Thursday, March 28, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Legitimate Rape” Recap & Review

The title of Law & Order SVU “Legitimate Rape” was drawn from real life headlines. In August 2012, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Missouri, Republican Todd Akin,  stated that victims of rape rarely become pregnant, saying “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” His ridiculous comment released a storm of outrage and criticism, and (thankfully) it helped him to lose his bid for re-election. I admit I was concerned that the writers could build a decent story over that one quote and was preparing for the worst. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed this episode.

This episode focused less on the main cast and more on the guest stars, and luckily their acting skills were up to the challenge. Lauren Cohan’s character, Avery Jordan, started out a little flat, but as the stress of the trial(s) took their toll, she had more opportunity to show her range. David Marciano was perfect as the creepy and controlling stalker-rapist. Raúl Esparza continues to add spark to the legal aspect of Law & Order SVU and I am thrilled he had plenty of screen time in this episode.

The episode did have its predictable spots.  When it was mentioned that Purcell had a law degree, it was obvious he was going to take charge of his own case(s). It was also no surprise that Avery took off with the baby. Of course, Benson’s own experience of being a child of rape would clearly be an issue for her. I was glad that we weren't hit over the head with that story, which is well known to SVU fans (and also tiresome for some). It was kept under the surface, and viewers could detect that it was on Benson’s mind at times. Thankfully, when it seems she is going to make the big reveal to Amaro, we were saved by the “fade to black.”

The episode satisfied my need for legal drama, and at times it felt more like a Law & Order episode (I am not complaining).

I wondered if Cragen will be forced to issue an Amber alert; technically this is now a case of a missing baby. If Benson were to tip off what she knows to the wrong person, she could be considered an accomplice. Even though Benson said Avery left against her attorney’s and Benson’s advice, the fact the Benson seems to have an idea of where they are hiding could implicate her as being a part of the plan for Avery to leave with the baby. I hope Amaro can keep secret what Benson confided in him.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Richard Belzer – Sergeant John Munch
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro

Guest stars:
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Jenna Stern – Judge Elana Barth
Lauren Cohan – Avery Jordan
Robert Bogue – Jason Hollis
Elizabeth Marvel – Attorney Calhoun
Ned Eisenberg – Roger Kressler
Jayne Houdyshell – Judge Linden
David Marciano – Rick Purcell
Reathel Bean - Congressman Fritz Showalter
Eliud Kauffman – Ken Bunuel
Hunter Emery - Andy Copeland
Mark Gessner – Mikey
Ramesh Ganeshram – Man in scrubs
Kent Kassella – Jury Foreman
Lauren Smith _ Barba’s Assistant

Reporter Avery Jordan covers a baseball story in Chicago, and while on camera she is subjected to harassing behavior by the team. The news story is cut short, with the coverage coming back to the news anchor in New York, Jason Hollis. The cameraman in Chicago, Rick Purcell, appears dismayed.

At a later date, Detective Olivia Benson meets Avery in a small restaurant and wants to talk about a situation where Avery says she was sexually assaulted while she was traveling for work. She did not report it at the time. When some fans interrupt Avery’s conversation with Benson, Avery cuts the discussion short, and Benson gives Avery her business card and encourages Avery to call her.

Later, Avery comes home to her apartment to see a large manila envelope at the door marked that photos are enclosed and to handle with care. Inside, she opens the envelope to see compromising photos, with one marked “WATCHING YOU.”

Sometime later, Avery comes in to SVU wearing a hat and sunglasses to obscure her identity. Benson and Amaro speak with her in the interview room. She explains that her cameraman Rick Purcell has been stalking her, and explains the note left at her apartment. She explains she can’t go to her employer about this as she is a professional but she needs an out of work hours restraining order, When Amaro says it doesn’t work that way, she cuts him off and asks that they just call him and tell him to quit stalking her. When Benson asks if Avery told him that, Avery says she is trying to be polite and he is a good cameraman. Benson thinks Purcell may be imagining there is a relationship as he crossed a line and Avery pretended that nothing happened. Benson adds that if Avery wants them to help her, she has to tell them every single thing that happened. Avery explains that he got into her apartment after they came back from a road trip and he dropped her off and then carried up her bags. She thanked him and said she was tired and he headed toward the door so she thought he left. She went and took a shower and when she came out he was just standing there. He tried to kiss her and she said that she was tired and he needed to go, but he pushed her onto the bed and raped her. She did not scream or say no, she just froze. When Benson asks Avery to confirm that she told no one about this, Avery gets up and thinks there is no point. Amaro stops her and says they can still make a case, asking if he used a condom. Avery replies no, that is why she went to the doctor the next day and got tested for STDs. Benson thinks the doctors exam would be helpful, and Amaro asks if she still has the sheets and bedspread. She replies yes.

