Kim Rollins showing up is never good news.
She's almost cost Amanda her career, made her look like a murderer, and stolen all her things before.
Yet Amanda decided to take her in yet again on Law & Order: SVU Season 18 Episode 4 despite her complete inability to trust her.
What possessed the writers to think we needed or wanted any more of this character?
Amanda's decision to take her wayward sister in made little sense. She admitted herself that she should probably say No and that she was worried about Kim being around her baby.
Olivia: Your sister Kim made parole and now she wants to live with you.
Amanda: I know it sounds crazy. I should probably say no.
Olivia warned Amanda not to cover for Kim if she wanted to continue to have a career. Amanda then tried to lay down the law with Kim, got annoyed that she showed up in the squad room, and thought Kim was getting high around the baby.
Was this supposed to be a redemption arc for Kim? She wasn't a big part of the hour (thankfully) and she seemed to be getting her life on track despite Amanda's distrust in her.
Amanda: You didn't tell me.
Kim: You never asked, Amanda.
In an odd display of non-subtlety, Amanda tried to help a rape victim who looked an awful lot like Kim – so much so that a couple of times I got confused. Amanda helped this victim understand that she had bipolar disorder. When it was mentioned in court afterwards, the camera focused on Amanda for no apparent reason.
Then Amanda came home to discover that Kim also has bipolar disorder.
That seemed like an awfully convenient coincidence. I was wondering if bipolar ran in Amanda's family or had something to do with Amanda's gambling addiction, but having Kim suddenly be on lithium was a bit of a stretch.
If Kim must be involved in the show again, a redemption story is a good idea. Amanda not trusting her while she actually has changed and Kim trying to stay on the right path anyway might be a great story. However, the way it was done in "Heightened Emotions" was contrived.
Amanda was late to work because she didn't trust Kim to stay with the baby and later came home to find the sitter had left early and Kim was in the bathroom.
Why on Earth would she let Kim stay in her home when she doesn't trust her around her child?
Working Girl: Cops? Why?
Fin: Cause he raped you.
Working Girl: No such thing in this line of work.
The case of the hour was far more interesting than this silly Kim set-up. SVU definitely got its social messaging across. Prostitutes were afraid to report being raped because they wouldn't be taken seriously and Barba later had to inform a reporter than even people who are paid for sex can withdraw consent.
So that's it. It's it. My endorsements, my career... it's over. I'm a tabloid headline. The Pole Vault Hooker.Jenna
Jenna's obsession with her career at the expense of getting justice for herself was a little bit odd, but she didn't seem particularly manic until near the end of the episode. At first I thought maybe she was going to turn out to have an eating disorder because of the emphasis on exercise.
You have some issues but we can still win a gold medal.Mr. Miller
Aside from Amanda asking one question about potential domestic violence, Jenna's husband was pretty much ignored despite some troubling behavior of his own. He interrupted the undercover operation to physically confront Mike Wheeler and he told Jenna he put up with her erratic behavior because he wanted her to win a gold medal.
He also was the one who initially decided she wouldn't testify in order to protect her career and later agreed to the plea bargain Barba worked out with Wheeler.
It didn't rise to the level of abuse, but something was definitely off and it felt like it was glossed over.
I'm gonna work on getting better at life, not sports.Jenna
Jenna's decision at the end to put athletics on hold to get her mental health under control was reasonable, though her statement about it was a bit cliche. I wondered what her husband's reaction to that was and why he was so invested in her career.
What did you think? Was Kim's return at all worthwhile? What was up with the similarity between Jenna and Kim? What is your opinion about the case?
Weigh in below and don't forget, if you missed anything you can watch Law & Order: SVU online to catch up.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.