Thursday, January 9, 2014

Law & Order SVU “Psycho/Therapist” Recap & Review

It seems that “Psycho-The-Rapist” William Lewis continues to live on – in prison (at least for now).  I wished that someone would take him out before the end of the episode, as this would be a good way for Benson to move on from the trauma which he inflicted on her. It’s obvious that he has invaded her mind; she imagines him stalking her as she goes about her life. While in Doctor Lindstrom’s office, she is swept into a daydream (or waking nightmare) that Lewis has breached the safety of the doctor’s office to hold her at gunpoint.  Her imagination also has her locking lips with the doctor when Lewis invades. Does Benson have actually romantic feelings for the doctor (ick!) or does he simply represent the safe, protective, and romantic feelings that she’s not getting from her current relationship or her life? She imagines Lewis stepping into an elevator with her, and she quickly realizes that it’s just someone who has a vague resemblance to him. She enters her new apartment and hears a strange noise and she arms herself to prepare for another attack only to find it’s her live in, Brian Cassidy.  Her reactions are likely due to PTSD, the pressures of the trial,  and the prospect of having to face William Lewis in the courtroom and keeping up her lies about what really happened during those final hours of her captivity.

Everybody lies, even our beloved Olivia Benson, but do we care? Should we care? We have the advantage of seeing William Lewis for the monster he is, but we also know that Benson did, in fact, beat him mercilessly while he was handcuffed to the bed. Was she wrong to do this? Yes. Is it understandable that she did this? Also yes. Everyone has a breaking point and several days of torture would certainly make anyone snap. It’s clear that the jury saw exactly what Benson did and had “serious reservations” about her conduct. And they should. They don’t know Benson like viewers know her, nor should they. The jury only has the facts as presented at trial with which to base their verdict. Sadly to say, based on what we saw of the prosecution’s case, their case sucked. It’s a shame that Barba was not able to get in more helpful testimony from her co-workers to Benson’s character, and it was a grave mistake for him to depend so much on questioning William Lewis on the stand. Maybe he assumed that Lewis had so big of an ego that he couldn’t pass up his time on the stand, but clearly Barba underestimated Lewis. This turned out to be a he said/she said trial with zero hard evidence, and  Barba brought a only his fists to a gunfight.

During the testimony of one doctor, Lewis made a point that any one of the injuries he sustained from Benson’s beating would have incapacitated him. I am surprised that Barba did not counter by asking how Benson, who is not a doctor and does not have x-ray vision or an MRI scanner in her head, would not be able to see that she broke or shattered any bones. If, for example, she hit him in the ribs first, he could have still be standing or moving which would have triggered another swipe by Benson. Of course, we all know what really happened, but that doesn’t mean Barba could not have tried to discredit that witness.

Also, when Amaro and Benson were both questioned about the tactics Benson used when she first questioned Lewis, Barba did not bring on any expert witnesses later to show that using tactics as Benson did during the interrogation – and what she did to get in his head during her kidnapping –  was in fact normal for a police officer. But no, as far as we know, he let the jury stew over the thought that Lewis put in their heads that Benson was coming on to him.

We also did not hear Barba’s closing argument, so we don’t know if he made any comments about Lewis saying he could not hear well, but then he seemed to hear Benson barely whispering at times on the stand when she testified. Yes, he did lose hearing in one ear but it was obvious that he only brought that up when it suited him.

The NBC promo tease and advance photos that were released before the episode aired made it obvious that some of the scenes would be either dream sequences or imaginary. It was the absence of scars on Lewis in some shots and big scars in others that was the tip-off. Sometimes I wish they would be a little more careful on what they release because I think it spoiled the surprise of the opening scene. By the way, the promo called this the “shocking final chapter in the Save Benson saga",  but the door is clearly left open for more as it seems Lewis is already working on a way to get out.

The big question of course is why Benson either didn’t tell the truth about what she did in her final moments of captivity, or, why she didn’t at least think through the beating she was going to give him. If she felt she could not have explained away her meltdown and repeatedly beating him after the torture he put her through, then she should have been more deliberate in her beating. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but one or two blows to the head probably could have incapacitated him and been explained away, even if it turned out to be fatal. Regardless, having the benefit of knowing what he did to her and the possible charges she may have faced herself had she told the truth, I don’t have an issue the fact that she chose to lie.

Mariska Hargitay’s performance was remarkable and I can’t even imagine to what place an actor must go in their head in order to pull off such a performance as she did in this episode. Likewise, Pablo Schreiber played evil and disgusting to the hilt in this role and it may be hard for me to scrub the image of him as William Lewis from my mind. This was a well written episode which help those actors deliver those fine performances and helped keep the tension high.   Even though William Lewis lives on and is likely scheming every waking moment, I can still hope that he makes that one mistake that closes the  book on him forever.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola

Guest stars:
Pablo Schreiber - William Lewis
Dean Winters - Detective Brian Cassidy
Renée Elise Goldsberry – Counselor Martha Marron
Bill Irwin - Dr. Lindstrom
John Rothman - Judge Edward Kofax
Jolly Abraham – Doctor
Barbara Jimenez – Viva Núñez
Sarah Street – Dr. Janice Cole
Sarah Bisman – Bronwyn
Zach Appelman – Officer Jimmy Hamilton
Jenna Rampage Rodriguez – Luisa Núñez

In Dr. Lindstrom’s office and dressed in a sexy, low cut red dress, Benson talks about her dreams and confirms she is keeping a journal of the ones she remembers, especially the one recurring dream. Lindstrom cuts her off and tells her that’s it and a good place to stop. Benson seems surprised, and says their sessions seem to go so fast now. As he helps her put on her coat, Lindstrom says time is speeding up unless they slow it down. He moves in to kiss her and as they do, Benson hears a voice say, “Hey.” She pulls away from Lindstrom and sees Lewis, his face unmarked from any injury, standing in the office, asking what she and Lindstrom are doing. Benson looks back to the doctor and he is not there, and turns back to see Lewis pointing a gun at her. He says “Welcome home, Detective Benson.” She looks back and Lindstrom has not reappeared to help her. Quickly, she snaps back to reality, sitting in the courtroom on the witness stand, in a prep session with ADA Barba. Barba asks if she is with him and she says yeah, and apologizes. He reminds her she was telling the jury what happened when she came home that night. She explains she stepped into her kitchen and sensed a presence and she went to reach for her gun but she froze. Barba asks her to leave that detail out to not imply anything was her fault. She goes on to say that before she reached for her weapon, the defendant William Lewis put a gun to her head. Barba asks if she needs a break, and she asks how close is the trial. He explains Lewis has one last pre-trial motion. Benson asks what is there left to argue about. Barba explains it is jurisdiction; Lewis’ attorney wants three separate trials; one for her kidnapping, one for Mrs. Mayer’s rape and the murder of her husband, and one for the murder of a Suffolk County police officer. Benson asks if Mrs. Mayer is willing to testify, and Barba says she is tough and she wants him to die in prison. He adds he is going for attempted murder and attempted rape. Benson counters that he did not rape her. Barba replies he understands that is important to her but he is going to claim those 4 days were consensual. He adds the jury needs to hear about the torture and degradation Lewis put her through. She is quiet but seems to acknowledge this.

