Law & Order: SVU Review: Who Do We Believe?

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Benson battlesdwith the frustrations of her job and the occasional injustices of the legal system on this week's episode "True Believers."

Helping rape victims has been her life for so long that she can't help but be disappointed to see another victim be personally attacked in court. It's difficult for us to watch as well, especially because the case is damaged by such obvious lies. But unfortunately, as Bayard Ellis points out, there are officers and supposed victims who persecute people based on race.

Although we can clearly see that his client is guilty, it doesn't change the fact that this new attorney raises some really important questions about the way the SVU officers operate. Finn and Rollins accost young black men on the street because they resemble a grainy screen shot of the suspect. Amaro and Benson physically take down a suspect at gunpoint in front of his family and a screaming baby, taking the gun without procuring a warrant.

Detective Amaro

These incidents can be easily explained in this case, and the suspect's arrest was not racially motivated. However, Ellis is right to point out the disparity in treatment between white and black suspects. His "second act," as Munch calls it, is devoted to finding equal treatment for everyone under the law, which is an honorable motivation.

BUT, in this case, his presence actually casts a negative light on all of his seemingly reasonable claims.

When the suspect goes on the stand to defend himself, he paints himself as the victim of a police setup. This plays into a very real fear people have about trusting cops and also triggers a little bit of guilt on the part of the jury members because Michael is a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Even the victim was afraid of appearing to be racist when she held that elevator door open. Ellis goes so far to attack the victim's sexual history to cast doubts on her story and portray her as a slut.

These are all trite defense attorney tactics that we've seen before on the show, but they are still painful to watch. It's especially disturbing because we can see the victim, Sarah, trying to deal with the trauma of her rape while also experiencing the embarrassment of her sexual past (including that one-night stand). The whole thing was just frustrating mostly because the treatment of rape victims hasn't changed much over the long history of this show. The same defense tactics still get results and it's no wonder Benson is seeming a little jaded lately.

Other than the troubling presentation of Ellis' both sound and insulting claims, I was also upset by Amaro's response to the hearing about the gun possession charge. He seemed upset that Benson wouldn't lie to back him up. I thought Amaro was a much more upstanding police officer, so his animosity towards Benson was disappointing to see. Mostly, I, like Benson, am a little frustrated with the continued effectiveness of dirty legal maneuvers and, honestly, with how stale the show is beginning to feel.

However, also like Benson, I'd have accepted Ellis' offer to come to a softball game and get a life outside of her work. It might actually turn out to be quite healthy for her.

Do you think the show is as fatigued as Benson? Chime in now.


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Does anybody like Detective Rollins ?


So, Jack, are you telling me you're advocating blatant and unrepentant police brutality? Because they can start with you. And you can see how much you like it. The canvas the cops did make was testing the boundaries already, as was that drive by identification. In reality, if you touch one hair on a suspect's head in an act not related to forcing compliance on a resisting suspect, you're screwed, and your case is probably screwed as well. You're basically telling us that you miss the worst aspects of SVU in the past. Good to know.


This episode felt slow and boring. Let's start with the police. With Elliot Stabler gone, the macho part of the police has disappeared, something I enjoyed thoroughly.
Benson is acting worse than usual. Amaro is boring and weak. Rollins is o.k., but not amazing.
What happened to analyzing the crime scene? Bringing in suspects and interviewing them slightly violently? And now the court part. I loved Linus Roache's acting as an ADA on Law and Order, but the trial in this case had no real suspense. There was no witnesses breaking down in court. We didn't see any actual opening or closings, just fragments all squashed over each other. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible. I think I'll go download some old seasons I never watched, better than this awful stuff.


I didn't like the show, but not because of race (I'm a minority so I can say that, I actually LIKE episodes about race: Anchor, Reparations to name a few). I can connect with the characters or victims when race is the issue. What I don't like, is bad writing. I don't know, Munch just didn't seem believable as someone in charge. And what I disliked the most is that the show focused WAAAAAAYYYY too much time on the character and not the case. This isn't Law & Order: The Special Victims, this is Law & Order: Special Victims UNIT! When they showed her girl playing piano, or with her folks, I was thinking, why are they having this in the show? If this was Season 12, it would've been unrelated opening story, discovery, crime scene in 2 minutes. The black guy hadn't even gotten into the elevator yet! But this, average day in the life of a student was boring. And the ORDER part with Cutter, I mean, I LIKE Cutter! I think he's great, but the ORDER part of the show just seemed mismatched and choppy. Not smooth at all. I know people want Stabler back, well, for the foreseeable future, he ain't coming back full time; deal with it. I think you can work with the characters, but give us a Season 1 - 12 feeling! I want to see more drama between the characters, I want to see some action, I want to see some court room suspense, a sense of urgency, multiple things happening at once, I want to see some twists! Cause right now, I'm seeing a poorly produced Law and Order series...


