‘Law & Order: SVU’: A Defense Attorney Gives Olivia Benson Jaw-Dropping Advice

Season 22 of Law & Order: SVU has been heating up. This week, numerous guest stars are in attendance for episode 6 called “The Long Arm of the Witness.” Defense attorney Rita Calhoun (Elizabeth Marvel) is back, and she gives some truly shocking and jaw-dropping advice to Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay).

What was Season 22, Episode 6 of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ about?

Mariska Hargitay in 'Law & Order: SVU'
Mariska Hargitay in ‘Law & Order: SVU’ | Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Episode 6 of SVU premiered on January 21 at 9 p.m. EST. It involves a judge who has been sexually assaulting women since he was a college student. Judge Charles Gallagher, also known as “Chip” (Josh Stamberg), tosses out a case that involves a woman who is sexually assaulted by Ian Hunter (Dylan James). However, Gallagher uses the case to kickstart a run for New York State Attorney General.

It turns out when he worked as a prosecutor, Detective Amanda Rollins says, “First year he had four high profile rape convictions. All Black and Latino defendants.” He also didn’t prosecute a white man in a college “he said, she said,” according to the detective.

Benson and the detectives soon learn that the defendant from the case heard by Gallagher has an uncle, Tom Burns, who went to college with Gallagher and has contributed money to his campaign. They were in the same fraternity together at Hudson University as well, and he was complicit in one of Gallagher’s assaults.

That’s where ADA Isaiah Holmes comes in, as he went to school with Gallagher. He even knows a woman in college named April who says she was sexually assaulted by Gallagher and that Tom held her down. The woman reported it and even told Holmes, who to this day regrets not speaking up for her. But he makes things right this time around.

A campus police officer gives Sergeant Fin old memo books which lead to more women telling their stories. At one point, Gallagher straight up threatens and insults Carisi, and things almost get physical, but the trial takes place against Gallagher, and a number of victims testify.

Calhoun, who is the attorney for the defendant in the case that Gallagher dismissed, decides to represent the judge at trial for his crimes, and she doesn’t go easy on the victims.

Holmes himself testifies, insisting he heard Gallagher “bragging” about the assault of April. Although Holmes confronted him, Gallagher threatened him, and Holmes didn’t speak up for April in the end.

When Gallagher and Holmes happen to be in the courtroom bathroom at the same time, Gallagher insults him and speaks about April’s assault. However, Holmes is recording the whole conversation, and the judge hearing the case lets the tape be heard at trial. Rather than have the recording played in court, Gallagher takes a deal and pleads to sexual misconduct and ends his campaign for Attorney General. But the judge decides to force Gallagher into doing the year-long sentence in jail rather than house arrest as originally agreed upon. The detectives and attorneys are happy even though the judge will be out on appeal soon.

Rita Calhoun gives Olivia Benson some jaw-dropping advice

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Despite the positive outcome, Benson stops Calhoun as she’s about to go down the elevator after losing the case. She tells Benson that “this was just the first round.” Benson asks what she was “thinking” defending Gallagher.

“Read the room Olivia,” Calhoun tells her. “The way the courts are packed, Gallagher’s side, these guys and women, the next 30 years every appeal all the way to the supreme court. The fix is in.”

Benson replies with a positive approach, “That’s why we keep fighting.” 

“Not if they won’t let you in the ring,” Calhoun insists. Calhoun gives Benson some truly shocking advice. “Olivia, you keep staying on the wrong side of this, you’re gonna be marginalized for the rest of your career. My advice: Lie back and pretend you’re enjoying it.”

Calhoun walks away, and Benson looks flabbergasted with her mouth half open. It’s quite surprising to hear Calhoun say such words to Benson, who has worked with her over the years. Calhoun was once a prosecutor who turned to defense work, and she’s definitely changed over the course of the series.

Calhoun basically tells Hargitay to give up and take things as they are, but that isn’t Olivia Benson’s way. She fights for survivors and victims. She’ll never just accept things if she finds them corrupt or that justice isn’t being served, but that’s what Calhoun is telling her to do. In this case, she is suggesting Benson just go along with how things are since “the fix is in.”

It’s safe to say Benson won’t take her advice, but it is a jaw-dropping statement and one that’s hard to forget.