Later, in Cragen’s office, Fin is looking at a photo of Avery and asks if she is the one that wears the tight white jeans on the sidelines. Rollins tells him that is someone else and it is beside the point. Amaro walks in and hands Cragen the file, as he says this will be high profile and he needs to be kept in the loop. Benson explains it was not a jock who did this it was a cameraman and it happened in her condo after the 4th of July weekend, which Cragen comments was six weeks ago. Amaro explains Avery did see her doctor and they are checking the bedding for DNA. Rollins reminds them if they find anything,  that does not preclude consent. Benson reminds them Avery came forward reluctantly and there is nothing in it for her. Cragen tells them to corroborate that, instructing them to clone her cell phone, check for recent texts and voice mailed calls. Fin asks about the cameraman, and Amaro explains that Richard Purcell is single and been at the company 10 years, and with the exception of speeding tickets,  he’s clean. He also has a law degree at Fordham but did not take the bar exam. Cragen instructs them to go after him hard but this will be an uphill case especially if Purcell knows the law and tells Fin and Rollins to keep that in mind when they talk to him.

At Sports and Events Network, Fin and Rollins speak with Purcell who is surprised at the allegation. He thinks there was an unspoken attraction but Rollins says that is not how Avery tells it. Purcell says they have been working and travelling together since they hooked up and thinks because she is just bringing this up now, that “he” must have found out. When Fin asks who is “he”, Purcell says it is above his pay grade and he could get in a lot of trouble with his producers. Rollins says he is in trouble with the NYPD. Purcell says OK but they did not get this from him – Avery is also having an affair with one of the network anchors. He looks at the screen where Jason Hollis is on screen, then says he said too much.

Back at Avery’s apartment, Benson and Amaro discuss what Rick Purcell said about the affair and that her lover got jealous and Rick got caught in the crossfire. Avery denies this. Benson says if Avery is sleeping with someone else, it can affect the case, adding the lab found semen from two men on her bedspread. Avery explains that the man has a wife and kids and it will ruin both of them. Amaro says Rick is clever and using the affair to create reasonable doubt. Avery brings out the envelope with the photos and asks if they recognize him.

At “Jason’s Kids” annual benefit, Fin and Rollins speaks with Jason Hollis, who said Avery told him Rick was blackmailing her. He explains Avery was good with the crew, that is part of the job. He asks if there is any way to get this to stop without this becoming public. Rollins says that Rick has already come after her and he will come after him too. Jason thinks he already has.

At ADA Barba’s office, Avery watches a video of Avery and Jason together in a hotel room. She asks him to stop the video and Benson shuts it off. Avery asks why Rick sent this to Jason. Benson says so far Rick has not asked Jason for money, adding that Jason got the video anonymously two weeks ago. Avery comments that this explains why Jason called it off after the last road trip. Rollins believes Rick thinks he got what he wanted – having Avery to himself. Avery does not want to press charges, she just wants to destroy the tape. Barba says if they can tie this to Purcell, it can prove he is stalking her. Avery comments “if?” and that Rick is a cameraman, who else would do it? Avery admits Rick had access to the room, he would bring coffees to the room and bring in her bags and worries that Rick has copies. Barba advises her if she agrees to press charges, they can get a warrant for his computer, home, and office. Benson comments that the video was taken before the rape, and Barba thinks this speaks to an escalating pattern of obsession and harassment; they can tie the stalking and make the case for rape that much stronger. Benson adds it also makes it more difficult for the defense to claim it was consensual. Avery is upset, saying she had bruises. Rollins counters that the defense will say she liked it rough, a single woman on the road with mostly men, adding they will not just ask about Jason, they will use anything they can. When Avery says it was just Jason, Barba asks if she is sure…no more surprises? Benson explains that guys like Rick don’t stop until Avery stops them. Avery says she gets it, no more surprises. Barba thinks they have enough to issue a warrant. Barba cautions Avery that after they pick Rick up, even though rape shield protects her, this will hit the press. Avery seems shocked. He adds that the network has a PR team, tell them to figure out how to spin this.

Later, while Rick is loading the van with equipment at the loading dock, Fin and Amaro arrest Rick for stalking and rape.

At Avery’s home, Benson tells Avery that Barba charged Purcell with rape in the first and aggravated stalking, and adds that the judge set a very high bail and he will stay in jail until the trial. Avery sits down and does not look well, and Benson asks if she is OK. Avery says she has been lightheaded and nauseous, attributing it to stress. Benson asks if she got a pregnancy test, and Avery says no, she can’t get pregnant, that is why she and her ex divorced. Benson replies that sometimes things change, and asks when was the last time she had sex with Jason? Avery explains that he had a vasectomy. Benson brings up the timing of the rape and asks if Avery is late. As Avery gets a stunned look on her face, Benson says it is possible she is pregnant. Avery says she can’t be pregnant with his baby and she begins to cry.

In February, Benson and Barba arrive at the courthouse, with Avery who is very pregnant, who comments she did not think she would be showing this much by the time they went to trial. Barba advises her not to hide it, they will lose the jury.

In the courtroom, Benson is on the stand explaining about Avery first reporting the rape and that sometimes it takes years for survivors to come forward, and she can understand why, given the complications. She adds that Purcell was a co-worker and Avery has a high public profile and knew that coming forward could damage her reputation and that of others. She came forward at great cost, she’s stepped down from her job and had horrible breaches of privacy including the public’s knowledge that she became pregnant by rape, and that Avery does not want Purcell to get away with what he did to her. Defense attorney Roger Kressler moves to strike the comment, saying that is speculation. Barba says he is asking Benson’s opinion based on her 14 years in sex crimes. Judge Barth overrules.

Next, Amaro is on the stand and Barba asks if there is any other reasons they knew the sex was not consensual. Amaro testifies that Purcell was stalking her and sending threatening messages.

Fin testifies that Purcell sent Avery pictures he had taken of her from hidden cameras and they knew they came from him as they found copies of the same images on Purcell’s hard drive.

Afterwards, Barba comments to Fin and Rollins that the defense is not putting up much of a fight. He says to get Jason Hollis up now, and Rollins replies that Jason is a reluctant witness and he is just getting back to work after being suspended. Fin adds that Jason said he barely patched up his marriage to the model. Barba counters that is not his problem, he wants him on the stand – tomorrow.

Later, Fin and Rollins speak with Jason who says he is sorry, he cares about Avery but his wife has almost forgiven him. He can’t take the stand. Rollins says she used to be a big fan of his and won a fortune on him on one game and tries to convince him to step up for Avery. He says he wants things to be the way they were. Fin tells him it is too late, if they don’t call him, the defense will.

Back in Supreme Court, Jason is on the stand and testifies he had the affair with Avery for about a year and a half. He ended the relationship when he got the compromising video from Rick. Rick did not attempt to blackmail him. Rick write a note to Kressler. When Barba asks why Rick sent him the video, Purcell objects that this is speculation and Kressler tells him to take it easy. The judge asks Kressler if everything is alright, and Kressler says yes. Barba smiles and says he will rephrase the question, and then asks Jason if he took any action after he received the video, and Jason explains that he told Avery they needed to stop seeing each other; he was furious as Rick was spying on them and calls Rick a sick bastard. The judge chastises him, and he goes on to say he also found out what else Rick did to her. Rick looks visibly agitated and then asks the judge if he can approach. Kressler throws up his hands and Judge Barth tells him that ordinarily his counsel requests that. But Rick stands up and says this is an urgent mater that needs to be discussed. The judge says they will take a recess and tells Barba and Kressler she will see them in chambers.

Barth sits at her desk and angrily tells Purcell this is highly unusual. Barba says that replacing counsel at this point puts a burden on Avery. Purcell tells the judge to either replace counsel or call a mistrial, adding that despite his lawyer and he sharing his good looks, Kressler has been derelict in his duties. Kressler tells Rick he needs to think about this. Rick says Kressler he performed a barely credible cross with the SVU detectives and has conducted himself like a drooling fan with Jason Hollis. Judge Barth says she is not sure she agrees, and Barba adds nor does he. Purcell argues that there have been countless issues of facts that Kressler failed to address. Kressler shouts that Avery is allegedly pregnant with Rick’s child and does he want him to come out with guns blazing, saying that will not help his case. Rick shouts back that he is entitled to a defense, not an apology, and tells the judge if Kressler won’t fight for him, he needs to get out of the way. Kressler smiles.

