Law and Order: SVU “Child’s Welfare” Review

Dueling stories competed for our attention in “Child’s Welfare,” this week’s episode of Law and Order: SVU, in an episode that felt more than a little disjointed.

With the “A” story, we got a standard SVU case of kidnapped young girls forced to bear the children of their captor while his doting wife looked on. But the rapist’s preference for girl children was his downfall, as the abandoned baby boys led the team right to his doorstep.

It wasn’t the most compelling story I’ve ever seen on the show. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Several times before. I don’t think writers ever truly run out of ideas (at least I hope they don’t), but after so many years, it must be hard to come up with fresh twists and shocking turns. Maybe it’s just me, though. I could be far more desensitized than the rest of America.

The second story revolved around Olivia’s half brother, Simon, who we last saw years earlier when he was accused of following in their father’s footsteps as a rapist. He turned out to be innocent, but as was proven in this episode, he still hasn’t grown up all that much. Now a father and a fiancee, he comes to Olivia when his kids are taken by the state after a CPS inspection prompted by his arrest for marijuana possession.

I like that Olivia wasn’t ashamed to go to Bayard Ellis and ask him to defend Simon. They have a relationship that’s not quite paternal, but goes a bit beyond mutual respect. Ellis quickly got the pot rap dismissed, but he faltered in family court and the children remained in foster care. When Simon freaked out and kidnapped them, there wasn’t much to be done but make a deal that left him without kids or a fiancee for three years.

I’m not sure if we’ve seen the last of Simon for awhile. He brings an element of chaos to Olivia’s life, but at the end of the day, he’s really the only blood relative that she’s got. You can almost feel how torn she is, wanting to help him, but finding it so hard to watch him make all the wrong choices. Those are the hardest people to cut out of your life. So I hope he does make another appearance soon. He’s an interesting dynamic.

I got my wish with a couple of courtroom scenes this week, so I guess I should stop grumbling. But I still miss the old days when Cabot or Novak would regularly storm into the station, complaining and/or issuing mandates. The show felt a bit more cohesive back then.

What did you think of the episode? Let me know below!