Will Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) ever get her happy ending?
On Wednesday's episode of Law & Order: SVU, the veteran detective weathered not one but two storms when she learned she had elicited a false confession of rape and put away an innocent man for eight years — a fact which subsequently put a harsh spotlight on her romantic relationship with Executive ADA David Haden (Harry Connick Jr.) .
Just when it seemed the two lovers might make it out of the woods with their reputations intact — the man really guilty of the crime was put away and Bayard Ellis (Andre Braugher) agreed to keep his mouth shut — David was assigned to a special unit established to re-examine NYPD cases, beginning with sex crimes, i.e. Olivia's cases. Knowing they couldn't be together without David losing his promotion, the two quietly agreed that "us, this, never happened" and Olivia's brief brush with happiness came to a close.
Although it was a tearful end, taking such a close peek into Olivia's romantic life was daring by Law & Order standards, and the diversion paid off. Following the sudden departure of Det. Stabler (Christopher Meloni), it was nice, and possibly necessary, to see another door open for her after Stabler's was slammed shut without closure.
Olivia's love life previously has only merited brief scrutiny — her relationship with Det. Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) in Season 1 and with journalist Kurt Moss (Bill Pullman) in Season 9 — and even then, these affairs were only mentioned as after-thoughts or in passing dialogue as is the Law & Order way.
Although such a personal narrative might feel foreign to franchise fans, pretending that Olivia is just an interchangeable piece of the puzzle in whom fans aren't strongly emotionally invested is impossible at this point in SVU's run. After showing her so emotionally vulnerable at the beginning of the season, the introduction of David Haden gave Olivia room to return to her stronger, more put-together self.
And while another door may have closed for Olivia, she opened a window when she told Det. Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) that he was a good partner. Too bad it looks like he has some personal issues of his own to deal with first.
What did you think of Wednesday's episode? Were you sad to see David go? Or are you hoping SVU starts sticking to the cases again? Sound off below!
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