crime, Benson had her superiors breathing down her neck to quell the tension surrounding the case.

The SVU soon encountered a crisis of testimony; the unhoused man wasn't a viable witness due to simply hearing the insults, and the agoraphobic woman, Anne, hadn't left her apartment in years, leading her to refuse to take the stand. The SVU was able to locate the three men, but getting a person to properly identify them was a hassle. Javier and Mateo were drinking the night of the attack, so they weren't able to make a positive I.D. 

RELATED: Where You Can Watch and Stream Law & Order: SVU

This left Benson with one option: asking Anne to testify. It was her account of the attack that anchored the investigation, so Benson paid her another visit to shed some light on the importance of her testimony. After promising she'd transform the squad room into a safe space, Anne agreed to go to the Precinct to identify the assailants within a lineup. 

Benson pulled out every candle she could find to turn the Manhattan Precinct into a relaxing oasis, which Anne appreciated for her first time leaving her home. Just as Benson expected, Anne's memory was sharp from the night, and she expertly identified all three of the assailants, even remembering which held the weapon. Once again, Benson and the SVU had what they needed to see justice served. 

Were there any notable guest stars this week on Law & Order: SVU

Aside from our dynamite team of detectives, the latest SVU received a visit from several powerhouse guest stars: Sebastian Barba as Mateo Garcia, Martin Martinez as Javier Lopez, and Caitlin Houlahan as the SVU's ace-in-the-hole, Anne Holmes.

RELATED: Where You Can Watch and Stream Law & Order: SVU

When can I watch the latest SVU episode on Peacock? 

New episodes of Law & Order: SVU are available to stream at 6 a.m. ET the day after they air on NBC.com and Peacock