Rollins Reveals How She Feels About Carisi's Transfer on 'Law & Order: SVU' (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 21, Episode 5 of Law & Order: SVU, "At Midnight in Manhattan."]
Tensions are running high after Kat (Jamie Gray Hyder) jinxes the unit by declaring the Friday night a "quiet" one in Thursday's episode of Law & Order: SVU. And because of that, Rollins (Kelli Giddish) gets honest with Carisi (Peter Scanavino) about his new job as A.D.A.
Carisi is working ECAB (Early Case Assessment Bureau) shifts: He follows every case that comes in during an eight-hour shift all the way to arraignment. And during this particular shift, beginning at midnight, SVU catches three assault cases: a husband who beat and raped his wife, Joelle (their son called 911); a young woman, Chloe (whose mother is friends with Hadid), who was assaulted by her Hail Me driver; and a trans woman, Lakira, who was assaulted by a john.
There are road bumps with each, from a victim unwilling to testify to parents overeager to use every connection and push their daughter to identity her attacker to a high-profile suspect who is also an attorney. Everyone's working long hours, and Rollins finally snaps when Carisi points out he can't release a likely innocent man because of Hadid's connection to her case.
"What did you think would happen when you moved over to that place?" Rollins asks. "Because it's all about politics, which is not your strong suit." He insists he's only focused on the job, but she doesn't buy it and thinks he's more concerned about his boss than their victim. He protests he's more worried about the other two cases, especially Lakira's because it's "a case we're never going to make."
"Everyone is worried," Rollins informs him. "We're all nervous. We're swamped. We're drowning. Because you left!" It may have been his shot to follow through with all the work he's put into law over the years, but she sees it different. "I would be fine if you were right here beside me," she continues. "You're my partner. You walked out on me." She may have said she was happy for him, but she didn't mean it.
Their argument isn't really resolved. Liv (Mariska Hargitay) puts an end to it. Later, he asks if they're good, and she responds, "You tell me." But that's all we see in this episode. And it's likely just the beginning of increased tension between the two.
"Their friendship has to change because what they need from each other is changing," Giddish told TV Insider.
"It's always complicated with Rollins and Carisi," Scanavino acknowledged. "That's a thing that plays almost in what's not said and played with looks, but there's always something underneath the surface between them and that'll come out in some of the episodes coming up."
As for the cases in "At Midnight in Manhattan," Joelle refuses to press charges — she and her husband aren't divorced, so if he goes away, she loses the unofficial child support — but Fin (Ice T) gets him to agree to plead guilty to the assault (if the rape charge is dropped).
Chloe and her parents are so certain the driver assaulted her, until they learn that he wasn't the one to pick her up. Instead, the son of a taxi driver did and attacked her because of how businesses like Uber have ruined his father. He says Chloe didn't even check, that no one knows who's driving them, so he wanted to scare everyone about using apps.
And while Lakira is originally willing to testify once they identify her attacker Paul Davies — he has a proclivity for beating up trans women — she doesn't show up at the arraignment. Furthermore, she signed an affidavit claiming she fabricated the accusation. As Kat later learns, Paul paid her off.
Carisi may have gotten through these three cases, but will his and Rollins' friendship survive his career change?
Law & Order: SVU, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC