Thursday, April 25, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Girl Dishonored” Recap & Review

Sometimes when an episode is influenced by real life headlines, it can make it more interesting. Sometimes the real life story sucks the life out of the episode by telling the story far better than could fiction. The latter was the case with Law & Order SVU “Girl Dishonored” which seemed to draw from the recent Steubenville (Ohio) High School rape case. That news story received plenty of nationwide news coverage, and, as a result, this episode of SVU seemed all too familiar. It wasn’t helped by a pedestrian story, which, despite the unfortunate suicide of a rape victim late in the episode, seemed like something we’ve seen many times before on SVU. I suppose there are only so many ways to tell the story about rape on college campuses, which sadly has been an issue for decades.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I prefer story lines that include a little action in them and this episode had zero. Thankfully, we did have Raúl Esparza to bring some snap to the legal scenes. No fault of his, but even those scenes plodded along, suffering from predictable dialog. Raúl is a wonderful addition to SVU; he can bring even the most dull scenes to life. Case in point: when Barba questioned the Dean in front of the grand jury, Raúl made Barba’s disgust very evident.

I’m a little confused about what I assumed was a hospital to which  Lindsay was first taken after the rape.  Would a hospital nurse really take instructions from a campus security man saying it was OK for a possible rape victim to shower before doing a rape kit? Even if this was some sort of campus clinic, I can’t imagine a nurse taking instructions or advice from non-medical personnel.

There were important messages embedded in this episode that we’ve heard before but bear repeating:  No means no, don’t record your bad behavior, and crime should never be swept under the rug. This episode seemed geared toward the younger end of the targeted demographic and one can only hope that some of these messages will hit home.  As crimes like this continue to occur and people still used their cell phones to record inappropriate behavior,  I am not optimistic the messages will always stick.

The end of the episode included scenes inspired by Project Unbreakable that works with survivors of sexual assault, photographing them holding a poster with a quote from their attacker.

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
Skyler Day - Renee Clark
Colby Minifie – Lindsay Bennett
Robert Clohessy – Leo Barth
Carrie Coon - Talia Blaine
Maryann Plunkett – Eileen Bennett
Christina Haag – Dean Meyerson
Lenny Platt – Travis Holmes
Alice Ellis – Alyson
Ryan McGinnis - Joe
Linda Emond – Dr. Emily Sopher
Laurine Towler – Counselor Melissa Braxton
Julia Udine – Erica
Jake Boyd _ Wesley Grimes
Ben Hollandsworth – Carter Pressman
Hayley Griffith - Hannah

At the SVU squad, Benson is getting ready to leave and Rollins comments that she looks nice, asking if she has a date with Cassidy. Benson replies “Sort of” - they are taking his mom out to an early bird dinner, and that Cassidy will make it up to her later. Rollins asks if they are getting serious, and Benson explains that she wouldn’t say they are picking out China patterns but it is a nice fit. Benson asks what Rollins will be doing and Rollins replies she will be at home picking out China patterns; she is still refurnishing her cleaned out apartment and her neighborhood on Friday night is a bunch of college kids getting drunk.

Elsewhere, a group of girls, dressed only in bras and panties, are going through a sorority hazing ritual for Nu Iota Pi to be NIPs – or “nipple girls.” One girl, Lindsay Bennett, looks less than happy about what she has to do. Later, the girls arrive at a party and is not wearing green as she is supposed to. She’s told it is a traffic light party, red means you are taken, yellow mean maybe, and green is DTF. A guy puts a green sticker on Lindsay’s chest. Another girl points out Travis to Lindsay and reminds her that she wanted to pledge. Lindsay takes a drink for courage. Afterwards, in another room with Travis, he obliges her taking a photo of his genitals for her pledge to her sorority. He explains their pledges have to do worse, they need video of “poonspeeding”, adding that she doesn’t want to know. But when she moves to leave, he asks her what’s the hurry, she’s cute, and green means go. He kisses her and then lays her on the bed and invites two of her friends in and they rape her.

