“Every situation presents you with choices and you have to take those choices and make decisions, or numerous decisions, about how to react to what's happening around you, and this is no different for Sergeant Benson,” began ‘SVU’ Executive Producer Warren Leight when discussing The Beast/Benson storyline that has run throughout season 15 of the drama.
The next chapter, Wednesday’s episode “Post-Mortem Blues,” while not featuring the now deceased Lewis in the flesh, still bears the messy stain of his actions – literally, as Benson wears his blood on her face as an investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau into the circumstances surrounding his death ensues.
“Just like he wanted, Lewis is still not done inflecting harm on Benson’s well-being,” says Leight.
Which each step of this saga, Benson has had to make several complicated decisions, many completely on the fly, that it’s been a bit dizzying.
But unfortunately for her it seems like the more calculated her choices – the decision to beat Lewis, the decision to lie about it, the decision to admit to perjury on television, the decision to willingly go with Lewis to the granary – have all led her down the wrong path, utterly only complicating matters infinitely more for Benson. Once again, Lewis got exactly what he wanted as Benson's still twisting under the weight of the actions he forced her to take, to not only save herself, but a child as well.
Now, in this moment, when a lie seems, incredibly, more plausible than the truth, what will Benson decide to do?
The lie, unbelievably endorsed by I.A.B's own Lieutenant Tucker, suggests that Lewis didn't commit suicide but that Benson killed Lewis in a struggle for the gun. He pushes her down this road to close the case as a justifiable homicide.
"She's being pushed and pulled by a lot of different people," explains Leight, "and she wants to stand strong in her convictions, believing that what's she's doing is the right thing."
Unfortunately, in this case, as in many, doing the right thing may not help the situation as intended. The hope is that some sort of compromise can be reached, but it's a fact of life that all negotiable situations come with a price for all involved and who really comes out alright when all is said and done?
“Everything, really everything, has changed, for everyone." emphasizes Lieght, "Nobody knows who to trust anymore. Everyone in that squad room has their own agenda because of the position they're in. Everyone. So are they looking out for themselves or genuinely trying to help here? You’ll see the aftershocks of all of this, and really everything that’s gone on in that squad room, continue to reverberate until the end of the season.”
Speaking of the rest of the season…. Well, no such luck fans, as Leight wasn’t prepared to give anything away.
Although a renewal for the show has yet to be granted, Leight did say this about the prospect of a 16th season for ‘SVU,’ ”Well, we’re caught in the annual rite of strained squabbling among the corporate entities involved. It’s highly stressful. Everyone here has done everything we can do to get it to come back. Our numbers are up for the first time since I think 2005, critically we’ve gotten lot of nice attention all year, I feel the storytelling is very strong and Mariska [Hargitay] has certainly had an Emmy-worthy year. Given all of that, I’d say that we’ve kept up our side of things, but at this point, this now this falls into the category of ‘things that are beyond our control.’”
Leight has recently revealed a few tidbits about the finale on Twitter (handle = @warrenleightTV) including that the episode will include fan favorite Baby Boy Doe and the return of Defense Attorney Trevor Langan (AKA Mariska Hargitay's real-life husband Peter Hermann), who hasn't appeared on 'SVU' since 2010.
But, when asked via Tweet, 'could season finale work as series finale or would it be unsatisfying?' he replied, "I would be unsatisfied."
Again, it all comes down to choices, decisions and consequences, for Benson, for the entire 'SVU' squad, and apparently with the behind-the-scenes corporate folks as well. So, just as with any other issue facing the ‘SVU’ team, fans will just have to ride this ride until the very last moment to see what shakes out.
Just as a point of reference for fans, NBC's deadline to announce the schedule for the 2014/2015 season is Monday, May 12th.
This week's hashtag = #TrustBenson, & it doesn't hurt to add @nbc and #RenewSVU as well.
“Law & Order: SVU” airs Wednesday at 9/8c on NBC.