Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Law & Order SVU “Transgender Bridge” Recap & Review
(SVU fans will recall the premise of a juvenile being charged as an adult being done in much better fashion in the season 4 episode “Juvenile.” )
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay – Sergeant Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.
Christopher Dylan White - Avery Parker
Dante Brown - Darius McCrae
Robert Sean Leonard - ADA Kenneth O'Dwyer
Adrienne C. Moore - Cheryl McCrae
Bill Irwin - Dr. Peter Lindstrom
Jessica Phillips - ADA Pippa Cox
Danny Burstein - Eric Parker
Rebecca Luker - Lisa Parker
Jenna Stern – Judge Elana Barth
Niles Fitch - Keon Williams
Hari Dhillon – Counselor Varma
Jolly Abraham – Doctor
Dashill Eaves – Uniform Officer
Bill Irwin – Doctor Peter Lindstrom
Libya Pugh – Ms. Davis
Elain Graham – Eliza
Ron Simons – Principal Al Pompeo
Bianca Leigh – Doctor Rachel Sandow
Travaris Spears – Markus Green
Taliyah Whitaker – Tonya McCrae
Zenzele Cooper – Jewell Williams
Andrea-Rachel Parker – Aniah Butters
Katherine Pecevich – Female German Tourist
Paul Castro, Jr. – Connor
Alsharik Sejour – Teen Spectator # 1
Tremayne Rollins – Teen Spectator #2
Jean Chung – Melody
Grace Abrahams – Rain
Avery Parker gets his wake up alarm and gets out of bed. Also, at home, Darius McCrea, does the same. Avery puts on makeup and gets dressed in women’s clothing. She leaves for the day after talking with her parents, who seem understanding of her attire and tell her to be careful in the park because of the heels. Darius make breakfast for himself and his sister, saying their mother had to work a double shift. Avery heads to the park and Darius as at school, where a teacher tells him to keep drawing, he has talent.
At Fort Tryon Park on Monday, June 15, Darius is there with his sister and two friends. They see Avery in a dress and chase after her, to see if Avery is a guy or a girl. They begin to harass her and as people nearby records the activity, Darius’ sister warns him they will get in trouble, Darius and Avery struggle over a camera that Avery has and in the struggle, Darius tells Avery to get off him and he pushes Avery, who falls over the bridge, Stunned, they see Avery on the ground not moving and everyone flees.
Later, Rollins and Carisi are on the scene and find Avery is a he, not a she. They speak with two tourists who were witnesses; the officer explains what led up to the accident, Carisi guesses the kids went to the schools nearby.
At the hospital, Benson is there with Carisi and Avery’s parents and get a description of the boys from Avery. They were giving her the look – the freak needs to learn a lesson look. She tried to go but they started saying stuff ; they called her tranny, he/she. She told them to leave her alone. One grabbed her skirt and another her camera. She was pushed and tripped on her heels. People were laughing and taking video. Avery’s father Eric says this isn’t the first time and the local precinct never follows up. Benson says they take this very seriously and promised to follow up. Avery’s mother Lisa nods.
Benson returns to SVU and Rollins and Fin have found three separate cell phone videos and they all began after it started. They play a video back and says the recording goes on until the fall. Rollins says two sophomores and one junior from Shirley Chisholm posted them. Benson tells them to all go – full court.
At Shirley Chisholm High School on Tuesday, June 16, Rollins and Fin speak with one of the girls who doesn’t know who was harassing Avery. Benson and Carisi speak with a teacher who says the video is disturbing but the behavior is not indicative of their community. Benson asks who are these kids.
Later, in a classroom, the teacher calls out for Keon Williams and Marcus Green to come with him. In another classroom, Fin and Rollins ask for Darius and find he was there before school began but was upset about something. The teacher states Darius hates the projects where he lives but says there is one place he likes to go.
At Book Culture on Tuesday, June 16, Darius is sitting on the floor drawing in his book when Fin and Rollins find him and ask him to get up. He denies doing anything but Fin tells him to make this easy and Darius complies. They walk him out of the bookstore to the stares of many customers.
