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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (season 16)

The sixteenth season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit debuted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, at 9pm/8c (Eastern), and concluded on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, on NBC.[1]

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (season 16)
LawAndOrderSVU S16.jpg
Season 16 U.S. DVD cover
Starring
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes23
Release
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 24, 2014 (2014-09-24) –
May 20, 2015 (2015-05-20)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 15
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Season 17
List of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episodes

Contents

ProductionEdit

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was renewed for a sixteenth season on May 7, 2014, by NBC.[2][3] and premiered on September 24, 2014.[4] Production on the season commenced on May 22, with the shooting of first episode,[5] entitled "Girls Disappeared", completed in early June.[6] A second episode was also completed during June with the third scheduled episode being pushed back until after the production hiatus to give rest to the cast and crew.[7][8]

Executive producer Warren Leight revealed that the sixteenth season will follow the events of the previous season finale, with Detective Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) "sent to the bowels of Queens to do traffic stops".[9] Prior to the conclusion of the fifteenth season and hence Sergeant Olivia Benson's (Mariska Hargitay) fostering of baby Noah Porter, Raúl Esparza (Rafael Barba) revealed that, "Benson has a very big, life-changing event take place for her, which I think is gonna last for a while...she might make some choices that are really gonna change her life."[10][11]

NBC President Robert Greenblatt announced that Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, and also Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, could continue to have crossover episodes during the 2014–15 season.[12] The episode entitled "Chicago Crossover" aired on November 12, 2014, as part of a crossover between Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and SVU.[13] Additionally, the episode entitled "Daydream Believer", served as the second crossover with the three aforementioned shows.[14][15]

CastEdit

Main castEdit

Recurring castEdit

Special guest starsEdit

Guest starsEdit

 
Peter Gallagher portrays Deputy Chief William Dodds, the tough-as-nails head of all the Special Victims Units in New York City, in 4 episodes.

Peter Scanavino joined, originally in a recurring capacity, as Detective Dominick "Sonny" Carisi Jr., beginning with the season premiere episode "Girls Disappeared". Detective Carisi is "going to come in [to SVU] and shake things up...a guy who maybe needs a little bit of refining".[9][16] Starting with the fifth episode of the season, Scanavino was upgraded to a regular cast member. Scanavino previously appeared in the season fourteen episode "Monster's Legacy" as another character.

Peter Gallagher joins this season, in a recurring capacity, as Deputy Chief William Dodds, the tough-as-nails head of all the Special Victims Units in New York City.[17]

Teri Polo of the ABC Family series The Fosters guest stars in the second episode, "American Disgrace", as Cordelia. Polo previously appeared in the season ten episode "Confession" as another character. Stacy Keach, Henry Simmons and Sandy Duncan also guest star.[18]

Ron Rifkin returns to SVU portraying defense attorney Marvin Exley in an episode which aired in October, "Producer’s Backend". Exley represents Tensley (portrayed by Stevie Lynn Jones), a young Hollywood celebrity in conflict with the law. Brian d'Arcy James stars as the top-level producer who gave Tensley a score. Dana Wheeler-Nicholson also guest stars as Tensley's mother.[19]

 
Marcia Cross portrays a woman accused of raping her husband, in "December Solstice".

Delaney Williams returns to SVU as Counselor John Buchanan in the episode, "Pornstar's Requiem". Buchanan represents a student accused of raping a pornstar. Buchanan may have a difficult case but there are certain elements that play in his and his clients favor. He makes a further appearance in "Forgiving Rollins" and "Devastating Story".

Chicago P.D.'s Sophia Bush (Det. Erin Lindsay), Jesse Lee Soffer (Det. Jay Halstead), and Jason Beghe (Sgt. Hank Voight) take part in a crossover event between Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and SVU in the November episode "Chicago Crossover". Specifically, they are involved in a joint case involving child sex internet ring.[20] Additionally, Bush and Soffer, with Marina Squerciati (Ofc. Burgess), Brian Geraghty (Ofc. Roman) and Stella Maeve (Nadia Decotis), also took part in the second crossover event between the three shows ("Daydream Believer"). In this episode, SVU works with Chicago Intelligence on a rape/murder case connected to an apartment fire in the Chicago Fire episode "We Called Her Jellybean" and pursue the suspect they're forced to let go in the Chicago P.D. episode "The Number of Rats".[14][15]

 
Andre Braugher returned to SVU in "Perverted Justice" as his character Bayard Ellis. He previously appeared in multiple episodes in seasons 13 and 14.