Afterwards, Benson steps into the courthouse elevator and as the door closes, a hand reaches in to stop it. She looks up and sees Lewis enter, his face unmarked from any injury, and he smirks at her while she hears the song “Ain’t We Got Fun” as elevator music. Quickly she sees it is another man looking straight at her and smiling, and then he turns around to face the elevator door.

Later, in her apartment, she is unpacking groceries and she hears a strange noise in another room. She pulls her gun and as Brian Cassidy walks through the doorway he is startled to see her standing there with a gun on him. He reassures her it is him and moves to lower her arm holding the gun. She is startled and apologizes. He tells her it is OK and they embrace as she continues to say she is sorry.

In Cragen’s office, Cragen speaks with Amaro, Rollins, Fin and Barba about how the next few weeks are going to be stressful for Benson and for them. Amaro says Lewis has some stones for putting her through this, and Rollins comments they can’t think Lewis will get away with this. Barba informs them Lewis is five for five and that breeds hubris. Fin says they should have shot Lewis when they got there, and when everyone looks at him somewhat stunned, Fin says they were all thinking it. Barba cautions him “not on the stand.” Barba explains he will be calling each of them and a big part of his defense is that he thinks the NYPD has a vendetta against him and to tamp down their emotions, don’t talk to the press and don’t take the bait. Rollins says got it. After Barba leaves, Cragen says speaking to taking the bait, he knows they are all on edge but whatever is going on in the squad room has to stop, adding to Amaro and Rollins he is talking to them. Rollins says got it, and Amaro replies whatever Cragen says. Rollins says to Amaro that she knows they went at it and she probably said some things he misinterpreted, and Amaro picks up on that word. Fin jumps in and says Rollins is saying she is sorry, and says “right Amanda?” Rollins looks at Amaro and says she is sorry. They look at each other and Amaro says nothing, so Cragen prompts an answer from Amaro, who says they are good.

At the motions hearing, Counselor Marron explains to the judge that Suffolk County is 50 miles out of Barba’s purview and those charges should be tried separately. With Benson in the gallery, Barba counters that the murder and rape is part of Lewis’s course conduct in a four day torture and kidnap rampage that began in Benson’s New York apartment. Lewis, sitting at the defense table in is orange jail garb, looks down and seems happy with himself. Marron replies that the DA thinks by piling on charges he can overwhelm a jury and this is beyond prejudicial. Judge Kofax states he read her arguments and agrees binding the cases could pose an unfair burden on the defendant. When Barba tries to counter this, Kofax cuts him off and adds that since this may come up on appeal, he is ruling in favor of the defendant’s motion to separate the charges. The judge says he will allow the jury to hear evidence pertaining to what the detective herself witnessed or experienced. Lewis pipes up and asks the judge to speak up; due to the beating he received he no longer has hearing in his left ear. The judge asks Marron if this will be an issue at trial, and she explains that the prison hospital will be issuing a hearing assist device. The judge speaks in a louder voice and says the Suffolk County charges will be separated and they will proceed to trial, remanding Lewis until then. He asks Lewis if he heard that, and Lewis says yes and thanks him. As he gets up to leave, he turns to Benson and we can see the left side of his face has a huge scar around his eye. Benson looks rattled and looks away, and then back at him. Lewis whispers something to Marron and then glares back at Benson. Barba asks Benson if she is OK but she doesn’t answer and just races out of the courtroom. Marron tells Barba she has something to discuss with him, and he says he doesn’t know if there is anything she could say that could possibly interest him. She replies, “Oh, this will.”

Later, in Barba’s office, Benson is shocked to hear that Lewis wants to plead to rape. Barba says it is multiple counts to rape and sodomy...and Lewis wants to plead guilty and be specific in allocution. Benson is appalled, asking that he wants to stand up in open court and give graphic details of what he did NOT do to her? Barba informs her he would get 25 years to life and he will die in prison and she will avoid a trial and having to testify. Benson looks sick and as she paces, she says, “No, no, no he does not get to do that to me. He did not rape me.  He did not sodomize me. You look at that rape kit after four days – he did not have the balls to rape me. And now he wants to stand up in open court, now? No. NO!” Barba replies that he had to tell her that. Given the extent of his injuries, they will go after her for excessive force. He may claim he was handcuffed when she crushed his skull. As Benson looks out the window, Barba goes on to explain that Benson testified to a police investigator and a grand jury that Lewis lunged at her and she used the bar to defend herself until he was no longer a danger to her. Benson whispers that is what she said. Barba picks up a file off his desk and hold it up to her, saying it is her grand jury testimony from last May. He tells her to study those transcripts and if she deviates from her statement in any way it will create reasonable doubt on all of her testimony and he will use it as a wedge. Benson continues to stare out the window as Barba tells her Lewis could walk again.

In Supreme Court, Barba tells the judge that the people are satisfied with the empanelled jury. The judge says now they’ve completed the jury selection and having exhausted all attempts at a plea, a trial was scheduled and opening arguments begin tomorrow. Lewis stands up and asks the judge if he may comment, and then says he offered a plea that would have guaranteed a lengthy prison term and spared the victim – looking back at Benson sitting in the gallery – the pain of a trial. Benson motions a scoff. Lewis continues that his so called attorney has failed to get the DA’s office to accept his capitulation and he has serious reservations about her competence and requests a change of attorney. Marron looks stunned and says she is just hearing this now. Barba counters this is an oft-used delaying tactic of Lewis’ in several trials. Lewis interjects he is not asking for any additional time. The judge comments that realistically it would take a new attorney months to get up to spend, and Lewis replies he does not believe it would, if that attorney was himself. Benson glares at him and Barba says that Lewis is simply trying to use this trial to publicly humiliate and re-traumatize Benson. Lewis objects, saying he was the one who offered to spare her of this burden entirely but this is not up for debate, this is his constitutional right, is it not? The judge replies it is, but he will insist that Lewis keep his current attorney with him to advise and if any of Barba’s fears prove prescient, he will strike Lewis with contempt. He asks Lewis if that is understood, and Lewis smirks and nods yes, saying “Perfectly.” He looks back toward Benson, with a slight smile. Benson glares back.

In the courtroom hallway. Amaro approaches Benson, who is sitting on a bench and asks how she is holding up. He hands her a cup of coffee as she replies she is getting through, one hour at a time. Fin, Cragen, and Rollins approach as Fin tells her she is looking strong. She is surprised they came, but Rollins says they have her back. Barba walks up and asks them what they are all doing there, they know they can’t watch the trial, they are all witnesses. Cragen explains they are there for moral support, and Fin tells Barba not to mess this one up. Barba replies he will tell him the same thing and remember why they are here.

