Plot: Olivia Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) greatest adversary, William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber) escapes from prison, kills everyone in his way and abducts a young girl in order to exact his revenge on Benson. He even gets her to confess that she committed perjury on prime time television. Lieutenant Declan Murphy (Donal Logue) returns to the series and takes over SVU’s command in order to ensure Benson’s safety. But, Benson being Benson takes matters into her own hands and puts herself on the line for the young child.
Full disclosure: The “Save Benson” story arc has not been my favorite. It’s a saga that seemingly refused to end and when the story lead us to a huge trial for the 2014 mid-season premiere, this reviewer was considerably underwhelmed.
When it aired we said — “Psycho/Therapist” was a decent, but very flawed episode. It’s an episode that would’ve had more emotional impact if it had aired in the fall, maybe as the mid-season finale. If written better it could’ve been an amazing episode, but alas it was not.
“Beast’s Obsession,” however, proved to not only be one of the best chapters of this saga, but probably the best episode on this season of Law & Order: SVU.
The absolute best thing that happened on the episode was the return of Donal Logue’s Lieutenant Declan Murphy. The character debuted last month in the episode, “Gambler’s Fallacy” and proved to be one of the best supporting players the series has had in ages. The character was so no-nonsense, so rich that part of me hoped this would not be a one-time thing. Logue’s presence was well-needed for the episode. His character and acting style is more well-suited for the authority figure role than Benson’s character is and, by this episode’s end, you have to wonder if Logue will remain a full-time fixture on the series. (Then again, we thought the same thing when Firefly’s Adam Baldwin was head of SVU for a short period recently.) His no-nonsense approach to Murphy only heightened the drama and suspense of the episode.
As for the episode itself, this is probably one of the strongest the series has produced in what seems like ages. For the first time in forever there was an air of suspense and danger, the question of will the detectives save the day was a consistent black cloud (in a good way) over everything. You were given serious doubt into whether Benson would even survive — the series has gotten rid of major characters before, why not Benson?
The MVP of the episode is Pablo Schreiber. The longtime Law & Order character actor who also dazzled us on Season 2 of The Wire, gave his most menacing and controlled performance to date. His character has been written and directed way over the top in the past, but here, he’s so much sinister and dangerous because of his utter calm and control.
“Beast’s Obsession” would be the right way to conclude the 15th Season of Law & Order: SVU. This is a strong episode that does a solid job making you forget a lot of the weaker episode this season produced (which also turned out to be some of the worst of the series) and it leaves you with a lot of intriguing questions to ponder.
However, it’s not. We have one more episode in this season to go and according to interviews with producers, this will feature a full-blown investigation of Benson’s actions throughout the episode including her public admission of perjury (at Lewis’ behest) and the events that happened between Lewis and Benson when he had her captive during this episode.
Let’s hope SVU doesn’t drop the ball and kill the momentum gained in “Beast’s Obsession.” Sadly, with this season’s track record, things aren’t looking to promising.