At the end of this past Law & Order: SVU season 19 episode, the truth was revealed regarding Brooke Shields and her character. She is playing Noah’s grandmother, and with that serves as a substantial threat to the adoption Benson already made of the child. When she did so Benson didn’t believe that there was a grandmother out there for Noah to potentially adopt him someday, so suffice it to say, this big reveal comes as a shock. Sheila Porter is not an evil woman on the surface — she just wants her family and thinks that she can give Noah a good life. This is what makes things so complicated.
Also, you just have to remember that it was only recently that the other controversy tied to Benson and Noah was cleared up. One door closes, and then another door opens with more trouble coming in from the other side.
Shields spoke out on the subject of playing Sheila to TVLine recently, noting just how complex the situation was and what her purpose is within the story:
“But I think what fans will understand is that both of these woman actually have a valid argument, and what does that mean? It is about winning? Is it about finding the healthiest compromise?” I’m not there to replace [Olivia]. I’m not there to undermine or stamp her out, so I’m not an adversary in that way.
Is there a way for these two women to coexist and both care for the child? This is one of the primary things that will be a focus during this story for good reason. The reality here is that it doesn’t seem feasible for both of them to have a custody agreement or the like; if Sheila gets the child, the best thing she could hope for is the opportunity to see him here or there. The struggle here is that Sheila doesn’t quite understand the relationship that is there between Benson and Noah. She hasn’t seen it or realize that it is one of the best homes possible for him.
When new showrunner Michael Chernuchin noted before the season that one of the main missions of this season was put Benson through all sorts of hell, he wasn’t kidding. It’s only been a few episodes and so far Mariska Hargitay’s character has faced two different situations where it felt as though she could lose her child. This is not the sort of crisis that any normal person is able to recover from in any sort of normal way. Hopefully, some of the other members of the SVU squad will be there to support her — she’s strong enough to take on the crisis on her own, but she really should not have to.