Next Chapter Recap: Law & Order SVU
SVU returned on January 4th with a brand new episode called “Next Chapter.” It began with Olivia Benson and Ed Tucker having a Korean-Mexican fusion dinner. Tucker was thinking about putting down the shield and retiring. He said there comes a point where enough is enough and the job will swallow you whole if you let it. Benson wasn’t very supportive and Tucker thought she was saying she wasn’t “ready.” For what? To retire herself or to settle down and marry him? Whatever, retirement cropped up as a sort of sub-theme throughout the episode.
Meanwhile, a young woman named Quinn Berris is at a table at a bar with friends when she notices a dude watching her. We see her walk home very nervously and as soon as she unlocks and opens the iron gate, she gets grabbed by a masked man and is forced into her apartment. Soon Benson is interviewing her to get a description of the perp. Quinn announces that she knows who it is: a guy named Ray Wilson who has been stalking her since college. He just finished a stint in the pokey for violating a restraining order by hiding in her closet. He was recently paroled. An officer named Tom Cole helped her with this awful situation in the past, and she contacted him to do something about Wilson even though Cole is now retired. There’s that R word again.
Benson wants to get all her ducks in a row before confronting Ray Wilson so she and Carisi go off to Montclair, NJ (North Jersey) to talk to Tom Cole. They find him playing football with a bunch of kids outside his beautiful home. Inside, his lovely wife, Linda, offers them refreshments that they turn down. Cole relates that he talked to Wilson since his release on Quinn’s behalf, after she came over and had dinner with him and Linda. He knows Wilson works as a chef at a place called Lafayette something.
Rollins and Fin go to Wilson’s job and threaten to bring him in for interrogation unless he spills where he was on the previous night. Wilson says he was in Belmar, NJ (the Jersey shore), at a church meeting that began around 7 pm and lasted until something like 10:30 pm. Off they go to Belmar, while Carisi is at the station trying to find evidence against Wilson, though he thinks the guy might be reformed. Benson points out that prison usually changes people for the worse. “Like being a cop,” Carisi says. Benson explains that their job doesn’t change them: “It makes you more of who you already are.” Rollins and Fin show up. They’ve established through video footage that Wilson was at the church and there is no way he could have made it back to NYC in time to attack Quinn.
So they come up with another suspect, her co-worker, Ryan. He was at the bar with Quinn. They had an argument that Nate the bartender witnessed. Ryan blows that off when questioned by the detectives but Jack Price, Quinn’s ex, confirms that he saw Ryan watching Quinn’s apartment, confronted him and decked him so Ryan gets hauled in for questioning. While Rollins puts the screws to him, Fin pops in to announce that Ray Wilson’s DNA was found on the cigarette butt in Quinn’s courtyard. Now, Benson says, they have to figure out how Ray Wilson could be in Belmar, NJ and Quinn’s courtyard simultaneously.
Rollins and Fin talk to Wilson again, wanting to know if he noticed anyone watching him lately and he says, yes, a black Cadillac. They ask him if he got the plates and he says he’s a chef, not a cop. At least he was a chef. He got fired thanks to them showing up at his job. The Caddy turns out to be registered to Linda Cole so boom! Now they know it was Tom Cole. Benson sends them back to talk to him to see if the retired officer will lie about it and sho’nuff, he lies. Benson, meantime, has gotten to Cole’s wife who confesses that her man was out all night when Quinn was attacked. While they are taking the steps to arrest Cole, he runs off and kidnaps Quinn. Mrs. Cole says her hubby could be at his brother’s old farmhouse in Harding (about half an hour from Montclair).
Benson and Carisi put in calls to the FBI and request a SWAT team as they speed off to Harding. Cole terrorizes Quinn while Olivia tries to talk him down. He swerves from murderous to suicidal as Carisi makes his way inside. When Carisi locates Quinn, he finds himself on the receiving end of Cole’s gun. Benson shoots Cole in the back of the head, splattering his blood all over Carisi’s face. Before Quinn is taken to the hospital, Benson explains that it’s not her fault. Cole was a predator, trying to steal her goodness and light. She tells Carisi that being a cop didn’t change Cole, he was always bad. Carisi hopes the episode didn’t make her want to retire. “Nope,” Benson says, “the exact opposite.”
Benson’s statement that Cole was always bad made us wish they had little epilogues at the end, like “Tom Cole’s case files were reexamined to see how many innocent folks were sitting in jail because he planted evidence” and “Ray Wilson didn’t get his chef job back but the church paid his tuition to the seminary and he went on to become a minister.”
Cast of Next Chapter:
Mariska Hargitay – Olivia Benson
Kelli Giddish – Amanda Rollins
Ice T – Odafin Tutuola
Peter Scanavino – Dominick Carisi Jr.
Robert John Burke – Ed Tucker
Annie Monroe – Quinn Berris
Chris Bauer – Sgt. Tom Cole
Ben Cole – Ray Wilson
Enid Graham – Linda Cole
Zach Appelman – Ryan
Bret Lada – Jack Price
Nathan Clarkson – Ray Wilson Lookalike
Shaun O’Hagan – Rev. Harold Parson
Emma Ramos – Madeline
Lee Garrett – Nate
Nathan Chang – Brad Kinjo
Manini Gupta – Drew Howard