At SVU, Carisi questions Keon there with his mother, who both cop attitudes. Marcus is there with his grandmother who calls Avery a he/she who acts like one and wears makeup. When his grandmother ask Benson why would anyone do that, Benson states that is not the issue, her grandson pushed a kid off a bridge. His grandmother is shocked and said he’d better tell them who did. Marcus says he doesn’t know but Carisi presses him and he says it was Darius. Darius walks in with Rollins and Fin who tells Darius to have a seat. They ask if he wants food but he says his stomach is not feeling so good. His mother enters, calling out his name. They make the introductions, and Darius says he is sorry. They explain what happen and Darius says he didn’t mean to hurt him. His mother Cheryl tries to explain Darius is a good boy and Rollins stated because Darius is 15 they waited for her to read Darius his rights.
Later, they question Darius who admits they were all messing with Avery. He didn’t want his friends to think he was gay. Avery fell on him and didn’t mean to push him over the bridge. He ran because he thought he killed someone. Meanwhile, Benson and Carisi are observing and Carisi thinks Darius feels genuinely bad but the other two think it is funny. Benson says the other who didn’t push Avery off the bridge; Avery could have died. Carisi says on the bright side, all three confessed and they have the video evidence so they are done. Benson states the video is shaky and the kids are under aged. She doesn’t want anyone claiming the confessions were coerced. She asks him to see if Avery can come in and make an ID.
Later, watching the line ups, Avery stands up, in pain, wearing a neck brace, and then identifies number 4, number 1, and number 3 – Keon, Marcus, and Darius. She says they look smaller in there, and scared. Carisi comments that they should be, they are in trouble. Avery asks if they said why they did this to him; she’s not stupid and was not being cheeky. Her mother replies is wasn’t anything she did, adding they need to get back to the hospital. As they enter the squad room, Cheryl stand up and says she is Darius’ mother. Benson tells her now may not be the best time, but Avery tells Benson to hold on, she wants to hear her out. She says her son is really sorry for hurting him, and Avery asks if he told her why he did this to her. As his mother urges them to go, Avery asks them to wait a minute, and grabs Darius’ mother’s hand and asks her to ask Darius. Avery’s father pulls Avery away and says they need to leave as Cheryl looks agonized. As they leave, Fin approaches Cheryl and has her sit down. She asks if Darius has to send the night there, and Fin explains he will be able to go home. He adds the desk sergeant will give her an appearance ticket for tomorrow for family court. She states he has to work tomorrow, she is a home car attendant. Fin says he will have to call in sick, she has to be there.
Meanwhile, by the vending machines, Rollins is getting coffee as Carisi enters. He asks her what makes a boy decide to be a girl, and Rollins says there is a difference between gender identity and sexuality. He says his parents thinks this is all about getting attention. Rollins asks if him if he, or any other boy would put on a skirt if it didn’t come from a really real place. Carisi laughs and say no, not a chance.
At the office of the corporate counsel on Wednesday, June 17, ADA Pippa Cox calls Marcus Green into the office while the others wait. Later, after Marcus leaves, she calls in Keon Williams. Cheryl tells Pippa she is missing work and Cox says she will let her know when it is her turn. Rollins and Fin watch and wait. Fin assures Cheryl it will not be long. Later, Keon’s mother leaves with Keon and says he learned his lesson. Cheryl and Darius enter the office. They hear Cox is recommending probation for the other boys as it was their first offense and they were clear Darius started this. Darius pushes back a bit and Cox presses him if it had anything do to with Avery wearing a skirt. He says he was just afraid and Cox asks how does he think Avery felt?
Afterwards, Cheryl complains to Fin that the other boys got probation but Darius will have to do 3 months in juvie. Fin says that is what she wants but the judge has to rule. Cheryl says Cox said if it goes to a judge Darius may get a year and she wants to talk to a lawyer but Cox said no one was available today. Rollins approaches and says that is her right and they – the ADA – will have to wait. Cheryl says Darius is no thug and had a lot to deal with. Fin says he will do what he can. Cheryl says they have to pick up his sister, and as they leave, Darius gives Fin drawings to give to Avery saying he need him to know he is sorry. As they leave, Fin thinks this is an apology and Rollins says it is an admission of guilt, and if he was Avery right now, would he want to hear anything that Darius had to say. Fin says his son got the crap kicked out of him because he was gay and no one ever apologized to him.
