Thursday, February 27, 2014

Law & Order SVU “Comic Perversion” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Comic Perversion” was ripped from a few headlines that I could detect:
  • The 2012 story about comedian Daniel Tosh who was heckled by a girl about a rape joke and then asked the comedy club audience “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, five guys right now… like right now?”
  •  The 2011 story of New York Yankees Derek Jeter and his one-night stand memorabilia gift baskets
  •  Whoopi Goldberg’s 2009 idiotic statement regarding Roman Polanski, rationalizing what he did wasn’t “rape-rape”
The question is, did the episode blend all these headlines together to form a solid story? My answer: Yes and no. Jonathan Silverman was great in this role, portraying both a believable comic and a believable low life scumbag. This character was very well written and Silverman delivered those lines with perfect comic timing. But overall, the episode missed on many marks.

This was a case from which Benson and her squad should have distanced themselves very early in the game. At first, there was no case and Barba was the only sane person to highlight that fact. I realize that the squad felt that where there was smoke there is fire, but they went out of their way to dig up any dirt they could on Josh Galloway, to the point that it seemed like they had a vendetta against him. Benson trying to get him on hate speech was a stretch. Even after they found another potential victim, Barba must have lost his sanity by taking such a weak case. It was satisfying for him to lay down the law (no pun intended) to Benson about not bringing him another case like this in the future. These past few episodes, Barba has been off his game and it’s been so disappointing to see a character who came on so strong when he first appeared in the series to one who seems to have lost his judgment and his backbone. On the plus side, Raúl Esparza brought his scene-stealing game to this episode.

Benson also commented to Barba that she thought they had each other’s backs. Being a good Sergeant or Detective or ADA should not be about having each others’ backs. It’s about uncovering the facts, leadership, and making the tough decisions - knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.  Benson has enough experience in the SVU that she should have seen this turkey of a case a mile away and not taken it to Barba until she had a solid foundation. Her expectations that Barba would blindly have her back was immature and I was glad when Barba called her on it. Hopefully Barba will get his backbone back and Benson will start thinking like a Sergeant.

Something about this episode repelled me, and I don’t think it was just Josh Galloway. It was the fact that there wasn’t one person that I found to be a sympathetic character and there was no character that I really cared anything about, including the victims.

Questions: as the SVU group sat in the reserved front row of the comedy club, are we to think they did in fact accept the VIP tickets that Josh offered? If so, was that inappropriate to accept tickets from a potential suspect? Should they have purchased their own tickets and sat in the back so they could better observe the dynamics of the show, rather than become part of it? Is there more trouble with Benson and Cassidy? She avoided his call, and seemed uncomfortable to find that Josh was Cassidy’s favorite comic. She must we wondering what that means regarding Cassidy’s views on rape.

The episode was promoted by NBC as a two-hour crossover event with Chicago PD, which was shameful, considering that the one lone character from Chicago PD didn’t appear until the last minute of the show. I knew going into it that something like this was going to happen, but only because I saw a few clarifying tweets on the subject soon after the promo first aired. But to the casual viewer – those millions that don’t follow people on Twitter connected to the show - it was another case of NBC over promising and under delivering.

For me, deciding whether a joke is funny or offensive lies in the context and also in the spirit in which the joke is delivered. Humor is subjective and one person may think something is hilarious while another may find it offensive. There are so many bad things that can happen to someone in their lifetime that a comic is likely to hit a sore spot at some point with someone in the audience. Making someone laugh can be a mine field; one may think that he/she is delivering the comedic line of the century when in reality they may be met with alarming silence or anger. Professional comics want that big laugh; some of them attempt to get that laugh by shocking their audience or saying something that is clearly in poor taste. A person stepping into a comedy club should be prepared to hear just about anything, and comedy clubs are definitely NOT the place for sensitive ears. Heckling serves no purpose but to give the comedian more fodder for their act.  All that said,  I don't find rape jokes funny.

While we’re on the subject of offending an audience, and with me in the mood to shake a hornet’s nest, Law & Order SVU angered many fans who were rape victims by hiring convicted rapist Mike Tyson for the episode "Monster’s Legacy” last season. A mixed message to say the last: rape is not a joke but let’s be insensitive and hire a convicted rapist for our show and offend rape victims.  Law & Order SVU’s storylines are in themselves exploitations of victims of sex crimes, which makes the “rape is no joke” tag line sound sanctimonious and for me, the message rang hollow.

Here is the recap:

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

Guest stars:
Dean Winters – Brian Cassidy
Elizabeth Marvel – Counselor Rita Calhoun
Skyler Day – Renee Clark
Jonathan Silverman - Josh Galloway
Laura Slade Wiggins - Carly Rydell
Victoria Rowell - Judge Delilah Hawkins
Sophia Bush – Erin Lindsay
Sal Governale – Emcee
Justin Kruger – Chad Smith
Patrick Cragin – Sean Bradley
Caroline Lindy - Audrey Tuffaut
Emily Grosland – Tara
Michelle Beadle – Reporter
Brian Silliman – Prank Reporter

Comic Josh Galloway takes the stage at the Comedy Strip Live Club at TSU. He makes jokes heavy with sexual innuendo and then progresses to rape jokes. Two women in the audience shout out that “rape is no joke” and the crowd boos them. He continues with the jokes and as one girl says rape is not funny, another woman in the word tells her SHE is not funny and to go home and the crowd applauds. Josh makes feminist jokes and Renee Clark, from “Students Together Against Rape”, one of the girls who was heckling Josh, cites some statistics of rape on campus. He calls her to the stage to allow her to use the microphone to deliver message and when she says that 1 in 4 women on their campus will experience sexual assault. Josh explains Renee is right, rape is not funny, but then goes on to say gang rape is friggin’ hysterical. The crown laughs and, with his arm around her. he tells Renee it is the rule of threes, one guy rapes her and that’s not funny, two guys rape her and that’s tragic but three guys is comedy. The crowd laughs and she breaks free and leaves the stage. He tells her if she got gang raped tonight she would get that. She shouts out to him that he is sick but he thinks these are funny jokes. As she and her group of girls leave the club the crowd applauds and cheers.

