Law & Order: SVU 23×14 “Video Killed The Radio Star” took “rich white dude with a trashy podcast” to a whole new level. Basically, the episode featured another one of those cases that took things to a certain extreme in terms of the type of criminal we’re dealing with. Bob Flynn was just one more vivid portrait of what happens when someone gets too famous, too wealthy, and too powerful.
As the episode unfolded, we saw a criminal with the audacity to assault a married woman at a charity event. Which, of course, would have been bad enough. But Flynn did this with the woman’s husband—who happened to be one of his advertisers—and Captain Olivia Benson right in the next room. Then, there was an extra layer: While Rollins was undercover, working him, he bragged about getting away with murder. From there, he added ordering a hit as icing on the trash cake.
The way Flynn whined about everyone being out to get him was right on point, too. Basically, if you add every possible layer of “this guy is deplorable” into one person, you get SVU 23×14’s Bob Flynn. He was horrible enough to be boring. Hating him was way too easy. Which is fine, honestly, because we…don’t watch Law & Order: SVU for the criminals anyway.
So, let’s talk about people we actually care about.
We Just Think That Rollivia…
In a lot of ways, Law & Order: SVU 23×14 was kind of the Amanda Rollins show. Despite being giant Olivia Benson fangirls, we’re not entirely mad about that. And honestly, that just speaks to the success of Kelli Giddish, as she navigated the character-playing-a-character piece of the puzzle. She was outwardly flirty, inwardly focused and calculating. There were subtle moments of quiet realization, easy enough to be missed by a self-centered observer like Flynn yet perfect for tuned-in viewers.
With that being said, though, it was the way Benson and Rollins came together that made “Video Killed The Radio Star” work. That one, epic argument aside (we’re going there in a minute, friends), Benson backed Rollins in a way that only the best leaders can. She admitted Detective Rollins’ flaws and called her out when she needed to, but Liv also knew Amanda was the right person for the job. She could handle herself; she wasn’t who she was 10 years ago.
Weird how we can admit that about Rollins but not…him. Totally none of our business.
In the end, Liv was right—as she usually is about everything but herself. Rollins did what was necessary here, all things considered. If Flynn hadn’t felt the need to feed his ego and cry to his cult of listeners one last time, SVU might have even built enough of a case for a conviction on at least one of the many crimes he was guilty of.
But. Well. Rich, powerful dudes gonna rich powerful dude.
Pot, Meet Kettle
Ok. Now that we’ve gotten the career part out of the way: Let’s get to the personal aspect of Law & Order: SVU 23×14…
Olivia, honey. Sweetheart, if you will. Bless your heart. There is no other way to put that. Just…bless your heart. I can’t even.
So, there was that whole fabulous scene in the Captain’s office, where Mariska Hargitay did Mariska Hargitay things, and Kelli Giddish went toe-to-toe with her in that way that, honestly, I’m going to say it: Only another woman can. Come fight me, trolls. We are here for the women. We just do it better, and that’s that on that..
Liv was, reasonably, worried about Amanda and called her out on her bullshit here…
“Look: You and I both know that there is part of you that thinks that you don’t deserve to be happy.”
…and rightfully so. The thing is…The.Thing. Is. Pretty much everything Liv said to Amanda there? And everything that Amanda assured Liv about?
It also needs to go the other way, to the Nth degree. For the love of all that is holy. I am tired of turning off Mariska Hargitay’s television, only to have to come on Mariska Hargitay’s internet to talk about how Olivia Benson deserves to be happy but has clearly never believed that about herself. A huge part of that comes from the Dick Wolf universe’s narrative choice to weirdly put a certain kind of woman through constant, unnecessary, trauma.
I know a lot of people talk about there being a certain obsession with SVU‘s writers and repeatedly doing terrible things to Olivia with nearly no opportunities for healing. On the rare occasion she gets a happy moment, it’s like she’s punished for daring to do so—and all of that’s true! But it’s not just on this series. (See also: Kim Burgess on Chicago P.D., for one.) It’s not even just cop shows, or just Dick Wolf cop shows…
But something has got to give. Because at the end of the day, Liv has it the worst out of pretty much everyone. Thanks to her childhood, and after everything she’s been through across 23 seasons of Law & Order: SVU, Olivia Benson can not even recognize the same lack of self-worth in herself that she does in others. She believes she really doesn’t deserve more—that maybe her title is enough, or raising Noah is enough.
But, for all her successes, her fierce defense of the vulnerable, and her giant heart, Olivia Benson has never learned she is enough. No one has ever shown her that she’s worthy. Even the one person who used to try to dig her out of her doubts and insecurities…abandoned her. (And, of course, he also…didn’t choose her when he had the chance.)
Almost everyone she has let in has left. The people who have stuck around haven’t pushed enough, haven’t done enough to show her just how much she is—how she deserves the world. And that’s not ok.
It never was and never will be. Benson talked some sense into Rollins in SVU 23×14. She seemed to break through that hard head for at least a second. As great as Amanda and Olivia’s friendship is, as much as we love seeing women supporting women…We can’t be fully satisfied with any of it until someone—anyone, but preferably Rollins—does the same for this series’ heart and soul, this fictional character who has brought so much to so many people, both in her universe and in ours.
And while we’re at it? Just, like. Look at her. Everyone in Liv’s world should look at her the way just about all of us look at Mariska Hargitay.
Law & Order: SVU 23×14 Killed The Fangirl Thoughts
- Playing off of that last point: Liv seemed pretty pleased with herself after her night out with Langan. Good for her. Do we ship it? Absolutely not. It’s also kind of senseless to try to build that this late in the game…
- …but are we good with our girl getting one night of fun with someone who, despite being on the other “side” of most cases, is actually not a disgusting predator like the last guy she spent personal time with? Yes.
- Liv, please check on the other half of your “friendship…for now.” He somehow fell into a parallel universe with a city-wide blackout that…you didn’t experience, somehow. I’m scared.
- “Sweetheart? Oh. You’re one of those guys.” Considering the way Hargitay generally tends to use that word in interviews and whatnot, I’m calling this all her. Got proof to the contrary? Seems fake.
- “I do trust you! But I also know you.” Ok but go on your other friend like this. The bald bitch. Give him hell.
- Olivia Benson, smirking about volunteering Carisi to play Rollins’ husband. That is all.
- Not sure why Amanda “Jones” pulling her gun on Flynn was hot, but here we are. (It shouldn’t be. At all)
- Same for Liv being a little rough with her during the arrest scene? Huh.
- “McGrath probably has a signed copy of Flynn’s book.” Fin. Just. Fin.
- “Men never tell the women in their lives everything, right, Sergeant?” Stabler sure the hell never did…
- The “you tell us” in Livterrogation. *chef’s kiss*
- And then Carisi ran out of fucks to give.
- The reveal of Amanda “Jones” actually being Detective Amanda Rollins? Some good shit.
- That “trigger warning” line was absolute garbage, uncalled-for, and just..Oof. lt was bad enough seeing the “definite bad guy” mock people with a legitimate need for those warnings, given certain online behavior…But…To then end Law & Order: SVU 23×14, with the line thrown out in such a callous way before the shooting…I…Y’all…not good.
- Which…back to the earlier point: We have yet another episode with the closing moments featuring a horrified Liv.
- At least she had Amanda to share the trauma with this time, I guess? Yay???