Meanwhile, in the courthouse hall, Avery asks Benson and Barba what is going on. Benson explains that Purcell wants a change of counsel . Avery says the son of a bitch is just trying to drag this out, and Barba explains that the judge agreed to let him represent himself, starting tomorrow. Benson adds that is Purcell’s right. Avery worries that rick can ask him anything he wants. Barba assures her not everything and he will be there to make objections. Avery comments that first he rapes her and now he gets to interrogate her in front of everybody. She looks and sees Purcell standing there, glaring and smiling at her. As Rick walks into the courtroom, Avery comments that he can’t do this to her.

Later, as the trial resumes. Purcell cross examines Jason, with Kressler still there to confer. He asks him if he and his wife socialized with Avery during the affair – they did - and if his wife suspected the affair. Jason says she did not suspect, and Purcell concludes that Avery is skilled in the art of deception. Barba objects and Purcell withdraws the question. Purcell asks that Jason helped Avery, but Jason says this is not why she was a success. Purcell asks if Jason recommended her for choice assignments if it put them on the road together. Jason says yes. Purcell asks if the only reason why Avery was with him was because it helped his career, and Jason testifies it was not like that. Purcell comments that he himself could do nothing but love her, asking isn’t that why Avery was with him? Barba objects and the judge sustains. Jason comments that Avery was never “with” Purcell, and Purcell replies that she IS having his baby, unless the evidence shows otherwise. Barba, looking stunned, objects and the judge tells Purcell that will do. Purcell withdraws the question and the jury makes odd looks. Purcell states he is done with Jason but wants to recall Benson to the stand.

Benson is on the stand again and when questioned she admits the complainants are not always found truthful. He comments that she has arrested hundreds of rapists and wonders if that has colored her thinking. Barba objects but the judge gives Purcell some leeway but asks him to make his questions more specific. Benson says she does her job. Purcell asks how many innocent men has she brought to trial, and she replies only one, and when she found out, she fought for his release. Purcell makes a comment that men are all rapists, and Barba leaps from his seat and objects, saying it is argumentative and ridiculous. The judge sustains it, and Purcell asks if Benson hates men, to which Barba objects again. Purcell asks when the last time Benson was in a relationship, and Barba objects again. The judge sustains the objections. Purcell asks how many times she has seen an actual rape victim become pregnant and decide to keep the baby? She glares at him and says it happens. Purcell replies “like convicting innocent men happens.” Barba objects again and Purcell withdraws it. Purcell questions that Avery did not get a rape kit, but Benson counters that she did get a medical exam which showed trauma consistent with sexual assault. Purcell asks for yes or no answers, and asks if this kind of trauma can occur after something like a honeymoon or a couples weekend in Atlantic City? Barba objects and when the judge admonishes him, he rephrases to ask if it is possible this trauma occurred form consensual sex? Benson says it is possible. He asks Benson about the testimony that there was DNA on Avery’s bedspread from a second man and asks if there is no way to differentiate between and encounter that is consensual or not. She says no. He ends the questioning.

Later, Avery is on the stand testifying about the rape and the photos and the menacing note. She went to SVU when she realized he was stalking her. Barba asks why she kept a baby conceived of rape, and Avery explains that she had previously been told she could not have children of her own. When she first found out she was pregnant, she felt like he was still violating her. Purcell objects and the judge overrules it as it is relevant. Avery says it is her baby and every time she feels him kick, she knows he is a fighter and survivor like her.

As Purcell moves to cross examine, Avery asks the judge for a break, saying she feels a little…and the judge asks if she wants to take a short recess. Avery nods yes, and Purcell adds that it has been a long day for Avery and asks for permission to call her to the stand at a later time – perhaps after he calls his expert. Barba asks the judge again that he wants a Frye Hearing to determine the validity of this expert. The judge reminds him that she already ruled in chambers that she is allowing it. She reminds Purcell that she has given him latitude already and not to abuse it.

As Benson, Barba, and Avery leave the courthouse to a flurry of reporters. Avery asks if there is any way he won’t call her to the stand. Barba explains Purcell will. He just wants her to sleep wondering when. Benson tells her she did great up there, the more they get to know him the less the jury likes him. She suggests they get her out of there.

As Benson walks off with Avery, Barba walks over to Fin and Rollins and explains that Congressman Fritz Showalter is up next as Purcell’s so called expert. Rollins recalls he is the one who wanted to criminalize abortion after rape because it is tampering with evidence. Fin says the clown is a crackpot. Barba says he is practicing obstetrician and has had a few articles in fringe journals. Barba asks them to get him something by tomorrow.

Back in Supreme Court, Showalter is on the stand and who says he has been a doctor for over 40 years, has been published, and paid for the trip himself. He says that this case raises issues he feels strongly about: legitimate rape and women who make false accusations. He explains that many of his medical colleagues won’t admit it, but in his experience, it is nearly impossible for a victim of “legitimate rape” to get pregnant. Barba again objects, stating that without the benefit of a Frye hearing…and the judge interrupts and says his objection has been noted. She adds that the jury will note that this witness is offing an opinion based on his medical experience. Showalter says it is impossible for a victim of actual rape to become pregnant because the body has a mechanism for shutting down ovulation in response to stress, and that if a pregnant woman came to his office claiming she was raped, he would tell her “honey, if you need to lie to yourself or your family OK, but don’t lie to Doc Showalter...or The Lord.” One woman on the jury makes a questioning look to Showalter.

Barba cross examines, addressing him as Congressman. He asks when he last published in the Journal of Obstetrics, and when Showalter doesn’t recall, Barba opens a file and refreshes Showalter’s memory that it was in 1974, to which Showalter thinks is about right. Barba asks if he knows since then that there has been extensive research that shows that women who have been raped are just as likely to get pregnant as women who have consensual sex? Showalter says the female anatomy hasn’t changed, many studies show it is harder to conceive under stress. Barba counters that was from long term stress, not rape. Showalter says well, yes. Barba asks if the term “legitimate rape” appears in any recognized medical textbook? Showalter replies that he speaks from his experience as a doctor, to which Barba reminds him he has not practiced in 12 years. Barba asks if that has something to do with him being censured for inappropriate behavior by a clinic in Kentucky? Purcell objects but Judge Barth tells him to sit down and tells Showalter to answer the question. He says he’s not at liberty to discuss that. Barba asks if that is because he signed a mutually binding non-disclosure agreement? Benson smirks while sitting in the gallery. Showalter does not answer and Barba smiles, closes the file folder and thanks him. Purcell asks to recall Avery, as he is ready to cross examine her.

On the stand Purcell questions Avery asking how she is and says he hopes she is up to this. Barba objects, asking the judge to tell Purcell to refrain from calling the witness by her first name. The judge sustains it and asks Purcell if it is understood. He nods and asks her to forgive him. He calls her Avery again and then corrects himself, adding it is hard because they know each other. She says yes. He recounts all their travel together and she says it was necessary. Purcell asks the judge to instruct Avery to answer yes or no, and she says yes, they stayed in adjoining rooms. He comments that they had many personal discussions, concluding her desire to have a baby. She does not recall that and Barba objects, calling the questioning harassment. The judge says Purcell can ask about conversations they had together. She admits she told him the main reason her marriage broke up was her inability to conceive. When Purcell asks about her inviting him in on the night in question, he emphasizes she asked him to come up and she took off her clothes while he was still in the apartment, She replies she thought she let himself out when she saw the door close. He asked where was she when he “left”, and Avery said she went to take a shower. He smiles at the jury and then states she invited him into the shower, didn’t she? She said no. Purcell states she told him not to use a condom because she wanted to try one more time to get pregnant and she wanted to feel him inside her. Barba leaps up and objects as it is hearsay. The judge sustains it. He withdraws the question. Purcell pauses to get a drink of water, and then reminds her that after the assault, she did not call the police or report him to human resources, asking why not. She admits she was afraid. Purcell said she was afraid that if the bosses found out, about her affairs that she would be fired. Barba objects as this calls for conjecture, and the judge sustains it and tells Purcell to move on. Purcell asks if someone was raped, wouldn’t they hate their assailant? Avery says she does, and she hates him. He judge asks him to step back, and Purcell says Avery sits there before him, carrying their child - and Avery says it is hers, not his. He asks about the DNA test and asks who is the baby’s father. She says he is not the father, he is the rapist. Purcell says that is not an answer, asking if the tests prove he is the baby’s father. Avery says yes, biological. Purcell asks if she always wanted a child, and she says yes. He says he gave her the child she always wanted, and the judge sternly tells him to step back. He says he has nothing further and sits down. Barba looks stunned.

Later, Avery is in Barba’s office and comments that they have been in there for two days, wondering why they are taking so long. Barba says that is what juries do. She asks why they wanted the congressman’s testimony read back, and Cragen thinks this is good news. Benson says he was completely discredited. There is a knock on the door and Barba’s assistant announces the jury is back.

In the courtroom, the jury renders a verdict of not guilty of rape and guilty of stalking. The judge releases Purcell, pending sentencing, and Purcell shakes Kressler’s hand. Avery looks stunned and sick.

Afterwards, Barba stops a juror and asks what happened in the jury room. A juror says they felt bad for her but the case had a lot of holes. There was one juror who bought the legitimate rape argument and was not going to give in on it. All everyone could agree on was the stalking. Barba says they cut a deal, and the juror says yeah.

Benson is sitting nearby with Avery, who says Purcell is not going to stop. Benson tries to assure her. Avery feels sick and it appears her water has broken. Benson helps her to get to the hospital while Purcell looks on.

Later, Benson arrives in Avery’s hospital room with flowers as Avery is in bed with the baby. She introduces the baby and comments that the baby is happy, even though he is six weeks early. She also feels happy and it took her mind off the verdict. She didn’t think about what happened when she saw they baby. There is a knock on the door and a man walks in and serves her with a lawsuit –Rick is suing for custody.

As Barba, Fin, Cragen, and Rollins walk outside, he explains a rapist can sue for custody, in 31 states. He’s also seen it in acquaintance rapes to get the person to drop charges. He adds that in Boston, a convicted rapist sued for custody to a child he fathered with a 14 year old girl. Fin reminds him this is New York, and Barba counters where there is no law on the books at all. He reminds them Purcell wasn’t convicted of rape. Cragen adds Purcell only got time served on the stalking and Barba replies that the state says he is rehabilitated. Rollins argues that meanwhile, Avery has been de-compensating and since the trial she has not been able to work and is battling depression and is under psychiatric care. Barba says this only serves to bolster Purcell’s case. Cragen comments that Avery still has a 3 year order of protection against Purcell and says they should follow Rick until he screws up and then they nail him. Fin asks what about Avery, and Barba says this was a lousy criminal case and a civil one, suggesting she needs a good lawyer, and he knows who to call.

In Family Court, Purcell questions Avery about raising the child alone and not working since October. She replies she has not been able to because of what he did to her. Purcell comments to the judge who tells Avery to just answer yes or no. Avery says no. He asks if she has been seeing a psychiatrist – Avery says yes – and when Purcell asks if she is taking antidepressants, Avery’s attorney Miss Calhoun objects. Saying it is beyond the scope. The judge disagrees and allows the question. Avery admits she has prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. She admit she has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and is on the meds. Purcell asks if she intends to raise their child on her own while taking psychoactive drug, and Avery, rubbing her wrist, shouts to him not to act like she is crazy and he is the sane one. As he back away, she says he did this to her, he raped her and destroyed her life. Purcell asks the judge to disregard the last outburst, he was acquitted of rape. The judge tersely tells him to just proceed. Purcell asks if she thinks she can take of his son – calling her Avery and then correcting himself to call her Miss Jordan – and asks her if she has looked in the mirror lately. He comments that single motherhood does not agree with her, she can’t even take care of herself. Calhoun objects and Purcell withdraws the question, saying he has nothing further.

Calhoun asks Avery is she wants a break, and Avery says no. Calhoun asks if she recently took her baby for a checkup, and Avery replies yes, and he is in perfect healthy and is eating and sleeping well. Calhoun questions her that despite her trauma, the baby is eating and sleeping well and she is able to raise and care for her child. Avery says yes, it is all she ever wanted. Calhoun smiles and asks why Avery does not want Purcell involved, and Avery explains that the only intimate contact she had with him is when he violently forced himself on her and she does not want that around her son.

Later, Purcell is on the stand and admits to taking some photos of Avery from afar, and she said she is the mother of his child. Calhoun says the photos she is showing him were taken before he raped her. Purcell says he was found innocent of that charge. Calhoun says the photos were taken before Avery was pregnant and he says yes. Calhoun says Purcell was stalking Avery for over a year and this is not about the baby, this is about him being obsessed with Avery, Purcell replies it is not like that, he was just showing her how much he loved her. Calhoun asks if it was by spying on her, menacing her, and trying to humiliate her publicly, asking if he ever heard of flowers. Purcell says this is about his son, he wants to be there for him and he has the right to. Calhoun asks him what in his history of violent sexual assault and relentless intimidation qualifies him to be a good parent? She asks if he honestly think he has the right to a child he conceived by rape? Purcell counters that the law supports him and it wasn’t rape. Calhoun has no more questions.

Later, back in Family Court, the judge feels Purcell’s behavior was reprehensible and awards Avery full custody. But, she says that given that Purcell is the biological father and he is willing to pay child support, she reluctantly allows for minimal, supervised visitation, two hours every Saturday with an agreed upon facilitator. Avery begins to cry and says “No!” and completely loses it. Benson moves to help, and Purcell thanks the judge. As Benson consoles Avery, Purcell grins.

Afterwards, Calhoun says she is not happy with the result either, but tells Avery not to play into his hands, Avery barks back to Calhoun “what does that mean” as she holds the baby. Benson explains that it is sickening but Avery has to abide by the ruling until the law changes. Avery is upset that she has to deal with the man who raped her, but Amaro reminds her that it will be strictly supervised and they can handle it until the court appoints someone. Cragen adds that they will have eyes on them. Purcell walks up to them and Calhoun tells him to stay away from her client. He says, “see you Saturday, little man” and walks off as Avery sobs.

Back at SVU, Purcell is waiting for Avery and asks Amaro and Fin where is she, she is supposed to be there for the visit. Fin reminds him it is a supervised custodial visit, not family, adding Avery does now want to see him. Purcell gets upset that they don’t seem to know where she is, and Amaro tells him to calm down. Purcell tells Amaro not to tell him to calm down, and Cragen, walking out of his office, asks if there is a problem here. Purcell says he’s damn right there is a problem, it’s the first day of visitation and she doesn’t show, saying he is calling the judge right now. Amaro cracks that infants don’t always cooperate. Cragen tells Fin to give Purcell a seat in the interview room where he will be more comfortable. As Fin does so, Cragen gets on the phone.

Meanwhile, Avery is packing her bags and tells Benson she has to leave. Benson tells her this is not a good idea and as an officer of the law, she has to say if Avery leaves with Theo she is subject to arrest. Avery asks what choices does she have? Benson asks that she wait for Purcell to make a mistake and then take him to court. Avery questions that, saying that Purcell raped her and the court went along with it and Benson allowed it. Benson explains if she runs, she becomes the criminal. Avery tells Benson she does not get it, it is not just about her it is about Theo and what will happen when he finds out the court forced that man into their lives. Benson believes she and Theo will get through this, and someday, Theo will understand. Avery asks if he will understand his father raped him – he will never be OK – and that she, him, and that man were never going to be OK. As Avery walks off, Benson reflects.

Back at SVU, Purcell tells Fin he wants an Amber alert now, and Fin says that he is at the hospital, the baby has a fever. Fin says if Purcell wants to be a father, the first thing he needs to learn is it is NOT ALL ABOUT Y OU anymore.

Meanwhile, Benson knocks on Cragen’s door and when she enters, Cragen asks where is Avery. Benson tells Cragen and Amaro she does not know, when she left Calhoun had arrived and said she needed time with her client. Amaro comments that was 3 hours ago and Benson says there was a lot of traffic on the way back. Cragen questions from the upper east side? Benson says nothing, and Cragen pauses and then says as he recalls, she checked in with her captain before she left Avery, and Benson nods. He says he will tell Purcell they are making their best efforts to find Avery. As Cragen walks into the room to advise Purcell, Amaro asks Benson if Avery is still at the pediatrician, and then asks Benson where? Benson replies, with a slight smile, “Somewhere beyond extradition…over Calhoun and my stern objections she got out on a private plane.” Amaro asks “did she” and Benson replies if he remembers when he asked her about her father and she told him that it was a long story? Amaro says yeah, and Benson adds, “It’s not that long.” As she looks at Amaro, we fade to black.

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BensonFan said...
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BensonFan said...

I didn't think I'd like this episode either, but I did. I liked how Olivia made it all about the victim, rather than sharing her own issues with Avery. On the other hand, I thought it was smart Olivia's past wasn't completely ignored.

Lisa said...