Later, in court, Fin testifies at that point he and his partner broke into Benson’s apartment and it was destroyed; glass everywhere, furniture turned over bloody duct tape. They found coat hangers and keys on the stove and cigarette butts. He will never forget the smell of burned flesh. Barba thanks Fin for his testimony. As Lewis gets up to begin the cross examination, he has difficulty and limps. He apologizes to the jury, explaining he is moving slowly these days due to the brutal beating he received from Benson. Barba says “Your Honor” and the judge tells Lewis to move it along. Lewis states to Fin that was quite a vivid description and one may think he staged the scene himself. He says the scenario Fin described occurred two days after a case against him had been declared a mistrial, due to NYPD lab corruption – then Lewis corrects himself and says contamination. Lewis asked if Benson told Fin she was upset about that mistrial, and Fin replies they were all upset. Lewis goes on to add that it took them 2 days to check her apartment after Benson didn’t show up for work. Fin explains that Cragen told her to take some time off. Lewis counters it was possibly because she was extremely upset, even obsessed? Barba objects as this is speculation, and the judge sustains. Lewis says, “My bad” and then goes on to ask Fin after he and his partner broke in, how long were they alone in Benson’s apartment before CSU showed up. Fin testifies it was 15 minutes, if that. Lewis asks if that is enough time to plant evidence, and as Barba stands up and says “Your honor” the judge sustains the objection and tells the jury to disregard. He tells Lewis he will allow him some latitude because he is representing himself but cautions him to watch it. Lewis says he understands, then asks Fin if the lab that processed the crime scene was the same lab that contaminated the DNA in his prior case? Fin replies yes, adding that they told CSU and the lab techs that this time there can be no mistakes. Lewis retorts “Did you” – Barba looks annoyed – and Lewis says Fin made sure the lab knew that an NYPD detective had been assaulted and Lewis was the only suspect. Fin testifies he followed standard NYPD protocol. Lewis, standing in front of the jury, says he agrees, and then thanks Fin.

Later, Rollins is on the stand explaining what they found at the Mayer bedroom and they found Mrs. Mayer hanging – alive – in the closet and in the ambulance Mayer told her she was raped by Lewis. Lewis objects saying it is hearsay. Barba counters that they will be calling Mrs. Mayer and the defense will have the opportunity to cross. The judge says then let her tell the jury what she said and until then, the jurors will disregard. Lewis begins his cross by asking how she is, calling her Amanda. He then apologizes, calling her detective, explaining they have history. He states she sic’ed her dog on her last May when he was jogging in the park. She says he was running away after an elderly woman caught him exposing himself to two female tourists and she arrested him on the spot. Lewis asks if she could tell the jury what happened to those charges, and Rollins explains they were dismissed by the judge. Lewis says she still thinks he was guilty, and Rollins says she knows he was. He states she must have been angry when his last trial ended in a mistrial and he walked away. She says yes, she was. He asks if she was angry enough that she could have concocted a plot with her fellow detectives to frame him for Benson’s kidnapping. Barba looks squirmy as Lewis suggests she faked the crime scene and lie on the stand. She says that is ridiculous, and Barba stands up and says the whole line of questioning is objectionable. Lewis counters that he is entitled to his cross examination, and the judge says he is right and tells Rollins to answer the question. Rollins asks what question, did she concoct a plot to frame him – no she did not. Lewis shakes his head, and says no, the question was could she have. Rollins is silent.

Later, Amaro is on the stand and explains when they came to the scene the Suffolk County patrol officer was DOA. Barba thanks him and Lewis stands up, says “DOA” and consults with Marron. Amaro clarifies “dead on arrival”. Lewis chuckles and says “Of course.” Lewis asks Amaro if he thinks he killed that officer, and Amaro says yes. Lewis quickly asks if that was because his partner told him so and did she tell him if was from her gun. Amaro states it was from the ballistics. Lewis asks when they found the gun at the beach house, whose fingerprints were on it. Amaro says Lewis’ and Bensons, but it would make sense hers would be on it at it was her gun. Lewis says with both sets of prints it can’t be said conclusively who shot that officer. Amaro says there was no way she did it, she was duct taped, laying on the car floor. Barba writes down some notes as Lewis asks if that is because Benson told him. Amaro admits yes. Lewis asks about the first time he and Benson interrogated him and how would he characterize her demeanor? Amaro says she was just trying to get to the truth. Lewis asks if she was physically close and flirtatious, and did she seem aroused when she spoke with him? Amaro explains she may have acted provocatively for Lewis’ benefit, and looks to the jury explaining that during interrogation, you role play. Lewis asks if rape is considered a sexual act among SVU detectives, and Amaro explains it is not about sex it is about power, control, humiliation. Lewis raises his voice and asks why, in his opinion, when Benson was questioning him about rape did she sexualize the interrogation? Amaro emphatically states it is a technique to find a way to connect to the suspect. Lewis looks back toward the gallery and comments he would say it worked. Barba slaps down his pen and Lewis withdraws that statement.

Afterwards, the SVU detectives are having a meal at a restaurant and Fin asks if Mayer will testify. Benson thinks not if Lewis is interrogating her. Rollins says she can’t blame her, HER skin was crawling. Amaro adds Lewis can play all the games he wants, the jury is not going to fall for it. Barba walks in and sees them all together and questions them eating together, across from the courthouse, when Lewis is accusing them of conspiring. Fin blankly states they are just having dinner. Barba tells them to get it to go, and calls Benson aside.

Outside, Barba asks who is Viva and Luisa Núñez, saying that Lewis added them to the witness list, claiming they were in the beach house and that cannot be right. Benson admits it is, she is a maid and her young daughter. Barba said that would have been helpful to know and why she didn’t tell him, and when Benson says she must have blanked on it, he tells her please don’t lie to him. He asks if they saw or heard anything. Benson admits she does not know, she heard Lewis coaxing them into the house and got worried for the little girl and that’s when she broke free. Barba questions why they weren’t in the house when the police showed up, and Benson flashed back to when she asked Viva if they were legal and that if the police find them there they will take the child. Benson tells Barba she thought it was unsafe for them to be in t he house while Lewis was still there. Barba testily asks if that is her story, and Benson asks if he is going to bring it up. Barba says he has to, before Lewis does.