Outside, as Renee walks alone, she is accosted by two guys who restrain her and make jokes about what was said at the comedy club. As she struggles to get away she blows a whistle but one of the guys grabs it from her. As they continue to grope and assault her, she kicks one of them and he drops the whistle which is attached to her key chain. She grabs it.

Back at the club, Josh wraps up his routine and signs autographs as he leaves. He makes eye contact with a girl who is also eyeing him and she looks half drunk. He smiles.

At SVU in the conference room with Benson and Rollins, Renee says they grabbed her and pushed her around and she managed to get her whistle back which made them panic and run. Benson assures her she did great, she got herself out of the situation. Rollins asks if she knows those boys, and Renee answer Sean Brady and Chad Smith, they live in her dorm. She thinks they followed her out of the Comic Strip Live last night, Josh Galloway was performing, Rollins asks if he is one of those “rape joke” comics, and Renee replies she and her friends were trying to send a message that rape isn’t a joke at TSU. Benson asks if Renee was there protesting, and she explains yes, but Josh called her up on stage and said it would be funny if she were gang raped and that’s why Sean and Chad assaulted her. It’s like Josh gave them permission. Benson tells her they will see what charges they can bring with these boys but she just wants to make sure that Renee is ready to go through all this again. Renee states she is, that’s why she came straight to them, she didn’t even call campus security. She adds they need to after Josh Galloway, if he hadn’t egged them on, they never would have gone after her.

Meanwhile, Amaro and Fin question Sean and Chad separately. ADA Barba, observing with Benson and Rollins, calls the guys college idiots. Benson thinks Renee was targeted as the guys knew Renee was an activist and a rape survivor. Barba says he can ask for a temporary restraining order but maybe she should change dorms. Benson scoffs that it’s the victim that should change her life, than asks what about Galloway and when Rollins explains who he is, Barba asks if he assaulted Renee too. Benson pipes in that it was verbally and he incited those boys. Rollins explains the joke he made about Renee being gang raped, and Barba gives Rollins a look asking if she has heard of free speech and as Benson sighs in frustration, Barba says he can’t charge the guy for bad joke telling. Benson asks what about hate speech as he is advocating rape, thinking this makes Galloway an accessory; if she tells a guy with a gun she wants her husband dead…and Barba counters it’s false equivalency, she’d have to prove his intent. Barba asks if there are any other charges against Josh and Rollins explains there is nothing on record but they can do some digging. Benson suggest they go to Josh first and tell him the girl he dragged up on stage and humiliated was assaulted by two of his fans.

At the Massimo Hotel, as Benson and Amaro go meet with Josh, Amaro complains that he hates this guy, say he thinks rape is a joke and asking that doesn’t he have a mother or sister or daughter? Benson cautions him that those aren’t the kind of questions they will be asking. Benson knocks on the door and Josh greets them clad in a robe, and when he refers to them as detectives, Benson corrects him that it is Sergeant. Josh says she wears the pants and asks what he can do for them. Amaro motions to Josh’s robe and asks didn’t the front desk tell him they were on their way up, and Josh said yes they pulled him out of the shower, He drops the robe and based on Benson’s and Amaro’s reaction, Josh is naked. Benson says “whoa!” and she and Amaro overt their eyes. He asks if they like the view and says nothing beats a penthouse view in New York City as he puts on his pants. He offers them room service but they decline. Benson explains what happened to Renee and he says that is too bad. He says the joke is out of context, rape isn’t funny but gang rape is, the rule of threes, asking if they get it. He says it was a joke and he is a comedian and he was playing to the crowd who knew they were kidding. Benson says the boys didn’t and Josh replies they can’t be serious that an artist can be held responsible for how an artist responds to his material. He adds he is a performer and he has a right to free speech. Benson explains he is also a witness to the events that led up to the assault so they will ask him to ID the assailants. Josh says when he is on stage it is just lights in his face and he hears the laughs. Amaro retorts that drunk and stoned college students is a real tough crowd. Josh says he gets it, they are not fans, but before they judge him at least come see his show and offers free tickets, asking Benson if she has a significant other and Amaro to bring his wife. Amaro glares at Josh and says no thanks. Josh rushes after Benson who has walked off, and says he assumes she is an intelligent woman who doesn’t want to make assumptions about his show until she has actually seen it. As they leave, he calls out “10 o’clock!:

