Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 19
Credit: Christopher Saunders/NBC

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will take viewers on quite a journey next week, bucking the traditional structure of investigation and trial for a bottle episode mainly focused on the interview of an alleged rape victim — one that brings up demons from Olivia’s past.

When a victim (played by Melora Walters) is brought to SVU, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) must disclose secrets of her own past in order to solve the case. “She basically sacrifices her self, her own sense of privacy, in order to get to the truth of what happened in that room,” executive producer Michael Chernuchin tells EW.

The idea for the standalone hour was born out a simple image Chernuchin stumbled upon in New York. “I was walking in Central Park and I saw something I had never seen before,” he says. “There’s a statue of a mountain lion perched on a rock hidden in the tree, and that’s where the whole episode came from. That’s the central image in the episode, about predators versus prey, and the whole episode came out of me seeing that statue. It’s funny how things work.”

That concept is part and parcel of Olivia’s past spilling out. “It starts out where Melora is the prey and halfway through, it switches and Olivia becomes the prey,” Chernuchin says.

It’s for that reason that Chernuchin praises Walters’ performance, calling it a tour de force — check out a sneak peek below. “Let me tell you something, she was perfect,” he says. “Genius performance. It was the only time in all my years doing television that when she finished her last scene and walked out of that interrogation room, the entire crew gave her a standing ovation. I had never seen that.”

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
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