"Post-Mortem Blues"
SVU, Episode 15.21
Production number: 15021
First aired: 30 April 2014
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 released in all  
Written By
Julie Martin & Warren Leight

Directed By
Michael Slovis


In the moments after William Lewis' death, Sergeant Benson is rescued by the SVU squad, but her torment continues. The Internal Affairs investigation of her actions is deemed inconclusive, and with no evidence to corroborate her story, Prosecutor Derek Strauss convenes a grand jury and calls for Benson's arrest. With increasing pressure from Lt. Tucker and Lt. Murphy to save herself any way she can, Benson must choose between her convictions and her badge.


The action picks up right where it left off, with the SVU team swooping in moments after Lewis commits suicide. Benson, still dazed and splattered in Lewis' blood, rides back with Amaro. The whole unit expresses concern - should they change their story and say that they witnessed the suicide? Murphy says no; Benson will be cleared on the truth and the truth alone.

But it's not that simple. Evidence from the shooting rejects the traditional notion of a suicide - Lewis pulled the trigger with his off hand and Benson's prints are all over the weapon. The ME rules the cause of death "circumstances undetermined" and the investigating officers from Internal Affairs agree. Except IAB wants to help Benson - they can close this case if she admits to acting in self-defense, that's justifiable homicide. Problem is, Benson knows that's not the truth...

IAB calls in the rest of the squad and everyone complies with objective accounts of the incident - except Amaro who fights vehemently for his partner's innocence. Since this goes against Murphy's decree that SVU maintain a less-is-more approach, the acting captain brings Amaro in and lets loose on his recent past - the deflating marriage, the controversial shooting. The message is clear: tread carefully. IAB issues a similar message to Benson when it release its findings - without sufficient evidence supporting Benson's claim, the case rolls over to the Brooklyn D.A. And given all the bad press concerning NYPD cover-ups, they want to convene a grand jury to investigate Lewis' death.

D.A. Strauss parades a series of witnesses to the stand - including Amelia Cole, the young girl Benson saved - in an effort to prove the possibility that Benson shot Lewis. Although his case carries weight, he worries that isn't enough and pivots, deciding to subpoena witnesses to testify from Lewis' trial, attempting to paint Benson as a cop with a vendetta who uses excessive force. The trick appears to work, but Benson's attorney advises against her going on the stand - no matter what she defends, Lewis' suicide or her beating, she could end up in jail. She expresses her lament to her therapist who pleads with her to stop assigning Lewis credit. After all, Lewis is dead, she's alive - and so is Amelia.

With that, Benson announces she will prepare her retirement paperwork to guarantee her pension should the jury indict her. She finally manages to relax as the grand jury continues with Murphy's testimony. Strauss steers the questioning again and again to Benson's violent tendencies, but Murphy never bites. In fact, he reveals that he ordered Benson to admit perjury to lure Lewis out - and he delivers a stirring speech about Lewis' psychotic past. This affects the jury and they refuse to indict Benson. She thanks Murphy for his support, even if he managed to stretch the truth. He corrects her - there were two truths, a little one and a big one, and he told the big one.

Benson ends her day with a visit to the morgue. She takes one last look at Lewis' corpse... the saga, at long last, comes to an end.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast



Background information and notes

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Office of
Doctor Peter Lindstrom
26 West 82nd Street
Thursday, April 3

Grand Jury
Kings County Supreme Court
Monday, April 7

Grand Jury
Kings County Supreme Court
Wednesday, April 9

Previous episode:
"Beast's Obsession"
"Post-Mortem Blues"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 15
Next episode:
"Reasonable Doubt"
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