When I point blank asked Warren Leight what would be happening on Wednesday night’s episode of SVU, he took a deep breath and said, “This is a big one.”
From what fans already know of this man, they know that he’s not kidding around when he says something like this.
Fortunately, he went into a little more detail (and I emphasis ‘a little’ here) about this installment, entitled “Undercover Mother.”
“It begins with our team staking out a brothel waiting for the delivery of some sex trafficked girls,” explains Leight. “ When the girls are delivered, we bust the club including the madam, Martha (who’s played by Lilly Taylor). Martha then pulls Benson aside and says she’s not really a Madame, that she’s actually working undercover looking for her daughter, Ariel, who was kidnapped three years ago. And that’s just the teaser.”
Moving into the episode, Leight reveals that, “This sets in motion a whole series of things that we have to deal with — do we believe Martha? Can we trust her? Can we let her go back undercover? How do we move into this world and how exactly do we track her daughter?”
None of these questions are easily answered says Leight, “The deeper we get into this thing, the farther we seem to get from finding the girl. There’s a serious ticking clock thing happening because we keep hearing more dire things about the girl’s fate. Her life is in serious jeopardy and this is really hard on Olivia because she’s made a promise to Martha to find Ariel and she’s having a hard time making good on that promise.”
And it’s not just Benson who’s committed to this, the entire squad is undercover in various roles trying to infiltrate this sex trafficking ring. “Everyone is in motion trying desperately to get into this place on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s really fast-paced and really disturbing.”
Leight and his team of writers, having done their homework here, learned a few hard facts about these types of crimes. “We talked to law enforcement people who head up the operations actually trying to infiltrate these rings and they explained just how extremely hard this is to do because cops are only allowed to do so much when they’re undercover. So how do you get in there to get the evidence that you need and how do you get people to flip on the people in charge? It’s the hard work of trying to make a case against sex traffickers when the girls who work for them will never turn on them. That’s what this episode is all about.”
While this storyline is more than enough to carry this episode of SVU, Leight divulged that the episode also contains some big surprises for fans.
Now I would hope that regular readers of this column already know that I absolutely won’t disclose anything concrete here, but I will say that one of the things that Leight told me made me very happy, while another tidbit he dropped concerns me.
I’m very anxious to see the reaction to both of these things. I imagine that one of these surprises will catch fans totally off-guard and I can’t wait to see social media blow up with the reveal, while the other will start some serious discussions about what might happen during the rest of season sixteen.
Teasing a bit more, Leight added, “If fans are interested in Olivia and Noah’s storyline, you don’t want to miss this, and get ready to see something materialize that’s been talked about, and hoped for, for a while now, something that we’re very excited to be able to make happen. So, whatever you do, don’t DVR this episode. You’re not going to want to hear about this on Twitter or at work the next day.”
I know that I often agree with Mr. Leight about these things, but in this instance I cannot stress just how much I concur with him about this. Rest assured, we’ll discuss all after “Undercover Mother” airs.
“Law & Order: SVU” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
For a recap of this episode after it airs, please visit The New York Observer here.