Not a fan at all tonight. Is it all about politics now? What happened to just having a case? I am surprised they did not follow the show with a message about racism and how to spot it like an after school special. I feel like I have signed up for a lecture instead of being entertained like a typical tv program. None of the characters look happy. Marishka seems miserable and it makes me think that if they are portraying NYC and the justice system, don't be a victim in NY.


It's time for the last Law & Order to put in its papers.


If it was a PSA (and I didn't think it was a PSA at all) then the message was "Nothing is ever as simple as civilians think they are". And also, if you are a rape victim, while you might want to lie to the police to protect your own dignity, this will screw you over more than you may benefit from such acts. If anybody was at "fault" here, it was the victim, whose selective relaying of information to the police allowed them to be completely blindsided when the truth came out. There is no aesop. Only that life is complicated, and only idiots think of it in clear cut terms of black and white


I was very disturbed by this episode, which basically served as a PSA to encourage women not to report being raped. Some may say it's just a TV show and a work of fiction. However, as one person already commented, women not reporting rapes for fear of being put on trial themselves is a real problem for law enforcement. Can anyone say that after watching this episode, many future rape victims are more likely to not call the police? And who would blame them? I also think that Andre Braugher should be ashamed of himself. I know I am committing sacrilege by criticizing an actor because of a role he played, but I believe in this case it is warranted. Mr. Braugher did not have to take this part. And I'm sure he is not a stupid man. He had to know that doing what the role called for - attacking a victim of rape so well that her attacker went free - could easily lead to rapes going unreported. Yet, he accepted the part anyway. Did he just do it for the money or to promote the fact that some convictions are racially biased? Of course, there is no way of knowing what Mr. Braugh's motivation was in accepting the job, but I'm not sure that really matters, given his almost certain knowledge of the probable consequences of his actions. Perhaps if he had a daughter (he has three sons), he would have hesitated a little more. We'll probably never know, for sure. Given the terrible encouragement provided by this episode to both rapists to continue to terrorize women without fear of punishment, and to their innocent victims to not contact the police for fear of being raped all over again in the courtroom, my many years of watching Law & Order: SVU has come to an end.


OOOOOOK....I would like to address some issues...To Start...Im Latina, in Law Enforcement, who has been raped and did not report it. This episode was VERY effective to the point I have come on to this site to see what people would say. The race issue is very much out there and I would like to think I am part of the system that tries to blur the lines and GO AFTER THE TRUTH and bad guys... I do see EVENTs that disturb me. If they can let a MOTHER go for obvious child abuse...THE way the case was presented in this episode is no different.
Rape victims do NOT want people to know about their past...for exactly why that little girl (19 is still little if you are sheltered) did not want to. My BIGGEST beef about the show and about DEFENSE attorneys in general is they like to throw around the phrase "fair trial". WHO THE EFF are they kidding??? Fair trial if they are innocent...but seriously...when as a defense attorney knows ( COPS are not the ONLY people in the world who have 'GUT' feelings) yet they continue with this bullish of "Fair trial" it disturbs me. I could go on but I wont...and the notion that BENSON (or anyone in that position) wouldn't take the lawyer up on a SOFTBALL game to escape work....YOU are DELLUSIONAL... WE take THE JOB home with us, yes....but most know where to draw the line...while I may not have taken him up on his first offer... something to get my mind off the HORRIDS I see at work...I probably would take him up on it the second time (BUT TV HAS TIME constraints) THAT IS ALL


These show should of ended three season ago Now it has become so sexist towards men and men of different color its not even funny here a TIP SVU WOMAN ARE NOT PERFECT

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Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 6 Quotes

Healing begins when someone bears witness. I saw you. I believe you.


You can be NYPD and believe in civil liberties.