Later, Benson has a flashback of being in the back seat of the car when Lewis was stopped by the police officer and Lewis’ warning to her that if she says a word, he dies. On the stand, Benson explains the officer asked a few questions and became suspicious – she flashbacks to hearing the shot – and testifies it was horrible. Barba asks her to tell the jury what happened next, and Benson testifies that Lewis drove them to a vacant beach house, handcuffed her to an iron framed bedpost, shoved her gun into her mouth and repeatedly threatened to rape and kill her. Barba comments that Lewis didn’t shoot, and Benson explains Lewis said he wanted to take his time with her. Then here was a knock at the door and she heard Lewis talking to Viva and Luisa Núñez, a housekeeper and her little girl and then he made them come inside. As Benson testifies, Lewis is feverishly taking notes. She could hear him talking to them and she was terrified for them, so she used every bit of strength she had left and wrenched the metal bar from the bed frame. When Lewis walked back into the room she struck him with it and freed herself of the handcuffs and restrained him. Barba states that’s when she asked the housekeeper and her daughter to leave, and she states yes, she feared for her safety. When she was calling for help. Lewis got free and lunged at her and she hit him with that rod until he was subdued. Lewis smiles. As Lewis stand up for the cross examination, Benson flashes back in her mind to the beating she gave him as he was cuffed to the bed. Lewis then states he has nothing now, much to Barba’s surprise. Lewis reserved the right to question her at a later time. He glares at Benson and she glares back, and the judge states that is Lewis’ right. Lewis gives Barba a satisfied smirk. Barba pauses and then stands to say the people rest.

Later, Lewis questions Viva and asks her about the morning she came to clean, and she admits that he did not hurt them, he just put them in a bedroom. She did hear Lewis and Benson yelling and heard someone getting beaten and whispering, Lewis asks if it was as if he was in pain, and then was quiet? Viva says yes, there was no sound. She admits that is when Benson came out and said she was police and he was a bad man and she will take care of it. He asks if Benson said immigration said the police would take Luisa away from her if she did not do what she said. Viva is quiet, and Lewis tells her not to worry, Detective Benson is not in the court today, she can tell the jury the truth. Viva says yes, she did. Lewis thanks her.

The doctor who treated Lewis that day testifies that Lewis had a pneumothorax – a collapsed lung – two broken ribs, a shattered kneecap, fractured skull, and a broken orbital socket. Lewis notes she left out his ruptured spleen and the auditory nerve damage and adds don’t worry, it is hard to remember them all. Barba looks frustrated. Lewis states Benson testified she beat him until he was subdued, and in her medical opinion would any one of these injuries be enough to subdue him? The doctor looks to the judge and says she is not sure how to answer that. Lewis cites each injury and the possible effects and the doctor admits in her opinion he could not fight back.  Lewis states that the first of these blows, whichever one it was, incapacitated him and all the rest of them were excessive? Barba objects and the judge sustains. Lewis says he has nothing further, and Barba has no questions for the witness.

When the judge asks for Lewis’s next witness, Lewis asks to approach. The judge motions Lewis and Barba to the bench. Lewis requests a recess , saying he is easily fatigued due to his collapsed lung and Barba thinks this is another delaying tactic. Lewis, appearing weak, show a not from his prison doctor, Janice Cole, detaining his medical issues. Lewis states in order to adequately defend himself he needs to take breaks. He tells the judge it is his call but forcing him to proceed is against doctor’s orders may be grounds for appeal. The judge tells Lewis to get a good night’s rest, and grants a recess until 9AM the next morning.

Later, Benson is in Dr. Lindstrom’s office and he assures her that as she survived the assault, she can survive the interrogation. Benson comments she said those exact same words 100 times to survivors. Lindstrom replies it must be good advice, and Benson adds she also said to never lie about anything because it always blows up and now it will blow up in open court. He cautions he not to catastrophize, but she said Lewis knew she had it in her. He could smell it and he taunted her until she beat him and once she started she couldn’t stop. He got her to become exactly what he is. Lindstrom says she gives Lewis too much credit and her too little; Lewis kept her drugged and drunk with no food and water and no sleep. Benson counters that when she beat a handcuffed man nearly to death, she was just projecting her anger, and that makes it OK to lie about it, under oath? Lindstrom says he hears her, but asks her would she live with herself knowing she helped Lewis to go free? She closes her eyes, takes a breath, and does not answer.

