[Warning: The following story reveals plot points from Wednesday's episode of Law & Order: SVU. Read at your own risk.]
Capt. Cragen (Dann Florek) didn't go out in the high style of Sgt. Munch's dressy (and boozy) retirement party back in October, but it was a fitting farewell for Law & Order's longest-running character.
Although Amaro (Danny Pino) was the focus of much of the episode (he shot and paralyzed a 14-year-old boy), Cragen made a stunning announcement immediately after giving Amaro his badge back after he avoided indictment for the shooting. "It's done and so am I. I'm leaving," Cragen, always a man of few words, announced to the squad room.
Cragen's move may have seemed sudden, at least to his longtime underlings, but he had good reason for scurrying out the door. A) His girlfriend had invited him on a six-month cruise around the world and B) Cragen had enough vacation time stored up to use up and coast into his mandatory retirement. No-brainer right? While Munch's goodbye episode featured toasts looking back on his full and colorful life — aka his great sense of humor and his multiple ex-wives — Cragen's final hour was about the bright future that lies ahead of him far away from the confines of the squad room. "I gave my whole life to NYPD and I forgot to live my own. Me and Eileen — it's a Hail Mary. A shot at happiness," he told Olivia. "Take care of yourself. You deserve it."
Cragen made brief remarks to every member of the SVU team, but his biggest announcement was that it would be Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) stepping up and taking his place as the Sgt. in charge. It's both good and bad news since Olivia now gets her own office, which Cragen instructed her to decorate, but she also is now the one who will be deciding when at least part of Amaro's punishment for the shooting ends. A double-edged sword indeed.
After years of rumors about Olivia possibly getting bumped up to a supervisor position of some sort on SVU, it's an interesting time for her to actually be taking the reins. Amaro will be under the microscope for his recent actions for quite some time, and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) seems to be off the wagon in regards to her gambling issues. At least Finn (Ice-T) is staying out of trouble!
What do you think of Olivia's promotion? Is this the right move? Will you miss Capt. Cragen? Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.