[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Law & Order: SVU Season 22 finale “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.”]
Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish), ADA Sonny Carisi (Peter Scanavino), Detective Katriona “Kat” Azar Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder), and Deputy Chief Christian Garland (Demore Barnes) aren’t the only ones at the wedding. Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) is as well, and considering the “I love you” he dropped to his former partner and mobster Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) noting that Stabler’s wife wasn’t the love of his life on Organized Crime, what might that mean for his relationship with Benson? Is that even addressed?
It is, sort of and briefly. Stabler arrives late to the wedding, only to find out that the couple called it off: They decided they’re happy just as they are. How’d they meet, he asks Benson. She was his first partner, she tells him, and the former partners exchange a significant glance before toasting to partners. (Considering both series were renewed and Organized Crime airs after SVU, it’s not too surprising that nothing happened.)
However, fans of Rollisi have much more to be excited about. Carisi was supposed to officiate the ceremony and spent all episode trying to write the perfect speech. The poor guy is so disappointed he won’t get to say it, but Rollins offers to listen and pretty much has a lightbulb moment as he reads it.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to witness and celebrate the union of Phoebe Baker and Fin Tutuola. Fin and Phoebe were each other’s first partners, over 20 years ago,” he says. “A partnership is a lot like a marriage: You fight, then you make up. But at the end of the day, you always have each other’s backs. And if you had to, you’d take a bullet for each other. A bond like that, that never goes away.”
Rollins gets emotional, Carisi wipes away her tears, we’re wondering why he’s not kissing her already … and she kisses him! And what about Carisi’s girlfriend Nicole? Well, she bows out of attending the wedding and the two aren’t exactly on the best of terms, so clearly that relationship is over.
But it’s not all happy news. Garland is deposed for the Jayvon Brown case. (Jayvon was falsely accused of assault and filed a lawsuit against the NYPD.) “There’s going to be a price,” he says ominously.
Oh, is he right. What he says in his deposition does not go over well with 1PP. Chief McGrath (Terry Serpico) yells at him in his office about going on record apologizing for systemic racism and saying they need bias training. He was under oath, Garland says. But to McGrath, Garland thinks he’s better than the rest of them, and “loyalty’s a two-way street.”
Benson and Carisi notice that Garland’s not doing too well (grabbing his chest, which, in TV terms, means potential heart attack coming) as he’s bracing for COMPStat the following day. They also watch as officers shun him as he walks by. It’s awful.
It gets worse. McGrath calls him out on rape numbers being up, but Garland argues that just means more victims are coming forward. They want that. McGrath refuses to hear it and instead lists Garland’s “faults”: he has an overinflated sense of self-worth, as well as a lack of discipline, investigative competence, and leadership. According to McGrath, he sees failure written all over him. (Who else can’t wait for McGrath to be taken down?)
Then, at the wedding, Garland tells Benson he’s taking a few days off to have a few tests done. (Uh-oh…) His dad, who’s retired, also told him that the old guard may be coming for him, to force him out. But “whatever they try, I’m not going to go quietly,” Garland assures Benson.
How are you doing, Rollisi fans?
Law & Order: SVU, Season 23, Fall 2021, NBC