Back in court, Benson is on the stand and Lewis is questioning her. He says the trial must be trying for her and asks how she is holding up? The judge orders him to proceed and Lewis cracks that there is no time for pleasantries. He comments that they have heard a lot of testimony in this case but only two people know what happened over those 4 days. Benson quickly replies she knows exactly what happened and that’s what she told the jury. Lewis counters he can see that is the story she wants them to believe, the truth is embarrassing, that her, and experienced and lonely SVU detective, consumed by her work, became sexually obsessed with a man she believed to be a rapist. Benson emphatically states that’s a lie, but Lewis questions is it? He asks if she can tell him if she is married and has children, and when Barba objects on relevance, Lewis states it speaks to her issues with intimacy and sexuality. The judge tells him to tread carefully and reminds Lewis that Benson is his witness and tells Benson to answer the question. Benson states she is not married and has no children. Lewis asks about family, adding when they spent time together, she said she didn’t want to talk about her father and why is that? As Benson raises her voice and says it is not of his business, Barba objects. Lewis explains if they want to understand Benson’s four day binge, they need to understand what drove her to it and what psychological demons she has been fighting her entire life. Benson looks to the judge and asks “Your honor?" And the judge tells Lewis to confine his questioning to her professional experience and the four days at issue. Lewis states he was just getting to that. He adds that due to this witness’ increasing aggression he would like to ask the court for permission to treat Benson as hostile. Barba objects and Lewis asks “Again?” The judge tells Lewis to confine his questions to the witness, and Lewis apologizes, saying he is still learning and didn’t go to Harvard like Mr. Barba. Barba says “C’mon” as the judge tells the jury to disregard Lewis’ last remark but allows Lewis to treat Benson as hostile. Lewis asks Benson if she has been an SVU detective for 15 years and she says yes. He asks if she has questioned hundreds of rape victims and interview hundreds of rapists – she says yes – and worked long hours and take her work home with her – she answers it is part of the job. He asks if she has a lot of accrued vacation hours and Benson looks perplexed but answers she guesses yes. He comments that her life is her work and over time, her world view has narrowed to victims and rapists. She replies she would not say that. He said the jury heard her captain testify he was worried about her when the second case against him was dropped. Benson explains the whole squad was upset. Lewis states Benson was the only one Cragen ordered to go home and take some time off, wasn’t she? Benson looks down and smiles but does not say anything, and Lewis hold his hand up to his hard of hearing ear, saying he couldn’t hear her. Benson speaks very loudly, saying yes, she was. Lewis says social isolation, long term immersion in sexual assaults, and a recent public loss of face proceeded their 4 days together. Benson, speaking loudly, tells Lewis he broke into her apartment, tied her up, and held a gun to her head. Lewis says that is her story, but none of her detectives could find a sign of forced entry, Barba objects but the judge allows it. Benson says she doe s not know how he got in, but he did. He asks if he teleported himself maybe, or maybe she invited him in. Benson counters he was the last person she wanted to see that night, and Lewis , standing by the jury, asks it was the night he broke in. He asks if she was armed when she came home, and Benson replies yes. He asks why she didn’t just pull her gun on him, and she replies that she froze. Lewis, facing the jury, says an experienced detective didn’t hear him come in and didn’t see any signs of forced entry and she just froze. He asks that she is saying she didn’t invite him in but clearly she reacts differently to him that she does to hundreds of other men. Benson jumps in and says no, she doesn’t. But Lewis asks what about her partner who testified the first time she interrogated him she flirted with him and tried to arouse him. Benson calmly states she was playing a role. He asks was she, adding that the first night that they spent together she said he tied her up and that he was forcing alcohol down her throat and did not resist and ask if this is part of her foreplay? Benson emphatically states Lewis had a gun on her. He asks whose gun, and she replies first his, then hers. Lewis said they drank together and took drugs together and they played with each other sexually, and says she gave him her gun…Benson shouts that he took her gun, calling him a frickin insane freak. Lewis begins to shout back at her, yelling that she forced him to tie her up but they never had sex together. Benson shouts back no they did not have sex. Lewis says this is more of a flirtation or courtship and Barba objects, telling the judge he knows he is giving this man latitude but he has crossed over and is using this trial to humiliate and re-traumatize Benson. The judge sustains the objection and tells Lewis to proceed. Lewis skips forward to the last day they spent together at the beach house. He questions that even though Benson said he spent four days holding her hostage, forcing her to drink alcohol, and forcing her to take drugs and holding her against her will, they still hadn’t had sex at this point? Benson states calmly that rape isn’t sex. Lewis asks if they can agree that there was no sexual penetration in all this time? He adds he knows this is embarrassing to her – Barba looks a little worried – and Lewis asks Benson didn’t she attempt to seduce him by trying to excite him with sexual stories from past cases? Benson whispers that it was a tactic to stay alive. Lewis asks didn’t she tell him he was the best she had ever seen, that she knew how to get him off? Benson whispers yes, she said all those things, she was trying to buy time. Lewis says that when Benson refused to participate in her twisted fantasy she started to get angry and goad him on – we see s flashback – and Lewis says he still resisted her advances. Lewis limps to the jury and tells Benson they both remember what happened next – she became violent. Benson raises her voice and says she was trying to stay alive. Lewis shouts that they both know that is not what happened, wasn’t he handcuffed and didn’t she beat him and didn’t she send the housekeeper and her daughter home and tell them not to call the police? Benson states she was trying to save their lives. Lewis looks at her and screams that she was trying to be alone with him; she came into the bedroom and started talking to him about her romantic fantasies and her ex-partner would have know what to do to him? Benson nods and says he would have. Lewis states they shared so many intimate secrets that day didn’t they? He explains he told her about his father and had asked Benson about hers, and Benson said she told him she did not want to hear it. Lewis adds when he asked her about her father, she got really upset and that’s when she lost it and started attacking him and beating him with that metal bar. Benson explains she was trying to keep him subdued, but Lewis asks wasn’t he already subdued enough, He states as an NYPD officer she would have handcuffed him before she left the room to go talk to the maid and her daughter. Benson confirms she did handcuff him but when she went to talk to the maid, Lewis had somehow managed to break free of his restraints. Lewis questions this, him being handcuffed to an iron bed, and Benson explains that she did it. Lewis should “YOU DID IT? AM I HOUDINI?” WASN’T I ALREADY INCAPACITATED FROM YOUR PISTOL WHIPPING ME IN THE SKULL?” Benson calmly said she did what she had to to subdue him. Lewis mentions his broken ribs, ruptured spleen, crushed his kneecap. As Benson repeats she did what she had to do to subdue him, Lewis yells that he died in the ambulance 4 times and did she know that? She had a gun, why didn’t she just shoot him. He gets right up to the witness stand and leans in on it, getting in Benson’s face. He thinks Benson just wanted him to suffer and wanted him to writhe in pain on the floor and wanted to hear him scream. Benson repeats again she did what she had to do to subdue him. Lewis states he has a limp now and lost his hearing and is partially blind, and asks did she or did she not – screaming, with his face red with anger - BRUTALLY BEAT HIM WITHIN AN INCH OF HIS LIFE WHILE HE WAS LAYING HELPLESS HANDCUFFED TO THE BED? Benson looks at him, speechless momentarily, but then whispers he had broken free of his restraints - she flashed back to that moment which are not the same as what she testifies – and she did what she had to do to subdue him. Lewis smiles at her and calmly says you and I both know that is a lie. Barba objects, but Lewis goes on to say they know so much about each other – the judge calls to Lewis but Lewis continues to talk, stating they shared a bond over those 4 days. Benson says no but Lewis says it is a bond nobody else can understand what she is going through right now and he whispers if she admits she is lying about beating him, the floodgates just open up, don’t they? He raises he voice and adds then everything that she said had been a lie. Barba leaps from his seat and objects and the judge sustains. Lewis withdraws his comment and ends his cross examination.

Later, at a bar, with Barba and Amaro, Benson drinks a glass of wine and says Lewis will walk, the jury knows she lied. Barba counters that the jury saw him attack her and they didn’t like it. Benson notes that the forewoman…he’s playing her. Amaro says so what, Barba is going to tear him apart. Benson looks at Barba and suggest he not chance it, and to take the deal. If he wants to allocate about raping her, he’s already humiliated her, what’s a few more hours. Barba believes he has a bullet-proof answer tree with a hundred questions, and no matter which way he answers on the stand, he will end up in jail for the rest of natural life. Benson takes another sip of wine.

Back in court, with the SVU squad and Brian Cassidy sitting in the gallery, the judge asks Lewis if he is ready to take the stand. But Lewis informs them that he was, but since the prosecution has failed to make his case, he is ready for closing arguments and says the defense rests. Everyone looks stunned.

Lewis makes his closing argument and admits he has a temper and hasn’t always behaved like an upright citizen. He drinks too much and acts out. He’s human. He says there is another more shocking truth; despite all of her denials, those very qualities is what attracted Benson to him in the first place. They heard from her partner and he squad mates and herself that she was a woman obsessed with him and was a woman who wanted to experience the thrill of being sexually involved with the kind of man she has been chasing her entire career – a dangerous man, she wanted all of it. She gave him her gun and willingly drank alcohol and took drugs and was in a hyper-aroused frenzy, demanding he tie her down and sexually humiliate others in front of her for her enjoyment, demanding he have sex with her. Lewis stands directly in front of the jury forewoman as he makes these statements. He adds when he failed to satisfy her increasingly perverted, desperate demands she became violent, angry. He was handcuffed to the bed frame and she could have called for backup or walked away but instead she decided to beat him with a metal bar until he was almost dead. He tells the jury to look at her and then to look at him, and asks the jury who is the victim here?