Harry Hamlin guest starred in an episode that aired on December 10, "Pattern Seventeen" as Rollins' previous commanding-officer in Atlanta, Deputy Chief Patton. Peter Hermann also guest starred in this episode as defense attorney Trevor Langan.[21] Hamlin made a further appearance in the January 7 episode "Forgiving Rollins", alongside Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 actress Dreama Walker. Walker portrays Reese Taymor, a detective from Atlanta who attends a law enforcement conference in New York, with Patton and accuses the latter of rape.[22]

"Agent Provocateur" features guest appearances from Tony Award winner Patti LuPone alongside of former Smash star and Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan.[23] LuPone plays a Hollywood agent and Jordan her newest star who both become involved when their actor colleague is accused of rape. Jordan previously appeared in the 2008 episode "Streetwise", while LuPone made appearances on the original Law & Order series.

Armand Assante guest starred in "Padre Sandunguero" as Nicholas, Detective Amaro's father. The episode also featured the second appearance of Tony winner Nikki M. James as a detective. James previously appeared as a 911 Operator in the 2012 episode "Father Dearest".

Tamara Tunie returned after a long absence as Dr. Melinda Warner in the February 18 episode "Undercover Mother", alongside Donal Logue as lieutenant Declan Murphy after his five episode arc last season. Tunie later appeared in "Daydream Believer".[24]

In "December Solstice", Marcia Cross portrays Charmaine Briggs, the sixth wife of celebrity author Walter Briggs (played by Robert Vaughn), who is accused of sexually abusing her husband, by their step-daughters. This episode marks Cross' first television appearance since the 2012 finale of Desperate Housewives, of which she was part of the cast from 2004 to 2012.[25][26] The episode marks Vaughn's final television prior to his death on November 11, 2016.

Andre Braugher returned to SVU as his season 13–14 recurring character defense attorney Bayard Ellis in the episode entitled "Perverted Justice". Ellis tried and set a jailed-father accused of raping his daughter, free, after she recants her testimony against him. House's Robert Sean Leonard guest stars as ADA Kenneth O’Dwyer, who goes head-to-head with Ellis in court over the case.[27][28] Alongside Braugher and Leonard, Dann Florek made a guest appearance in the same episode as Don Cragen. Cragen, previously a main character, who served as Captain of SVU from 1999 until the fifteenth season, assists Benson in re-opening the case and gathering evidence.[29][30]

EpisodesEdit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
3441"Girls Disappeared"Alex ChappleStory by : Warren Leight & Julie Martin
Teleplay by : Robert Brooks Cohen & Kevin Fox
September 24, 2014 (2014-09-24)160110.07[31]
Detective Amaro, now working as a beat cop in Queens, arrests an underage prostitute who reveals she was a witness to the murder of Ellie Porter, the mother of Sergeant Benson's foster son Noah. Benson asks Amaro to go undercover, which sets off a series of events that puts everyone involved in danger – including baby Noah. Meanwhile, Benson meets the new addition to the squad, Detective Carisi (Peter Scanavino), who starts off on the wrong foot.
3452"American Disgrace"Arthur W. ForneyWarren Leight & Julie MartinOctober 1, 2014 (2014-10-01)16027.73[32]
Orion Bay clothing line press rep Carla Cannon (Kelley Missal) tells reporters she was raped by basketball superstar Shakir "The Shark" Wilkins (Henry Simmons). However, the authenticity of her story and the stories of other women is questioned by Carisi and leaves ADA Barba with a shaky case. As the trial begins, the case starts to fall apart and more than just family secrets of Orion Bay's billionaire owner Orion Bauer (Stacy Keach) and his daughter (Teri Polo) are revealed.
3463"Producer's Backend"Michael PressmanStory by : Julie Martin & Warren Leight
Teleplay by : Jill Abbinanti & Brianna Yellen
October 8, 2014 (2014-10-08)16037.55[33]

