In the social media age, cyberbullying, doxing, and people having outsized influence are things parents need to worry about.
Law & Order: SVU Season 23 Episode 5 attacked these issues head-on — but how well did they do?
The case was compelling, but justice wasn’t served… or was it?
In some ways, it was a modern version of the he said/she said problem.
Willa claimed the boys raped her, but Liam and Tate countered that she was angry she hadn’t been chosen for their Tik Tok reality show and that she just wanted attention. The Tik Tok angle may have been new, but these types of defenses weren’t. Not really.
I’m surprised Carisi was willing to prosecute; usually, he wants a nearly airtight case before he’s willing to move forward.
It was always going to be a long shot to convict these kids, though, and Carisi seemed to think their last disgusting video constituted a confession even though the one before contradicted it.
And once it got to court, it just got worse.
Either this will be tried in the court of Tik Tok or a court of law.
It wasn’t surprising that the boys kept defying the court order to stay off Tik Tok, but some of the judge’s reactions were another story.
Her original order was confusing. She didn’t want to authorize a gag order, yet told the kids they needed to stay off social media. That seemed contradictory.
It also was strange that she sided with Carisi about the mistrial.
It was obvious that she believed the boys were guilty, or at the least didn’t like them very much. But her ruling wasn’t consistent with what she’d said before.
I guess that Diggy making a video supporting Willa neutralized Liam and Tate’s video claiming that it was all made up, but either the judge was against this being tried on Tik Tok or she wasn’t.
Of course, it didn’t matter anyway, considering how the jury ruled.
For a second, I thought the surprise twist was going to be that the jury found the boys guilty of rape even though they found them innocent of false imprisonment.
That would have wiped those stupid smirks off their face! But alas, that was not to be.
I’m not sure how I feel about the resolution. The boys should have faced consequences for tampering with the jury, but there was little foreshadowing and the ending felt tacked on as a result.
Plus, the boys going to jail for jury tampering but not for rape didn’t feel like justice. On Law & Order: SVU Season 23 Episode 4, the survivor didn’t feel she got justice when her rapist went to jail for someone else’s rape, and this wasn’t much different.
I did like that Willa, Kovan, and Diggy were rebranding the Wheelhouse as a support organization for survivors, though I wasn’t sure how much I trusted Diggy.
He covered for the other boys’ assaults of many women, after all, and he only came forward this time because he had a crush on Willa and resented that the other boys messed up his chances of having a relationship with her.
Plus, his attempts at making amends could have ended in disaster for the case. Not only did he nearly cause a mistrial, but his outburst on the stand got him thrown in jail for contempt and might have turned the jury against Willa even if no one had been paid off to acquit the boys.
Hopefully, he’ll be as good to Willa and other survivors as Willa hopes, but his behavior throughout this mess wasn’t exactly admirable.
A good third of the hour was devoted to setting things up for the Organized Crime crossover that was coming next, which left less time for developing the main story. Overall, though there was a decent balance of the two storylines.
And was I the only one who wished Jett could join SVU full-time?
Jett very rarely goes out into the field at Organized Crime. Most of the time, she’s just working her tech magic behind a desk and making snarky comments while the detectives discuss the case.
This time, she not only lent her tech expertise to SVU but also went undercover at the Wheelhouse so that the team could arrest the boys.
She seemed like she’d fit in with SVU far better than Velasco has so far, and she wouldn’t be a spy for McGrath, either!
Speaking of which, Velasco and Fin were both mysteriously absent from this story.
I didn’t care where Velasco was, but I missed Fin’s one-liners.
He also often offers an alternative perspective on the case of the week, and I’d have loved to have heard his opinion of this one.
Benson’s informant was also an interesting addition to the sex trafficking ring case.
She’ll have to make good on her promise to feature him front and center at the press conference on this one, and then we’ll likely learn what he’s really up to.
His request was odd, though it did explain why he wasn’t upset that Rollins knew he’d come to see Benson.
I’m glad, too, that there were no hard feelings between Benson and Bell over the last debacle.
Both women are professionals, but Bell’s department did screw over Benson’s last time around, and if Fin had been anywhere to be seen, he might have had something to say about that. He was super vocal about not trusting Stabler after the last incident, after all.
Your turn, SVU fanatics! How did you feel about the Tik Tok case and its resolution and the joint case Benson worked on with Bell and Jett?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.
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Law & Order: SVU’s historic 23rd season continues to air on NBC on Thursdays at 9 PM EST/PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.