Law and Order SVU season 20, episode 18 preview: Blackout

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- "Blackout" Episode 2018 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins, Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- "Blackout" Episode 2018 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins, Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) /

What should fans watch for in this week’s Law and Order SVU? Get ready for Blackout with our SVU season 20, episode 18 preview.

Tonight’s Law & Order: SVU episode is another one that’s lined up a string of high-profile guest stars, and it’ll appeal to anyone who’s a fan of either Dick Wolf franchise because of that.

The main character in “Blackout” is Nikki Staines, the hard-charging defense attorney played by Callie Thorne. Thorne, who’s been recurring on Special Victims Unit for a while and is also known for her work in Rescue Me and Necessary Roughness, is a tremendous actress.

However, she hasn’t always had a lot to work with here, since the format of the show means that she’s mostly seen in courtroom scenes. This episode is going to give her more to do—though that comes at the cost of making Nikki the victim.

This isn’t the first time the Special Victims Unit has had to investigate a crime against someone they know, though expect the series to get a little mileage out of the fact that Nikki is normally working against them.

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It’ll be interesting to see what they do with her character, and what Thorne is able to do with her. Is this going to be a story where SVU ultimately plays it safe, like saying Nikki was attacked by one of her old clients and just putting a bad guy away again?

Or is the premise of “Blackout” actually going to pan out, and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) will have to arrest a cop for rape?

It could go either way; some episodes wind up being much more complicated than they appear, and other ones turn out to be nowhere near as sensational as the promos make them seem.

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Even if you’re not an SVU fan, though, you’ll want to watch this episode. “Blackout” also guest stars Titus Welliver, whom One Chicago fans will know because he played Hailey Upton’s (Tracy Spiridakos) obsessive nemesis in the “Ghosts” episode of Chicago PD last season.

He was fantastically evil there (watch a clip), and if he’s even half as menacing here, he would be a great villain. Presuming that he’s guilty, of course. Though odds are good since the bigger name of the guest star, the bigger a role they normally have.

Longtime SVU viewers will appreciate the return of Peter Gallagher, playing Deputy Chief Dodds. He’s another actor who’s always good whenever he appears on the show, and it’ll be good to see him playing a good guy again after Gallagher was most recently seen playing the evil media icon Benedict Ryan on FOX‘s The Gifted.

With Benson and company having to investigate police officers, it makes sense that Dodds would be involved. That’s the most sensitive of cases. Hopefully it won’t complicate his relationship with Benson too much, but this isn’t the first time things have gotten messy for the team. It is, though, a well-cast episode that everyone should check out for the performances, which will be amazing all the way around.

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For the latest SVU season 20 spoilers and news, plus more on all of Dick Wolf’s other series, follow the Dick Wolf category at One Chicago Center.