Later, at the comedy club, Benson and Cassidy, and Rollins and Fin are sitting in reserved front row seats and as Josh is being introduced, Cassidy says to Rollins to keep an open mind, that this guy used to be funny. Josh gets on the stage to much applause. He comments that two nights in a row at the university feels like a commitment. Benson whispers to Cassidy that at least the other guy was funny, and Cassidy tells her to just relax. Josh asks Benson if he is interrupting and is she not a fan, adding it is okay, she’s a cop. When the crowd begins to boo, Josh says they are all cops and then introduces them to the crowd as Manhattan’s Special Victims, which gets a mix of limp applause and boos. He explains they are here tonight as they think his set is too suggestive and it might incite men to rape. The crowd voices confusion as Josh goes on to say it is okay, there is a lot of confusion about his whole consent thing. He adds he’s not talking about “rape rape”, he’s talking about the “he said/she said, we came back to my place, we were both drunk and now that he didn’t call me back the next morning I think I might have been raped” rape. The crowd laughs and Benson looks uncomfortable. He begins to make jokes asking SVU of guys need to get consent forms but he likes to hang on to the bar receipts which shows that he paid for her six drinks and that ought to be poof enough. Benson dryly says loudly, “Wow, that’s funny.” Josh addresses her as Sarge and asks what’s wrong, and as he bends down next to her, asks if she is not having a good time and to relax and have fun. He suggest he gets her a drink, on him, and then calls out if he can keep the receipt.., as the crowd laughs he says he is kidding. He gets back on the stage, and then says last night he banged one of TSU finest trash sluts. He mentions she order a crap ton of room service with champagne and they had mind blowing sex - he thinks he did he was so hammered – but his question to SVU is was that rape? They were both drunk, in his hotel room and in his bed completely naked but was it rape because he read once that a feminist said any time a girl has sex and she is drunk that’s considered rape. Benson continues to look displeased as Josh explains he is half Irish so if that’s true, that means all the women on his dad’s side of the family were raped by all of the men in the family going back 20 generations. Benson gets up and leave and Cassidy, Rollins and Fin follow as Josh continues to joke about rape.

Outside the club, Benson asks if anyone else needs a shower, Josh was vile. Cassidy says John was baiting her and Fin says “masturbating.” As Rollins tells Benson he was offensive but they can’t charge him, a girl, Carly,  runs out, asks if they are really SVU, and when Cassidy says they are, she says that drunk TSU girl that Josh was talking about is her, he thinks he raped her.

Later, at SVU, Carly tells Amaro and Rollins says she helped organize Josh’s event and afterwards she stayed around after his set to make sure everything is okay. Josh bought her a few drinks and he was also drinking but she had a heard start. She said they danced a little and made out and as they were closing the bar he said he had a car waiting and he had a cool hotel room paid for by the student association and she should see it. She remembers getting there and he said they had champagne but she doesn’t remember it is all hazy. When she woke up in the middle of the night, she was face down in a pillow and her legs were hanging off the bed and he was inside of her, she wasn’t used to where he was and it hurt a lot. Amaro asks if she told him to stop or said no, and she said yes but she told her to hang on doll, he was almost finished. She was too out of it, then the next morning he gave her a swag bag with a cap and t-shirt and gift cards which he had in his closet. Rollins asks if she told anybody about what happened, and she said no, she wrote him an email but never sent it. Rollins explains it is probably in her saved drafts folder so don’t delete it, edit it, or open it.

At the courthouse in the hallway, Barba tells Benson and Amaro that this isn’t just gray, it’s satyagraha gray. Benson counters that it seems pretty black and white to her, asking if he has seen clips from Galloway’s act. Barba replies that a comic who makes rape jokes is not the same as a rapist, asking if they have anything more concrete. Benson explains they are waiting for the rape kit results but a preliminary examination shows forceful anal penetration with bruising, tearing, and swelling. Barba asks that Renee didn’t realized she was raped until Josh made fun of her in his monologue? Benson tersely replies it wasn’t a monologue, it was a confession. Barba counters maybe to her, to him it was his act, and if they go after him based on his standup routine, he is going to claim he is being persecuted for his free speech, and raising his voice – adds Josh may not be entirely wrong. Benson claims this guy is a classic power assertive rapist and he probably takes home 10 girls a month. Amaro jumps in and says 8 say yes, 2 say no, and Josh has sex with them anyway and they should pick him up. Barba says no immediate outcry, fuzzy memory, she spend the night, and takes it they haven’t found any other victims. Amaro presses that Josh gives post-sex swag bags and if Barba can get them a warrant for his financials and they might be able to track more vics down that way. Barba almost laughingly says they know that is a reach, and to get him another vic and they can talk. Barba walks into the courtroom, leaving Benson and Amaro frustrated.

Back at SVU, Renee explains to Benson that Carly is one of the party girls and she even heckled her at the club that night and it’s ironic she wants her help. Benson replies here she is helping her, and Renee doesn’t want Carly regret reporting. She asks why haven’t they arrested Josh yet, and Benson explains they believe her but cases like this are complicated. She asks Amaro if he had any luck tracking Josh’s gift bags, and Amaro complains it would have been easier if they had his business records. Rollins states that out of Josh’s 120 bookings in the last year, he canceled only one 1 in Albany. The student union guy was pissed off that the police held him up at a previous gig in New Paltz.  Fin adds that the New Paltz PD would only confirm they questioned Josh about an accusation. Renee asked that that DA didn’t press charges either, and Fin explains no, the girl recanted. Benson suggests they find out why.

