Fin has been shoved in the background far too often, but on Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 22 he not only got a story centered around him but a bona-fide, painful backstory!
FIn found himself caught between two worlds as he struggled to catch a would-be killer and had to confront the friends who took him in after his mom's death, and every minute was a joy to watch.
There's no doubt that this story was worth the wait.
It started like any other Law & Order: SVU story and then went in a totally different direction.
The real story here wasn't who tried to kill Dallas. It was the story of how Fin and Snake both rose above their circumstances, yet Snake never got past his street gang mentality, and Fin became a cop.
Carisi: You two know each other?
Fin: We grew up together. Our moms were best friends.
I loved how the story slowly unfolded. Fin and Snake were more than two kids whose moms were best friends, but it took some time to get there. Fin's backstory about his mother's murder was heartbreaking, too.
And then it came full circle when Fin was able to use that story to get a confession out of Andreas at the end of the hour.
It's not like the story of the cop who has to deal with where he came from has never been told before. Crime dramas are full of stories where a cop from a crime-ridden neighborhood crosses paths with his former buddies.
But Fin's story was so authentic that it didn't matter.
Snake: It's a rage joint, it's a release. A lot better than taking pills. But I don't expect you to understand what life is like for me.
Fin: Yeah, it's real hard being rich.
Fin's dilemma was all personal. He wasn't the representative of his race or the token character of color who had to decide where his loyalties lay. It was clear from the start his loyalty was to the laws he'd swore to uphold, but he was disappointed as hell that his old friend had got himself into this situation.
Throughout the hour, everyone kept insisting Fin couldn't be objective. But FIn consistently did his job even though it hurt.
One of the most powerful moments came early in the hour when he found out Snake had an alibi for the time of the attack. When he let Snake out, and Snake immediately distanced himself from Fin, the look on Fin's face said it all.
There was a resolution of sorts to this irresolvable conflict, too. Fin more or less came to terms with the fact that Snake's talent, fame, and fortune hadn't changed his old friend into a better man.
The best he could do was warn Snake that karma was coming to get him and then walk away forever. It was a bittersweet ending, but it was a definite ending. Not bad for a story that was more about Fin's personal feelings than about any legal matter.
It was unsurprising that Fin ignored orders to stay out of it and constantly investigated Dallas' attack. The only way he had to salvage things with Snake was to do Dallas justice in the end. Besides, he's a detective through and through and would never abandon a case!
The case itself was somewhat on the convoluted side, though it never veered into too-confusing-to-follow territory.
Dallas' attack seemed to be more or less an afterthought. She said she got raped, but it turned out she wasn't, and that was that.
There was no reaction from Dallas to this news -- she was barely seen after her attack.
The investigation did let the team delve into some of the more unsavory aspects of the rap music industry, though.
Snoop Dogg played a smaller part than it appeared from the promos, but his character demonstrated for the audience how Twitter wars between rappers could get out of hand. His threatening lyrics might not have meant anything, but RB and Snake both could have gotten killed had the cops not stopped them from engaging in a gunfight on the street.
Banks: I can't give you pictures of me and my bitch as an alibi cause I wasn't with my bitch.
Benson: Okay, then we're gonna need the name of your other bitch.
There were a couple of things I wish the story had more deeply explored. The misogyny that seemed to be part of both RB's music and his personality was ripe for exploration. And just as important was Dallas' feeling that she deserved her attack because she was famous.
Dallas, like many rape victims, blamed herself -- and the twist here was that she assumed that because she was a celebrity, she had to pay for her fame by suffering violent attacks at the hands of fans.
Of course, Dallas was neither raped nor attacked by a fan, which diluted the message about nobody deserving to be raped -- even celebrities who engage in bad behavior in public.
That's why it was disappointing that Dallas' rape turned out to be nothing and she didn't react to that. SVU is known for its advocacy in the area of sexual assault, and that was conspicuously absent this time.
As for the solution to the mystery, it seemed kind of random.
Snake had killed a kid years ago, so the guy's son decided to try to kill Dallas to get back at Snake.
I guess things like that happen, but something about it felt weird.
Snake: You know how it is. It's where we from.
Fin: Yeah, but you remember one thing, J. Everything you do in your past eventually comes back to bite you.
It was almost like Malik's murder was added to the story for the sole purpose of allowing Fin to warn Snake about karma coming to get him.
Don't get me wrong. I loved this story. But the whole Malik subplot was ... odd.
I'm just glad sweet grandma Jo wasn't involved!
With all the talk about how Dallas interfered with Jo's relationship with Snake, I was expecting her to have ordered a hit on her daughter-in-law or something. Thank goodness that wasn't the case!
Fin having to arrest Snake was hard enough. Imagine if he had to put the woman in handcuffs who took him in when his mom got killed.
Your turn, SVU fanatics! Were you as excited for a Fin-centered story as I was?
Did SVU cut corners with the rest of the story to bring us Fin's conflict?
And was everyone right to insist Fin couldn't be objective?
Watch Law & Order: SVU online and then hit the comments with your thoughts!
Law & Order: SVU continues to air on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST.