Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thoughts on "Law and Order: SVU" (spoilers for 9/22 episodes)

I admit I'm drawing the following conclusions based on relatively little data, but here goes...

Is it just me, or do episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit throw everything but the kitchen sink into their plots?

In the episode "Witness," which ran in mid-March and I watched while working out late at the gym, a woman with a not-so-great reputation is raped by some lowlife who claims she'd led him on and the only witness is a woman who it turns out is an illegal immigrant from the Congo.  She had been raped repeatedly, in really bizarre ways that I'm not going to describe here but actually do happen in real life.  The Immigration and Naturalization Service tries to deport her in the middle of the trial, claiming she's married to one of the perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide.  It turns out she had been forced into this marriage after being carried off to a camp where coltan, a mineral used in the developed world's cell phones, is mined by slaves controlled by militias.

(Let's see--blaming the victim in rape cases, illegal immigration, terrorism, the Congo, and conflict minerals.)

Tonight was another late night at the gym and an episode entitled "Locum" was on.  In this one, a 10-year-old girl named Mackenzie adopted from foster care runs away and the police initially detain a man they think is a pedophile who had lured Mackenzie away from home.  The man claims to have had a sister who was raped and committed suicide and was part of an anti-pervert advocacy group who had befriended Mackenzie online with the goal of keeping her from running away and falling into the hands of a real pervert.

(The man--Erik Weber--is much more than he seems, but that doesn't pop up until the next episode, "Bullseye.")

Mackenzie's ludicrously overprotective adoptive parents are apparently trying to use her to replace their biological daughter Ella.  Ella disappeared while on a hiking trip with them several years before at the age of 10 after going off to play with a mysterious red-haired teenager.  An elaborate trail of investigation leads to a young prostitute who had been involved in underage pornography who it turns out was the red-haired girl. 

What happened was, she had been ordered by her drunken father to lure Ella away from her mother.  Her dad, whose wife had left him weeks prior, intended to use Ella as a replacement wife.  The redhead ran away from home after watching her father apparently beat Ella to death, becoming an underage porn star in order to survive.

The SVU gang arrives at the pervy dad's house out in the woods and it turns out Ella is there, still alive and convinced the redhead's skanky redneck dad is her husband.

(Let's see--"helicopter parents," creeps befriending girls on the Internet, dysfunctional adoptions, kids bouncing from foster home to foster home, underage pornography, prostitution, and screwballs kidnapping young girls and brainwashing them into captive pseudo-wives, like that case in California involving the girl missing for over a decade.  Yikes.)

I do admit these complicated plots do make for interesting viewing, which I guess is the point.  I spent a lot more time doing cardio to watch "Locum" and less time doing weights, since I could not see the television from the weight machines.

Perhaps I'll swim 20 laps tomorrow, to make up for the neglected upper-body workout.

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