At the dorm room of Audrey Truffaut in New Paltz, NY she tells Rollins and Fin she should not be talking to them, and Fin asks if that was the deal for her diamond watch, which she quickly covers. Rollins asks what happened, and she said she was drunk and it was rougher than she was used to. Fin asks about this gift bag, and Audrey wonders how they knew about it. Rollins explains she was not the first one to accuse him, and when Audrey is reluctant to talk, Rollins asks if there is anything in her non-disclosure agreement about showing them what was in that bag. Audrey gets out the bad and show it to them, there was $4 left in the gift card but the rest is untouched. Rollins thinks it is enough to get a warrant.

Back at SVU, Amaro tells Benson and Barba that it turns out the gift cards are cheaper by the dozen and Josh buys them in twelve packs. They traced the ones that were used to the recipients. Barba looks at the list and says Josh has his groupies on the road and asks if any of them are claiming rape. Amaro replies most of the girls he talked to on the phone say the sex was consensual and a few say he was aggressive but non felt comfortable pressing charges. Barba shakes his head and says even if they were, there was no outcry and no charges filed and no judge will admit prior bad acts, they are more prejudicial then probative. Benson argues that Barba said he wanted a pattern and here is his pattern, he is a bad guy and they have a complainant. Barba explains going after this guy is no slam dunk. Benson counters that she knows that but it’s the right thing to do, questioning if that doesn’t matter. Barba pauses then asks if Josh is still in town, and Benson looks at Amaro with a smile.

Later, as Josh is in the hotel lobby, Amaro shows him a photo of Carly and asks if he knows her. Josh asks if he has a picture of the top of her head, then says he is kidding. Fin says Carly is accusing him of rape and he won’t be able to shut her up with a diamond watch. Josh asks if he is talking about New Paltz, referring to Audrey as a chuckle slut, saying she recanted and so will this girl and they don’t have a case. Fin says the DA disagrees, and Josh says so they want a political case fantastic, he’s the right guy. Amaro says this will be a good time to call his attorney. Josh laughs it off, saying this is a good time, they have paparazzi and make a show, asking Fin – calling him Jay-Z – if he will hold his bag. Josh makes jokes as they cart him off in cuffs to many reporters and paparazzi taking photos.

Sometime later, Josh is on the courthouse steps while his lawyer Rita Calhoun speaks with the press about Josh’s free speech and the new mayor and the NYPD are going back to their golden era of censorship. A reporter asks Josh if rape is funny, and he says no of course not, and other asks him what about gang rape. Josh says no, he has respect for all women, many of who are his fans. He and Calhoun walk away.

In Supreme Court, Carly reads back her draft email which what directed to Josh and what he did, and admits she did not send it as she had to work with him later that night and she was the one who organized the event. Barba recounts what happened that night and Carly said Josh was forceful and he want along with it at first but then the room was spinning and she must have passed out. When she woke up he was sodomizing her and it hurt, and she said no and she was crying, He didn’t listen, he did whatever she wanted. She stayed the night as she was too drunk to leave on her own so she slept on the bathroom floor.

Under cross, Calhoun states that Carly attended 6 of Josh’s shows last year and asks if she was a groupie. She admits she was a fan and when Calhoun asks if she wanted to sleep with him, Carly says she wasn’t sure what she wanted. She was flattered that he was interested. Calhoun asks that Carly ordered room service and drank with him and laid down on his bed, can she see why he got the impression she wanted to have sex, and Carly shouts that wasn’t sex, she would never have sex there. She definitely did not want that and told him it hurt. Calhoun questions that she felt pain, because it sounded like she left no pain that night. Barba objects Calhoun asks Carly how many drinks she had that night, and when Carly says she lost track, Calhoun brings up the bar tab which says she had 4 drinks during the shows, 3 at the bar with her client. Carly says she was nervous. Calhoun asks if, back in the room, Carly had any of the champagne SHE ordered, and Carly admits she was drunk. Calhoun asks if she is usually a binge drinker, and Carly says she is in college, she goes out and she drinks. Calhoun asks if she drinks to experiment sexually or get slutty without having to take responsibility? Barba objects and Calhoun withdraws the question and then says she has nothing further. Josh grins.

Later, at a bar Benson, Cassidy, Amaro, Rollins and Fin watch a video made by Josh talking about the case and he also shows a video of Carly from a few hours earlier from her alleged rape where she was at the club acting rowdy, Josh asks her if she spells her name the slutty way with an “i” and she says it is a “y” and pulling up her shirt to flash her bra, saying she can still do slutty. Benson and the others are shocked and dismayed. Josh goes on to asks if they know what else ends with a “y” – PERJURY. Amaro asks Cassidy how he found it, and Cassidy explains it was a Google alert for Josh Galloway. Benson asks him to tell her he set that up, and Rollins adds no way the judge is going to rule this admissible. Benson explains it is too late, it’s already out. As they watch Josh laugh on the video, Benson gets up and walks away.

Back at SVU, Barba, along with Benson and Rollins, show Carly the video and she says she is embarrassed, but Barba snips at her, asking if it is for what she said or for not telling them about it. Barba asks where the hell they got that video, he thought they vetted the club goes. Rollins thinks one of them took the video and sent it to Josh. Rollins says she is sorry, and Barba snaps that she should be. Carly says she is sorry she doesn’t remember saying that. Barba says the jury will remember and when they acquit Josh. He walks out of the office.