Later, a couple walk out of the party onto the roof of the building and Joe hears crying. He sees Lindsay on the ledge and asks her to get down. She asks which way is down. He begs her to come down but she moves to step off the ledge as he yells “Don’t!”

At the hospital Leo Barth, campus security director, greets Rollins and Fin who want to speak with Lindsay. He tells them he will save them the paperwork, it is hell week for the frats and she were drunk, walking around a roof ledge and a good Samaritan grabbed her but she is fine now. Fin explains that they got the call so they have to follow up, Leo says she is pretty “stoonad.” Lindsay’s mother Eileen approaches them who says she is the one who called as she thinks Lindsay has been raped. Leo tells her it is a campus security matter but she wants her to talk to real police and Lindsay is now lucid. Fin tells Leo they will keep him in the loop.

Eileen explains to the detectives that Lindsay called at 2AM and was in hysterics and crying that she wanted to come home. Lindsay said she had sex and did not want to, explaining that Lindsay is shy and home schooled and she should have know Lindsay was not ready for the parties, the city, drinking. Fin walks off with Eileen.

Rollins speaks with Lindsay in the hospital room and is surprised her mom called the police, she doesn’t recall what she told her. All she recalls is that she was talking to Travis in the room, the door was opened and he asked to kiss her. He started to move too fast and she asked him to slow down as she never went all the way before. She said stop and two other guys came in, and after that it happened to quickly, they were on top of her. The boys are in the frat – she thinks Carter and Wesley – she did not get a god look at their faces. She tried to say no but Travis forced her mouth open and the other two – one in front and one in back and it hurt so much. She heard them laughing and high fiving each other. She asks Rollins not to tell mom there were 3 of them. Rollins tells Lindsay to get a rape kit and then she can shower and get cleaned up. Lindsay explains that she already showered, the campus security told the nurse it was OK. He never asked if she had been raped. She had marker on her body and she wanted to get it off, it is part of hell week, the sisters circled her body fat. If she makes trouble they will not let her pledge.

At the Nu Iota Pi sorority house, Benson speaks with a sorority member who says Lindsay had to get a picture of Travis’ “thing” and maybe Lindsay got embarrassed because she got slutty. Another girl explains to Amaro it is hell week and some girls get too drunk.

Back at SVU, Rollins explains that Lindsay is a freshman, was home schooled from upstate, she was a virgin, was hazed by her sorority, she drank too much and was gang raped by 3 Tau Omega brothers. Benson adds that her sorority sisters admit Lindsay was assigned to get a photo of Travis’ ”package” and they are slut shaming her for anything else that happened. Amaro adds that Travis is a Rhodes scholar heading to Oxford. Rollins adds that once Lindsay got her trophy pic, he put the moves on her, got aggressive, and two other brothers came in out of nowhere. Lindsay is pretty sure of the ID – Wesley Grimes and Carter Pressman. Fin said she was very drunk and the rape kit is a mess, the nurse let her shower before they got there and campus security was doing their best to make this go away. Cragen adds they have seen this before; the school circles the wagon and the frat boys laugh it off. Cragen says no more, go after them hard.

At the Tau Omega frat house, Amaro speaks with Travis who admits they hooked up but it was not his proudest moment. But he adds Lindsay came into his room wearing green and she asked him to unzip for a photo and she was DTF. Amaro asks if he checked with Lindsay before they triple teamed her, and Travis says a walk of shame is one think but calling it rape?

Benson speaks with Wesley who says Lindsay wanted it and that she said no as is “no don’t stop, please don’t stop. ”

Fin speaks with Carter who said Lindsay got three guys off and thinks these girls get wasted so they can experiment sexually and she is embarrassed. Fin says she is not embarrassed, she was raped. Carter said she went into Travis’ room and got down on all fours on his bed. Fin asks if that was before or after she invited him and his buddy in. Carter says that was the invitation, the door was open.

Travis tells Amaro whatever that girl told her mother or the cops,  she was into him. Amaro says they are going to confiscate their cell phones, iPads, etc. Travis shows Amaro a topless photo of Lindsay that was from Snapchat and he took a screen grab and thinks Lindsay wants some more.

