The story begins with Maxwell and her newly launched youthful husband, Roger (Tom Irwin), celebrating their anniversary over breakfast—and issues shortly flip darkish after we study that Roger isn’t the sort, attentive man he pretends to be when he has a mimosa in his hand. On the opposite, he’s the mastermind of a intercourse trafficking ring involving minors. (He’s additionally a mooch who will get an allowance from his spouse, however one factor is actually worse than the opposite.)
Related: An Essential Refresher Course on SVU‘s Lorraine Maxwell
“Part of the challenge was to reconcile inside my heart how she could have chosen [this] guy and been so oblivious to who he really is,” Betty Buckley, the Broadway legend who performs Maxwell, tells Parade. “And then the discovery of that façade is earth-shattering. It was tough to try to figure out how to be authentic within that reality.”
So how did she make sense of her character’s marriage? “I think he’s a very attractive guy who made her feel that he really cared for her and that he really loved her, which obviously is not the case,” Buckley says. “When I was younger, I had relationships with really deceptive men. It’s like a morality tale and a warning in so many ways to be more vigilant about the company that you keep.”
Despite the arrest warrants and Lorraine’s outrage over her “lying husband’s” nefarious actions, a really cocky Roger nonetheless believes he’s going to get off simple due to his spouse’s high-powered authorized place. He even throws Maxwell’s abusive first marriage in her face throughout a unstable battle as if he has the higher hand. But, as destiny would have it, he doesn’t.
The night time earlier than a public listening to that guarantees to muddy Maxwell’s identify, Roger chokes on his dinner—and Maxwell stands and watches, solely to name 911 after she is aware of it’s too late.
Lorraine Maxwell’s origin story
Buckley’s first function on Law & Order: SVU was as Attorney Walsh again within the aughts, however she returned for a second stint, as Lorraine Maxwell, in Season 23 (2021), after the pandemic-related shutdown. As she remembers, she wrote to SVU showrunner Warren Leight saying, “If it’s not too greedy of me, I’d like you to consider writing me a recurring role.” A couple of weeks later, she was in—and finally, she got here up with the premise for this week’s episode.
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“I pitched them this idea for Maxwell’s husband being involved in a trafficking ring and coming to Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) for help in taking him down,” she says. “They took that idea, ran with it, and came back with the episode as it exists. It’s a terrific script.”
Diehard followers know that the episode ends with a dialog between Benson and Maxwell that is a callback to Season 24, Episode 4 (“The Steps We Cannot Take”).
“That last scene echoes a scene in a previous episode where I support Olivia by kind of bending the rules,” Buckley says. “She uses my same speech on me at that moment. We have this real warmth, a deep connection, and a chemistry—and we’re trying to set boundaries in our professional relationship. Basically, [we’re] saying, ‘I will always support you, but in the end, I’m always going to be the professional.’”
In real life, Buckley stays in touch with Hargitay between episodes, usually over text. “I had a health scare last summer and Mariska and her children sent me fun, uplifting videos that meant the world to me,” she says. “She’s such a caring friend.” (Also price noting: Peter Scanavino, who performs Carisi, sends Buckley songs and artists he thinks she ought to try.)
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“Whenever they name me to do an episode I’m simply elated,” Buckley says. “Because it’s at all times such a contented expertise to be there.”
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