Law and Order SVU Season 23 Episode 22 [Finale] Recap: Ending Explained

The Season 23 finale of Law & Order: SVU sprouted two huge seeds in the shape of returned former assistant district attorney Rafael Barba. Olivia’s therapy appointment with Dr. Lindstrom at the top of the hour revealed that she was dissatisfied, and he speculated that it could be due to her frustration with Barba over his role in the Wheatley case. Perhaps her feelings have something to do with her ex-boyfriend? Let’s read  Law & Order: SVU Season 23 Episode 22 “A Final Call at Forlini’s Bar Recap

Benson begins the episode by saying that Noah is doing well and that her career is doing well, but she wakes up at 4:00 a.m. nervous and sad. She is conversing with her therapist about how much has changed in the last year. Stabler is mentioned. She claims she has no issues with intimacy. He advises her to either pursue Stabler further or move on. Delia is at the station, where she is meeting with her counselor as a victim of domestic abuse. Delia returns home, on the phone with the super as she opens the door, requesting that the locks be changed. She sees her husband Ty once inside and informs him that he is not supposed to be there. She threatens to call the cops if he doesn’t leave, but he promises she won’t. He jumps up and chases her down.

Fin is playing a video game on his phone outside at a café. Velasco is with Carisi as he plays basketball. Returning to Benson, he informs her that she is a role model for female police, that she lives a happy life, and that she has a great son. He tells her that he wants her to start thinking about what she is entitled to, that she is entitled to happiness. Delia is outside with a baseball bat in her hand, destroying a police cruiser, and two officers emerge from the car, pistols were drawn. Rollins happens to be nearby and intervenes, calming Delia and ordering the officers to lay down their weapons. Rollins speaks with Delia at the hospital, and she asks her to arrest her so Ty cannot approach her. While discussing the case at the station, Benson instructs Fin and Velasco to pick up Ty at his construction site. Meanwhile, Delia calls Rollins to request a change to the order of protection, claiming that it will make things less stressful. She then hangs up the phone. Ty is in her apartment, and Delia tells him he may leave now, but he refuses. Delia is told by Benson that she must get Ty out of her life. Rollins warns her that if they accuse Ty of rape, he will flee. They have his DNA and her accusation in a rape kit.

Ty enters a not-guilty plea in court. Ty’s lawyer claims it takes two to tango; his bond has been set at $50,000, and he is required to wear an ankle bracelet and can only go from home to work. Delia is alone in the world, Rollins tells Benson, and cases like this make you feel useless. Benson instructs her to return to Carisi.

Delia dials Rollins’ number. When they arrived at Ty’s, Delia stabbed him in the back with a kitchen knife. She claims she forgot her phone charger and he refused to let her leave; all she wanted was to be free. Delia claims she is OK and feels comfortable when Rollins visits her in jail. They enter an interview room, and she claims to have 1% and has gone to get it. He grabbed her hair and dangled the cord in front of her, refusing to let her go. She entered the kitchen, removed the knife from the kitchen table, and was unable to exit. She didn’t immediately call Rollins since she needed to charge her phone first. Her lawyer advises her to accept a settlement. If the case goes to trial, she might be sentenced to 15 years in prison. Benson does not believe her lawyer is capable.

Carisi will hold off on making a decision for 24 hours. Barba thanks Benson for taking Delia’s case and informs him that Rollins called him. Delia is accused of stabbing Ty in the back in court. Benson is testifying, and she claims that a victim might be afraid for her life even if her attacker isn’t looking. Rollins informs Carisi that she requested Barber to defend Delia, and he expresses his displeasure. Delia is testifying, and she claims she felt confined and needed to escape. She was terrified, so she grabbed the knife. She heard him chuckling, and she knew that if he turned around and saw her holding the knife, he would kill her. She plugged in her phone and dialed Rollins’ number. Carisi wonders if she could have simply walked out the door. Couldn’t she have simply stayed at home in her locked apartment till morning? Barber continues to resist, claiming that he is harassing her. Delia is crying and shaking, and Carisi inquires about the moment she knew her husband was gone and how she felt. She claims she was content because he was dead and she was still alive. They leave for a recess.

Delia’s psychiatrist is called to testify in court. She had persistent CTE, which had developed as a result of years of severe injuries. Delia claims that her husband would smack her across the face and slam her against the wall. Barba is seeking an apology for bringing this case to court.

Carisi is relieved when Ms. Maxwell agrees to a bargain. Then, in the episode’s final scene, Benson rejoins Barba at Forlini’s for one last call before the bar closes. Delia is now in a better situation. Barba is thanked by Benson for protecting Delia, and he adds she is doing well, unlike them. She tells him she requested him not to defend Wheatly, and he responds that Wheatly is now dead. He claims he was attempting to safeguard her. He inquires as to why she is more enraged by him than by Stabler. She claims she has known him for 23 years and that he is unaware of her existence. She accuses him of betraying her. He promises to be there when she no longer feels betrayed by him. She admits that she misses him as well.

“We’re going around in circles. You’re denying, you’re deflecting. You defend him. It’s alright, I get it. It’s what you do when you love somebody unconditionally,” he says. “Please don’t tell me how I feel,” she replies. But “in this case I can because I do know what it means to love someone unconditionally. And when you’re ready to stop feeling betrayed by me, I’ll be here,” Barba tells her before going to walk away. On his way out, she does stop him with a “Rafa… I miss you, too.”

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