Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3 Recap “I Thought You Were On My Side”

Don’t miss Celebrity Myxer’s recap of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3 “I Thought You Were On My Side”. Benson and Rollins must contend with the FBI and the Organized Crime bureau when a rape victim identifies a dangerous mobster as her assailant. Here’s what you missed!

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Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3 “I Thought You Were On My Side”

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 2, the SVU team took cracked a case involving a powerful Congressman preying on teen girls. However, the victory was bittersweet as they learned his lawyer cleaned up most of his messes. The Congressman eventually flipped on his attorney. The lawyer pleaded a deal to offer up “bigger” fish to get himself off the hook. The case stalled. Garland was pushed out and Benson was bumped up…

Power Book II: Ghost | Ep. 9 Previe... x
Power Book II: Ghost | Ep. 9 Preview | Season 2

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3, a woman is getting plowed from behind in the bathroom by Gabe Navaro (the club owner.) When they emerge, they run into Tara (a singer at the club) and Jewels (the club manager.) The manager tells Tara that tonight’s event is a private party. Secrecy is vital and no phones are allowed.

It’s Gabe’s birthday and his goons are all in attendance- including someone he respects. He’s a misogynistic pig, however. When the gigantic birthday cake came out Tara song her melody for him. He gestured her to come over and when she did, he grabbed her rough, groped her, and told her to keep singing. After the song, he bogarted into her dressing room and forced himself onto her. She got free and ran, he pursued and they began to tussle. He slapped her down the stairs and she passed out. Everyone at the party witnessed this. He commanded his people, “What are you looking at… Get her outta here!”

Two Shots To The Balls

Det. Fin had a chat with Capt. Benson about Stabler. She hadn’t heard from him in months. Fin informed her they needed his help on a case. Suddenly, they got a call to get to the hospital about a rape victim. Tara sustained many injuries, the worst being that her back was broken from the fall. Benson and Rollins interviewed the woman who gave an emotional description of the incident. She informed them that Gabe is connected and has a lot of cops friends. She asked whether they would arrest him despite those facts…

Capt. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3

Capt. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3

Fin learned, that it was true, Gabe was a connected guy- a made man. His rap sheet suggests he’s used to getting off for his crimes…

Fin went to question the club manager and he played coy. Rollins interviewed others (who were witnesses) but they lied about the incident. Benson tried to use Tara to call Gabe and get him to confess on tape but he was hip to it and redirected her injuries on herself. He took it as a shakedown attempt and hung up.

Benson used that call as enough evidence to arrest him for rape and attempted murder. When they stormed into his club, the arrogant prick demanded they leave but Benson pulled a gun on him and claimed to fire two shots at his testicles. He called her bluff but eventually backed down. They arrested him.

Jane Doe

Benson played the incriminating tape for Gabe and his attorney while being interrogated. They claimed it was a consensual encounter. Benson noticed large scratch marks on his hand and he lied about them. He asked what can he offer to make the situation go away. Benson confronted him about bribery and threats. They introduced him to a DNA collector.

Of course, his DNA matched for being on Tara but also two other rape victims. One was from three years ago from a woman in Miami who was found unconscious brain damaged- so she couldn’t identify her attacker. And another was a Jane Doe who was strangled and drowned. Det. Rollins pulled on that thread…

She sought the medical examiner who determined her death and he told her the attacker broke her pelvis and eye socket. He told cops at the time to check the strip clubs because the woman had breast implants.

Tara was now wheelchair-bound and was devastated to hear Gabe could possibly get away with his deeds. ADA Carisi was ready to press charges, however, there was a derailment in the case

Deep Cover

Benson and Carisi rushed to see why Sgt. Bell wanted to stifle their case. When they came to ask… Det. Stabler emerged to explain and that they wouldn’t like it!

Det. Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3

Det. Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3

Stabler had been undercover but didn’t tell Benson. The team was being briefed about Gabe. Turns out, the FBI and Organized Crime (OC) had been watching him for a decade trying to nab him on charges that would stick. Gabe is involved in everything from arms, drugs, sex trafficking, and more. He’s suspected of being the advisor to an even greater monster wanted internationally… Aton Popkov. Benson and Carisi didn’t care for the bigger fish and wanted to nail Gabe. Bell and Stabler wanted to negotiate they leverage Benson’s case to take Gabe and Popkov down simultaneously!

Benson was against this. Especially seeing how her last case didn’t crackdown on the bad guys as it should have. However, she had to consider it. She spoke about it with Carisi and he was highly disappointed. Benson confronted Stabler about ghosting her…

Gabe wanted to speak with Stabler alone. But Benson insisted she is present at the interrogation. She showed him pictures of both women he is suspected of murdering. She threatened him with the charges. He wanted to offer something up… Popkov! He told them the kingpin is in town having a meeting with all of his lieutenants. They set up a sting operation to verify it was Popkov and raid the meet.


Gabe showed the team of cops surveillance video from his place to prove Popkov was there and the meet would happen. Gabe didn’t want them to reveal he was the rat. Benson pondered what was Gabe’s deal for offering up Popkov. Though the team didn’t have a good feeling about it.

SVU, OC & the Feds raid on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3

SVU, OC & the Feds raid on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3

The teams moved on to the mansion, they searched for Popkov and found all of the lieutenants but no Popkov… he was gone. They found a crawl space that lead to a tunnel. Gabe had led his boss out of the house. The team pursued the maze and heard the distant sound of vehicles. They were fleeing on motorcycles. Though, Benson and Stabler’s team caught them trying to escape. They made them exit the bikes and as they were going to arrest them, Gabe pulled a gun and Stabler shot him in the shoulder. When Stabler approached the man, Gabe winked at him to signal a thank you for making the arrest look good.

The joint teams had arrested the Russian mafia boss of bosses. He was wanted internationally and domestically. Carisi went to arraign Gabe but he wasn’t at the hospital. The Feds snatched him up. Carisi told Benson that Stabler lied to them, “he played us!”

Benson and Fin questioned Bell and the Feds about Gabe. Stabler was in the wind and the Feds and OC stonewalled SVU who felt betrayed by their colleagues using their case to get Popkov.

Benson went to visit Tara who was in rehab learning to walk again. She was furious learning Gabe got away (well… moved into witness protection) with his crimes. Benson vowed to not give up on her case…

What did you think of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 Episode 3? 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 30, 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 4, the SVU searches for a serial rapist who preys on mothers with young children! 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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