Legislation & Order: Carisi versus Barba from the SVU: who’s forward?

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Rafael Barba returned to Law & Order: SVU on Thursday … making sure everyone knew.

Raul Esparza’s character, who was a SVU staple in seasons 14-19, controversially left prosecutors when he stepped in to help a mother end the life of her terminally ill baby. Although a jury found him not guilty of murder in the second degree, the case left its mark on the ADA. “You opened my heart and I thank you for it,” he said to Liv before kissing her on the forehead and walking out of her life (and leaving the show) … until we saw her chatting on video last season while he was in election fraud Iowa examined.

Later that week, Barba took part again in an SVU case that was brought to justice – only this time he advised the defendant on legal issues. And what a show he did! Let’s go through the highlights.

Liv and Fin grabbed a coffee with Barba to “hypothetically” get his help in closing a deal for a military veteran who shot the man who sexually abused and impregnated his daughter. But when Barba went to discuss the case with Carisi, Sonny quickly found out what was going on and wanted to know if Barba was representing the father. And just like that he was.

Which led to the inevitable showdown between Barba and Carisi in the courtroom. Barba’s Approach: No jury wants to sentence a disgruntled father / wounded veteran to jail for reacting to an impulse that most parents can easily understand. Carisi’s argument, meanwhile, was that the murder was clearly premeditated and took place after the rapist was taken to jail to await trial – oh, and killing someone is illegal.

“Barba, he’s guilty,” Liv said as he swung by for a visit to the group room. “Is he?” thought the lawyer. “Depends on the jury.”

During the trial, Barba pounded home that neither the SVU nor the city council’s childcare authorities had addressed the fact that the teen at the center of the case had been molested by her foster father – who was himself an ACS officer. And because the child protection systems hadn’t done their job, Barba’s client had “no choice but to protect his daughter himself”.

After a six-hour deliberation, the jury found the father guilty of second degree manslaughter, which will result in roughly three years’ imprisonment – that was the deal Carisi Barba offered at the start of the trial. After the verdict was read, the two counselors had a drink with Rollins, Fin and Kat, but Barba got out early to see his mother before leaving for Florida.

He met Liv outside the bar and asked if she was mad at him. She replied that she thought he cared more about him than justice. “The way you had to go,” she explained. “Maybe you didn’t defend him. Maybe you defended yourself. “

He did not address their concerns directly, but noted that they “cannot change the past.” Liv looked at him sadly. “I just miss it and you. That’s all, ”she said. “Me too,” he agreed. Then they looked at each other lovingly and he left.

Elsewhere in the roster:

* When Rollins found out that Carisi was going to spend New Year’s Eve alone, she invited him over to pizza with her and the girls. The former partners snuggled up on the couch, but an Amber Alert (for the girl at the center of the episode) interrupted everything else that could have happened.

* The Amber Alert also interrupted Fin’s romantic dinner with Phoebe, which prevented him from making a suggestion. But don’t worry: he did it a while later, and she said yes.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think of Barba’s big return? Hit the comments!

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