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'Law & Order: SVU': A deafening tick-tock permeates Wednesday's episode

"Law & Order: SVU" airs on NBC.
"Law & Order: SVU" airs on NBC.
Michael Parmalee/NBC.

“Wednesday’s child is full of woe…”

It’s a simple line from a nineteenth century poem.

This Wednesday night it’s the title of the latest episode of “Law & Order: SVU.”

The synopsis reads, “A race to save a missing boy's life takes a dark turn when two notorious criminals get involved.” This sounds as if it could describe various other episodes of the show, but, true to form, this installment is so much more than just that plain statement.

“This is a very tightly written script,” says “Wednesday’s Child” Director Laura Belsey. “It's a classic episode in the best sense of it. It has all of the elements that make it a tense hour; there’s a missing child, a ticking clock, shady suspects, and the whole process of getting to the truth about what's happened to this child is very difficult.”

Belsey went on to explain that the pace of the storyline influenced the way she executed her task as director. “My job was to honor the urgency of this script and infuse everything with a sense of immediacy. We wanted the whole thing to feel tense and slightly unnerving in a subtle way; everything is set up to make viewers feel unsettled.” To achieve this, Belsey revealed that most of the episode was shot with a Steadicam, saying, “This gives a constant sense of movement that really propels the story in a very visual way.”

The ticking clock in this missing child case clearly echoes what’s going in Sergeant Benson’s personal life as well. Viewers will recall that previews for this episode feature Benson picking up a pregnancy test. It seems so simple; that test is either positive or negative. But remember, this is ‘SVU’ and nothing happens without complications.

While what’s happening in Benson’s personal life might, particularly in this area, appear to be a case of plain old, cut-and-dried cause and effect, this phase might actually better be characterized as ‘cause and affect.’

“Wednesday’s Child” is filled with the familiar ‘choices-decisions-consequences’ chain that permeates real life and this particular case, with its examination of what it truly means to be a parent, is not something that Benson can gloss over given her current situation, and she, by no means, does.

This is the last episode of ‘SVU’ before a three week break for the Winter Olympics so soak it in and rest assured that as the final scene rolls, you will indeed be left wanting more.

Hashtag = #WednesdaysChild

“Law & Order: SVU” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.