Spoilers ahead for Law & Order: SVU Season 23, Episode 11 “Burning With Rage Forever.”
The latest twist-filled episode of the long-running series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was about more than just Olivia Benson's team tracking down a perp. During this special installment, Captain Benson’s 8-year-old son, Noah (Ryan Buggle), came out to her as bisexual. And now the young actor is reflecting on the important episode and working on it with his on-screen mother, Mariska Hargitay.
The midseason premiere saw Noah getting bullied, with left Olivia trying to figure out why it was happening. Noah tells her that a boy, Hudson, put his dog’s collar on him, locked him in a cage and wanted him to eat dog food. Mother and child have a true heart-to-heart at the end of the episode. During the chat, Olivia mentions that she discussed the incident with Hudson’s mother, even though Noah asked her not to. It’s soon revealed that Hudson had been attacking kids who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and, following this revelation, Noah comes out (putting himself in the ranks of other notable bisexual TV characters).
Olivia, being the wonderful mother we know her to be, is supportive of her son and proud of him for speaking his truth. It’s a touching moment that so eloquently illustrates the power of being true to one's self, and it also serves as a nice piece of representation on the small screen. Ryan Buggle took to Instagram following the episode's debut to explain how Mariska Hargitay helped him prep for the show:
Believe it or not, there are still very TV shows that highlight LGBTQ+ youth and their attempts to come to terms with their sexuality, so this episode was definitely refreshing. It’s nice to know that both Mariska Hargitay and Ryan Buggle had discussions about the script as it was being finished. It goes without saying that representation is as important, as everyone deserves a chance to see themselves on screen. In the same post, Buggle later echoed his character’s sentiments on bullying:
The young star couldn't have summed things up any more beautifully. Hopefully, viewers will get to see Noah’s journey as time goes on. And based on this episode alone, if the show does continue to highlight it, the young man's journey will surely be tackled in a nuanced and loving way.
Law & Order: SVU, which is currently battling other shows in the ratings arena, airs new episodes at 9 p.m. ET on Thursdays on NBC! And check out CinemaBlend's 2022 winter and spring TV schedule to see what else to catch.
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