Rollins speaks with Lindsay about the photo and Lindsay says he asked her to and he said he wanted to hook up again. Rollins rolls her eyes and Lindsay explains the photos was supposed to disappear in 7 seconds. Rollins replies that nothing disappears from the Internet ever. Lindsay says Travis posted it on TSU underground and they are calling her a slut and saying she is spreading STDs. Rollins says they can try and make that stop but cautions her not to contact those guys again. Lindsay frantically tells her the whole frat is texting her and she shows Rollins the messages. Lindsay says she can’t do this, she made a mistake and what happened last night she wanted it and that pressing charges will make it worse and she knows what happened to Renee. She explains that Travis Holmes happened to her, last year, everybody talked about her and how she cried rape and the school did not believe her and she went crazy and they locked her up in a psych ward.

Back at SVU, Benson informs them that the photo that Lindsay snap chatted went viral at TSU marked “slut of the week.” Cragen thinks there goes their case, and Fin says she is backing off her complaint. Amaro says the frat guys also posted photos of Lindsay flirting with Travis at the party. Benson notes Lindsay is clearly drunk, and Cragen says the photos do not help her story. Benson replies “so boys will be boys and girls get raped?” Rollins adds that Lindsay is scared and told her there was a girl last year, Renee, who last year alleged rape and no one believed her and according to school rumor she has been institutionalized. Cragen asks what they know about Renee. Benson finds something from last spring, another photo similar to Lindsay’s marked “slut of the week” . Cragen tells them to find her.

At LaGuardia Psychiatric Hospital, Rollins tells Benson that Renee Clark committed herself in January. Dr. Emily Sopher stops them and says they just got their message and today is not a good day. Benson explains Renee is a potential witness in a rape investigation. The doctor says not now, and, through a window, shows them that Renee has already been sedated, today is her first round of ECT, Rollins asks if electro-shock therapy will affect her memory, and the doctor replies it is a possibility Benson tells the doctor to stop it now, and the doctor informs her it is not up to her, Renee asked for this therapy, it is her choice. They watch as the procedure begins,

Later, Dr. Sopher explains that Renee has come out of sedation and her short term recall will be fuzzy but one round of treatment shouldn’t affect her long term memory. She asks if this is about her assault, and Rollins explains it is and also about another. Dr. Sopher says Renee opted to ECT to put the assault behind her. Benson says in her experience, a survivor can heal more quickly if they are listened to. Dr. Sopher replies that Renee has been heard there but the way that the school handled the assault continued to re-traumatize her. Benson asks if Renee has a support system in place and Dr. Sopher says Renee has been there for 10 weeks with no visitors; her father is gone and her mother is in rehab. Rollins explains they do not want to trigger her but her assailant may have raped again. Dr Sopher replies that Renee is leery of authority and suggests she talk to her first before the detectives.

Dr. Sopher tells Renee if she feels tired or upset to let the detectives know, they assured her they will back off. Rollins asks Renee if Dr. Sopher told her why they are here, and Renee says that now that someone else was raped, the police need to pretend they care. When Benson says they know she has been through a lot, Renee replies they have no idea. When Benson asks her to tell them. Renee testily says she’s told the story a dozen times and no one believed her until she ended up here. Benson tries to reassure her and asks for a chance, but Renee thinks the only thing that will make a difference is frying her brain until she can’t remember any of it. Benson explains they think Travis assaulted the student and Renee suggests the student shut up about Travis or they – the frat and the school – will go after her. Renee explains when she filed charges, Dean Meyerson tried to make it out to be her fault. When she posted on line what a sham their investigation was, she got a letter saying that they would charge her with a violation of the TSU honor code and that she was intimidating her rapist. She says in that place, nothing is going to change them.

At the office of Dean of Student Affairs, Fin and Rollins speak with Dean Meyerson about Renee. Meyerson says Renee is a troubled girl with drugs and alcohol and was that way before she arrived, she comes from a broken home. She overcompensated by being a good enough student to get a scholarship but has had a hard time fitting in. They call it a mismatch. Rollins says they are talking about a second girl who was raped at the same fraternity and the same student and Rollins asks to see the files on the incident. Meyerson says they are sealed, and that Renee made unsupportable accusations about a fellow student. She feels sorry for her but short of destroying a fellow student’s reputation, they did everything they could to help her. Fin questions the unsupportable accusations, asking if the interviewed Renee. Meyerson explains she did and so did Talia Blaine, who is an experienced counselor, and that was a direct quote from her.

Benson and Amaro speak with Talia Blaine who explains that Renee believes she was raped and he denies it. Talia adds she wasn’t there and these stories are always complicated with drugs and alcohol and young, emotional girls. Benson adds “and privileged, aggressive boys.” Benson asks how many of these stories happened at Tau Omega, and Talia explains off the record that the students call the frat the “rape factory” and it is their idea of a joke. Amaro questions that the school does not shut them down, and Talia asks how, they are also called the water walkers – lots of legacies, scholar athletes, etc. and the Dean does not want to destroy their futures on a drunken accusation. Benson asks if that is why they made Renee feel that the rape was her fault and why they told her to drop the charges. Talia questions if that is what Renee said, stating that she was prepping Renee for the questions she would get at the hearing. Amaro says he gets it, they do the same thing. Talia explains she just wanted Renee to know what she would be getting into and Renee decided on her own it would be best to move on,

Back at the hospital, Benson and Rollins come to talk to Renee but she doesn’t want to talk to them anymore. Dr. Sopher explains the detectives went to the school and know what Renee told then is the truth. Benson said the school told them their side of the story and tried to rationalize their actions. Benson says what they put her through would drive anyone over the edge. Renee asks if they are saying she is not crazy, and Rollins says she is not and they want to help her and they want to hold Travis accountable. Benson says they need her help, otherwise in a few months, Travis goes off to Oxford. Renee agrees, saying she can do this. As Dr. Sopher exits, Rollins asks about the assault. Renee explains it happened right before Christmas break on a Friday night. She ran into Travis at the student center and knew him from a class. They started talking and he invited her to his frat house to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Her dorm was empty and she was lonely so she went. He got them both beers and brownies and she thinks they had pot in them. She got dizzy and they sat on the couch under a blanket, no one else was in the house and it was nice at first. Then he kissed her and then he shoved his hand down her jeans and put a finger inside her. She asked him to stop and tried to push him off. He slapped her and pinned her arms above her head, unzipped his pants and told her he knew she wanted it. Then he turned her over and raped her. When he was finished, he told her he had a flight to catch; he had a town car waiting and he gave her a ride back to her dorm. She didn’t tell anyone. The campus was mostly deserted and she stayed in bed and tried to forget. She reported it in September and the head of campus security said she waited too long. She met with Dean Meyerson who asked her about her family and her grades and if she had any other bad hookups. She got to the psych hospital after having a bad night drinking and she took some sleeping pills and her roommate called campus security. They showed up and she started screaming and the put her in straight jacket in from of everyone and if she didn’t commit herself, they would commit her. Benson says she is so sorry, and Renee asks if now they understand why she wanted the ECT.

Back at SVU, Fin wants to bring the 3 guys in now ADA Barba asks then what? No rape kits, no witnesses, Lindsay won’t press charges and Renee is locked up in LaGuardia Psychiatric. Amaro says they get it. Benson comments that the rape factory just keeps churning out victims. Barba questions “rape factory” and Rollins explains that’s the frat’s nickname on campus. Barba says that helps; two victims does not a factory make and asks them to find the others. Cragen replies that is easy for him to say, and Barba wisecracks, whining “Oh. What’s the matter. The NYPD run out of Trojan horses?”

At the TSU student center, all the detectives are informing the students, Benson emphasizing that they have the right to say no to sex, and if they say no and he doesn’t listen, that’s rape. The dean says campus security will also provide safety shuttle buses on Friday and Saturday nights, and not to walk home alone or make themselves a target. Benson adds that if anyone there has been sexually assaulted or they know anyone that has, it is never too late to come forward, denying the pain does not make it go away. Benson leaves extra flyers to pass out to their friends.