Amaro reports to the scene of a car crash where Hollywood starlet Tensley Evans (Stevie Lynn Jones) tries to flirt her way out of trouble. Amaro's by-the-book handling allows for him to be transferred back to the SVU team, just in time to investigate Evans for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy. As Barba pushes forward with her trial for rape, Benson begins to suspect underlying issues that led to Evans' actions, which leads the squad to a producer (Brian d'Arcy James) who has a troubling history.

3474"Holden's Manifesto"Jean de SegonzacStory by : Kevin Fox
Teleplay by : Julie Martin & Warren Leight
October 15, 2014 (2014-10-15)16047.16[34]

Holden March (John Karna), a lovelorn, socially awkward young man, begins to exact revenge on the women he believes have wronged him, which soon escalates to murder. When Detectives Amaro and Rollins find Holden with hostages at a local school, they soon find out how dangerous a desperate man can be. Meanwhile, Benson deals with pressure from the newly appointed Deputy Chief William Dodds (Peter Gallagher) while Noah is hospitalized.

3485"Pornstar's Requiem"Jennifer GetzingerStory by : Kevin Fox & Warren Leight
Teleplay by : Robert Brooks Cohen & Céline C. Robinson
October 22, 2014 (2014-10-22)16057.19[35]

Evie Barnes (Hannah Marks) answers a modeling ad hoping to make money for college tuition, but it quickly turns into pornography. When college students discover her double life, they force themselves on Evie at a party, resulting in their arrest for rape. Although she is not the one on trial, Benson and Barba fight to prove her innocence in the courtroom.

3496"Glasgowman's Wrath"Jean de SegonzacStory by : Julie Martin & Warren Leight
Teleplay by : Brianna Yellen & Jill Abbinanti
November 5, 2014 (2014-11-05)16067.00[36]

When a babysitter's ghost stories lead to two girls going missing and another severely injured, Benson and the SVU detectives work to locate a suspect and decipher fact from fiction.

3507"Chicago Crossover"Steve ShillStory by : Dick Wolf & Warren Leight
Teleplay by : Ed Zuckerman
November 12, 2014 (2014-11-12)160710.01[37]

Benson and SVU get a new lead on a missing child pornography victim from Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) of the Chicago Police Department. When things become personal for CPD Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush), she and her partner (Jesse Lee Soffer) travel to New York to lend a hand in the investigation.

This episode continues a crossover with Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. that begins on "Nobody Touches Anything" and concludes on "They'll Have to Go Through Me". It is included on the Chicago Fire Season 3 and Chicago P.D. Season 2 DVD sets.
3518"Spousal Privilege"Sharat RajuStory by : Warren Leight & Julie Martin
Teleplay by : Julie Martin & Samantha Corbin-Miller
November 19, 2014 (2014-11-19)16087.93[38]

Detective Tutuola discovers security camera footage of a domestic dispute between a famous sportscaster (Chad Coleman) and his girlfriend (Meagan Good). While Fin and Benson dive into the couple's life, Barba tries to convince the woman to press charges.

3529"Pattern Seventeen"Martha MitchellKevin FoxDecember 10, 2014 (2014-12-10)16096.90[39]
When a series of young girls are assaulted, Rollins connects the pattern to cases she worked in Atlanta, but discovers that none of the rape kits were tested. Returning to Atlanta to interview a victim believed to have been assaulted by their suspect, she has an awkward reunion with her former boss, Atlanta Deputy Chief Charles Patton (Harry Hamlin). While the detectives connect the pattern to other cities with untested rape kits, Benson faces scrutiny at CompStat from Deputy Chief Dodds and the NYPD brass.
35310"Forgiving Rollins"Michael SlovisJulie Martin & Warren LeightJanuary 7, 2015 (2015-01-07)16107.76[40]
Atlanta Deputy Chief Patton and his new detective, Reese Taymor (Dreama Walker), visit New York for a sex crimes conference. After the conference, Taymor reports being raped in her hotel, leading Benson and SVU to question her fellow visiting Atlanta police officers. When Rollins discovers a personal connection to Taymor, Barba seeks Rollins' help in court, which forces her to disclose a secret she has worked hard to hide.
35411"Agent Provocateur"Alex ChappleSamantha Corbin-MillerJanuary 14, 2015 (2015-01-14)16116.68[41]
A young woman (Madison Grace) sneaks out to attend a party with her celebrity crush, Scott Russo. Things take a turn for the worst when the teenager is found sexually assaulted and left for dead in an alley. Russo and his manager (Patti LuPone) are then suspects when security footage of the party goes missing, only to turn up on a gossip website. When the website's CEO refuses to hand over the footage to the squad, Barba fights to get the truth by having the man arrested for withholding evidence.
35512"Padre Sandunguero"Mariska HargitayStory by : Peter Blauner & Warren Leight
Teleplay by : Peter Blauner
January 21, 2015 (2015-01-21)16126.77[42]
Amaro's father, Nicolas (Armand Assante), invites his estranged family to his wedding with a 28-year-old woman. When Amaro declines the invitation, a fight ignites at the wedding, causing Nicolas to become arrested for assault. Amaro and the SVU squad become entangled in the investigation, with IAB keeping an eye on Amaro's involvement. Barba takes the case and requires Amaro to stand as a witness, which forces him to reveal family secrets and face the possibility of tearing his family apart.
35613"Decaying Morality"Michael PressmanKevin Fox & Brianna YellenFebruary 4, 2015 (2015-02-04)16136.20[43]
Benson and Rollins treat a rape victim, (Haley Lu Richardson), found with her clothes torn, who claims to have been raped in a pizzeria bathroom. With a criminal record and a pending lawsuit against the NYPD, the precinct is short on evidence and the suspect is released. Enraged, Jenna's father (Jamie McShane) conducts his own investigation, which could change the family's lives and make SVU's job harder.
35714"Intimidation Game"Jean de SegonzacStory by : Julie Martin & Céline C. Robinson & Robert Brooks Cohen
Teleplay by : Céline C. Robinson & Robert Brooks Cohen
February 11, 2015 (2015-02-11)16146.12[44]

Video game developer Raina Punjabi (Mouzam Makkar) ignores warnings from online predators as the release date of her game arrives. When a female employee is soon assaulted at a game convention, the detectives ask Punjabi to halt the game's release. When she refuses, Fin and SVU must race to protect her from technically skilled predators that want to see Punjabi out of the gaming business.

35815"Undercover Mother"Steve ShillWarren Leight & Julie MartinFebruary 18, 2015 (2015-02-18)16156.45[45]
While undercover to destroy a sex trafficking ring, Carisi encounters Martha Thornhill (Lili Taylor). She explains she has been disguising herself as a madame in the organization in order to try to find and save her daughter, Ariel, who had been kidnapped. She eventually gives up working alone and asks SVU to help her. As a team, they try to break down the pimp and his cohorts, while Ariel remains missing, and discover they may have some help on the inside from an old friend. Meanwhile, Dr. Warner discovers that the pimp is Noah's biological father and alerts Benson.
35916"December Solstice"Sharat RajuEd ZuckermanFebruary 25, 2015 (2015-02-25)16167.72[46]
Walter Briggs (Robert Vaughn), a celebrity author, is put in the middle of a feud between his sixth wife, Charmaine (Marcia Cross), and his daughters over his welfare, sparked by an accusation that Charmaine has been sexually abusing her husband by giving him erectile dysfunctional medication without his knowledge. When Walter is hospitalized for a heart attack, Charmaine removes him from the hospital against medical advice before any tests can be conducted. A subsequent heart attack causes Walter's death, prompting Barba to pursue manslaughter charges against Charmaine. During the trial, a video tape that Walter recorded prior to his dementia is released, revealing his feelings and wishes for his family. Meanwhile, Barba struggles with his decision to put his grandmother in a retirement home.
36017"Parole Violations"Jean de SegonzacJill AbbinantiMarch 25, 2015 (2015-03-25)16175.92[47]
Carisi's sister is preparing for the birth of her child with her fiancé, Tommy, but events take a turn for the worst when Tommy returns to old habits and accuses his parole officer of rape. With the help of Benson and the detectives, Carisi investigates Tommy's allegation, but Barba faces an uphill battle convincing a jury that a woman can rape a man.
36118"Devastating Story"Michael SlovisSamantha Corbin-MillerApril 1, 2015 (2015-04-01)16186.25[48]