Back at SVU, Fin asks Amaro how is Benson doing, and he says she is a wreck but Cassidy is with her. Cragen says he does not blame her – all this time with no decision. Fin asks what does the jury think, and Rollins, who got a message, holds up her phone and says they are going to find out soon, they reached a verdict.

At Supreme Court, before the jury forewoman reads the verdict, she tells the judge that many of them have serious reservations about Benson’s conduct that they are not sure how to address. The judge says this is not in their purview. She states they still want it on the record. The judge tells her to proceed. On the charge of attempted murder and the charge of rape they find him not guilty – Benson and the gallery are stunned. On the charge of assault on a police officer and kidnapping, they find him guilty. This seems to bring some relief to Benson, and the judge thanks the jury for their service. He remands Lewis to Rikers to await sentencing. The detectives congratulate Barba and Benson. As Lewis is being cuffed, the jury forewoman looks at him. Benson tells Barba she can’t believe it is over, and Barba says it is over, he will get the max of 25 to life. Cassidy says to Benson, :Let’s get you home.” He asks if she is coming but she asks for a minute.

Later, in a stairwell, Benson sits alone on a step and cries.

Four months later, William Lewis is on a stretcher and Doctor Cole asks if he can hear her. He looks half out of it and says he thinks he had a seizure and his heart is racing. She says he is going to make it and they will get him out of there. She tells him to stay with her and it will be okay. She hold his hand and he moves to hold hers. He then looks up with a weird smile on his face as we cut to black.

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Icy said...

The whole trial was unfair, Lewis basically turned it into one big lie one right after another.

The jury never heard of Liv's injuries cased by Lewis, or heard Barba's questioning which should have been heard.

The judge was an idiot, and didn't even seem to care that all Lewis was doing was ripping into Liv while feeding the jury lies about her.

She was knocked out, and tied up and unable to move. Lewis fed her the drugs and alcohol, that was something jury should have known .

That one curly hair juror was dumb and selfish to believe Lewis's lies.

The judge should allowed Barba to question Lewis on the stand, it have told a much different story than the crap Lewis fed to the jury.

Liv isn't the person that Lewis made her out to be. She never wanted to be tied up, fed forceabllly Vodka and drugs and physically and emotionally assaulted.

The jurors belived the dumb Psychopath, I doubt he's going to escape. He can't even walk normally.

He's going to try to do something to get back and Liv from jail.

DRob23 said...

I will first say that I thought that I wouldn't like any ADA after Cabot but I'm a fan of Barba.

Now that being said this trial was a little one sided and did make Barba look a little incompetent by not trying to discredit some of the witnesses. Would have been awesome if he was able to call in Stabler as a character witness, since he worked with Benson the longest and can talk about the tactics they use to get criminals to confess. Would be nice to see Meloni make at least one cameo appearance on the show. Especially to help Benson.

I found it odd that the jurors would think that Benson would want to have those fantasies with a suspect on a case she was working on. That alone would put the original case against Lewis in jeopardy. Benson might be investigated for that because Jeffries got investigated for sleeping with a suspect and put on desk duty before she quit.

Lewis didn't have to take the stand because of the 5th amendment of incriminating himself so the judge would be in trouble and Lewis would win an appeal if the judge made him. Barba should have known that Lewis might not take the stand based off the 5th amendment alone so should have had another tactic planned. Barba might want to take some pages out of Cabot's book and bend and manipulate the law to work in his favor. I think Cabot would have done more in this case to help Benson hell even Donnelly.

They kept showing the curly haired juror for some reason. She might be related or one of his exes to Lewis or something and Lewis seems to have a thing for red heads, wasn't his first attorney a red head during his first appearance on the show, and the nurse at the end of this episode a red head.

I thought they said it would be a final chapter but looks to me like the door is open for him to come back and torture Benson again unless he's killed off screen like Zapata was who threatened to kill Cabot.

It was a very tense episode but could have made Barba be a little bit smarter in it.

Dafna Kapshud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Donahue said...

Great episode by the writers and they were rewarded by phenomenal ratings, However that being said I think the show would have benefited from having Christopher Meloni(Elliot Stabler) appear during the scene when Liv was crying on the steps after the trial or at least have Olivia imagine it, Would have made the episode that much more memorable in my opinion

Petra S said...

I think Pablo & Mariska were brilliant but the episode dragged out a little too long for my taste. Lewis whipping Barba in the courtroom was just wrong. Where's SuperBarba when we need him the most? Seems every time a detective is on the stand as a victim (Rollins, now Benson) he gets weak in the knees. And he should not have let Liv intimate (sp?) him, he should have made sure the jury saw her as a victim and not a cop cause we knew Lewis would make that fact clear. Barba should have screamed victim and pointed to Liv.
Have to mention I loved that little friction between Amaro and Rollins in the beginning, and the fact Fin made her apologize properly. In my Finanda ship I pictured she'd already apologized to Fin and they'd discussed it so that's how he knew that's what she was trying to do in her own way. I love friction but wish Amaro wasn't such a sourpuss, he seems like the person who could hold a grudge forever. Amanda on the other hand seems to feed on the actual fighting and that's always fun to watch. I hope it's not the last we see of this friction :)

Greg McNichol said...

Awful episode in my opinion. The writers are making this Lewis character into a cartoon villain (think The Joker). Keep the integrity of the series by ending it on the third episode. Giving the character to show up in yet another show just looks like the network is pulling him out of the closet to boost ratings.

Anonymous said...

I purposefully didn't look at any promos or pictures other than the one promo on NBC because I wanted to watch and see how I felt without any knowledge of what happened.

I thought the episode was great. I was on edge the entire time. I got a little disappointed when I let reality set in and I started thinking: "Wait did the jury see pictures of her injuries? Would there be multiple counts of grand theft auto, assault on the lady with the baby who was pistol whipped, criminal trespass, vandalism. Wouldn't the cop car's video camera show that it was Lewis driving, the eyewitness testimony of the lady who was pistol whipped would point to Lewis, the hardware store guy….and would Amaro know better than to say that Benson was flirty…"
But when you stop to just enjoy it, it's a great episode.
Since this program has been on long enough to have pretty much covered every single type of rapist, abuser, and psychopath, I think the best episodes are the ones that dig deeper into the characters.
It's great how they left his character open to resurface again…probably saving that for a season 16 cliffhanger or when the ratings get low again. As for dream sequences: no. You can't go on the air for years without them and then decide to pull one out…especially one that has no meaning. Benson is great up top though.

Alex said...

As the biggest Barba fan in the fandom, I am furious at how incompetent they made him look. I can't believe the writers managed to completely wreck his character barely a year after creating it.

I think this might be my least favorite episode ever.

KatieMargaret23 said...

