At first glance, it seems like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 Episode 19, "Bend the Law," will be history repeating itself by following a pattern in which a higher-up or their spouse is involved in a crime.
However, as the episode goes on, we come to realize Lorraine Maxwell is unlike any other boss we have seen in previous seasons of the show. She isn't here to bend the law…or is she?
This episode puts Maxwell, Carisi, and Benson in a position they haven't found themselves before, challenging them and their beliefs.
After underage girls are found performing sexual acts in a club where Maxwell's husband is a member, it comes to the light that her husband is involved in what they believe is a sex trafficking ring.
The case is pretty straightforward. The girls are found minutes into the episode and they immediately tell Muncy and Bruno what is going on at the club.
When the men are interrogated, they call out Maxwell's husband and shortly after evidence is found to confirm his involvement. That is when the facts of the case become less important than how the case will be resolved.
In previous episodes, Law & Order: SVU has had ADAs, judges, politicians, and cops involved in cases of sex trafficking and abuse. However, it always seemed like they had the perfect excuse and their spouses stood by them.
Lorraine Maxwell is the exception to the rule.
Maxwell's loyalty to Benson and her ability to bend the law for a just cause are evident in the episode. Benson understands Maxwell's past and wants to protect her from public embarrassment. When it becomes clear that Maxwell is hiding something about her husband's death, Benson recognizes her capability to bend the law for a righteous purpose.
In "Bend the Law," Carisi finds his footing by navigating the complex dynamics between Benson and Maxwell. Despite being caught between them, Carisi remains loyal to both women. With Benson's insistence and Maxwell's approval, he becomes more invested in the case. A pivotal moment occurs when Carisi is falsely accused of taking the case for personal gain, but his true motivation is to protect Maxwell and uphold justice without hesitation.
"Bend the Law" explores Velasco's character development and his journey to reconcile with his past. Benson pushes him to think outside the box and find his old friend, with Churlish holding him accountable. Velasco's decision to betray his past for Benson demonstrates his loyalty. The road trip allows Velasco and Churlish to resolve their dispute and move forward together.
The storyline, the characters, and the resolution leave us wanting more episodes like this. Episodes in which it feels like the squad works together and the perps are brought to justice.