Skip Peterson (Rob Morrow), a television host, broadcasts an interview with Heather Manning, a college student, who claims to have been gang raped in a fraternity house. Manning's story goes viral and the case quickly turns into a she-said, they-said dilemma, with pressure on SVU to open a real investigation. The lack of a rape kit, the shakiness of the victim and varying numbers of suspects result in the case being dismissed.

36219"Granting Immunity"Holly DaleStory by : Julie Martin & Warren Leight
Teleplay by : Brianna Yellen & A. Zell Williams
April 8, 2015 (2015-04-08)16197.31[49]
Savannah Biel's (Hayden Tweedie) pornographic photos quickly go viral in Tribeca High School after an underage sex party. A measles outbreak stops Barba's attempts to arrest the suspects and Benson is hit with reality when Noah contracts the illness. While dealing with Noah's situation, Benson investigates the group of mothers who have lied about their children's medical records. Meanwhile, Amaro learns some worrisome news about his son.
36320"Daydream Believer"Martha MitchellStory by : Warren Leight & Matt Olmstead
Teleplay by : Julie Martin & Ed Zuckerman
April 29, 2015 (2015-04-29)16209.28[50]

Benson and CPD Sgt. Voight lead their teams in the investigation of a rape-murder case that is frighteningly similar to a case from New York a decade ago. While searching for the suspect, one of Chicago's own is kidnapped, intensifying SVU's mission to help Voight's team locate the man.

This episode concludes a crossover with Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. that begins on "We Called Her Jellybean" and continues on "The Number of Rats". It is included on the Chicago Fire Season 3 and Chicago P.D. Season 2 DVD sets.
36421"Perverted Justice"Alex ChappleStory by : Warren Leight & Julie Martin
Teleplay by : Robert Brooks Cohen & Céline C. Robinson
May 6, 2015 (2015-05-06)16216.11[51]
Bayard Ellis (Andre Braugher) asks the SVU squad to reopen the investigation of a man (Glenn Plummer) who was convicted of incest and rape when the man's daughter (Samira Wiley), a recovering addict, recants her original testimony, claiming it was all a lie that her mother forced her to say in court. When the original motion to vacate the charges is denied, the squad turns to retired Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) for insight in the case and uncover evidence that was never presented during the original trial.
36522"Parents' Nightmare"Jean de SegonzacKevin Fox & Brendan FeeneyMay 13, 2015 (2015-05-13)16226.82[52]
Owen Farhidi, an 8-year-old boy, is kidnapped at school. After receiving a ransom request, Owen's mother, Dana, contacts SVU for help. Amaro works with the mother and her ex-husband, Sam, when footage proves the victim knew his abductor. The strain between the estranged couple threatens the investigation until Benson and Amaro convince one spouse to turn against the other. Meanwhile, pressure from One Police Plaza for a higher-ranking commanding officer at SVU leads Benson to consider taking the Lieutenant's exam.
36623"Surrendering Noah"Michael SlovisJulie Martin & Warren LeightMay 20, 2015 (2015-05-20)16236.96[53]
After expressing interest in taking the upcoming Sergeant's exam, Amaro learns from Benson that One Police Plaza does not want to promote him as he is considered "damaged goods" due to his involvement in several past incidents. As Johnny D's (Charles Halford) criminal case finally goes to trial, Benson goes against Barba's advice by disclosing that Johnny is the biological father of Noah, endangering the final stages of the adoption. A disruption during the trial grants Johnny the opportunity to grab an officer's gun; he kills one court officer and wounds Amaro, the judge, and another officer, but Amaro returns fire and kills him. Realizing that he is unlikely to advance within the NYPD and that the department may use his injuries to force him into early retirement, Amaro resigns in order to move to California so he can be closer to his children.