Overall, I did really enjoy this episode as well. Obviously there was a high level of necessary suspended disbelief (seems to be getting more common with this show overall). The charges pressed,& lack of charges, was the most questionable aspect to me. You would think that Lewis would have been charged with malicious wounding vs. assault on a police officer. And, like the previous commenter pointed out, there were multiple other possible charges that went mysteriously unaddressed.

Obviously we only saw a small part of the trial overall (there had to have been medical evidence presented regarding Olivia's injuries, at the very least, as well as other "less interesting" witnesses testifying to the crime scenes), but I definitely agree that Barba was WAY off his game. I only recently started watching this show again, so I have had limited opportunity to formulate an opinion of him. If my opinion was based solely on this episode, I would strongly question his competence.

That being said, I was strongly impressed with some aspects of the writing of this episode. Particularly, I thought it was a brilliant ploy for Lewis to offer a plea to allocute to multiple counts of rape and sodomy (did not see that coming at all). It seems so in line with his character to try to get under Olivia's skin one more time. Her reaction to this offer was also brilliantly portrayed. Legally, I do wonder whether it would have even been an acceptable plea, as the evidence did not support it.

Regarding the ending, I have seen a lot of people upset about the possibility of Lewis coming back again & the way that such a plot line would affect the show. I'm personally ok with it & interested in it as a continued plot line. The show has definitely changed dramatically over the years from a more strict police procedural to something more along the lines of a character based drama with the main characters being police. I think this shift is also representative of a shift overall in network police & medical shows. Gone are the days of the Law & Order mothership & ER for a shift to more character drama focused shows like Criminal Minds & Grey's Anatomy.

I'll admit, however, that I am surprised that that door has been left open in this case. If Lewis does escape from prison by faking medical illness & come back for one last hurrah, it will inevitably make him a much less believable character overall (though to me that does not necessarily mean that the potential ending will be less satisfying). It's very reminiscent of the Reaper plot line in Criminal Minds & the Hoyt plot line in Rizzoli & Isles - Both of which were not particularly believable, but were engaging & satisfying to watch unfold.

ladybug81 said...

I absolutely loved this episode! The kiss with the therapist was gross though. To think what mind frame Mariska had to be in to film those scenes...someone just hand her the Emmy now. I do agree Barba was off his game.
As the verdicts were read & afterwards when Olivia broke down in the stairwell my heart broke & I cried right along with her.
I read in an interview Mariska did with e online that she had pitched an idea as to how Olivia could get closure. Between that & the ending I'm certain we'll see Lewis again. And as someone else pointed out 4 months later is May, season finale time. Overall it was a phenomenal episode, the actors brought their A game, and Mariska.... Mariska blew it out of the water.
PS: Can we please stop hearing Elliott should have been there?

magix74 said...

As much as the episode was good it just seems to me like the writers aren't prepared to go deep enough with showing what happened to Olivia which is disappointing. The trial felt like Olivia was on trial more than Lewis was. It didn't seem quite realistic that Lewis would get away with his line of questioning, especially not to a high profile detective. As much as Olivia did what she had to do it didn't seem quite right that she would lie. Surely they could have made a defence about her snapping after what she had been through as a reason for what she did to Lewis. Surely her state of mind would not have been the same as someone who just attacked a person on the street.

Pablo and Mariska have a great chemistry together though on screen so I enjoyed seeing that.

Allan Wight said...

I need to respond to Icy's comment. Good grief.

(The whole trial was unfair, Lewis basically turned it into one big lie one right after another.)

Lewis told his side of the story. And, as the attorney, did his job to try to win the case. That's how trials work. I'm not sure how that's unfair or what should have been done about it.

(The jury never heard of Liv's injuries cased by Lewis, or heard Barba's questioning which should have been heard.)

The trial lasted four days. You watched 30 minutes of it. I think it's safe to say just a few things happened that weren't shown, yeah? Yeah.

(The judge was an idiot, and didn't even seem to care that all Lewis was doing was ripping into Liv while feeding the jury lies about her.)

Except for all the times that he warned, reprimanded, and stopped him. I think it's safe to say a judge knows just a tiny bit more than you about what's allowed and what's not, so maybe keep that in mind when calling somebody an idiot.

(She was knocked out, and tied up and unable to move. Lewis fed her the drugs and alcohol, that was something jury should have known .)

Umm, they did know that. Obviously, because we saw both Lewis and Barba mentioned it repeatedly. And, like I said above, you saw approximately 2% of the trial, so I think it's safe to say it was brought up in even more detail at other points.

(That one curly hair juror was dumb and selfish to believe Lewis's lies.)

Ok, what the F are you talking about? The jury forewoman who read the verdicts? You do realize that she was reading that which all 12 members of the jury agreed upon, right? And exactly what lies did she believe? The entirety of her speaking role was reading the verdicts, which tells you nothing about what she believed, so unless you have some magical ability to read minds based on facial expressions...and even if she did, how the hell does that make her dumb or, especially selfish, to...oh forget it. I'm at a loss on this one.

(The judge should allowed Barba to question Lewis on the stand, it have told a much different story than the crap Lewis fed to the jury. )

You, uh, do know that that is extremely unconstitutional, right? That doing so would have immediately resulted in the case being thrown out and the judge being kicked off the bench for life? What, exactly, would that accomplish?

(Liv isn't the person that Lewis made her out to be. She never wanted to be tied up, fed forceabllly Vodka and drugs and physically and emotionally assaulted.)

Um, ok? We all saw the season opener. Now, if you didn't see that episode and didn't know any of huge people involved whatsoever, and could only go by the evidence presented, would you be so sure of that, beyond a reasonable doubt? That's the point if the trial.

(The jurors belived the dumb Psychopath, I doubt he's going to escape. He can't even walk normally. )

Where do I start? First if all, there are many words one could use to describe William Lewis...given his track record, calling him "dumb" wouldn't make much sense. Secondly, if they believed him, why did they find him guilty of assaulting a police officer and kidnapping??? They found him not guilty of attempted rape and murder - that doesn't mean they believed him, that means the prosecution didn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Which I tend to agree with, based on what was shown. Thirdly, did you not see the final scene? They practically showed him escaping. I'm not sure what his ability to walk has to do it given that he was obviously exaggerating for jury say sympathy, not to mention it's not like he's going to just open the door and run as fast as he can to escape.

(He's going to try to do something to get back and Liv from jail. )

With all the connections he has to the outside, as a gang leader with so many people to do his bidding? Because he's clearly established himself as a leader of others? WTF is he going to do from jail?

Vim said...

"Except for all the times that he warned, reprimanded, and stopped him. I think it's safe to say a judge knows just a tiny bit more than you about what's allowed and what's not, so maybe keep that in mind when calling somebody an idiot."

While I agree with the most of your comment, I think that you forget that he wasn't really judge but actor playing according to the script.

Personally I didn't like this episode, mostly because Barba was shown as incompetent.

