Law & Order: SVU Season 18 Episode 16 Review: The Newsroom

Law & Order: SVU often provides a much-needed bit of hope in what can sometimes feel like a bleak world.

This show deals with rape, murder, and all the worst that humanity has to offer on a regular basis.

Sometimes, like on  Law & Order: SVU Season 18 Episode 16, the culprits are people who viewers just know would get away with their horrendous crimes in the real world. But Benson and Barba almost always get the bad guy in the end.

It's unrealistic, especially when there's an 11th hour save more worthy of a soap opera than a serious drama. But seeing the good guys win makes it all worth it.

The News Anchor - Law & Order: SVU

Harold Coyle was one of the worst SVU villains in recent memory.  He was smarmy, cocky, and seemingly untouchable. He had a ton of money and worked for a network that apparently would do anything to protect him.

It really seemed like defeating him was going to be impossible.

Dodds: We got a call down at 1PP from a Steve Turner. Said you're investigating Harold Coyle for assault.
Benson: It's preliminary.
Dodds: Who's the complainant?
Benson: It's very preliminary.
Dodds: So it's just as I thought. You're throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.
Barba: I hope you're not telling us to stay away from HNT.
Dodds: Of course not. I'm just saying, be very careful.
Benson: You sound like you're scared of them.
Dodds: A powerful organization that loves to go after law enforcement and goes after its enemies on Twitter? And it has friends in the current administration -
Benson: We understand that but -
Chief Dodds: Look, if you have reason to believe that someone at HNT is guilty of assault, of course you gotta go after them. Just make sure you have a damn good reason.

Dodds was scared of him, and apparently with good reason. The first thing Coyle did was imply he was going to expose a scandal if SVU didn't back off.  Bringing up Mike's death at all was cruel, especially in front of his father, and Coyle didn't seem to care whether or not his story was true as long as it got the cops off his back.

I would have loved to see them arrest him for attempted extortion while they worked out the rest of his crimes, but I guess that wouldn't have made for good drama. Instead, Barba pressed forward with a very shaky case and a ton of determination.

Barba: Not the ruling I was looking for.
Benson: So where does that leave us?
Barba: Two witnesses.
Benson: Heidi Sorensen and George Thanos.
Barba: Yep.
Benson: Still think you can go ahead with the case?
Barba: If I'm willing to go out on a very high and very shaky limb.
Benson: Is that a yes?
Barba: Damn right it is.

When the case is that much in jeopardy, you just know there's going to be some sort of resolution that would never happen in real life.

The scene between Heidi, Olivia, and Margery in the hall bothered me because Margery could have complained that she was being pressured to change her testimony.

There's a reason that witnesses on opposing sides of a case are not supposed to approach each other outside of the presence of their attorneys. Plus, Olivia joined in despite telling Heidi to walk away, making it look like they were ganging up on the woman.

It did give viewers confirmation of what they may have suspected, which was that Margery was infatuated with Coyle, but it really was ridiculously unrealistic.

Margery's undercover stunt as a result of this conversation was a great twist, but I doubt her body cam evidence would be admissible in real life. She was secretly recording Coyle while saying things that she could reasonably believe would result in him getting violent after hearing Heidi's side of the story.

Any competent defense attorney would have claimed entrapment, and I'm not sure whether the recording was legal. Plus, wasn't Margery guilty of perjury?

The truth isn't important. What's important is what you can get people to believe.


None of that mattered, though, because ultimately Heidi's behavior gave the team their 11th hour save that they really needed. Coyle kept getting away with rape and he needed to be taken down a peg for once and for all.

If he'd got away with this too, it might have been realistic and emotional, but it probably would have been too depressing. Viewers get enough of that on the nightly news; SVU needs to strike the right balance between raising awareness and spreading hope, and this particular plot twist did that even if it wasn't really realistic.

Davina: It was like I was frozen. I couldn't move.
Heidi: Because you were being raped.
Harold: I can't imagine what it was like for you.
Heidi: Of course you didn't. Cause it never happened to you.

The friendship between Olivia and Heidi was interesting and I wish that there'd been time to develop it further.

I liked that Olivia walked away when Heidi didn't want to come forward. That showed growth on her part because in years gone by she sometimes pressed too hard for the truth, almost to the point of harassing the victims.

Anyway, I'd have liked to have seen the case impact their relationship more and vice versa. It would have been interesting for Heidi to expect her case to go a certain way because of her long friendship with Olivia or for Olivia to feel as if she were failing her friend when they were having a hard time making the case.

It also would have been great drama for Heidi to think Olivia didn't believe her and be hurt that her friend wasn't taking her side when really Olivia was just moving more slowly to make sure they built a stronger case before making an arrest.

There were so many directions SVU could have gone with this friendship, but unfortunately it didn't go there. Heidi might as well have been a random anchorperson that Olivia just met when she went on the air, since their previous relationship had no bearing on the story.

What did you think of "Newsroom?" Did it make you feel hopeful or did the unreality of the resolution pull you out of the story?

Would you have liked to know more about Olivia and Heidi's friendship?

Were you surprised by the twist ending?

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

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.