Warning: General spoilers ahead
In last week’s season premiere, the spotlight was on Mariska Hargitay as Lt. Benson led the investigation of a violent attack by a Muslim couple, with the woman being a victim of rape. This week, Ice-T shines as Detective Tutuola where he is forced to investigate a man he helped put away for 16 years for a rape he didn’t commit.
In the highly-anticipated episode featuring a guest appearance by Vice President Biden, “Making a Rapist” opens with Biden honoring Lt. Olivia Benson and her team at SVU for making their way through thousands of backlogged—and untested—rape kits. Since introducing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to Congress in 1990, Biden has been focused on putting an end rape and other violence acts towards women. In 2014, he helped create the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, making the epidemic of campus rape a focal point of his VP tenure.
“My Dad used to have an expression,” he said. “The greatest sin any person can commit is an abuse of power,’ and the greatest abuse of power is rape,” Biden announces to the precinct. “It takes women a long time to heal. And when the victim isn’t believed, when she goes through the invasive process of having a rape kit put together, and then it’s stuck on a shelf somewhere, and then the rape kit is never ever tested, well, we fail. We fail her. We fail so many women. I’m proud to say today we did not fail,” he adds, before congratulating “my friend here, Lieutenant Olivia Benson of SVU.”
Lt. Benson then takes the podium, announcing that her team at SVU has begun to “clear the national rape kit backlog” and in the process “righted a terrible wrong.” That “wrong” occurred 16 years ago, when Sean Roberts (Henry Thomas, of E.T. fame) was convicted of a rape in New York City that he didn’t commit. By testing an untested rape kit found in Detroit, they were able to extract the DNA of the actual rapist, and let Sean go free. He’s since befriended his former accuser and her family, and is in the midst of suing the NYPD for $30 million for the blunder. But before you can chant DUN DUN, the young daughter of the woman Sean was unjustly convicted of raping is found raped, strangled, stabbed, doused in bleach, and burned.
Ultimately, it’s Sean who ends up headed to trial where it’s revealed that he’s still haunted by the physical and psychological trauma of prison, where the meek young man was repeatedly raped by his fellow inmates. And with Lt. Benson and her SVU team on the case—including Det. Tutuola, the cop who arrested Sean 16 years ago—there’s one thing you can be damn sure of: justice will be served. Great episode, and it’s definitely one you won’t want to miss.
Episode 18.02 of Law & Order SVU is titled “Making A Rapist” and airs Wednesday at 9/8c on NBC.
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Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com
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