I liked the episode, I dont like that again Liv breaks the law and is a accompless to Kidnapping.
I know the arguement but still he was found not Guilty by the letter of the law he isnt a rapist and was within his right to get vistation.
It sucks but its is the truth. Avery had other options then to run I just wish Liv wasnt a aprt of her disappearing.
I know peopel will disagree with me but they really didnt prove he was a rapist just a stalker. She waited weeks to report and there was no evidence she was raped Hard case to prove and plenty room for resonable doubt.

I dunno I just wish his guilt was more clear and she didnt look like she was making it up.

Kittukat1978 said...

I was afraid this episode would be a dud, but I was pleasantly surprised. It felt like an old time SVU episode with just enough of law and order to make it great! And it felt like the detectives and the ADA have become a team unit.

I am also glad it wasn't all about Benson being a child of rape. It was all about the guest stars.

The best part was Barba's cross of the congressman. That was fantastic! I don't know about anyone else but I got a HUGE kick out of his yellow tie and matching yellow socks, so awesome!

Jules said...

I was horrified at a court that first of all, would let the rapist act as his own defense and be allowed to cross-examine his victim (I don't believe this would happen in real life, regardless of him having a law degree) and also horrified at a court that would grant a sexual predator visitation rights, even with supervision. I also questioned how happy Avery was to be pregnant. Yes, we knew she thought she could not conceive, but happy at the prospect of having her rapist's baby? Not believable.

What I did enjoy was the obvious introspection of Olivia that we got to see a couple of times, without her having to say a word.

OhSusannah said...

In many ways, the essence of SVU is Livs' story and was probably constructed that way.I think it's a story of finding herself.Literally. She knows she is a child of rape, surely one of the most difficult circumstances of a person's birth.She knew her own childhood was filled with trauma and unhappiness,and in her adult life she mires herself in these tireless efforts to find herself and come to terms with her own existence. Its what we all do when we feel like we can't really accept ourselves.Ive been reading and doing a bit of pyschotherapy on myself in recent weeks. I too had a very difficult and chaotic childhood. I often questioned why I watched this show for the last few years.It occurred to m its not about horrific crimes. Its about redemption.To me its a solid couple- a strong male figure and a nurturing caring maternal figure that I was searching for in my life. Its like on a level I couldn't even identify ,this show saved me a thousand times from a difficult childhood.Now that I see this clearly I know SVU no longer has the same mystique for me.I think the show will end when Liv accepts that she can't save herself from her own past and she'll be fine with it in her life.Every single week that she saves a a victim she is saving herself . And I think its very telling that the only two times she lied to her captain was concerning two babies and lying about their whereabouts.She probably knows its the only way she could have escaped from her own difficult life- if someone had taken her from her mother...I 6135liked this episode ! lol

Anonymous said...

i still dont get it....does avery go away to a dffrnt country w baby?

Chris Zimmer said...

Yes, she left the country with the kid to go to someplace where she could not be extradited.

Amy Foxley said...

When was the other time Olivia lied about a baby's whereabouts?

DarQ DawG said...

@Jules said...
"I was horrified at a court that first of all, would let the rapist act as his own defense and be allowed to cross-examine his victim (I don't believe this would happen in real life, regardless of him having a law degree)"

Not sure how often it happens or what restrictions a judge can legally put on it, but it certainly does happen. Google Kovet Simpson, Nathan Martinez, Walik Whiteside, or Luis Munuzuri Harris. In most cases, I doubt this would even help the defendant. If the woman is at all sympathetic or you draw any kind of empathetic jury mix, this will tend to backfire on the defendant. He'll look like a bully. He'd have to have Perry Mason level evidence to offset that negative.

Handsomike420 said...

I hate the cameraman's demeanor,he is a total assbag who not only gets away with rape,but continued to harass Avery mercilessly until she left the country illegally(in this case I side with this decision 180%).I wanted to throttle this guy so much,I know he's a fictional character but still he angers me so much.She lost her job as a reporter,was "raped" in court by his bullying disguised as wanting to act as his own attorney,and finally was forced to leave the country just to get away from this mother*****r.

Sympathetic mom said...

So curious where Avery could go penniless with a new baby. Checked the list of countries likely for her to go with consideration that she speaks only english amd is broke. Maldive..too ex.
Madagascar? Dubai? N the asshole will for sure be hunting her down for the rest of their lives. How is this just or fair. Personally i understand her choice to give birth n disgusted that she would have to share custody in any way. Argh..
The anger haunts me..