Michael Parmelee/NBC
May 19, 2015 at 06:14 PM EDT

As if Benson (Mariska Hargitay) hasn’t faced enough turmoil following her near-fatal incidents with William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber), she now faces losing the best thing in her life: baby Noah.

During Wednesday’s Law & Order: SVU finale, which is aptly titled “Surrendering Noah,” Benson aims to make her foster son a permanent part of her family, which is made difficult by the return of the ruthless criminal Johnny D (Charles Halford). “On those forms, you’re supposed to list the biological parents if you know who they are,” EP Warren Leight tells EW. “Unfortunately, we know the biological father of baby Noah is Johnny D, who is the worst of the worst rapist sex traffickers that we’ve seen, and raped Ellie Porter, Noah’s mom, when he had enslaved her. He’s an all around bad, bad guy.”

“He’s coming up on trial for his crimes at around the same time that the adoption is going through,” Leight continues. “The question is: What do you put on the adoption forms? Lying hasn’t gone well for Liv. It didn’t work too well when she lied about what William Lewis did to her. She also wants to start out clean with her son, and doesn’t want the adoption to start out with a lie. Against Barba’s advice, she lists Johnny D as the biological father. Barba begs her not to do it. He says, ’This guy is scrum, he’ll use any leverage he can against you.’ But she lists him, and the battle is on.”

Noah’s paternity then becomes ammunition for Johnny D’s defense lawyer to use in his case. “He’s going to try to file for paternity,” Leight says. “He’s going to try to claim that the reason NYPD is focused on him is because the sergeant is attempting to adopt his kid and he stands in the way of that adoption, so they want him put away. All he has to do is create a little bit of reasonable doubt in one juror and he’s free. If he’s free, he can then petition to end the adoption of Noah. He sees NYPD as having ruined his life, so he’s going to ruin Benson’s if he can.”

While Benson worries whether she’ll get to bring Noah home, there will be a big shift taking place in the squad as she eyes who will be her new No. 2 once she becomes lieutenant. “It’s clear that after the finale, the squad will not be the same,” Leight says, noting that the Amaro-Rollins dynamic “factors in” to the finale. “There are some huge surprises in this episode. You’ll have a sense of where that relationship is going by the end of this episode.” Check out a sneak peek from the finale:

The Law & Order: SVU finale airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Dick Wolf
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