Law & Order SVU Season 17 Episode 11 Review: Townhouse Incident

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Olivia Benson has been through the wringer.

Kidnapped, almost raped, almost accused of assault and murder after she faced down her kidnapper for a second time. And now, in Law & Order: SVU Season 17 Episode 11, held hostage again.

The William Lewis saga's power came from Olivia's difficulties dealing with her ordeal after it was over.

"Townhouse Incident" wasn't nearly as compelling.

Taken Hostage - Law & Order: SVU

I had a hard time believing that Olivia would go check out a potentially dangerous situation without backup, especially after the ordeal she'd been through. It made little sense that she figured she'd check on the family, diffuse a possibly violent situation on her own and then head to work.

One move and I blow a hole through your head.


By the time Olivia was invited into the house, it should have been obvious to her that something was very wrong. Where were her instincts?

Naturally, she was supposed to be at a conference so nobody was suspicious until halfway through the hour. Props to her for managing to sneak the words "William Lewis" into a text so that her fellow cops finally got that she needed help.  The situation should never have happened, but at least she kept cool and used her brain once it did.

The hostage negotiations were tense and frightening, mostly because Joe was so incredibly crazy.

Tucker: As an act of good faith, how about you release the children?
Joe: How about I don't shoot them right now? There's your act of good faith.

Sonny thought Joe was high, but he seemed like a pure psychopath. He was willing to rape a 16-year-old and threaten young children with a deadly weapon multiple times as well as beat their father almost to death, all to try to get away with stealing a pile of money. He was truly scary because he just didn't care about anything other than what he wanted.

Olivia used great negotiation skills with Joe, pretending to be on his side in order to get him to cooperate. Did anyone else cheer when Olivia knocked the gun out of his hand while he was trying to get her in the car?

The case the other detectives were working on before discovering that Olivia was in trouble seemed interesting. The perpetrator seemed interested in claiming racism as a defense.

You gonna shoot me like you did the other black man?


Too bad they didn't continue to pursue this case side-by-side with Olivia's rescue. I was curious as to whether there was any merit to the defendant's claims.

Back in the townhouse, the most interesting aspect of the hour was the dynamic between Olivia and Roxy. Roxy was very clearly a battered partner who for some reason felt utterly dependent on Joe.

Roxy: Joe does Joe and I do me, so why don't you sit down?
Olivia: You can save yourself.
Roxy: I've already been saved by Joe.

Olivia's initial attempts to reach out to Roxy were totally rebuffed and just got her beat up. Yet by the end of the hour, Roxy was willing to surrender despite her insistence to Olivia that she would not.

Roxy was interesting because it wasn't quite clear what was going on with her, but obviously something was. Perhaps in a later episode Roxy will return to stand trial and we will learn more about what made her turn to a life of crime with Joe.

So what do you think, SVU-aholics? Will Olivia have a resurgence of PTSD-related problems after this experience? Do you want to see Roxy stand trial? Did you enjoy "Townhouse Incident" or do you prefer the usual formula of an investigation and/or trial? Comment below!

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Townhouse Incident Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
  • 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Law & Order: SVU Season 17 Episode 11 Quotes

Guy: I just yelled' stop police.' I'm not police.
Fin: That's good. You scared him.

One move and I blow a hole through your head.