_Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the latest episode of Law & Order: SVU. _
After almost 20 seasons on the air, Law & Order: SVU still hasn't lost its ability to shock diehard fans, and many viewers were left with their mouths agape after Brooke Shields made her highly anticipated arrival at the end of the latest episode, titled "Contrapasso." Of all the characters that Shields could have entered the story portraying, she surprisingly announced herself as the biological grandmother of Olivia Benson's adopted son Noah, which throws a spark-prompting wrench into the mix. But even though Shields is well aware of how SVU fans view Benson's enemies, she isn't worried about negative feedback.
But I think what fans will understand is that both of these woman actually have a valid argument, and what does that mean? It is about winning? Is it about finding the healthiest compromise? I'm not there to replace [Olivia]. I'm not there to undermine or stamp her out, so I'm not an adversary in that way.
I'm guessing this means we won't get to see the two characters get into a bloody-knuckled battle of brute force, with the winner taking legal guardianship over Noah. Probably a good thing for several different reasons, especially if Benson wants to come out of this situation with her motherly relationship with Noah intact.
It was announced a couple of months ago that the sitcom-to-drama star Brooke Shields would be joining the Law & Order: SVU ranks, but with the details behind that recurring role kept hush-hush. And now we know why things were handled that way, since the arrival of Sheila Porter isn't going to do much to make Benson's life more stress-free and easy, especially since she'll be taking strides to achieve some form of custody over Noah, who was believed to have zero living relatives. It's a situation that very few could have predicted -- especially with recent mishaps already calling Benson's maternal instincts into question. (Not that fans have any reason to gripe about Dean Winters reappearing for whatever reason.)
I totally get that Brooke Shields' new character isn't some hardened criminal, filthy rapist or corrupt cop destined to keep Benson in constant danger, and that she has her own set of defendable rights to seek custody of the orphaned Noah. And I see how, in theory, that stake in motherhood (or in grandmotherhood, in this case) should ideally have some Law & Order: SVU fans on Sheila's side. But she's totally trying to split Noah and Benson apart, all while Benson is having to wrap her head around the knowledge that Ellie had lied about both of her parents being dead.
According to TVLine, we're going to be seeing quite a bit of Sheila in the coming weeks, and we're likely going to see some parallels to the last time Benson went through this kind of emotional wreckage. Remember some years ago when she was temporarily the legal guardian for the young boy Calvin, who ended up getting taken away and sent to live with his grandparents? The situation obviously isn't exactly the same, but there's enough similarities, and we're assuming Brooke Shields isn't going to come out of this recurring appearance unscathed by the fanbase.
With Jack McCoy returning to the fold this season, there's a lot to bite into, and Brooke Shields is hoping she's safe from all that biting. Fans wanting to see how this situation shakes out know to tune into NBC every Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. ET. And for everyone needing a rundown of all the new and returning shows hitting primetime and beyond in the upcoming months, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.