Afterwards, Rollins tells Lindsay she is glad she came, and Lindsay replies she wishes she hadn’t, she felt everyone was staring at her. Rollins explains she thought it resonated with a lot of students. Lindsay tells her to go talk to them, and she runs off. Benson enters and Rollins tells her Lindsay has not hit bottom yet and she is not ready to come forward, Alyson approaches them and says “it” happened 3 years ago.

In Barba’s office, Barba congratulates them for finding another case that completely undercuts itself; she was raped by the frat and asks why she organizes mixers for them? Benson states she is not the only victim, they have statements from 3 other girls in her sorority and six others reporting sexual assault at Tau Omega. Barba asks if all of them were drinking he said/she saids. Cragen asks if there are any repeat offenders, and Rollins points out Travis, describing him as a serial, and Wesley and Carter were each implicated in 3 other cases plus there’s been some boys who have already graduated. Barba asks if anyone’s name only came up once? Amaro says Joe Dawson, Fin adding that Joe was the good Samaritan that saved Lindsay on the roof. Benson asks Barba if he thinks Joe will turn on his frat brothers, and Barba replies most of these rapists are sociopaths, some of these guys will go along with it one time and they realize they made a mistake. Cragen adds they have a guilty conscience. Benson wonders if they are scared of the legal system. Barba replies either way – work this guy.

With Joe at SVU in interrogation, Amaro and Fin question him on what Alyson said 3 years ago. He said it was not rape, at the time he asked campus security, he was confused about what happened. Amaro presses that Alyson didn’t want it, and Joe says maybe she is saying that now but after it happened he texted her and asked her out and she said yes. Fin asks if this is Leo Barth’s idea to ask her out, and Joe said he told him to, as a test. She texted back right away saying she could not wait so he showed Barth who said there is no way a rape victim would say that. Fin asks if Barth told Travis to text Lindsay and Joe said he heard that wasn’t a rape either. Amaro tells Joe this is not what other frats are about, these guys are criminals and they are not his brothers. Joe says he is sorry that girl had a bad night but asks why would a guy like Travis need to rape somebody?

Back at the university, Fin and Rollins speak with Leo who said he told Joe it wasn’t rape and that Alyson never made a complaint and texted him the next day. Fin reminds him it was after Leo told Joe to text her. Leo replies he did not tell her to text him back; he figured if she had been raped she would have come to him and filed charges, his door is always open. Rollins retorts like with Lindsay; her clothes were torn and she was hysterical and he ok’d her taking a shower. Fin asks if Leo figured Lindsay tore her own clothes off? Leo says they should see this place on Sunday morning, these kids away from home the first time are all out of control, asking if he should turn in every guy for some girl who puts out and doesn’t get flowers the next day? He says he is trying to keep these kids alive and make sure they don’t drink and drive or OD or get knifed; he can’t police their bedrooms.

Later, Benson, Rollins, Fin, and Amaro visit Barba who is surprised campus security coached Joe on how to derail a rape accusation. Rollins explains it keeps the rape stats down, it is like cooking the books. Amaro says they are blaming the victims and shaming them. Benson adds it is all about control, they do their own investigations and the school decides that no crime has been committed and it’s dropped, no press, no police. Barba thinks they need to go after the school, and when Fin asks to charge them with what, Barba replies that is the great part about being a DA, he doesn’t have to decide that now, he can convene a grand jury. Amaro asks if they will come in and waive immunity and testify, and Barba explains they have to, they don’t want word to leak out that they are not cooperating, and they know his office leaks like a church roof. Benson asks about the frat boys, and Barba tells her that the first rule of bureaucracy is self preservation; those boys become a liability they will cut them loose.

On campus, Rollins speaks with Lindsay who is not mad at Alyson for sending her in there. Lindsay decided not to testify and that she let it go. Rollins tells her that will not work and asks if she has talked to someone like a therapist. Lindsay explains she is all better now, and Rollins tells her if she needs anything to call. Lindsay tells Rollins she should go and tells Rollins goodbye.

At the grand jury, Alyson testifies that she didn’t come forward due to peer pressure. She also spoke to Barth who said sex is like a football game, sometimes when you watch your game tape you can see your mistakes and do better the next time. She took that to mean that she made a mistake and it was her fault.