In the chambers of Judge Hawkins, Calhoun tells the judge the video is a complete surprise – Barba mumbles to her “Really? Better timing than your client.” - and Calhoun says it speaks to the victim’s consent and moves to have the video admitted as evidence. Barba says of course she does but it is moot. The jury has already seen it. The judge says only two of them admitted they had and she will replace them with two alternates who swear they haven’t seen it. Barba wisecrack that is great, so the panel now consists of jurors who are willing to lie under oath and he requests a mistrial as the video represents a fundamental error prejudicial to the victim which cannot be cured by instructions to the jury. The judge denies his request and thinks he has bigger problems than this video.

Afterwards, in the courthouse hall, Benson questions Barba that he asked for a mistrial, but he tells her don’t worry it was denied. Benson says they knew this would be an uphill battle and at least the video is excluded. Barba comments if she wants to redeem the case good luck; Calhoun is calling her to the stand. Benson looks perplexed.

Back in Supreme Court, Benson is on the stand and Calhoun questions her about the drinking issues with victims and it increases a woman’s chances of being in a sexual encounter she may regret. Calhoun brings up Carly’s behavior at the club and her gaps in memory and she may not have recalled giving consent. When Benson starts her response with “I think” Calhoun uses that as a wedge that there is room for doubt. Josh looks happy and Barba looks less than thrilled.

Afterwards, Benson tells Barba she walked into it and apologizes, it is her first time on the stand since Lewis. Barba tells her he knows, it doesn’t matter, they knew where this was headed. Benson says they had to bring this case and it was the right thing to do for Carly and the other victims. Barba asks if she is sure this wasn’t about her ego, and as Barba opens a door to another room, Benson asks “What?” He tells the person inside that they need the room and the occupant leaves while he and Benson walk in. Barba says she just took over the squad and wanted to take big name down and there is no special treatment under Sergeant Benson’s watch. Benson tells Barba he knows that is not her, but Barba counters she had a really tough year and is going through a lot. Benson asks so which is it, she’s driven by her ego or her judgment is impaired? Barba replies HIS judgment was impaired, he should have never have let her convince him to take this case. Benson says they both decided it was the right thing to do, and Barba snaps that is because they did not have the facts and if her detectives had done their due diligence and found that video he never would have brought this case to trial. Benson nods and admits they are taking a hit but blaming her…she thought they had each other’s backs. As Benson exits, Barba replies “so did I.”

At a later time, Josh is on the stand denying he is a rapist. He says they drank a lot and fooled around and had sex and was sorry it wasn’t romantic. He adds she took the gift bag and saw his show the next night. He continues to joke about it and gets a chuckle from the gallery. When Barba questions him about it, he said that night Carly came after her hard, and he is a celebrity and some women find it attractive, He continues to joke about it and the jury seems to find him funny. Barba even tells Josh he is good looking and Josh admits Barba is not so bad himself but he doesn’t swing that way. Barba brings up the anal sex and Josh said the whole trial is a joke and last time he checked sodomy is not illegal in New York. Josh goes on to make jokes about the situation and the judge calls for order as the gallery responds. Barba comments this is all funny to Josh and beings up Carly’s pain and her screaming to stop and sleeping on the bathroom floor, and Josh asks if Barba was there, he forgot they were having a ménage a trois. Barba counters this is just material, and Josh says he is an artist, life is his material. This screwed up culture – racism, incest, rape - if you don’t joke about it, you cry. That is his job as social satirist to go there and shock people and make them think about their hypocritical Christian values that preach more that they can ever practice on their views on sexually and dominance – that’s his act. Barba asks if forcing himself on an incapacitated 21 year old is part of his act too? Josh comments to the jury that they heard him, he is on trial for his words and his thoughts, not his deeds. In his own bedroom he has own proclivities but this is not a trial about rape, it is about a girl who got in way over her head and she came after him that night like a heat seeking missile and she had this fantasy in her head to be part of her world. The next morning when her coach turned back into a pumpkin, she cried rape because these days instead of getting over it, you sue and if any of them believe that she isn’t going to file a civil suit, he has a bridge he’d like to sell them. Barba says Josh thinks she is after him for his money and they are after him to be silenced because they object to his attacks on Christian morality. Josh adds and his success, because that’s why he is a moving target but he is not guilty, he is sorry if her feelings got hurt but he did not rape that girl.

Afterwards in the hall, Renee tells Benson the jury had to see him for what he is but Benson counters that they also saw that video. Renee makes a comment about Carly but then says even she is victim blaming but Benson assures her they both know Carly did not want this. Renee asks about the other girls not testifying and Benson informs her the judge will not allow them as there was no outcry and no corroboration and on top of that, it is out of their jurisdiction. Renee says that they need a new victim here now, and she thinks if they set him up, he would bit. Benson says NYPD can’t approach him during the trial without his lawyer present and Renee has to let it go. Renee wonders what if it is not NYPD. Benson tells her she has to let it go and whatever she is thinking, absolutely not, he is a dangerous man. Renee is outraged that he is a dangerous man that gets to go free. Benson explains that they brought him to trial and maybe he will think twice about the next girl and that Renee needs to let this go. Benson walks off and Renee races off.

Later, Josh is in a bar and Renee arrives, dressed up with big eyeglasses and her hair up, in a black dress with high heels. She approaches Josh at the bar and she strikes up a conversation. He asks if she knows her and she says they met a few years ago. He says he remembers her and asks what is she drinking.

