“Law & Order: SVU” Season 16 Episode 12 “Padre Sadunguera” aired on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, at 9:00 p.m. on NBC. In this episode, it was Detective Nick Amaro’s (Danny Pino) turn to be placed in the hot seat, as painful memories of his past came back to haunt him. He made a decision that turned his family against him after his father was arrested for assaulting his 28-year-old fiancée at their wedding rehearsal dinner. Read on to learn more about this episode.
At the beginning of the episode, Nicolas Amaro (Armand Assante) suddenly showed up in the Special Victims Unit squad room and asked for his son, Detective Nick Amaro (Danny Pino). Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), despite the fact that she knew that Nick did not have a good relationship with his father, pulled him out of the interrogation room. Outside, he was shocked to see his father talking to Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi Jr. (Peter Scanavino). However, as his father insisted that they go have lunch together, he obliged. On the way out, he told Nick that he was invited to his wedding rehearsal dinner the next night, as he was marrying a 28-year-old girl named Gabriella Nunez (Katty Velasquez). However, Nick refused to go, as he was still mad at him for walking out on him, his mother and his sister when he was 15 years old. He then proceeded to walk out on his father.
Back at the squad room, he told Olivia that he could not believe that his father had the nerve to come and ask him to go to his wedding. Olivia then told him that he did have every right to be upset, but he should also learn how to let go” of things in order to heal. However, Nick just threw it back at Olivia and asked her if she had ever forgiven her father and William Lewis for all that they did to her. He then realized that he had gone too far and left the office.
At Nick’s mother’s (Nancy Ticotin) apartment, Nick could not believe that his own mother, who had been beaten up and left by Nicolas, was going to attend the wedding dinner rehearsal with his sister, Sonya (April Hernandez-Castillo). Nick was even more surprised when Sonya came in with his daughter, Zara (Alison Fernandez), who was going to be a flower girl at the wedding. However, he still refused to go to the rehearsal dinner.
During the rehearsal dinner, Nick purposely made sure that he worked overtime. However, he rushed over to the venue after Zara called him up as a fight suddenly erupted. Apparently, during the party, Nicolas caught Gabriella dirty dancing with one of the party guests. There, Nick discovered that both his mother and daughter were safe and was surprised to see Gabriella being brought to the ambulance in a stretcher. She then told him that Nicolas got angry and hit her. After he told her that he was Nicolas’ son, she told him something in Spanish, and he replied in Spanish as well. Afterwards, she insisted on being brought to the hospital immediately. Gabriella’s father, insisted that Nicolas was an animal, and Nick advised his father to cooperate with the police. However, since Gabriella had spoken to her, the detective on the scene insisted that he give his statement to her at the hospital.
However, when he got there, he was surprised to see Olivia. He was even more surprised when she ordered him to go home to be with his family, as the detective in charge asked to speak to Olivia privately. When Nick left, Olivia was informed that Gabriella was now claiming that she had merely hit her head on the wall and had not been hit. However, the EMT in charge believed that she had only changed her story after Nick talked to Gabriella. Gabriella then told them that she had been confused when she made her initial outcry. She claimed that Javier Arenas (Ivan Hernandez), the man that she had been dancing with, followed her downstairs to the bathroom, where he tried to assault her. Nicolas then came and saved her. In the chaos, she hit her head on the wall. However, Olivia knew that Nick would never cover up the truth or pull strings in order to help out his family.
Carisi and Fin went over to Javier’s office to ask him what had happened that night, and he told them that they had dirty danced, but Gabriella stopped after she saw Nicolas looking at her. Afterwards, they went over to Luis Nunez (Daniel Zacapa), Gabriella’s father, who told them that the only person who had followed Gabriella to the bathroom was Nicolas, who, minutes later, came back upstairs and looked for some ice to put on his swollen knuckles. Luis went downstairs, where he saw his daughter on the floor, with blood all around her.
Meanwhile, Nick was called to the Internal Affairs Department, where he told Lieutenant Tucker (Robert John Burke) that all he did was to tell Gabriella in Spanish that she would be alright and asked if he could help her out in any way, certainly did not tell her to change her story. However, Tucker reassured him that he believed him and advised him to steer clear of the investigation for now, which was easy to do at work since Olivia placed him on desk duty.