Renee is testifying that Tau Omega started posting top ten tips for rape and she was #7 – go for white trash like Renee Clark who will be grateful for the attention. She filed multiple complaints with the school but it never got off the TCU underground as the Dean said it was free speech. She withdrew he rape allegation after Talia told her that at the disciplinary hearing she would have to sit with her attacker and listen to him call her a liar. Renee testifies after that, she got severely depressed and eventually agreed to the school suggestion to be institutionalized. She can only return to school with parental supervision and her parents are not very involved so she is basically expelled. The student she accused of rape will graduate this year with honors and will be attending Oxford. Renee does not think the school looked out for her; she was raped on their campus, not believed by security, and advised to forget it by their counselor. When she got depressed, they said she was crazy and they had her committed. She asks the jury to please not let them get away with what they did to her.

Afterwards, as Benson, Barba, Renee and Dr. Sopher descend a courthouse stairway, Barba tells Renee she was very brave and the jury will listen. They will now move for an indictment against the school and hope they stop protecting Travis and the other boys. Dr. Sopher suggests Renee go back to the hospital. Renee tells them she decided to stop the ECT, just being believed she feels so much better and she wants to go back to school. Benson asks if it’s back to Tompkins Square, and Renee explains she does not want them to win. Benson looks at Barba and wonders if they can figure out a way around the parental supervision rule. As Renee and Dr. Sopher leave, Benson asks Barba what is his gut on the jury. Barba thinks they believe the girls, and right now comes the fun part – the school should be in a frenzy – emergency meetings and covering up evidence. Benson says he means he is smelling the blood in the water.. He smiles and replies, “Aren’t you?”

Later, back at the grand jury, Talia is on the stand explaining how she counseled Renee Clark. Barba asks if Renee was depressed because the school was not supporting her, and Talia says she does not want these girls hurt. Barba bluntly asks if she ever warned incoming freshman girls not to attend parties at that frat. Talia says that is not her job and Barba parrots that back in disbelief. He then asks if she ever report to the administration that there was a problem at that frat, and Talia says she did. They told her Tau Omega had a long distinguished history, that their alumni are on the board and she needed to keep things in perspective.

With Dean Meyerson on the stand, Barba brings up a recent Tau Omega rush event where frat brothers were captured on video chanting no means yes, yes means anal and asks if she approves permits for events like this. She says yes, she doesn’t approve but the students have the right to assemble and the right to free speech. Barba holds up a t-shirt which says “rush Tau Omega – we don’t take no for an answer” with a drawing of a bound and gagged woman. She said it was sold by an alumni organization which is outside her purview. Barba asks if it is true that members of Tau Omega were seen on campus wearing this t-shirt for months despite numerous complaints to her office? Meyerson explains they don’t ban t-short slogans no matter what she finds offensive. Their students chose a progressive liberal arts university for a reason. Barba asks how many sex crimes complaints her office has reported in the last 3 years, and Meyerson says a few dozen. Barba says its 25, at a school with 20,000 undergrads. He asks if she knows that most schools the size of TSU have at least triple her number of sex crimes. Meyerson replies that those low numbers prove their safety initiatives are working. Barba counters that maybe it proves that she’s thrown out incident reports whenever her issues were resolved. She replies no. He asks if she ever saw a report with sexual assault charges that was later retracted. She states they are required by the Cleary Act to disclose all crimes that any employee becomes aware of. Barba asks yes or no. She replies no, to the best of her knowledge. He asked if she was coached to say that or is she just adept at dissembling. She says no means no, she never hid reports or charges.

Afterwards, Barba tells Benson and Amaro that the Dean did not give up the boys, instead they reported every complaint they every received. Benson says she lied on the stand, and Barba explains now he has to prove it. He says her head of security is a good soldier but the counselor was wavering. Amaro suggests she is feeling guilty. Benson’s phone rings and it’s Talia. Benson answers the call, stops in her tracks, and, looking shocked, sighs.