Back at the hospital, Benson and Carisi are there visiting Avery with her parents present, and Avery hears about the apology. Avery reads it and sees the drawings and messages. She asks the detectives if they told Darius she was into graphic novels, but they did not know.
Afterwards, Eric says now that the boys took a plea does this mean Avery does not have to testify? Benson explains Darius is speaking with a lawyer and they will know more tomorrow. The parents say they are proud of Avery. But they hear a “code blue” announcement and see staff rushing to Avery’s room. They follow while Avery is being attended to, trying to resuscitate her.
Later, Benson and Carisi ask the doctor what cause Avery’s death, and hear it was a fatty embolism from the fractured leg. The doctor explains how the embolism traveled to the lungs, and Benson states this was a direct result of Avery’s fall, and the doctor says no question. As the doctor walks off and Carisi wonders what are they going to say to them, Benson says it never gets easy. They see the Parkers crying and they say they are so sorry. Eric sobs.
Back at SVU, Cox states the ME confirmed the cause of death being the embolism to the lungs as a direct result of the broken femur from the fall. This means Darius was at fault because he pushed her. ADA Kenneth O'Dwyer enters and asks Benson to discuss Avery’s murder, and Benson introduces Pippa Cox. He tells Cox she will want to be in on this meeting too, the DA’s office is taking over the prosecution. Benson looks stunned.
As Fin walks into Benson’s office along with Benson, Cox, and O’Dwyer, he reminds them Darius is only 15. O’Dwyer says if he is tried in family court he will be charged with juvenile delinquency and will be back on the street when he is 18. Benson is shocked to hear that O’Dwyer wants to charge Darius for second degree manslaughter as an adult. Cox says they can charge that in family court, and O’Dwyer says they can but they won’t. He wants to attach a hate crime. Benson is shocked and O’Dwyer says there is an epidemic of attacks on trans persons and they have to take a stand. Benson does not think this is the case, Darius seems like a good kid. But O’Dwyer argues that Darius when after Avery and taunted him and pushed her off a bridge. He says it would be about 7 years and while he appreciates their sympathy they can’t wait more a more overtly evil perp. They have to draw a line
Later, at Cheryl’s home, Fin and Rollins break the bad news. Cheryl is shocked and becomes very upset. Rollins explains about the message that the DA and mayor wants to send on hate crimes. Fin is apologetic. Rollins asks if Darius is in his room and Cheryl is stunned that have to take him right now. Rollins explains he must be arraigned, and asks Cheryl to call him. She cries and calls for him, He comes into the room and Fin says he has to come with them. He embraces his mother. Fin and Rollins leave with Darius.
At the Community Church of New York on Tuesday, June 18, there is a service for Avery. His therapist gives a speech about how important they were to Avery. Her legacy was tolerance, love, and forgiveness.
After the service, Benson and Carisi are there and Benson comments on the beautiful ceremony. The parents say that the DA should have come to the service and heard about forgiveness, and Benson says the DA wants to make sure what happened to Avery never happens again. That is not what Lisa thinks Avery would want.
Later, outside the courthouse, Benson is on the phone while Carisi stands nearby, telling Barba they feel the same way. Benson hangs up and says Barba thinks this should be tried in family court and that is when O’Dwyer stepped in. Carisi starts to comment about O’Dwyer who walks up to them, hearing the discussion. He knows Avery’s mom wants it in family court but she suffered a terrible loss and can speak at the sentencing hearing. Darius’ lawyer asks for a bench trial, and Carisi says it is a Clarence Darrow strategy. He explains that juries are more emotional that judges and if you give a judge absolute power to declare someone guilty…Benson says he is less likely to impose a harsh sentence.
At Supreme Court Part 22 on Monday June 22, they listen to the testimony of the other boys and watch the video of the event. Carisi also testifies about how Avery felt about the attack and that she did nothing to provoke them. The doctor testifies about the embolism. Darius English teacher testifies who says Darius was protective of his sister against bullies and last Christmas he say a cousin get shot and it changed him. He was distraught over Avery but Darius is not a bad kid. He was never exposed to a transgender kid and thinks he got confused.
