‘Law & Order: SVU’ Season 21: Why Episode 6 Included a Shocking Death and a Sweet Reunion

The record-breaking 21st season of Law & Order: SVU just keeps blowing viewers away. Episode 6 called “Murdered at a Bad Address” included both an unexpected reunion and a shocking death. But why did it all have to happen the way it did? Read on for major spoilers for SVU.

An unexpected character returns to ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay on the set of ‘Law and Order: SVU’ | Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A character from the past returned this week to the streets of New York City. Captain Benson (Mariska Hargitay) just happened to bump into her brother on the streets while out with her son, Noah (Ryan Buggle). Simon Marsden (Michael Weston) is Benson’s half-brother who has caused a lot of trouble for her in the past, so he rightly had no idea about Benson’s son, which seems to upset him.

Captain Benson gives her brother one last shot and it backfires

Simon appears to have cleaned up his act and is off the drugs, so Benson decides to give him another chance. They agree to meet for lunch complete with Noah. When Simon doesn’t show up, Benson leaves him an angry voicemail telling him to never contact her again after this. She comes to regret that phone call when she discovers that he’s dead after he injected himself and overdosed.

Another familiar face comes back to help Captain Benson

The turn of events is shocking to say the least. So, why did Simon come back for one last final incident to stress out his already overworked sister? The decision actually came from Warren Leight and Julie Martin, the executive producers. They thought it tied well together with the case in the episode. But with Simon’s death came another familiar face. The medical examiner, Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie), is there when Benson needs her the most.

“It was a very emotional scene, but what I found amusing is that there was no explanation for my absence for the past two and a half years,” Tunie explained on the podcast Squadroom. “I thought someone would say, ‘How was DC? Did you like working with the Obama administration?’ something! But no, there’s Warner, she’s there for Benson to deliver this heartbreaking news. It’s great to be back in the morgue, it was great to be back with Mariska. Fortunately, our characters have always had this special kind of bond, that’s why Warren thought it was important to help Benson through the process of her brother having OD’d.”

Simon’s death came from the executive producers on ‘SVU’

Denis Hamill actually wrote the episode and he says the idea for Simon to return and die came from the executive producers. “It’s such an emotional episode and we were setting one person free and hopefully putting another serial rapist who had gotten away with it all this time,” Hamill said while speaking on the podcast. “It was Warren and Julie who thought that there needed to be some kind of an emotional storyline, a subplot, about what’s going on in Benson’s life at the same time. One of the scourges of the city now and in the world is fentanyl and opioids and all that, and it was mostly Warren at that point who thought it just needed a balance, something personal happening to her, while she’s also working on this case too. I thought it was a really nice counterbalance too.”

It will be interesting to see how Simon’s death affects Benson overall going forward. She’s strong but he was her last blood relative. Hopefully, Benson will be able to get through this. SVU still seems to surprise us after so many years.