PS Sorry my English

Unknown said...

The weakness of this episode is it deviates away so much from the normal procedure of how a trial would go.

Everything was written or done in a way that it was convenient for Lewis to look like he was winning. That is actually making it a BADLY written episode. They basically god modded a lot just to suit the whole drama of him winning, when they could have done it in a much more grounded way that didn't make it seem like the WRITERS were making him win. Fourth wall.

Rikke MM said...

Allan Wight, what a hilarious and spot on comment. Made my laugh. Well said.
And to everyone who keeps saying Elliot shoud have been brought back. Chris Meloni has to actually want to come back, it is not in the writers hands alone. They are not God.

Regarding Lewis coming back, I certainly hope the episode doesn't end with Olivia killing Lewis. Considering how they've portayed it, I think Olivia would only get closure if she had the opportunity to shoot him and get away with it, but chooses not to.

I also have to mention that I quite liked how the doctor you see holding Lewis hand at the end, is the same doctor who wrote the judge a note regarding his need for breakes during the trial. Seems Lewis has charmed yet another woman.
I must say, I am starting to doubt the competence of all these women. They all deal with criminals daily, and yet seem so easily charmed by Lewis.

fred astire said...

Two thumbs up. Best SVU acting in 15 years. Most powerful & talked about arc in SVU history. Simply riveting. Pablo & Marish made that scene in the court room between them two FRIGHTENLY REALISTIC. Liv wasn't obsessed with him but from what I saw, Lewis has become obsessed with her. His return will be greatly anticipating. Also, second episode that soar with more and more viewers. PSYCHO THERAPIST WAS EVERYTHING! Favorite Line: "You took my gun you freaking insane freak." Lol

Just another person said...

This is my first time commenting here, as I rarely watch SVU because I find the subject matter stressful. However, I am a big fan of Mariska Hargitay's work as an actress, and the crisis center I volunteer with has previously given her an award in regards to her work with the Joyful Heart Foundation. When I heard that the show was handing her quite a storyline (not one anyone would want to experience in life, but one most actresses would be thrilled to play), I tuned in.

Here's why I don't watch the show: it gets stuck in my head for days. So, since I kept thinking about it, I wanted to drop my thoughts somewhere. Off I went to locate some SVU forums, and here I am.

I had mixed feelings about the episode. 

The pros: The actors were indeed wonderful. Mariska Hargitay and Pablo Schrieber were captivating.
The writing was excellent in regards to emotion and character, and the episode did an good job of showcasing what a sexual assault survivor will often face in the courtroom. For many survivors, the reporting process and court case (on the rare occasion a case makes it to court) can be nearly as traumatic as the initial assault. And these guys do sometimes represent themselves. It's such a wonderful additional opportunity to take power and control.

The cons: This is tv drama, and I understand that. Therefore, the lead character is not going to be made to seem weak. Withstanding days of torture and being the type of person that the bad guy "doesn't have the balls to rape" = strength. Getting raped without much visible injury = weak. (I'm speaking to how I think the writers may have thought the public would react to such storylines, not to my own opinions. These are DEFINITELY not my own opinions.)

The fact is that most rapes happen without additional visible physical injury. And had they gone that route, the court case would have made sense. There wouldn't have been her own injuries to present as evidence. (In order to make the episode work at all, they could barely mention the character's injuries they had established earlier in the storyline -- burns, broken bones, concussion, if I remember correctly?) And the beating of the bad guy, while still making complete sense psychologically and to a viewing audience, would have looked even worse to a jury. Schrieber's character's arguments would have seemed more likely to convince a jury, and the prosecutor wouldn't have had to look nearly incompetent. (I don't watch the series regularly, as I mention: I assume he isn't generally incompetent? Love the actor. Kudos to SVU for scoring such a talented Broadway actor in the role! Have they come up with an excuse for him to sing in any episode yet?) It also would have given real life rape survivors a hero they could identify with and may have done more to educate the public using an admired character that people have identified with for years and would be disinclined to place judgement upon.

In many ways it was a wonderful episode, but while the actress "went there," the writers seemed unwilling to do the same. The fact that this was indeed a sexual assault was barely touched upon in the trial. Whenever it was discussed, only the word "assault" was used. And while the trial was brutal, the reality is worse. She would have had to recount Every. Single, physical contact that was forced upon her. (I would have had to turn off the tv.) And, if they wanted her to lie, that would have been a place where someone might start omitting difficult information. 

But in so many ways the courtroom episode was excellent. Portraying the humiliation that can take place during a case like this -- the writers and actors and the amazing Michael Slovis certainly did that. The emotion of the episode was spot on. The story mostly seemed to be harmed by the facts that were established in the "kidnapping" episode.

Sara Kürz said...

For me this wasn't a good episode at all,to much cruelty in it. I kind of knew that something like that would happen,but to be honest i just skipped most of the episode and only watched like 10 minutes.
And even while skipping i felt uncomfortable too sad and against commom sense for me.
Besides that i have to admit that tge actors did really great jobs. But in a show it's not just about acting,it's most important about what the actors act and how the story is written. Just sayin',i think this was the worst svu episode i've ever seen and im not saying that because i love olivia so much,it's a common sense thing. Hope you can understand!:)
I hope the next episode is going to be great,and something totally different than that!

Jason said...

Thanks for posting the summary. I didn't want to watch the episode because I didn't like its part in the series. Here was a guy who kept winning out of luck (conveniently lost evidence, etc). Then he pushes Benson past any reasonable point and pretends to be the victim. There's enough real world instances of cops beating suspects to get their jollies. I don't want to see SVU going down that route. First it's a well-deserved one against a scum-bucket. Then everyone turns into a Stabler.

Anita Kearney said...

I have been playing catch up on this show and I was fully expecting him to walk. That foreman woman with the red hair was enamoured of the good looking psycho...he will get out somehow we have not seen the last of him and I agree with fin they should have offed him when they had the chance.

XxJustDanceGirl15Xx said...

After reading this and watching some parts of the episode, I would have to say hands down brilliant acting. In my honest opinion, I think Barbra could have made himself look better. He looked so incompetent, a kindergartner could have done a better job presenting the case.It drove me insane how much Lewis could fed off the testimony from the prosecution and then turn it around to use for his own defense. Overall though, I did think the episode brilliantly portrayed out of hand and dramatic these types of trials can be and how much they can rag on a victim. I thought the emotion coming from Olivia was portrayed real life like, how these trials can affect a victim.

I do agree, the case would have been more realistic if they included the charges to the crimes William Lewis committed in the four day period. I also agree the plea deal was a tad bit over done, because where the evidence to support the claims Lewis had made. It was unnecessary and incompetent for the whole trial overall. Then again at the end of the day, I know this just a TV show trying to keep up its ratings.

I also liked when Fin said they should have taken to take Lewis out when they had the chance.