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What Happened on Law & Order: SVU This Week? (May 9, 2024)

Benson and her elite squad are at it again!

By Jessica White

Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has solved hundreds of cases on Law & Order: Special Victims Unitnever at ease until she sees justice served. 

How to Watch

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

After catching wind of a troubling cold case in Season 25's latest, Benson couldn't help but take a whack at the mystifying investigation. As FBI Agent Shannah Sykes (Jordana Spiro) embedded herself into the Manhattan SVU this season, she's been a force to be reckoned with, assisting on several cases. Sykes' panache with victims is largely thanks to her own trauma — her sister went missing 27 years ago, and the case was never closed. That was until Benson had something to say about it.

RELATED: What Happened on the Previous Episode of Law & Order: SVU?

Learn what happened on Law & Order: SVU on May 9, 2024, below:

What happened on Law & Order: SVU this week? (May 9, 2024)

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

Season 25, Episode 12 ("Marauder"): "Agent Sykes struggles to cope on the anniversary of her sister's disappearance; Benson suspects a cold case from Manhattan could help her get closure."

Season 25's latest served as a continuation of Agent Sykes' tragic story. When Sykes was a teenager, her sister, Crystal, was kidnapped on the way to the park. Sykes' passion for solving missing person cases is largely fueled by the blame she places on herself for Crystal's disappearance. Crystal's body was never found — the only physical evidence the cops turned up was Polaroid photos taken of a terrified Crystal found years later in the woods.

Twenty-seven years after the abduction, Sykes found herself celebrating the anniversary at the bar. She'd been MIA in the squad room, prompting Mamma Bear Benson to give Sykes a check-up. Sykes wasn't coping well, prompting Benson to ask if she'd ever consider relaunching the investigation. Sykes wasn't having it, telling Benson to leave it alone. Benson got the hint, but as she watched Sykes' bender continue, she couldn't help but pull up Crystal's case on ViCAP.

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

SVU's "Marauder" dealt with the decades-old cold case of a serial predator. After checking out Crystal's case, Benson soon discovered a string of abductions fitting the same MO as Crystal's abduction. Finding Benson rummaging through mildew-infested folders, Fin (Ice T) teased that she must be investigating the 1930s Lindbergh kidnapping. 

Benson revealed a string of abductions that indicated the pattern of a "marauder" predator, an assailant who operates in the same area. It didn't take long for the sharp-witted Fin to deduce Benson was reopening the cold case of Sykes' sister.

"OK, you didn't exactly catch a cold case, it caught you," Fin quipped, asking if Benson planned on telling Sykes.

Benson decided it was best to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. The investigation was grueling as traumatized families dredged up details of their horrific loss. After reading up on the 2002 cold case of Gwen Markham, Benson realized it matched their perp's MO and was conveniently within her jurisdiction.  Meanwhile, she visited the retired detective from Crystal's case, Ed McCluskey, to see if he'd continue investigating. He happily agreed, later calling Benson with intel. The predator was likely married around the time the Polaroids were hidden in the woods. A new wife could find the insidious trove, prompting the hidden stash. 

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Benson pled with the Markham family to exhume Gwen for DNA testing, but they were understandably apprehensive. However, after Gwen's cousin Cal provided a false confession to formally relaunch the investigation, the tides turned. The only way to prove Cal was lying was to conduct DNA testing. 

Benson crossed her fingers for new DNA evidence, getting good news and bad news. The good news: There was new DNA found on Gwen's body. The bad news: It didn't match any suspects. 

Just as Benson gained traction, Sykes showed up to the squad room, discovering Benson's case. Sykes gave Benson a piece of her mind, furious with her for re-traumatizing her family. She told Benson that embedding at the Manhattan SVU was a mistake, wishing her luck on all of the open cases she uses to distract herself from her own baggage.

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The SVU turned up the heat on the cold case after getting a genealogical match on the DNA found on Gwen's body — a daughter named Hannah Kincaid from New Jersey. The detectives visited Hannah and asked if she knew a male relative in his 60s or 70s. The only person who fit that profile was her dad, Richard Kincaid. Hannah assured them that Richard was a church-going family man, but by revealing he is a retired traveling insurance salesman, the detective's suspicions were all but confirmed. 

Benson and the squad arrived at the Kincaid residence, finding the family celebrating Richard's 40th wedding anniversary. As soon as Richard saw the cops, he fled, unsuccessfully retrieving a go-bag packed with cash. Giving him a dose of his own medicine, Benson snapped a quick Polaroid of Richard as he gaped in shock. As Fin put him in handcuffs, Benson told Richard it was all over.

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"You didn't start stashing [the Polaroids] places when you got married, did you?" Benson asked him. "It was when your daughter was old enough to find them."

In the interrogation room, it didn't take long for Richard to fear the looming death penalty, Richard asked Benson what she wanted. Benson demanded the location of all of the missing girls — Crystal, included.

Richard agreed, showing the detectives the location of his trail of victims. With that, several trauma-torn families got the long-awaited justice and closure they deserved. Later, while visiting Crystal's body in the morgue, Benson was visited by a tearful Sykes. As Sykes' gaze flew to the body of her sister, all the lingering resentment for Benson's involvement faded away. Sykes again questioned why Benson didn't leave it alone, this time with a note of appreciation.

"I did it for Crystal," Benson said, leading Sykes to break down. Knowing she needed time alone, Benson gave Sykes and her sister some long overdue alone time. 

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

Season 25's "Marauder" saw a powerhouse lineup of guest stars as several families spoke to Benson about the various cold cases. Guest performances include Alberto Isaac as Harry Dao, Kenneth Tigar as Detective Ed McCluskey, and Gabe Fazio as the episode's red herring, Cal Markham.

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The terrifying predator behind the serial abductions, Richard Kincaid, was played by Larry Pine. His daughter Hannah was played by Laurel Castillo. 

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