Later, at a hotel room. He is there with Renee and they drink more. He takes off her glasses and she puts them aside and takes down her hair. He begins to kiss her and she pulls out her phone, saying she got a text from her boyfriend who tracked her phone and she says she has to go. But he continues to press her and as she tries to leave he pulls her back and says she says no she has to go. He asks what does she mean no, she’s her in his hotel room. But as she continues to say no and to stop, he continues to force himself on her, shoving her face down on the bed. She finally is able to kick him off her and he reaches for her and tears her dress. He thinks now she is ready to party, but she knees him in the groin, grabs her glasses, and leaves.

Sometime later, Barba shows the video that Renee recorded from her eyeglasses camera to Josh and Calhoun. Calhoun asks if NYPD gave her the camera and Barba states she bought them herself. Calhoun thinks this is not admissible and her client was set up while still on trial and this is NYPD entrapment. Barba says Renee did this on her own and neither he nor NYPD had any knowledge and he is not looking to use it at this trial. Barba says he will be bringing new charges for attempted rape and sexual assault. Josh is outraged, asking what is this, first it was a vendetta and now a shakedown? Calhoun tells Josh to stop, then looks at Barba and says she is sure they can work something out.

Back at SVU, Carly hears that Josh agreed to a deal and asks Fin and Rollins if this means he will go to jail. Fin says no but he will be a registered sex offender for 10 years. Carly smiles and asks if this means she can sure him. Fin sits back in his chair and Rollins tells Carly it is her call. Meanwhile, Benson, Amaro, and Barba are observing from the office and Benson comments Carly is a piece of work, Barba says the video of Josh can never see the light of day and this all remains confidential. Amaro comments that Josh is above the law, and Benson says he plead guilty and is on the sex offenders list. Amaro says Josh walks right back out on stage. Barba states that Fatty Arbuckle was found innocent and barely worked again, that the court of public opinion can turn on you. Benson says at the end of the day, it was the right thing to do to bring this case. Barba tells her don’t fish, she snatched a tie out of the jaw of defeat; if she wants to stay commanding officer – he wants her to stay commanding officer – don’t bring him cases like this. Barba walks out. Amaro asks Benson what that about, and Benson says it is ego. Amaro says she saved Barba’s ass but Benson counters it was after she put him on the line. Amaro says Barba is a big boy and will get over it and so will Cassidy. Benson asks what – and Amaro explains that she took down his favorite comic. Benson looks surprised and tells him good night. Benson’s phone rings and she see’s it’s Cassidy but she declines the call.

There is a knock on her office door and Detective Erin Lindsay from the Chicago PD enters and introduced herself. Benson tells her Sgt. Voight called and said she might stop by and asks if there is a case they can help with. Lindsay explains a couple days ago they had a female who was raped, beaten, and murdered in their river walk area and her right ear was cut off. Benson knows the MO and Rollins and Fin caught the case about 6 months ago and unfortunately they did not get very far. Lindsay comments she doesn’t know how they do this, you catch a case like this and there is o evidence or witnesses, it makes her feel like a total rookie again. Benson nods and smiles and says for what it’s worth, Voight says she is one of the smartest cops he’s ever worked with and she will get her those notes and she will catch this guy. Lindsay thanks her and then asks if Voight really said that, and Benson nods yes and tells her good luck. Lindsay leaves the office and Benson looks on silently as we fade to black.

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Lisa said...

it was a bad episode with bad writing. What is going through Olivia head suggesting he be arrested because his rape joke caused 2 kids to harrass Carly? That is just stopid sloopy writing. as for his sex with Renee
she said no to Anal sex, had it been vag sex she would have been ok. Plus they she said she didnt remember the night it was blurry ect ect but she remember saying no to anal sex..,more sloopy writing.
And in what courtroom would Carlys set up to hook him and bait him to raping her would have flied. I was shocked at the horrid writing first time since Warren took over am i bitterly disappointed at a script.

Keith said...

I thought the episode was written pretty good. The character of Galloway was protaryed superb and I liked how it stirred some conflict between Benson/Barba and Cassidy/Benson. I do hope Barba and Cassidy stick around because I like both the characters. I'm a little disappointed at the deal Barba struck, I think Galloway should have served SOME jail time. It was a good episode in my books, the conflict with the DA is not something new to SVU, good scenes for the entire cast. Would've been nice to see Benson maybe going over Barba's head and getting Cabot/Novak to help out.

Petra S said...

I agree with you Keith, nothing wrong with the writing imo either. I followed the Tosh debacle a bit and it's so tricky when it comes to free speech and all that but I still came to the conclusion #RapeIsNoJoke
Silverman was brilliant, topped Lewis as a psychopath almost.
Renee going out on her own was just plain stupid, I figured she would at least have her 'woman-group' backing her up, listening in or something.
I too liked the tension between Benson/Barba. Makes for better drama. & I wish Bensidy would just split up already. But the famous baby will be back in ep 19 I think but one can hope Liv adopts him on her own. Cassidy in a hospital gown though probably means he survives, question is if he survives the season tho if Lewis comes back for a visit. BAM-BAM.
I agree that the CPD case was a bit hammered in but I did watch CPD just to see more of Finanda. I wished they could've worked out on the streets with CPD, now it was all just talk and not much play. I'm so scared for these two eps coming up, my heart is already breaking for Amanda...

Laurie Fanat said...