They then brought Nicolas in for questioning with his lawyer, Mickey D’Angelo (Joseph Lyle Taylor). There, Nicolas insisted that he did not hit Gabriella. Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) told Olivia that he did not like the fact that a Cuban like Nicolas was being found suspect of this, but Olivia told him that she was sure that he was guilty and told him about Nick’s past with his father.
At the Manhattan Detention Complex, Nick told his father to take a plea bargain because he would not bail him out. He then begged him not to let this go to trial, as it would hurt the entire family. However, Nicolas refused to plead guilty. As he was not getting through to him, he walked out of the cell. However, his father shouted not to walk out on him and told Nick that he was not really that “different” from his father.
Back at Olivia’s office, Nick was annoyed at the fact that Olivia had told Barba about his past. However, Olivia told him that she had to tell him, as it was pertinent to the case, especially as this was part of Nicolas’ pattern. Barba then asked him to testify against his father, especially since Nicolas had not agreed to a plea bargain.
Back at home, both Sonya and his mother were upset with him, and they continued to side with Nicolas. Cesaria then mentioned that Nicolas had probably gotten upset because of something that Gabriella did. Nick then asked her then if Gabriella deserved getting beat up, the same way she used to experience with Nicolas years ago. He then told them that if they really wanted to help, they should convince Nicolas to plead guilty so that he would only get community service and anger management.
The next morning, before the trial, Nicolas and D’Angelo tried to negotiate to bring down the charges to a misdemeanor. Barba refused and told them that the most that he would put out on the table was Assault 3, which means that he would be sent to prison for 60 days. However, Nicolas refused and told them that Gabriella and Sonya would testify and that Nick did not have the courage to stand up to him.
During the trial, it was clear to see that based on Javier and Luis’ testimonies, Gabriella had been followed by Nicolas alone, who came back upstairs with sore knuckles. He claimed that a fight ensued between him and Javier, but Javier had no injuries or marks on him whatsoever. However, what irked Barba was that D’Angelo was able to show the jury that all of his witnesses had something against Nicolas, who worked the room with his charm, which got the jury to be more inclined to favor him. This upset Nick as he claimed that this was the story of my life, that even though his father was wrong, even Cesaria, whom Nicolas used to beat up, would actually testify for him if he asked. Barba then told him that he understood if he did not want to testify, and even if his own father was long gone, his fist still curls up in anger at the thought of him.
The next day, Nick told his version of events and the spontaneous outcry that Gabriella made to him. For him, the outcry was credible” because when he was younger, whenever his father got jealous or felt like he was being disrespected, he used to beat up Nick and his mother. However, D’Angelo twisted things to make the jury see that Nick did not really like his father, and he had anger management issues of his own, as he had been demoted after he beat up a criminal who took inappropriate pictures of underage kids recently. Afterwards, his father came on the stand and showed the audience that he had been trying to reconcile with Nick, but to no avail. In addition, even though it was plain to see that Javier had no marks on his body whatsoever, he claimed that all that he had been doing was defending his fiancée.
Outside, while the jury deliberated, Barba couldn’t understand how Nicolas had turned everything to his favor, and Nick began to feel like he had made a huge mistake, especially since now, Sonya and his mother were upset at him. However, after 20 minutes, the jury re-entered the court room and declared Nicolas not guilty, much to the disappointment of Olivia, Barba and Nick.
Later that night, at the squad room, Nicolas visited his son in the squad room and told him he had to say what he said because he was too old for jail and praised him for finally standing up against him. Nick, however, refused to believe that Nicolas was a changed man. However, Nicolas told him that he would be ready for him, whenever he was ready to talk, even if it would mean Nick venting out his anger at him because he knew that his son had a lot of anger, and he wanted Nick to forgive him. He then kissed Nick and left, leaving Nick crying in the squad room.
And that was all for the recap on “Law & Order: SVU” Season 16 Episode 12 “Padre Sadunguera.” For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on “Law & Order: SVU” and other television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
Catch “Law & Order: SVU” every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.
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