At the university, Rollins rushed up to Benson and Amaro and asks what happened. Benson explains that Lindsay jumped from the roof. Talia explains she was standing on the edge and student tried to talk her down but by the time security got there…Amaro finishes the sentence, saying they were too late. As the students look on in horror, Joe walks off and Talia says she has to go call Lindsay's mother. Rollins says she just talked to her yesterday, and Benson tells her this was not her fault. But Rollins says Lindsay was “pink clouding” and she knew it. Rollins, upset, walks off.

Amaro catches up with Joe and tries to encourage him to talk, saying Joe is different that these other guys. He reminds Joe that he saved her the other night but after what these guys did to her, it was only a matter of time. Amaro says he will ask him again, if nothing happened to her, why did she jump? Joe said it did happen, she was telling the truth, yet all of them, including him, laughed at her.

Back at SVU with Cragen, Amaro, and Fin, Joe shows them a video of the 3 guys laughing and saying that she couldn’t say no with her mouth full, that they raped her dead, etc. Joe says he took it the night of the party and knew what they were saying was wrong and he is sorry. Fin says he should be. Cragen says he will call Barba.

Later, Barba, along with Rollins, show the same video to a horrified Dean Meyerson and her attorney. Barba wisecracks “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.” Meyerson claims she had no idea about any of this and if she had she would have taken action. Her lawyer cautions her. Rollins coldly tells Meyerson she took plenty of action that led to this – not shutting down these frats, hiding reports. Meyerson claims these fraternities have been here for over a century and she never hid reports. Barba reminds her that was her testimony but they got a lot of calls and emails and zip drives and Meyerson has made some enemies. Meyerson asks what he wants. Barba looks at her lawyer and takes a breath and says nothing. Meyerson looks at her lawyer and nods her head. Her lawyer says the dean will resign at the end of June. Barba says two days ago, great, but he has evidence of perjury and obstruction, affidavits from her mental health counselor and campus patrol that school policy was don’t tell, don’t report. The lawyer says that is a year probation at most, but Barba counters not quite, they are charging Travis, Carter, and Wesley with multiple charges of rape and she and Mr. Barth from campus security are being named as accessories. The lawyer questions accessory to rape, and Meyerson adds she had nothing to do with it. Rollins says if she wants to come back, she can tell that to the grand jury, she already waived her immunity. Meyerson pouts in shock.

At a later time, Amaro, along with officers, leads Travis out of the frat in cuffs as the other frat member shake their heads. Outside, a group of students, in front of a makeshift memorial, hold up signs with words on it reflecting what campus police, the Dean, and the frat boys had stated. Wesley and Carter are also taken out in cuffs. Rollins stands outside with Eileen Bennett and tells her she is sorry. Eileen says Lindsay wouldn’t talk about it and told her to go home. She wanted to give her space. Rollins explains she talked to Lindsay and she should have know. Eileen says the boys and the school killed her baby. She home schooled her her whole life and she was always afraid to let her go.

Benson stands with Renee and asks if she is sure she wants to be there, and she nods yes, she wants to pay her respects. She tells Benson the school said they will let her come back and they accepted Benson’s offer to supervise her. Benson replies that she is very happy to hear that. Renee comments she was thinking about maybe starting a support group on campus for survivors so they are not alone. She asks Benson if she thinks it is a good idea. Benson nods and says yeah, she does. As more and more signs come into view, we fade to black.

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CLA said...

I have not seen the episode. But the comments on the official website of the series are the best possible. Most thought the episode poignant, fantastic.

BensonFan said...

I didn't mind that this episode didn't have much action because I felt the story was told well.

I was glad to see Rollins showing more emotion instead of her usual flat or forced affect.

My only criticism would be that in this episode and 'Born Psychopath' it seemed like the story wasn't ripped from the headlines so much as copied and pasted. ('Born Psychopath' was heavily based on a New York Times article.)

BensonFan said...

Also, I happen to know a lot about ECT because I worked in the mental health field. Memory loss is usually temporary, so something that happened months ago probably wouldn't be erased completely, i.e. Renee's rape.

Chris Zimmer said...

