Final Thoughts From the Law & Order: SVU Episode "The Undiscovered Country"

by StevenHelmer

Thoughts from the season 19 episode that first aired February 7, 2018.

Synopsis: A complicated kidnapping case involving an infant that requires life support to live results in Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) taking the initiative and pulling the plug on the child. While he feels he made the right decision, both for the infant and its family, he also faces prison time for second-degree murder and must hope for a jury to acquit him.

This Was an Exhausting Episode

I think the thing that really stood out for me when it comes to this episode is how there essentially was no right answer. On one hand, the infant was suffering. But, on the other, he had rights too. And, while the child's mom (Abigail Hawk) was on board with ending her son's suffering, his dad (Joe Tapper) wasn't. That meant Barba couldn't even claim he was doing what the parents wanted.

At minimum, it is one of those episodes that made me think "what if it were my child?" In addition, it was a nice send-off episode for Barba, who is perfectly justified for wanting to move on rather than have to contend with any more cases like this one.

My Wife and I Will Miss Rafael

We've been watching this series for roughly as long as we've been married (15 years). And, after seeing every single episode from season 1 through now, I can honestly say Barba was the best prosecutor this series has had. I thought the show was getting a little stale after Stabler (Christopher Meloni) left and the addition of Barba breathed some new life into it.

It's going to be hard to see someone else in that assistant district attorney's chair going forward.

Which Raises the Question....

Who will be the next ADA?

My guess is it will be the re-introduced Chicago Justice attorney Peter Stone (Philip Winchester), largely because this episode made quite a bit of an effort to give him some prominent air time as the special prosecutor trying to convict Barba. And, to be honest, I think that would be a good decision because, after this case, it should create some interesting tension between him and the SVU team, at least for a few episodes.

Another possibility, and one I also wouldn't mind seeing, is Carisi (Peter Scanavino). This one would actually make some sense because he has passed his bar exam already and would be a natural fit because of his special victims experience. But, I think it would be a bit of a long shot as well considering he has never actually practiced law.

Does This Mean Olivia and Barba Will Finally Become a Couple

It's hard to deny there were some sparks between him and Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) and, while the show tried to keep the two of them as "just friends," I wouldn't be surprised to see them dating now that they no longer work together/have a conflict of interest.

Who Will Be the Next to Go?

A show doesn't last this long without cast turnover and we've seen plenty of other characters come and go over the 19 seasons. Barba is the latest to go but I'm not convinced he'll be the last.

In fact, I think the series was already setting this up weeks ago when Finn (Ice-T) learning there was an effort to remove Olivia as the head of SVU. I doubt they'll get rid of her. But, I wouldn't be surprised to see a sacrificial lamb from her department, either Finn or Rollins (Kelli Giddish).

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Final Opinion

It was an interesting episode with a very sad ending, both because of the child dying and Barba leaving the series. I'm really curious what will happen next now.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 02/09/2018, StevenHelmer
 
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