Law & Order: SVU Review Season 21 Episode 18: Garland's Trial by Fire (2023)

I have always considered Deputy Chief Garland one of the best new additions to the SVU team.

it was the first episode with a Garland-centric story, and it did not disappoint.

Sure, some things could have been better, but for the most part, this was a solid, compelling story that moved quickly.

Garland's conflict throughout the hour answered a fundamental question: how will the new deputy chief act when a case turns personal?

If this was any test of where his loyalty lay, he had passed in spades; she has distinguished herself.

Carisi: We have a lead on a sex offender.
Garland: Couldn't that wait?
Rollins: The informant was concerned that he would continue with the case because he knows the defendant personally.
Garland: Of course. Who is it?
Carisi: Reverend Dominick Chase.
Benson: Is he the one who just said thank you? how well do you know him
Garland: He and his wife Laura are like a family. He ministered at my wedding.

  • Permanent Link:He and his wife Laura are like a family. He ministered at my wedding.

Garland overcame her doubts, disbelief and disappointment to accept that her alleged boyfriend was a sexual predator who had to be stopped from further harassing young people, and along the way she found excommunicados from her church threatened and accused. of being a traitor to the black community.

Throughout, she stood her ground, confronting both Del and Laura Chase with the truth and refusing to put her friendship with them above the demands of her job, or above justice.

It was not easy. Del wasn't just any friend. He was Garland's pastor, her wedding registrar, and her daughter's best man.

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Laura: The photos are fake! You have to tell them!
Garland: What about payments? $250,000! I can't make this go away!
Laura: So our relationship is over. No one in our church will speak to you or your wife or his little daughter again.

  • Permanent Link:So our relationship is over. No one in our church will associate with you or your wife or hers...

If Garland blinked, it would have been when Laura threatened to turn the congregation against her. Obviously, this community was important in her own life, as well as in the life of her family, including her young daughter.

But maybe that's why he didn't back down. She could have thought about what would happen ten years from now, when Abby was a teenager, if she turned a blind eye to what Del is doing with the underage girls.

I wish the dialogue had reflected that. It would have been natural for Garland to think of her daughter and want to protect her, but that aspect was never explored.

In fact, much of Garland's struggle was so internal that it took place offscreen.

Garland: He protests too much. He asked me to give him my word that I would keep him informed.
Benson: I'm so sorry.
GarlandMe too. I have a bad feeling that these donations have nothing to do with the Lord.

  • Permanent Link:Me too. I have a bad feeling that these donations have nothing to do with the Lord.

Garland was disgusted by the idea that Del was actually guilty and after that he just did his job no matter who threatened him, he just broke down and cried after it was all said and done and the imprisoned Del refused to take responsibility for his actions to take control. .

However, this was not an error by the authors. Garland didn't have time to deal with it if the case went forward, and he didn't.

However, I would have liked to see more episodes of his courageous decision to put the truth out about his friendship with Del.

(Video) Garland Will Pray for Reverend Chase - Law & Order: SVU

Laura threatened to excommunicate him and Del gave this impromptu sermon lashing out at him, but it was all just talk. Other than his hurt feelings, there were no real consequences.

It didn't have to be a big part of the story, but something as simple as Garland's wife bringing up the nasty phone calls they were getting, or Garland telling the team that their daughter came home from preschool and said that the other kids had theirs. Scolding dad would have made this story even more powerful.

Garland: It's not the first time I've been kicked out. I'm used to it.
Fin: Don't take it personally. There's a reason they're called a pack. You will never leave it.

  • Permanent Link:Don't take it personally. There's a reason they're called a pack. You will never leave it.

The crowd around Del didn't even boo as Garland, Benson, and Fin walked away after Del called Garland a Judas and accused the rest of them of being involved in upholding white supremacy.

Something so small could have made a difference.

Benson noticed that Laura seemed uncomfortable during this sermon, but I was wondering what had made her change her mind.

Given her guilt for not realizing it sooner, could Laura have known in the back of her mind that the allegations against Del were true and refused to fully acknowledge them?

She was furious that Garland wouldn't make it all go away, but her threats to excommunicate him backfired, and it was almost as if Garland's refusal to allow Del forced her to face the truth as well.

This story was also notable because all of the young women, as well as their abuser, were African-American.

Unfortunately, in many cases, non-white rape victims are not treated the same as white rape victims, and SVU did not really address these racial issues.

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It was sickening that Del would try to invoke racism in the NYPD as his defense when he was guilty, but sad that it was plausible.

Additionally, the way Renee was treated reinforced the way rape survivors are often demonized by accusers.

But could part of their fear of not being believed stem from the fact that white police officers sometimes don't take rape claims by black survivors as seriously as white survivors do?

These are important questions that haven't really been addressed throughout the hour.

The episode was solid and entertaining, though it could have gone further in exploring inequality and related social issues. The only real flaw was that it felt like it ended too quickly.

I was surprised that Michelle was so willing to communicate after Laura asked her to. She was so convinced that Renee lied and so protective of Del.

It should have taken her much longer to speak, and it might have been a more moving story if she had held on to her belief that the other girls were lying so she could continue to feel special for Delbe.

It's your turn, SVU fans.

Did you enjoy this Garland-focused episode? Was there something you wanted to happen during this time that just wasn't happening? And was I the only one surprised that Michelle Del was turned on so quickly?

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Click the blue SHOW COMMENTS button and share your thoughts.

The next new episode of Law & Order: SVU won't air until April 16, but you can in the meantimeRight here on TV Fanatic.

Law & Order: SVU's historic Season 21 continues to air on Thursdays at 10 p.m. m. EST/PST on NBC.

Garland's Baptism of Firereview

Publisher rating:4,7/ 5,0

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Customer Reviews:

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Assessment:4.7/ 5.0(10you)

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jack oriis a senior editor at TV Fanatic. His first youth novel.reinventing hanna, is available on Amazon. keep following himGore.


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