Benson fan - I think that's why the episode didn't grab me very much. It seemed to follow the real life events too closely that the story lacked originality or creativity.

Kate said...

Loved the mention of Cassidy. Love any mention of Cassidy actually. I know it's Law and order and not Love and Order I like the little personal bits about our main cast thrown in there. I did think the episodes story had been told before, and necessary to be told again too. Not my fave ep, but not the worst for me

Kate said...

Adding to my last comment. I live in Australia and the college culture here is not what it's like in America. (Half of us don't even go and if we do its close to home and where we grow up). So I guess that whole college sub culture for me, and the story about it was more "haven't I seem this on TV before?"

Anonymous said...

I liked this episode. No running around and action is fine in an episode if it isn't a case that merits throwing action scenes in just to have it.

I thought it was good to bring recent events from several sources to the forefront for people to see and have to digest, but there was a lot in one episode. Not just Steubenville, but also the cases in California, Canada, and the University of North Carolina (here: is probably what Renee's story was inspired by).

xfool said...

This episode was average. It bordered on lazy storytelling and writing though. The dialog could have been written by a high school student. I'm tired of ripped from te headlines stories like this where the whole story is lifted from the news. Bor-ing!

Boring acting too except for Raul who I think is great. I didn't know anything about him before SVU and now I hope we see more of him in the series.

I heard the ratings were good but that's probably due to it being against nothing but reruns. The test will be how well SVU does when it goes head to head with a new Criminal Minds & (is it?) Modern Fam.

IMO this episode may have appealed to teenagers and college students, bubt it did paint college students as clueless! Was there also a dig against home schooling? I don't agree with home schooling but some swear by it.

Kittukat1978 said...

It was a m'eh episode. I'm still a bit confused as to why if there were so many victims why no one went to the police before? And why on earth would a nurse tell a rape victim it was ok to shower, no matter what someone told her. I tend to over analyze things so it could just be me.

I just love Esparza. I can't tell which I enjoy more, his snappy wisecracks and how he delivers them, "what's the matter, NYPD run out of Trojan horses?" "no means yes, yes means anal" or his tie/suspender combos. Despite the subject matter I laughed at his quips in this episode. I hope he I in the finale. Please, please, please WL make it so!

OhSusannah said...

I liked the realistic aspect of this story.I particularly enjoyed the performance of Skylar Day as Renee Clark. She stood out as a very good actress.As for the storyline being ripped from the headlines,they could probably produce a L&O:Campus Crimes Unit, the problem of sexual assault seems so prevalent in the news.Sad situation that needs to be corrected.As much as the JHF and L&O:SVU have brought attention to untested rape kits, they could perhaps campaign college/uni campuses directly with a real No Means No campaign. Would not be remiss. The small Canadian province I live in just instituted anti-cyerbullying laws A high school student here got drunk and was allegedly raped by four boys. She went on to kill herself after being slut shamed and relentlessly cyberbullied.Its real and a huge problem that needs to be corrected.

Joanne said...

I didn't mind the episode but it was so slow. I guess I'm also one of those viewers who like to have some action scenes.

I am absolutely loving Barba too.

Anonymous said...

This was, in my opinion, the single best episode of the 14th season. Wonderfully written and beautifully acted.

Richard Aspland said...

What the heck is pink clouding?

Chris Zimmer said...

@Richard Aspland: the best definition I could find of "pink clouding" was from the Urban Dictionary: "12 step recovery jargon referring to someone new who talks about how great life is, now that they're sober. Usually meaning that the person is out of touch with reality."

Melissa said...

Make sure if you rape someone, don't record it. Is that what you got outta this episode Chris? I'm confused about the recording bad behavior line. I hope rapists continue to record it, it makes it that much easier to prosecute and show them for who they are.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Melissa, if I recall correctly what I felt after watching this episode and what was going on in the real world at the time. my intent was that kids shouldn't be taking pics or recording things that you wouldn't want the world to see. People think that apps where things are supposed to disappear in seconds really DO disappear, and the truth is they can be easily copied and circulated. Some kids have ruined their lives by taking photos of themselves in compromising poses. Nothing ever really disappears from the internet!