ReceptionEdit

No. Title Air date Ratings/Share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
18-49
DVR Viewers
(millions)
Total
18-49
Total Viewers
(millions)
Rank (week)
1 "Girls Disappeared" September 24, 2014 (2014-09-24) 2.2/6[31] 10.07[31] 1.3[54] 3.13[54] 3.4[54] 13.2[54] 23[55]
2 "American Disgrace" October 1, 2014 (2014-10-01) 1.8/5[32] 7.73[32] 1.2[54][56] 3.07[54][56] 3.0[54][56] 10.8[54][56] N/A
3 "Producer's Backend" October 8, 2014 (2014-10-08) 1.7/5[33] 7.61[33] 1.1[57] 2.75[57] 2.8[57] 10.36[57] N/A
4 "Holden's Manifesto" October 15, 2014 (2014-10-15) 1.7/5[34] 7.16[34] 1.1[56] 2.9[56] 2.8[56] 10.04[56] N/A
5 "Pornstar's Requiem" October 22, 2014 (2014-10-22) 1.6/5[35] 7.19[35] 1.2[58] 2.4[58] 2.8[58] 9.6[58] N/A
6 "Glasgowman's Wrath" November 5, 2014 (2014-11-05) 1.6/5[36] 7.00[36] 1.3[59] 3.13[59] 2.9[59] 10.12[59] N/A
7 "Chicago Crossover" November 12, 2014 (2014-11-12) 2.4/7[37] 10.01[37] 1.2[60] 3.1[60] 3.6[60] 13.1[60] 19[61]
8 "Spousal Privilege" November 19, 2014 (2014-11-19) 1.8/5[38] 7.93[38] 1.1[62] N/A 2.9[62] N/A N/A
9 "Pattern Seventeen" December 10, 2014 (2014-12-10) 1.4/4[39] 6.90[39] 0.83[63] 2.3[63] 2.26[63] 9.2[63]
10 "Forgiving Rollins" January 7, 2015 (2015-01-07) 1.7/5[40] 7.76[40] 0.9[64] 1.1[64] 2.56[64] 9.9[64]
11 "Agent Provocateur" January 14, 2015 (2015-01-14) 1.4/4[41] 6.68[41] 0.7[65] 1.9[65] 2.1[65] 8.6[65]
12 "Padre Sandunguero" January 21, 2015 (2015-01-21) 1.3/4[42] 6.77[42] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
13 "Decaying Morality" February 4, 2015 (2015-02-04) 1.3/4[43] 6.20[43] 0.8[66] 2.2[66] 2.1[66] 8.4[66]
14 "Intimidation Game" February 11, 2015 (2015-02-11) 1.4/4[44] 6.12[44] 0.8[67] 2.3[67] 2.2[67] 8.4[67]
15 "Undercover Mother" February 18, 2015 (2015-02-18) 1.6/5[45] 6.45[45] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
16 "December Solstice" February 25, 2015 (2015-02-25) 1.7/4[68] 7.72[68] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
17 "Parole Violations" March 25, 2015 (2015-03-25) 1.3/4[47] 5.92[47] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
18 "Devastating Story" April 1, 2015 (2015-04-01) 1.5/5[48] 6.25[48] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19 "Granting Immunity" April 8, 2015 (2015-04-08) 1.8/5[49] 7.31[49] N/A N/A N/A N/A 25[69]
20 "Daydream Believer" April 29, 2015 (2015-04-29) 2.1/7[50] 9.28[50] 1.5[70] 3.97[70] 3.5[70] 13.22[70] 10[71]
21 "Perverted Justice" May 6, 2015 (2015-05-06) 1.2/4[51] 6.11[51] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
22 "Parents' Nightmare" May 13, 2015 (2015-05-13) 1.6/5[52] 6.82[52] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
23 "Surrendering Noah" May 20, 2015 (2015-05-20) 1.4/5[53] 6.96[53] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

ReferencesEdit

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