Afterwards, Carisi and Benson speak with the Parkers and said they feel Darius should be found guilty but worry about what would happen to him if he is. Dr. Lindstrom approaches Benson and Carisi takes the Parkers aside. Lindstrom says they may not like his testimony and Benson explains they have some compassion for Darius. He comments grace is better choice than bitterness.
In Supreme Court Part 21 on Tuesday, June 23, Lindstrom testifies about Darius’ impulse control not being very evolved. He thinks because Darius was different, it may have been threatening to Darius but was he was not motivated by hate, he was flooded by fear that he didn’t want his friend to think he was gay. Under cross examination, O’Dwyer reminds Lindstrom that Darius approached Avery and called her a tranny and a slut, and asked to see what was under her skirt. Lindstrom thinks Darius was posturing for his friends, but O’Dwyer scoffs that Lindstrom thinks this was nothing but poor judgment and impulse control. Lindstrom says most that violent crimes committed by youths under the age of 25 and is why a 15 year old should not be tried as an adult. O’Dwyer raises his voice and asks if he is saying Darius should get a mulligan – boys will be boys – and questioned that he singled out a member of a protected class and taunting her because of her gender identity he wasn’t discriminating? Lindstrom does not think so, and O’Dwyer challenges why didn’t Darius push someone else off the bridge? Lindstrom tries to use the impulse c control argument, but O’Dwyer counters the same could be said about gay bashing, skin head violence and lynching. The defense objects and the judge sustains it, asking O’Dwyer for an actual question. His question asks isn’t that why they have hate crime laws and Lindstrom says those are for adults, this case is why we would remember that a mind of a child is still forming. It is different than a mild of adult. O’Dwyer reminds him only Darius pushed someone off a bridge because as Lindstrom says, Avery was “other.”
Later, Darius testifies about the incident and how he feels sick all the time now. He knows how it feels to lose someone you love and that is what he did to Avery’s parents. He did not want him – her – to die. Under cross, O’Dwyer hammers him about why he was on the bridge and Darius admits he was there to talk and tease and he did make that choice. He admits that Avery asked to be left alone and he did grab at her skirt and camera. He says pushing her was not a choice. He just fell on him and he reacted. He cries and says he doesn’t know why he went after her to taunt and tease her and that he is so sorry. O’Dwyer says they all are.
The defense lawyer Mr. Varma calls one last witness – Mr. Eric Parker. O’Dwyer argues this is better for a victim impact statement but the Varma disagrees as it goes to the hate crime itself and the judge allows it/ Eric gets on the stand and he brings up the apogee drawing from Darius to Avery and Avery felt forgiveness to Darius. The judge looks at the information and she asks if Eric wants to testify on Darius’s behalf, and he does. They want to make sure Avery’s death means something and that no transgender child should ever again be singled out or hurt. They also want to make sure that the tragedy is not compounded by the tragedy of taking another child away from his family. The judge thanks him for his compassion.
In closing statements, O’Dwyer does not think Darius left home that day with the intent to kill Avery but intent can be formed in an instant. In that instant, he saw Avery as “other” – someone he could taunt, tease, and push off a bridge. The defense brings up the apology letter and sending a kid to prison for an instant’s loss of control will not bring Avery back. O’Dwyer brings up deterrence and they have to send a message. The defense states Avery’s parents asks for mercy and compassion and is this really best for society. O'Dwyer brings up the plight of transgender children and does not want to see a child die for who they are. The judge thanks them for the arguments and calls for a recess.
In the hall, Cheryl comments for Fin and Rollins it was nice for Eric Parker to say what he said. She paces and asks if it will be okay, and Fin says he hopes so. The judge is coming back in and Cheryl returns to the courtroom with apprehension. The judge asks Darius to rise. She says he was moved by his character and capacity and moved by Eric’s testimony. She adds however it is unrealistic to believe that violence against protected classes can be extinguished without appropriate punishment under the law. She rules that he is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree with the hate crime attached. Cheryl screams “NO!” and she leaps to her feet. The judge asks for order. She remands Darius to Brookwood Secure Center until he is 18 at which time he will be transferred to Green Haven Correctional to serve out the remainder of his 7 year term. She adjourns the court. Cheryl is beside herself and she sobs uncontrollably as the Parkers look on sadly. Darius looks devastated as they take him away. Benson races out of the courtroom and Cheryl continues to sob as we fade to black.
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