“Since when did drug-dealing, sex-trafficking gangsters make political statements?”
That’s the question of the hour — asked by Nolan Price — as we head into Law & Order‘s Season 22 premiere, which doubles as the third part of a crossover event with SVU and Organized Crime. (A whole lot went down before we arrived in Jack McCoy-land; you can catch up here with recaps of Hours 1 and 2.)
Now, where were we? Ah yes: That gangster-in-question, Sirenko, is in police custody and charged with the murders of five people, as well as a host of other crimes, and everyone tries to figure out his motive for the whole bomb thing. They question one of his associates, who under threat of arrest hands over Ava’s phone, which he found the morning she ran from the boat.
The phone contains footage Ava recorded of a Russian big shot drunkenly boasting that he was going to do something, a “big boom,” that would show the world Russia’s power. But when he realized Ava was filming him, he flipped out… leading to the altercation that bloodied her and sent her running at the start of the crossover. So they arrest the Russian, whose name is Rublev.
The phone footage gets thrown out as evidence, though, so ADA Maroun enlists Liv’s help in getting Nicole to cooperate with the prosecution. Just as Rollins is about to bring her into the city for a meeting, men fire on them, Nicole runs… and one of them shoots Rollins in the abdomen! Oh no! Is this the beginning of the end for Amanda Rollins on SVU?
Benson arrives on the scene after Rollins has been taken to the hospital, and the best anyone can tell her is that Amanda was alive when she was loaded into the ambulance. Then OH GOD CARISI IS HERE AND HE’S CRYING. He’s desperate as he asks whether Rollins is alive or not, and the look on his face as he hugs Olivia just might end me.
Back at the precinct, Benson lets Price know that Rollins is stable following surgery, and that the gunmen probably found Nicole because she secretly texted someone earlier that day. He’s got more bad news: He needs Nicole to testify, or Rublev likely will go free.
But the only thing Benson cares about is giving Nicole a chance at a happy life. So she puts her on a plane to a relative in Toronto. “Get a court order and bring this girl back to New York!” McCoy crows when he finds out what Benson has done. But extradition rules make it tricky, and Maroun makes the argument that Nicole’s trauma will make her a mess that the defense can exploit on the stand. Her solution: Cut a deal with Sirenko to bring down Rublev. To Price’s horror, McCoy is on board.
Sirenko says Rublev, who was basically his boss, told him to kill Ava because she knew too much about his plan to blow up the hotel. Outside afterward, Stabler is very hot about the fact that the man who killed Vince is going to do 20 years in jail instead of life without parole.
The trial begins. Sirenko takes the stand. It freaks Rublev so much that his lawyer offers to give up Russian state secrets in exchange for leniency. McCoy says they have to run the offer by the State Department, which irks Price, who wants the Russian to pay for all the people he killed.
Rublev initially asks for immunity in exchange for what he knows, but an apoplectic Price refuses to play ball. Instead, Rublev acts humbled and says he’ll do whatever is needed as long as Price & Co. save his wife and children. Then, as Rublev is being transferred back to custody, a hitman shoots him at close range. He dies while Price is trying to stanch the bleeding from his neck.
“Though this case was highly unusual, in many respects, and the trial was cut short due to unforeseen circumstances, we feel that justice has been served,” Price tells a group of reporters at a press conference afterward. Meanwhile, we watch Stabler lead a raid on a house where trafficked women are being held. And Cosgrove has another meal with his daughter, where he says there’s no magic want to make everyone safe, but they do their best.
He continues his “the world isn’t perfect, but it’s still beautiful” monologue as we watch Carisi visit a beat-up but ALIVE Rollins at the hospital. Elsewhere, Liv visits Nicole, who seems happy.
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