Jonathan Silverman was perfect casting. Aside from that this episode was ridiculous. It pushed all the wrong buttons with me. Where are Benson’s brains these days? She’s made a Sergeant and all of a sudden her judgment goes to mush. Didn’t she learn anything from her many years working for Cragen? You have to pick your battles and you shouldn’t waste time where there is no case. There was no case here. Barba accused her of wanting to take a big name down and it being an ego thing which was a fair accusation but I think there is more to it than that. She is making rookie DETECTIVE mistakes by grasping at every thin thread she can find and trying to use her relationships to get what SHE wants. I don’t know what the writers doing here but Benson is becoming a mess and I don’t feel the blame can be placed on her whole William Lewis thing. They are writing her badly.

I agree the “rape is no joke” hashtag the SVU people were pushing on Twitter was hypocritical. It’s good to know that I am not the only one that thought of the Mike Tyson casting and how rape victims were sickened by it and how people involved with the show were flip about the whole thing. Rape isn’t a joke now and it wasn’t then either but they wanted to make a big splash with casting Mike Tyson, as if they were doing such a kind thing for a rapist who served his time. It all comes down to money with the SVU people, IMO they could care less who their story hurts, they just want ratings and ad money. I also have a problem with them bringing Alec Baldwin in for an episode, it’s a ratings stunt. He’s also friendly with Mariska so I guess she wants to have a role for her buddy. Let’s forget all his rage issues against people and his verbal abuse and rants, even against one of his own kids. I liked Alec in 30 Rock but based on his public behavior, he needs help. But hey, let’s find him a job on SVU because the show needs ratings! Same thing with Questlove getting a spot on SVU playing a dead body just because he wanted it. I bet this is SVU’s last season and they are trying to fit in everybody then can before the end.

Fin is getting less and less time and I wonder if the show does return next season if Ice-T will be out. That would be a good change in my opinion. There isn’t anyone on that show anymore that has any chemistry with the other. (Raul is fabulous all by himself!) At least in the Stabler days there was always something with him and Benson but now, there is no spark between anybody there. I sense no feelings between characters and they are becoming line readers to me.

The SVU/Chicago PD hype was the joke. I don’t blame SVU for that, I blame the NBC promo people who are good at twisting the facts.

CLA said...

Episode excellent as well as the ratings. 2.0 for a series of 15 years is excellent. SVU is riding high and the public is corresponding. Here comes the 16 season. Thank God, without Stabler.

Petra S said...

Since Ice is my fave I gotta jump in again - he ain't leaving! He's aiming for a season 20 to break records. I have an addiction to his podcasts ;)

Lisa said...

I thought it was a crappy episode
I have only thought 2 episodes were bad since Warren took over.
Everyone has a different opnion which is fine.
Ice T isnt going anywhere so stop worrying.
alec baldwin being there is def a publicity stunt and its rather nausiating that everyone is so happy he is on yet he verbally abused his daughter, so it seems
people vitrol only extends to people they dont like likeMike Tyson yet a verbal abuser of a child is ok in their eyes because he is Mariska buddy..some of the double standards i see in this fandom is weird.

oh and while on that subject yes why is it ok for the DETS to make rape jokes to male suspects some of them innocent of any crimes yet is bad for a comidian to make rape jokes.

CLA said...

I'm giving up on SVU. They are destroying my favorite character, ie Olivia Benson. Sincerely wish Mariska leave the show. She deserves to do something different. How Meloni wanted to do. But SVU should continue. For many years.

Icy said...

@CLA- I disagree with you, they are not in any ways destroying Olivia Benson. She just went through a terrifying thing. That type of thing changes someone. What Lewis did, psychologically changed her.

Mariska is happy where she is, you can't have a show without Mariska. It would just be boring.

@PetraS- Where did you get Cassidy in a hospital gown? I do agree, I hope Bensidy breaks up. Olivia already is realizing he is not the one for her. He had no right to tell her to relax. They are already sick of each other.

As for the Baby Boy Doe coming back, I just can't see Olivia adopting him. Especially with her idiot boyfriend who isn't dad material.

Petra S said...

@Icy - some photos of him, Mariska, Ice & Kelli around the time when she (Mariska) posted a 'selfie' of the four of them on her Instagram. He was in a SVU hoodie and underneath a hospital gown. Warren tweeted the baby will be back in ep19, I think a lot of people are pushing Warren & Co to give Liv a baby. I just hope they don't go there with Liv/Cassidy

Icy said...

@PetraS- I agree, I'm hoping Olivia breaks up with Cassidy. She already realized he isn't the man for her.

Plus this guy is not type to have kids. If they give Olivia a kid, she should be a single mom.

Origtopcat said...

While I am a fan of the original Law and Order and Criminal Intent. I never found the stars in the SVU series likable, especially Benson. However I watched this ep. to see the Chicago PD crossover (I could have saved my self the hour and just read this blog). Excellent recap of the episode, very detailed.

Anonymous said...

Okay, thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one who was a little incredulous about how sanctimonious they were being about this given their history, but I haven't seen any other reviews bring it up. The Mike Tyson thing was literally this month last year - more recent than the Tosh blowup, in fact. I'm not saying they've lost the right to ever address this subject again, but one would have expected a little more humility and nuance given that they've had their own missteps where art meets sensitivity.

Really, not one of their better episodes. Their constant need for personal drama is really starting to drag down the cases and characters. I'm not one of the L&O purists who hates all personal information, but I think they've really pushed the balance too far this season.

Tyler said...

First time posting on this blog and I really need to get something off my chest regarding Bensidy, and more importantly the poor writing/character development of this season thus far.

