This week on Law & Order: SVU, a powerful defense attorney is on a mission to discredit the unit’s latest case in true SVU style — leaving us wondering about our justice system.
Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game
Andre Braugher kicks off the first of three guest appearances on the show. His character, Ellis, has made a career out of defending drug dealers and now works pro bono. He wants to make sure that defendants are given the representation — and fair trial — that they’re entitled to. To do that, he finds holes in the case, in the police work, in anything and everything.
And there seem to be many holes in the current case, in which a piano student is raped in her apartment. The woman showered afterward, getting rid of DNA, and goes to the police the next day. Then detectives have her ID the suspect in a drive-by instead of a lineup, and the guy happens to be handcuffed on the sidewalk next to one of the detectives. On top of that, there’s a dispute over whether the defendant threw a gun as he was getting arrested — Amaro saw it but Benson didn’t. As if that weren’t enough, the woman had had sex with another black man two weeks prior to the rape, so the defense throws all kinds of stereotypes in front of the jury.
But still, there’s no way the defendant will go free, right? I mean, as viewers, we saw it happen.
The verdict makes me mad because the rapist goes free, but I understand why it has to happen and what the episode wants to teach us after Ellis said this to Benson in the final scene: “The only thing we can do is believe our people, and we do it, without question.”
Ellis has a job to do and he does it to the best of his ability. It’s his job to defend. Olivia does her job too, to the best of her ability — it just isn’t as black and white as she saw it. This episode might be foreshadowing how the rest of Ellis’ appearances will pan out, and I can’t wait.
Possible Fallout From the Stand?
I thought that Benson and Amaro going after the defendant together would be a nice bonding moment on the job, but that certainly doesn’t last long.
Amaro isn’t happy that Benson didn’t back him up on the stand over the gun. He even went over to her place the night before to … what? Make sure she was going to take his side? You still can’t lie on the stand!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t put two and two together that the guy originally in the elevator with the piano player in the beginning of the episode wasn’t the same guy as the one who came in with the gun, but it serves as another important lesson on how eyewitness accounts aren’t always reliable, and sometimes, we tend to see what we want to see.
(Image courtesy of NBC)