Michael Parmelee / NBC

Hands Up, Don't Shoot (Barba The Stink-Eye)

SVU's take on Ferguson, Eric Garner, and other excessive-force cases pits Liv and Barba against each other; Li'l Rollins's dad shows up.

Initial Crime

When an entire family is push-in assaulted -- the wife and 12-year-old daughter raped, the husband pistol-whipped and forced to watch -- the squad believes it's on the hunt for a serial rapist, thanks to the case's similarity to other push-in rapes in the area.

Real Crime

A kid wearing the same basketball jersey as the one in the suspect description takes off when he sees the cops. He's reaching for keys, not a gun, and trying to put his hands up, but the first three cops to arrive shoot him 35 times. He dies in surgery.


The PBA reps' efforts to blue-wall the situation -- and the commissioner's office pressuring him -- notwithstanding, Barba is working sort of unofficially with the victim's family to get indictments on the officers involved, or at least make it look good. That succeeds better than he'd expected, as a grand juror asks if they can't indict on more serious charges than reckless endangerment or criminally negligent homicide. Two of the cops get Man 1; Dumas, because he stopped firing after three rounds, only gets reckless endangerment.

The rapist is still at large.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner -- and, alas, dozens of other candidates. The episode also shoehorns the 2014 revenge ambush of Officers Ramos and Liu in Bed-Stuy into its closing minutes.

How Was The Real Story Fictionalized?

Terrence Reynolds was mistaken for another suspect and shot reaching for his keys; Gray was picked up for knife possession and not secured in the transport vehicle, Garner was selling "loosies" and was choked out, Brown shoplifted cigarillos and was shot. The SVU protesting is comparatively short-lived and peaceable. Two NYPD officers got shot IRL, not one, and were sitting in their parked cruiser versus conducting a traffic stop.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

Scott William Winters did it, but not to the degree his fellow shooters did; Isiah Whitlock Jr. as his captain is basically a good egg. Hamilton: The Musical's Daveed Diggs is the family's lawyer but doesn't get a ton to do.

L&O-verse Regulars

Mary B. McCann as PBA Delegate Didi Denzler; Jason Cerbone as Counselor Desappio; Leslie Odom Jr. as Reverend Scott; and of course IAB Detectives Tucker and Draper. Whitlock has had various roles on SVU over the years (the first time we saw him in this one, he was called Reede, not Reese, but he was a sergeant and is now a captain, which is fun continuity), played a detective on CI, and turned up several times on Mothership, most famously as a serial killer in "Trophy." Hat tip to Winters, who's quite good in his grand-jury scenes.

It's Late, Y'all!

Aside from a mention of the rookie cop getting shot in the face, relatively tame.

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

Liv harangues Carisi to find something, anything damning in Reynolds's apartment, which he's searching sans warrant with the beleaguered "cooperation" of Reynolds's roommate. Later, Draper shuts off the videocamera so he and Tucker can suggest that maybe Dumas and the others' stories shouldn't sound so, you know, identical and rehearsed. All that pales beside the shooting of an unarmed African-American, obvs.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

Everyone, because: cops (also, the pistol-whipped Mr. Harris of the initial crime has a brother on the force). And all y'all Barson 'shippers can take a reaaaaaaally long break, because based on Liv's barely-controlled "In my opinion. All police procedures were followed. [GUH-LARING]," I don't think she's going to speak to Barba for a while.

Fin Speaks For Us All

When a couple twentysomethings decline to look at the police sketch during the canvass, grumbling that "stop-and-frisk is over," Fin snaps, "Stop-and-shut-up isn't."

Revelations About The Continuing Characters' Personal Lives That We Should Remember Going Forward

No joy on the Benker front, either, but we find out who Rollins's baby daddy is when he accosts her outside the precinct, wondering when she planned to tell him the kid is his:


...Hee, just funnin' ya! The actual papa isn't much better, IMO:



I love me the Logue, and if this means he's around more, I'm cautiously for it, but it's kind of a bummer that he got with that hot mess at her hot-messiest. Anyway, she's all "it's fine, it's not your responsibility" and he's all "yeah it is, it's my...kid, what do you take me for" but then he goes back to his undercover whatever-the-hell in Serbia, so...who knows.

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