Warning: major spoilers ahead for the Season 19 premiere of Law and Order: SVU, called "Gone Fishin.'" If you haven't seen the episode yet, you may want to check back after watching. If you have seen it, read on safely!
Law and Order: SVU has returned to the airwaves for the 19th season on NBC, and the premiere was intense from start to finish as the good detectives attempted to put a fugitive rapist behind bars after finally extraditing him back to the United States from Cuba. As the extradition only really consisted of Fin kidnapping him and dragging him to the U.S., Olivia had to face a lot of headaches as the leader of the precinct. As it turned out, however, the most complicated parts of the episode for Olivia were at home rather than at work. Viewers discovered that she may be in trouble with the law due to her relationship with her son, Noah.
Well, technically she may be in trouble with the law due to some mistaken perceptions of her relationship with Noah. The episode started with Olivia walking Noah to school when she had to take a call from work. While she was distracted, Noah wandered into the street, and Olivia had to yank him backward to stop him from getting hit by a taxi. The little boy ended up bruised due to Olivia's life-saving actions, but he left the life-saving part out of the story when his teacher asked where he got his bruises. The teacher was alarmed when Noah said that Olivia gave him the bruises, and she called Olivia in for an explanation.
At first, Olivia merely thought that Noah was lying for some reason, and the teacher clearly thought Olivia's explanation was a little bit shady. It was an unexpectedly positive turn of events when "Gone Fishin'" simply revealed that Olivia had bruised him, but only by saving his life. That positivity was totally ruined by the very end of the episode, when none other than Brian Cassidy turned up on Olivia's doorstep.
While Cassidy first claimed that he was in the neighborhood for a cup of coffee, he soon revealed that he had come out of retirement and returned to New York to work as an investigator to the District Attorney's office. After six weeks on the job, he said, he was called on to investigate a case of child abuse. Olivia was visibly sympathetic, although clearly somewhat confused about why Cassidy dropped by her apartment at night to chat about this. Everything became clearer when he revealed that this particular child abuse case was one from which SVU had to recuse themselves. Olivia was confused... until Cassidy spilled the beans that the investigation was into her.
Poor Olivia. Her wins don't seem to last her very long. The episode ended before Cassidy could spill any more beans, and we can only wonder if the child abuse case arose from Noah's fresh bruises or if there has been a bigger case being built against Olivia. Although Olivia obviously hasn't been abusing any kids, she is in a line of work where she interacts with vulnerable youngsters on a regular basis. If somebody in the D.A.'s office has a grudge against her, a case could be fabricated. She has made her fair share of enemies over the years.
Then again, it's entirely possible that the child abuse case is simply related to Noah's bruises and nothing nefarious is going on. That said, the events of the episode weren't exactly spread out over weeks and weeks. A lot would have had to happen very quickly for Cassidy to already have received Olivia's case by the end of the episode. Olivia herself didn't even know what had happened until shortly before. My money is on either a case about her relationship with Noah being built on other evidence--or "evidence," as the case probably is, given the fact that she's undoubtedly innocent--over time or a case about multiple kids being fabricated. The Olivia child abuse case may very well be what brings that new big character into the mix and what brings that Law and Order familiar face back into the mix.