Did you gasp when that young, sweet, little boy casually reached into his backpack and pulled out a gun — a gun pointed at Olivia Benson, with her own young son playing nearby?
Though she quickly got the situation under control, it was a terrifying moment — and, like the rest of this episode, which included the race to stop a possible terrorist attack in New York City — one that felt all the more real after all the recent awful headlines we’ve seen on the news.
The episode’s title, “Terrorized,” is fitting in more ways than one. It applies to Olivia during that scary moment in the park. It fits again when that lost boy leads the squad to evidence that his parents could be planning a mass-casualty attack on the city, and again to the boy’s mother, who says she’s been terrorized in another brutal way.
We learn that little boy is named Ali, and he was alone after running ahead of his great-aunt, Rahima Babic, who was hit by a bicyclist while crossing the road and died from her injuries (similar to this real-life NYC event). Identifying Rahima leads Liv & Co. to identifying his mother, a woman named Ana Kapic, a Bosnian woman living in the U.S. on a student visa. It appears that she left the boy in her aunt’s care with a detailed schedule for him and a potentially ominous note that asks Rahima to make sure Ali knows his mother loves him, no matter what happens. Ana hasn’t shown up to her waitressing job at a Queens diner for three days, the address her boss has on file is a dead end, and her cell phone is a burner. But a partial print on the gun leads them to an apartment for Luka Terzik, and a photo there indicates he and Ana are a couple and Ali is their son. It looks like they left the apartment in a hurry, their computer’s hard drive is destroyed, and then Fin finds something even more sinister — a room filled with weapons and bomb-making materials.
The joint-terrorism task force comes in, and while Luke and Ana aren’t on any terrorist watch lists or known to have links to radical groups, what they found is enough to indicate they’re planning something very, very bad, and they don’t know what their intended target might be. A lead brings them to Luka’s half-brother, Armin, who claims to have no idea why there are weapons in his brother’s apartment but begins shouting when Carisi takes his phone and dials Luka’s number. Luka hangs up, and the team finds his phone broken with the screen locked — and, like in the recent San Bernadino case, it can’t be unlocked without the passcode. ADA Barba gets a court order to compel the manufacturer to unlock the phone, arguing there’s no other way to get the information on it to prevent what could be a catastrophic event, but the manufacturer isn’t cooperating.
Luckily, security cameras do, and Luka and Ana are seen walking into the park carrying large black bags. They hover by a dance performance with a small crowd, and when an off-duty cop notices them acting suspiciously and shows his badge, Luka pulls out a weapon and shoots him and four others. Olivia and other members of the team race to the scene, and he’s shot and killed by another cop before he can hurt anyone else. Ana, meanwhile, surrenders and begs them not to shoot.
NEXT: Olivia vs. the world