Law & Order: SVU: Pretend (Series 8: 21/22)

Friday 17 December, 10:00pm on Five

The eighth season of the crime drama following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad concludes with an explosive double bill. In this week’s first instalment, a backyard wrestling match ends with a grisly death. In the second episode, Fin’s stepson comes to trial for a double murder, and he seems intent on bringing the whole unit down with him. The first episode of this week’s double bill, ‘Pretend’, opens with the discovery of a teenager’s mutilated body in a basement torture chamber. It appears that he bled to death when the femoral artery in his leg was severed. An angry crowd gathers at the scene, and one of the mob informs Fin that there is a convicted sex offender who preyed on young boys living in the area. The man, Darren Tolson, immediately becomes a suspect, but it transpires that he was being stalked by local mother Sonia Briglund, who claims that he abducted her son Joey eight years ago. Sonia readily admits to following Tolson. “He should be in jail but he’s not,” she insists. “So yeah, I keep an eye on him.” She is horrified when she learns that the teenage boy who died is the same age as Joey, and she identifies the body as that of her missing son. However, matters become confused when another teenage boy walks into the precinct and confesses to the killing, saying it was the result of a brutal fight club gone wrong. The teenager, Scott Heston, names the dead boy as his best friend Riley, and swears the killing was accidental. However, Novak begins to doubt Scott’s story after Riley’s girlfriend claims that Scott was in love with her. “If Scott had a motive to kill your boyfriend, this might not be an accident,” Novak tells the girl. “I know it wasn’t,” she says darkly, describing how she and Scott had just learned the location of the femoral artery in a school science lesson. Could Scott have deliberately engineered his love rival’s death to make it look like an accident? And could Riley really be Sonia Briglund’s missing son?

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