I think the writers are doing a disservice to Cassidy's character. I always liked him from way back in season one when he was "wet behind the ears" who couldn't handle the job to how he is now, more grizzled and jaded. If you watch his last appearance in season one you'll see how vulnerable and tender he gets about the subject of sexual assault and knowing that how he couldn't be someone who Benson would despise. Of course I kinda doubt Cassidy would come clean about it.

"Bensidy" is the best pairing for the two as there's familiarity as well as problems that everyday couples don't face. If the writers end this relationship then Benson is doomed to a lifetime of loneliness and bitterness. And even the most ardent "Bensidy" haters wouldn't want that for her.

Fin listens to hip-hop which does contain some of the most misogynistic content out there but he's one of the best at SVU. Does Benson begrudge him for it?

One last thing: Cassidy said that the comic was a favorite of his past tense "he used to be funny." We all know that Benson has some issues when it comes to trust and letting guys in and Cassidy can come off as shady at times but at least Cassidy tries to talk about it. Give him a chance,a fair chance. Don't just hate on him because he isn't Elliot.

Petra S said...

@Icy - woho have you heard the latest about Dean Winter's new gig? I think Bensidy is finally over. I still don't hope they kill they guy off though, I like Winters and Cassidy don't get me wrong, I just don't like him with Benson.
@Tyler - I think you're wrong. Benson is 'doomed' to a lifetime with that abandoned baby so she won't be lonely and hopefully not bitter either ;)

Tyler said...

@Petra - I can't see Benson being able to adopt baby doe since she's already been declined before and her personal life is well documented and has even more problems happen to her. But then again the lousy writers never give any of us fans what we want anyways.

I'm happy that Dean gets to star in his own show, hopefully it won't conflict with making an appearance or two on SVU and at least for me and other Bensidy shippers, even if he doesn't appear on the show he can still be "involved" off-screen like how Kathy was with Elliot.

Then again....shows get picked up and then cancelled.

All us Bensidy fans, keep the faith.

A Johnson Tree Roots and Branches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keith said...

@Tyler - I completely agree with you. I think Benson and Cassidy is a "nice fit" as the show says every episode now and then.. I remember when Cragen left, he told Benson not to be married to the job, so I dunno but maybe that's a clue to Benson to hang in there. I like seeing her with Cassidy, and I think they should continue as they are, with some occasional Cassidy appearances, on and off screen.

Anyone know what's up with Amaro and his marriage lol

Tyler said...

@Keith - Thanks. I was beginning to think nobody else liked Cassidy & Benson together. Yeah I remember Cragen telling her to "take care of herself" hopefully it means to live for more than her job but the way the writers are shaping things up it looks like she's falling back into old habits which cast doubts if she really is 'not who she used to be'.

If nothing else as long as the relationship continues in cannon story-line, even if Cassidy doesn't make appearances that's fine. But whether or not Dean can make appearances on SVU will depend heavily on where they will film Battle Creek.

Don't know what's going on with Amaro, don't really like his character...sorry.

Rebecca Sanchez said...

I had the same question about amaro! Did anyone notice that the comic looked at Amaro's hand and then proceeded to ask if he was married in the scene where they were questioning the comic in his hotel? was it because amaro was wearing a ring or did I just misread what happened?

Cath T said...

Amaro is still wearing his wedding ring but we are still to find out what that phone conversation between Maria and Olivia was about. Warren Leight answered a fan tweet that we will find out what was said in that phone call.

I think we'll find that Amaro is delusional about the state of his marriage and is living in some sort of vain hope all will be well.

I am not a fan of the Bensidy relationship because I don't feel any chemistry between the two actors. Their scenes seem stilted and awkward to me but that's just me and I respect that other people think differently.

I would also like to see an end to the Nick/Maria saga although I hope Zara stays on the scene. I like the interaction between Danny Pino and Allison Fernandez. They really could be a father and daughter.

I'd be happy to see Cynthia back. She at least has some spark about her. Nick and Cynthia could be an interesting dynamic. Nick and Maria are a bit dull despite the histrionics.

I predict both Cassidy and Maria will be gone maybe by season's end.

Unknown said...

Late dvr viewing, but omg It was bad.

The comic was a cartoon strawman, and basically you can map out the episode as what you'd imagine a humorless feminist would write after being angered by some comic making a rape joke. Of course the comic telling rape jokes is both cartoonishly disgusting, and of course he's also as you guessed it, a rapist, and a pervert. I think this episode goes under the category of more propaganda than entertainment.

Unknown said...

I just have to say this - the 1 in 4 women are raped at college is total junk. I have two girls heading to college, so i am invested in this, but it is more like 2-4%. Still too darn high but, we have to address bigger issues like binge drinking and a culture that suggests sexual exploration is smart...when it can be dangerous. Also, in 2014 (or 2017) there is nothing funny about rape. This episode had one of the most despicable characters in SVU history. I wanted to punch the comedian through the teli. But they made the victims just...annoying. So often they create victims (and occasionally perps) that are emotionally connecting. Not this one. I just wanted it to end. And the entrapment at the end...really? And after 20 years doing this, Olivia can't figure out a "he said" "She said" with the email and the bar tab is a case you have to simply say, "We can't go to trial, pursue the civil case with its lower level of confirmation. Sorry, one of the worst episodes in SVU history.

Have to admit, with his daughters, this would have been a great episode if Eliot had been there...he would have dealt with this so much more...forecefully.