Law & Order: SVU Season 26 Needs to End This 1 Storyline

Law & Order: SVU Season 26 Needs to End This 1 Storyline

Although Law & Order: SVU has several promising stories it could keep going for years to come, there’s one arc that needs to end with season 26. Due to the nature of the show, new cases are always cropping up to take up the time of Mariska Haritgay’s Olivia Benson and her team. However, the show is also structured to allow for lingering plotlines to be addressed as well.

Law & Order: SVU Maddie Flynn with her family after being rescued

Olivia Benson’s work as a sex crimes detective positively impacts survivors’ lives and sometimes sacrifices personal time to help those who have been victimized. The series’ mission includes helping real-life survivors feel supported, which is one reason that Benson is depicted as being incredibly empathetic, caring, and involved in survivors’ lives. Sometimes, this can lead to long-term arcs, one of which that will hopefully reach a conclusion in Law & Order: SVU season 26.

Law & Order: SVU's Olivia Benson tries to distract herself during a run

Benson recently became obsessed with the case of Maddie Flynn, a teenager who was kidnapped from a hardware store. Her interest in the case is exemplified by how much of season 25’s story it occupied; Law & Order: SVU season 25 was shortened by the writer’s strike, ultimately producing only 13 episodes, five of which featured Maddie or her parents. These episodes were not all together, but they did take up a large portion of the season, and when the Flynns weren’t present, Benson continued to work on Maddie’s case.

Thus, it felt as if the Flynns’ presence overshadowed the entire season and that they were central to every story. What’s worse, many of these appearances were unnecessary. Throughout the season, Benson not only worked on Maddie’s case, but also helped the Flynns with their marital troubles and with Peter Flynn’s depression and suicide attempt. She also supported the Flynns during the trial of Maddie’s kidnapper and attended Maddie’s 16th birthday. This focus on the Flynns made Benson seem obsessed, and their continued presence in the series made no sense once Maddie had been rescued.

There is No Reason For The Flynns to Remain in The Series

Benson tends to someone who has been shot while looking up in Law & Order: SVU

It was understandable that Benson wanted to help find Maddie, especially given that she felt guilty about not stopping the kidnapper before he left New York with his victim. Benson’s obsession, while overdone, allowed Law & Order: SVU season 25 to explore the concept of vicarious trauma. However, once Maddie was rescued, there was little reason for the family’s continued presence. Her trial could have been off-screen, as many SVU trials are, or could have focused more on the legal proceedings and less on Benson comforting Maddie’s mother.

Most of the Flynns’ appearances could have been cut, which would have allowed more screen time for other storylines and given season 25 a more balanced feel. Their final appearance was especially ridiculous. It was unrealistic and silly for Benson to attend Maddie’s sixteenth birthday party, and there was no real reason for this family to remain on-screen post-rescue. Benson lending her necklace to Eileen Flynn with the comment that they won’t lose touch any time soon cemented the Flynns as a regular part of the series, which is something that Law & Order: SVU season 26 needs to reverse.

Eileen Flynn Should Give Benson Back Her Necklace

Benson sits in her desk chair, leaning her jaw on her right hand and looks up at Stabler, who is sitting on the edge of her desk to her right. There is a glass window behind Benson and an American flag to her right. There is a gift box on her desk.

The easiest way to write the Flynns out would be for Eileen to give Benson back her necklace and then not be seen on-screen again. This would resolve the Flynns’ story, with the family having healed enough that Eileen no longer needs to wear Benson’s necklace. Benson getting the necklace back would also allow Law & Order: SVU to move forward with Benson and Stabler’s relationship.

The Flynns never should have been a large part of Law & Order: SVU season 25. Their only necessary appearances were in the episode where Maddie was kidnapped, the episode where she was rescued, and a brief appearance at the trial. It’s too late to undo the overexposure of this family in season 25, but Law & Order: SVU can correct this error by writing the Flynns out in season 26.

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