Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20 Review: The Things We Have To Lose

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many shows to turn what was supposed to be an ordinary episode into a season finale.

Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20 did a terrific job, offering viewers cliffhangers and leaving us with more questions than answers.

We might not have got everything the showrunners were planning on before the pandemic hit, but there was more than enough there to carry conversations throughout the summer.

Sir Toby's Trial Begins - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20

The high quality was made even more impressive by the fact that this was a sequel to Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 5.

The original story, which featured three detectives handling three different cases, was one of the strongest of the season. It made a powerful statement about the way rape cases are not always treated equally.

So the old axiom that sequels never live up to the original held doubly true for this one -- yet Law & Order: SVU not only pulled it off, but made a second powerful statement about the way rape cases are handled in court.

Attorney: My client Toby Moore is the real victim here. This is a sham trial and the NYPD has had a vendetta against him from Day One.
Kat: I thought this case was over when we arrested him.
Fin: Cases like this are never over, not even when they're over.

It was obvious that FIn's case was headed for trouble.

A VIolent Suspect - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20

Way back on Law & Order: SVU Season 2, Benson got in over her head trying to help a young girl with serious psychological problems, and as soon as Fin began involving himself in the aftermath of this case it felt like the same thing all over again.

Joelle had been reluctant to press charges against her husband in the first place, so it wasn't surprising that she didn't want Fin to try to protect her now that Leon was out.

And while Fin might have thought he was putting Leon on notice, confronting him the second he got out of prison was a terrible idea.

As a black man in prison, Leon probably had his fill of guards lording their power over him, and Fin undoubtedly seemed to him like just another cop messing with him.

Confronting a Witness - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20

Fin giving Andre the phone so he could call for help if needed made sense -- after all, the kid called the cops in the first place because Leon's violent behavior towards his mom scared him. But it was obvious this was going to end badly.

Joelle didn't want the cops involved and Leon was already in a blind rage thanks to Fin's earlier intervention, so there was never going to be a happy ending here.

Andre? That boy saw his father get shot. No child should ever see that.

Fin

It's sadly ironic that Fin shot Leon in front of Andre, inflicting the same traumatic memory on the boy that has haunted Fin his entire life. Fin most likely felt a kinship with Andre that he will feel more deeply now, though the kid will probably not want anything to do with him.

He'll probably also have to deal with having fatally shot a black suspect, even though he is also black and in this case, the suspect was armed and dangerous. The neighbors were already sighing sadly as they saw Leon's body bag being taken out of the housing project,  and Joelle is suing Fin for wrongful death.

Fin is Determined - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20

Talk about a cliffhanger! Law & Order: SVU Season 22 should get a ton of mileage out of the lawsuit, Fin's own guilt, the connection to his past, and the unanswered question of whether he will also face criminal charges or lose his job as a result of this.

Fans have been clamoring for more Fin for several seasons, and it looks like we are going to get it.

Rollins also ended up sucked into someone else's drama, but she handled it fairly well.

If this is what it's like having a teenager, I'm never gonna be ready.

Rollins

Ivy's bad behavior wasn't as comparable as to what Rollins will face when her girls are teenagers as she thought.

Dealing With a Young Witness - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20

Ivy was acting out because of the whole Steve Getz situation, and her mother was enabling her by constantly insisting that Ivy is a good girl who just goes too far instead of doing anything about it.

Plus, Ivy isn't Rollins' kid, so she's more objective, even if she is connected to the family in negative ways because of Ivy's father kidnapping Rollins.

But in any case, I was proud of Rollins for taking Benson's advice  to heart and providing tough love. She could easily have seen Ivy as another Kim and tried too hard to save her, making things worse in the process.

Mrs.Bouche: Ivy is like me. She pushes things, but she knows when to stop. Right, Ivy?
Ivy: Right.
Mrs. Bouche: No more partying, right Ivy?
Ivy: No more partying.
Rollins: I hope you mean that. Ivy, I'll void your arrest for now but if you act out again, I'm picking you up.

Kat's case provided some redemption for LaKira, who allowed Paul Davies to buy her silence after she was beaten and raped.

Lakira came off as much more empathetic this time around, and it was heartbreaking that she wasn't allowed to be given details of Dakota's death because she "wasn't family."

At first, it seemed like she might be a problem because she was convinced Davies had attacked Dakota and kept pushing Kat for an arrest that she couldn't make without evidence.

Kat is known to make impulsive decisions that mess up cases, so it was real growth on her part that the only thing she did that she wasn't supposed to was question Davies before she had proof of anythig.

Attorney: My client Toby Moore is the real victim here. This is a sham trial and the NYPD has had a vendetta against him from Day One.
Kat: I thought this case was over when we arrested him.
Fin: Cases like this are never over, not even when they're over.

All the other cases paled in comparison to the main event: Sir Toby Moore's trial.

Kat Keeps Trying - Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 20

Viewers will have to wait to find out whether Sir Toby is ever going to make it to court and whether he really had a heart condition that interfered with his legal obligations, but in the meantime the drama around his potential trial was powerful.

This was a high profile case that was all on Carisi's shoulders and at times it seemed like a battle that couldn't be won.

Between Sir Toby's disappearing act, reluctant and scared witnesses, and an unscrupulous judge-turned-defense-attorney who believes her client is being railroaded by vindictive women, this one's going to be almost impossible to prosecute.

SVU made the point over and over that cases like this don't end with arrest and that survivors often don't get justice when their rapists are powerful men.

But this being SVU, they will probably give this a happy ending after a protracted fight. This series is about giving survivors hope -- how can they do that if Sir Toby Moore isn't eventually brought to justice?

Your turn, SVU fanatics.

Hit the SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought about the Season 21 season finale, what you expect to happen on Law & Order: SVU Season 22, and what you felt about these cases.

Can't wait til fall for more Law & Order: SVU? Then watch Law & Order: SVU online right here on TV Fanatic.

Law & Order: SVU airs on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST. It will return for a historic 22nd season sometime in the fall of 2020.

The Things We Have To Lose Review

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Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (7 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 21 Episode 20 Quotes

How many innocent men have been convicted in the name of the MeToo movement?

Attorney

Attorney: My client Toby Moore is the real victim here. This is a sham trial and the NYPD has had a vendetta against him from Day One.
Kat: I thought this case was over when we arrested him.
Fin: Cases like this are never over, not even when they're over.