Brooke Shields says she’s “disappointed” in her character, Sheila Porter, for “prematurely” telling her grandson–Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay)’s adoptive son–about his biological mother.
In Wednesday’s mid-season finale of “Law and Order: SVU,” Sheila told Noah (Ryan Buggle) about his birth mom Ellie, who was killed by a gang in an earlier story arc. When Sheila came into Noah’s and Olivia’s lives, it was a tough decision for Olivia, Shields told TheWrap. “[Olivia] doesn’t want to deny her son a relationship with his blood relative. It’s a hard thing for both women.”
That breach of trust just makes things all the worse when Noah gets kidnapped in Season 19’s mid-season finale–on Sheila’s watch.
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“This is kind of the straw that seems to have broken the back, because it’s coming in proximity to her talking to him about her daughter. Benson has been shellshocked,” Shields said. “Once the dust has settled, [Olivia will] lay down ground rules.”
Sheila takes Noah shopping for a new winter coat, and after she turns her back for a moment to hang a jacket back on the rack, he’s gone. We get a glimpse of the kidnapper, but their face is obscured and unidentifiable.
“Obviously, I spent so much time trying to gain Olivia’s trust that for something like this to happen on my watch is so crushing and heartbreaking, because it’s the second time [Sheila] is losing a kid,” Shields said. “And how will Olivia trust her again?”
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“To have something like this happen in the wake of her having a conversation where she basically told Noah about his mother prematurely, and that was the first breach, and to have this event follow that up it’s just very, very sad.”
But that doesn’t mean Sheila or Olivia will stop at anything to find Noah.
“Olivia is not someone who gives up in any way, and the fact that it’s her son, she will kill to find the person who’s responsible for it,” Shields said. “God help that person when she discovers them.”
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She added: “I think Sheila will definitely try to insert herself [into the investigation], because she really feels because she’s a blood relative of Noah that this is the right thing to do. She’s getting this second chance to do it right.”
Shields also commented on the relevance of “SVU” after 19 seasons.
“I don’t even know how they do it, but if something is happening in current events, I swear it’s in next week’s script,” Shields said. The team has a “whole hand on the pulse. [It’s] important to them to stay relevant and current. Mariska’s intent on that. She wants these shows to bring up issues and highlight problems in different ways.”
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What’s so satisfying about the show, Shields said, is seeing the “bad guys lose out in the end. As a country, and as a people, that’s why it touches such a core, you want to see that.”
Shields added that it’s “refreshing” to see Olivia’s story grow in each episode with a complicated female relationship.
“The way they could have gone is just get her a love interest,” Shields said. “But this, having it be a child and seeing these two women… It’s a very modern idea of coparenting and forgiveness.”
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“There’s this part of [Olivia’s] personal life you don’t see very often on these types of shows. We’re two women of the same age. Women that lived very different but very painful lives. This little boy really brings them together. [It’s a] sophisticated way of dealing with this.”