Mariska Hargitay Mariska Hargitay

Oh damn, Olivia. Look what fresh hell you have wrought!

If you didn't see Law & Order: Special Victims Unit last night, you missed a major turn of events that could give the series a whole new coat of pain.

After realizing that she'd coerced a confession out an innocent man for a Fleet Week rape and torture eight years prior, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the squad had to scramble not just to catch the real culprit, they also had to exonerate the wrongfully imprisoned patsy and cover their own butts for bungling the entire situation. What resulted was a minefield of consequences.

First, Liv needed to suck it up and accept that her gut was off and that she was just as capable of imposing extreme duress during interrogations as "the old boys club." That was bad on a personal level — for Liv and her understandably uncertain partner Amaro — but it was nothing compared to the professional fallout everyone will now have to live with: The creation of a Conviction Integrity Unit, a cross between Internal Affairs, Quality Assurance and a nosy neighbor that's been tasked with fine-tooth combing over old sex-crime cases...led by Benson's secret beau, ADA David Haden (Harry Connick Jr.).

And although Haden's new gig forced them to end their undisclosed affair, the upside is the possible start of a new Law & Order world order. One in which the long-running series can revisit their most memorable episodes, should they choose, and apply new technology and tactics to closed investigations. Given how deep the L&O history runs, this would give the show a shot of CSI while allowing the cast to do some heavy dramatic lifting as their characters confront the on-the-job errors they may have committed over the years.

What do you think? Was last night a shocker? And should SVU fire up the black lights and start re-exploring the evidence in its old cases?

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