Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 18 Review: Sunk Cost Fallacy

at .  Updated at .

Alex Cabot was always my favorite ADA.  She always tried to do the right thing and wasn't above bending the rules in the name of justice.

And her "death," followed by the reveal that she was going into Witness Protection, broke my heart. So I was ridiculously excited to learn Cabot was returning to Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 18.

I loved every minute of her guest appearance and was heartbroken all over again that this is probably the last we're going to see of her, at least for a while.

An Old Friend - Law & Order: SVU

As soon as SVU assumed Jules and Ruby Hunter were dead, I knew that they had disappeared and that Alex was helping them.

The promo had shown Benson confronting Alex, and I remembered a similar story on the original Law & Order where a kid supposedly kidnapped from a supermarket had been taken by some people who were protecting her from an abusive parent.

"Sunk Cost Fallacy" was well done, though, and I was so excited to see Alex that I didn't care that her storyline was predictable.

However, if I recall correctly, Ben Stone was involved with prosecuting the people who committed a similar crime, so it would have been great to have Peter talk about that with Benson at the end of the hour.

Related: Get Shudder via Prime Video Channels for Spine-Tingling & Provocative Films, TV Series, & Originals!

That missed beat was minor, though, and I'm probably one of a very few viewers who remember a story from over 20 years ago, so it wasn't strictly necessary.

In any case, Alex's story was compelling, and I was fascinated with the idea of her having gone rogue.

You're not breaking the law, Olivia. You're using it to save Jules' life.


It wasn't surprising that she was doing what she was doing even though she'd been an ADA for years.

As an ADA, Cabot didn't always play by the rules. She once got into major trouble because after a judge denied her a warrant, she called Benson and Stabler to the scene she wanted to be searched and implied she had secured it.

And when she was describing to Benson why she had helped Jules fake her death, it occurred to me that she had been in Witness Protection for years.

It wasn't a big stretch for me to believe that she saw what she was doing as providing the same service for battered women and children that was provided for her when a suspect threatened her life.

Benson: You know, I was on the subway platform today and I saw these two cockroaches pulling at a piece of bread. Finally the bread tore and fell onto the tracks, and neither bug got their dinner.
Cabot: Are you proposing we work together?
Benson: I could never do what you do.
Cabot: And I can't stop.

The only thing that confused me is when, exactly, she got out of Witness Protection. I'm sure this was covered in a previous guest appearance, but it felt almost like her history had been rewritten to exclude that, and she simply retired from the DA's office.

Old Friends Meet Again - Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 18

When Benson insisted on doing it her way and Cabot headed to court, I knew something would go wrong.

Stone: Tomorrow you and I will get up, brush our teeth, comb our hair, and go get another bad guy.
Benson: It makes you want to oversleep.

I didn't want anything to go wrong. I wanted Benson to get her court victory, Alex to realize she loved being an ADA, and for us to all live happily ever after with Stone and Cabot sharing DA duties.

Unfortunately, that wouldn't have been as powerful a story, and anyway, I knew Stephanie March was only returning for one guest appearance.

In any case, Cabot's happiness and excitement over her assumed win in court set her up for a devastating fall.

Cabot: You could have lied, Liv.
Benson: I couldn't. I took an oath.
Cabot: So what? The whole thing is fiction. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is something we tell people to make them think the criminal justice gives a damn about who did what to whom.

Cabot was starting to believe again that maybe the justice system was going to do what it was supposed to do and get this woman justice. And then Jules was mowed down by a speeding SUV.

I had tears in my eyes when Benson got to the scene and found Jules' body. I was hoping against hope that there would be a twist and it would turn out that Jules had killed Nick to protect herself.

No such luck. Jules was dead, and Cabot was back to being angry.

Related: Get True Crime Files by ID via Prime Video Channels for Over 1,000 Real-life Mystery & Suspense Shows!

In between, we got some beautiful scenes showing Benson and Cabot bonding. I loved these scenes, and Benson and Cabot's farewell scene made me twice as sad because of how strong their friendship was throughout the hour.

Benson: This is America, Alex. You can't just lock people up.
Cabot: He made bail on the assault charges.
Benson: As is his right! Maybe you're too busy with your mission to keep up with the Eighth Amendment.

I was glad that Benson pointed out that Nick had civil rights despite how awful a human being he was.

I wasn't comfortable with Stone ordering his arrest mostly so that he could be coerced into a confession. That's an inappropriate use of the jail system and an end run around a suspect's rights.

In the end, Nick probably did kill his wife, but if it's okay to violate a suspect's rights because he's most likely guilty of a heinous crime, then an innocent person could be jailed to force a confession too.

I'm not sure Nick deserved $50 million, but he was right to sue despite his total lack of morals.

Related: Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 1 Review: Gone Fishin'

The juxtaposition of Stone's personal dilemma with Benson's professional dilemma was an interesting choice.

Doctor: You made the right decision.
Peter: And if I'd stopped the meds?
Doctor: That would have been the right decision too. Sometimes the only wrong decision is to do nothing at all.

The doctor's advice at the end of the hour seemed a little bit like he was announcing the moral of the story, but it worked anyway.

Both Stone and Benson had to make tough decisions that seriously affected people's lives, and they both did the best they could to do the right thing.

I thought there was just enough of Bayview to make Stone interesting without overdoing the personal stuff at the expense of the main story.

A Badly Injured Cop - Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 18

Benson mentioned to Stone that Carisi was feeling guilty, but I'd have liked to have seen more of that firsthand.

Peter Scanavino's performance at the ambulance was compelling, and I'm hopeful that we'll see the aftermath of this experience as the season continues.

What did you think about  "Sunk Cost Fallacy"?

Was Cabot right to go outside the law?

How will this latest tragedy affect Benson?

Did you enjoy seeing Stone grapple with his sister's schizophrenia?

Weigh in below, and don't forget you can always watch Law & Order: SVU online if you missed anything.

Sunk Cost Fallacy Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
  • 4.9 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (10 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.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 18 Quotes

Doctor: It's called tachycardia dyspensia. It's a side effect of long-term anti-psychotic use. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes increasing the dosage can help.
Peter: What about taking her off the medication altogether?
Doctor: We could do that, but your sister is severely psychotic. Last time she went off her meds, she attempted suicide.
Peter: Whatever you think is best.
Doctor: I can't make this decision for you. Your father gave you the power of attorney to make decisions like this.

Carisi: Did you recognize the voice?
Man: After 10 years of marriage, I think I know my wife's voice.
Carisi: No, I meant the male voice.