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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1 Recap “And the Empire Strikes Back”

Don’t miss Celebrity Myxer’s recap of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1 premiere “And the Empire Strikes Back”. Benson’s loyalty to Garland is tested. Rollins and Carisi try to keep their witnesses on board when a powerful congressman is identified as a suspect. Don’t miss the 2-hour premiere episodes on NBC!

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Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1 “And the Empire Strikes Back”

On the SVU previous season finale, Fin and Phoebe make wedding plans but redirected them, Benson and Rollins try to help a homeless single mother who’s being trafficked in exchange for safe housing. Turns out, it’s a huge sex trafficking ring that reached powerful men including NY Congressman Howard. All of the suspects linked to a non-profit company…

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On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1 premiere, Captain Benson was en route to an important meeting with the Assistant DA. She was run off the road by a dark SVU. She was barely awake when she hallucinated Det. Stabler rescued her- but it wasn’t him. Then she blacked out. It was a fractured ankle.

Double Surveillance

Captain Olivia Benson and Deputy Chief Christian Garland on Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1

Captain Olivia Benson and Deputy Chief Christian Garland on Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1

When Capt. Benson returned to work, she and Deputy Chief Garland were grilled at a COMSTAT hearing. They were pressured to rope in this case. Especially Garland, as his past would be forgiven by the Chief. Meanwhile, Det. Fin and Det. Kat used their indicted moles, Ruben Ortiz and Dr. Catalina Machado, to secretly surveille and record Congressman Howard while they had lunch.

Det. Kat approached a key witness to get her to testify against Howard. She was afraid since he’s a very powerful man. He was a future presential candidate. Detective Rollins and ADA Carisi visited their witness in jail. The former superintended from the housing authority that led to the sex ring. He, too, was reluctant to testify against Howard.

Chief McGrath hardballed the team about nabbing Howard. Garland and Carisi were not so inclined to move so swiftly as they only had one shot and arresting someone like Howard. McGrath didn’t care. He noticed Benson was disconnected and confronted her. She had to abruptly leave the briefing to interview in a suicide by cop case involving a fellow detective.

Through Howard’s assistant, Ortiz, the SVU team had full hidden video coverage of the Congressman. He had a speaking engagement, and they sought to plant his faves, under-aged girls in the after-party suite. The team set several traps to see if the Congressman would bite.

While at the party, an interesting character emerged. Catalina introduced a handsome social media influencer Danny Q to Howard. They immediately connected and talked in code about unwinding with some eye candy swarming the party. The SVU team wondered who was this new guy.

Howard and Danny Q relaxed with some young girls at the party. Suddenly, the girl Howard was with seemed woozy from her drink. He courted her to the room to lay down. He then mounted her and was unzipping his pants until SVU pounced on him and Danny Q, arresting them.

When Howard wasn’t around, Danny Q smugly requested the cuffs be removed since he was a planted inside man. The team was shocked. Turns out, he was. Chief McGrath planted the man. They still placed him in holding with Howard to see if he can gain more information. That’s when Howard’s lawyer Myron Gold showed up.

Howard claimed the girl was 18 according to her vaccination card and she must have brought her own drug and taken them. They shifted gears toward the women abused from the apartments. They labeled it a ploy of political games.

Grandstand

Assistant District Attorney Sonny Carisi on Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1

Assistant District Attorney Sonny Carisi on Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1

Chief McGrath made Benson be quiet about him planting Danny Q. He also didn’t inform her that he would stage a press conference to indict Howard, Catalina, Ortiz, and others for sexual assault and sex trafficking. Chief Garland was excluded from this. He found out the hard way and he was pissed.

Myron Gold and Congressman Howard on Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1

Myron Gold and Congressman Howard on Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1

Howard and his attorney called a meeting with Benson and Carisi. The SVU team came down on him hard, so much, Howard throw many threats. After the meet, Howard’s attorney Myron Gold verbally and physically chastised Howard in the hallway about his behavior. Luckily Benson and Carisi secretly witnessed this.

Clean Up

Rosa received empty calls. When she looked out the window, she saw two men approaching. She gathered her son and fled. Meanwhile, in prison, the cooperating superintendent got jumped by inmates. He succumbed from his injuries as they cracked his skull. Catalina seemed to have committed suicide, jumping off her building. The SVU team had to get to their young witness, Jenna. When they arrived at her home, she was missing…

This episode continues to episode 2 “Never Turn Your Back on Them”…

What did you think of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 1? Let’s talk about Law & Order: SVU in the comments below!

Law & Order: SVU Cast

  • Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson
  • Kelli Giddish as Detective 2nd Grade Amanda Rollins
  • Ice-T as Sergeant Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
  • Peter Scanavino as ADA Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.
  • Jamie Gray Hyder as Detective 3rd Grade Katriona “Kat” Tamin
  • Demore Barnes as Deputy Chief Christian Garland
  • Tamara Tunie as Chief M.E. Melinda Warner
  • Christopher Meloni as Detective 1st Grade Elliot Stabler (Guest starring)

Air Date: September 23, 2021

Catch a new episode each week on NBC, check out the listings dates below. Stay right here, stay mixed in because Law & Order: SVU Season 23 Episode 2, search for a missing witness leads Fin and Kat down a dangerous path! Drop your email to get insights into your inbox…

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode Guide

Season Episode Title Air Date
23 12 “Tommy Baker's Hardest Fight” January 20, 2022
23 11 Burning with Rage Forever January 13, 2022
23 10 Silent Night, Hateful Night January 6, 2022
23 9 People Vs Richard Wheatley” Crossover Episode December 9, 2021
23 8 Nightmares in Drill City November 11, 2021
23 7 They'd Already Disappeared November 4, 2021
23 6 500 October 21, 2021
23 5 Fast Times @TheWheelHouse October 14, 2021
23 4 One More Tale of Two Victims October 7, 2021
23 3 I Thought You Were On My Side September 30, 2021
23 2 Never Turn Your Back on Them September 23, 2021
23 1 And the Empire Strikes Back” Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Premiere September 23, 2021

Photo credit: NBC

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