Will Lola Glaudini’s Lena Hess Return to SVU?

Over the years, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has had her share of adversaries. There was William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber), a serial rapist and killer who kidnapped and traumatized Benson. Michael Gardner (Fred Savage) is another serial rapist and murderer that gave Benson and her team serious problems. However, Lena Hess (Lola Glaudini), introduced in season 24 episode 6, is a unique but no less dangerous enemy for Benson. One of the most powerful women in New York, Hess is revealed to be the host of the high-end parties where elites of the city satiate their unconventional desires. By the end of the episode, she manages to escape the clutches of the authorities. If you are wondering whether we will see her again in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,’ this is what we think. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Future of Lena Hess in Law & Order: SVU

Benson and Hess first cross paths after an employee of a company that the latter is acquiring is sexually assaulted. It is revealed that it happened at a secret party that Hess organized. Olivia’s team raids one of these parties and discovers that the entire venue is rigged with cameras. This makes them realize that the venue of the previous party was also likely under surveillance as well and Maggie’s (the victim) assault was recorded. As the investigation progresses, it is discovered that both venues belong to Hess’ company. The police find the video of Maggie’s assault, which leads them to the man responsible, Ethan Schmidt, who reveals that Hess is the one who is throwing these secret parties. Olivia subsequently conducts a raid on Hess’ office. Hess is arrested, and numerous tapes are found. Evidently, Hess could have brought down the entire upper tier of New York society if she wanted. And now, Benson and her team have access to the videos.

Hess is undoubtedly a hypocrite. She claims she does this because she knows the nature of men, pointing out that almost always, the perpetrators are males. But at the same time, she created an environment where the monsters among her guests think they can be themselves, putting women like Maggie in danger. A part of Benson seems to respect Hess. If not anything else, Hess’ actions have helped her unit gather evidence against extremely affluent sexual predators,

Ultimately, as Carisi says in this episode, people like Hess operate under an entirely different justice system. Hess slips off the ankle monitor placed on her and flees New York, likely heading toward a country with which the US doesn’t have an extradition treaty.

This is not the first role that Glaudini has played in the ‘Law & Order’ universe. She also appears as  Leanne Baker in a 2007 episode of ‘Criminal Intent’ and Virginia Pell in a 2012 episode of ‘SVU.’ Lena Hess is perhaps the most impactful character she has played in the franchise — one that can serve as a recurring antagonist for Benson. The final scene seems to indicate that the writers might have some long-term plans for her. After Benson calls the phone number that Hess left behind and speaks to her, she (Benson) doesn’t tell Fin that it is the absconding billionaire on the other end of the line, claiming that it’s a wrong number instead. It seems that the show is setting up a future confrontation between these two women.

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