Is obeying the law indeed the same as justice?
After a case of a celebrity trial had Rollins facing her demons, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit tackled an abduction that led to a darker series of crimes.
This put new cop Grace Muncy in a spot handling a suspect and dealing with the dark world of SVU.
As another victim turned up, Benson faced a difficult choice in keeping a crime quiet for the greater good.
That had even Bureau Chief Maxwell questioning if Benson was looking the other way too much to help a victim.
This made The Steps We Cannot Take a harrowing case for several of the victims and for Muncy to question if ending a monster’s life was worth hiding the truth.
A dangerous abduction takes place
At the squad room, Muncy watched Noah drop by to see Benson. Benson introduced them with Muncy doing some overtime on a peeping tom case. Benson warned her about not making mistakes before court and to once more change her wardrobe.
Across town, Ravi Singh (Rock Kohli) was trying to do his own construction work in a restaurant. His daughter Priya (Aditi Yadav) mocked him a bit before heading to do her homework.
Muncy talked Velasco into helping her shop and revealed she was colorblind, thus explaining much of her wardrobe. Muncy was hoping to impress Benson.
Back at the restaurant, Ravi saw a masked man enter. His wife Nisha (Anjali Bhimani) was in the shower and heard gunshots. She called 911 just as the man entered, asking where Priya was, then shot her.
In her new blazer, Muncy joined Velasco at the scene as Ravi and Nisha were on their way to the hospital. SVU was called in because Nisha had been nude and the cops worried it was a rape.
They found Priya’s room to find birth control pills, with Velasco wondering if Priya got her boyfriend to shoot her parents. Muncy was giving the benefit of the doubt as Priya’s phone was left behind and thus was kidnapped.
Muncy pointed out the kidnapper taking clothes meant he wanted to keep Priya alive. Benson complimented her on the deduction and her outfit.
In the hospital, Nisha talked of the man looking for Priya and that his boots had a kind of apron on them. She shared Ravi had been doing the construction work himself due to clashes with the local contractors.
A foreman said Ravi had called off the job after an altercation with a welder named Elias, who became fixated on Priya. Muncy found Elias Olsen (Adam Petchel), who hadn’t been working for a while.
Checking the upstate home of Elias’ father, Muncy saw a dollhouse set inside. The police entered to find no one home. They got to the basement to find Priya held with a group of other women.
Hunting the collector
One victim, Nadine Chavez (Paola Sanchez Abreu), said, “I’m not supposed to leave,” as the cops helped her out. Muncy said that one girl Bella (Dayla Knapp), called Gillian (Jess Gabor) her mother.
There was little information on either Elias or his dad Soren, and the cops worried he’d fled. The media showed up with Benson giving orders for no one to talk.
Gillian Moore had vanished twelve years earlier when she was a teenager. Nadine had likewise been snatched a decade earlier and they worried Bella had been born in captivity. To top it off, Nadine was three months pregnant.
The women had been held hostage for years as it appeared Priya was the latest addition to this twisted “collection.” Priya talked of being in her room when the masked man dragged her off. He told her, “Good girls get good things, bad girls get bad things,” which were his rules for the girls.
Nadine and Gillian identified Elias and how it was hard to tell how long they’d been locked up. It was obvious the women had been broken down by Soren and terrified of talking.
The cops figured Elias kept food from the girls to break them down and the lack of food there meant he was on a shopping trip. They found Elias in a nearby store. He tried to run with Muncy punching him down and Fin had to pull her off while Velasco arrested Elias, who claimed his father was the one responsible.
Benson wasn’t happy about Muncy hitting Elias with a radio, which gave his lawyer ammo. Knowing Elias had a thing for young girls, Benson thought Muncy apologizing in person might work.
Priya identified Elias as they got word Ravi would recover. Muncy arrived in interrogation to apologize. Muncy said she believed Elias didn’t hurt Priya as his lawyer, Mason Carter (Robbie Williams), said Elias was also a victim of his father’s abuse.
Elias said Soren was hunting and couldn’t give any information on where. He said he took Priya to make his dad proud. Fin cracked Muncy was learning the difference between good and bad lawyers.
Carter argued the women could have escaped and when Muncy said, “Not all chains are physical,” Carter used that to apply to Elias. Rollins was confident Carisi could handle this trial, but Benson wanted to find Soren.
The sins of the father come home
Gillian said it was Soren who took her and Elias wasn’t as violent. She added that Bella was the best thing to happen to her out of this ordeal.
Nadine confirmed that Elias had never touched the girls and had been gone for over a month. She freaked out when a janitor closed a chapel door.
The DNA test revealed Bella was Elias’s sister, meaning Soren was the father. Just as Benson wondered where Soren could be, the cops found his body buried in the backyard.
Truman explained Soren had been shot and buried at least six weeks earlier. Another body had been found of a newborn baby boy.
Elias seemed shocked to hear his father was dead and blamed it on the girls. He broke down sobbing on having no idea what to do without his father.
Maxwell dropped by with Rollins pointing out Elias was too tall to match the bullet’s trajectory. Benson hated investigating any of the victims for this, but Maxwell pressed her to close the case.
Rollins talked to Nadine, who confessed Soren had killed her son for having too many mouths to feed. Gillian blamed Priya, but Benson had figured out she was the one who did it. Gillian finally admitted to doing it, only for Nadine to confess to Rollins she did.
Benson realized both women were covering for the only other suspect: Bella. She talked to the girl, who broke down in tears as a confession.
Fin found Muncy cleaning her blazer as he talked of the famous “policeman’s prayer.” He acknowledged he’d roughed up guys before, and Muncy had to think better in the future, both for her safety and the case. Muncy thanked him for the advice.
Maxwell pressed Benson on having no serious suspects, although it was obvious she knew it was Bella. She pointed out that technically the case could be open forever, but at the end of the day, wasn’t going to put a little girl in jail for killing a monster.
However, Maxwell warned Benson, “Justice may be blind, but she’s not entirely heartless. And you’ll see how heartless I can be should this conversation come back to haunt me.”
Benson and Rollins decided to take this win as Gillian and Bella headed to Gillian’s parents. Gillian was afraid of leaving the safety of the hospital, as Benson told her to focus on the good in the world.
Gillian thanked her as she and Bella headed out in hopes of finally escaping the darkness.
It was a darker case than usual, with Benson making a harder choice for justice while Muncy learned how SVU works.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.