Rest in peace, Ed Tucker.
On Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 12, he became the latest in a string of suicides related to the rape of a Vice officer.
It was hard to shed a tear for him even though his story was tragic. But it was good that SVU was shedding light on the problem of suicide among cops.
Law & Order: SVU is the second show during the 2019-2020 season to address the suicide epidemic in the NYPD.
Blue Bloods Season 10 Episode 12 revolved around this issue too. But in Law & Order: SVU's case, the suicides were tangled up with an unresolved rape case and a massive coverup.
Benson: She knew what she was doing. She shot herself in the heart.
Rollins: She threw a drink at Tucker. What was that about?
Benson: I don't know. I hadn't seen her in a while. She was bright and she was capable and then when she started at Vice she just crashed and burned.
Rollins: Rest in peace.
Not that there wasn't plenty of time for the characters to react emotionally to the suicides.
Rachel Wilson, Ralphie Morris, and Ed Tucker all killed themselves for different reasons, leaving a trail of guilt, sadness, and anger in their wake.
Benson took all of these suicides especially hard. She was connected to two of them and had met the third one in the course of the case.
I came to look my fellow officers in the eye one last time. See no evil, hear no evil, and evil.Rachel
When she demanded that her therapist turn over Morris' records so they could get to the truth about Rachel's rape, Lindstrom was annoyed that she'd only pretended to need help. But he missed the fact that she did need help.
She needed answers to something that wasn't really answerable: why he chose to take his own life.
Suicide is a complex issue that doesn't have one cause, as Benson herself pointed out to Ralphie's widow. But it was hard for her to see that when it came to people she had personally interacted with.
The point about suicide being an epidemic got lost because all the people involved had something to do with Rachel's rape, though.
It was too neat. It gave too singular an answer to the question of why cops commit suicide.
In the world according to this episode, cops commit suicide because they feel guilty about having covered up a rape or because they were the victim of one.
It would have been a more powerful episode if there were several suicides that were unrelated
SVU could have done another concept episode in which the team members were called in one by one to talk about the person they knew who committed suicide and try to help piece together the reasons why he or she did it.
That aside, SVU touched on a number of important issues related to the suicide epidemic throughout the hour.
Fin: You work for the NYPD.
Lindstrom: Yes, in this capacity. But I am here to help.
Fin: But you could still take my gun, send me to the rubber gun squad.
Lindstrom: If it is warranted, yes.
Fin: So tell me, why should anyone tell you anything?
Fin's distrust of Lindstrom highlighted a problem related to encouraging cops to get help.
Many real-life cops may have felt the same way about an NYPD-hired psychiatrist.
When your job depends on you having a clean bill of mental health, you don't want to admit that you're struggling ... especially not to an employee who has the power to remove you from your job.
That distrust was certainly heightened by everyone's belief that Lindstrom was sitting on information that could help convict Rachel's rapist, even though Lindstrom's commitment to confidentiality should have proven whose side he was on.
How can Benson continue to get therapy from Lindstrom after all that, for that matter?
Ed Tucker. I've been invited to his retirement party. It's crazy. I've had guns in my face but I'm afraid of seeing an ex-boyfriend.Benson
She used a session to interrogate him and Carisi attempted to subpoena his records on her orders. How can he continue treating her after that?
Other issues SVU touched on included the difficulties that women -- especially women of color -- often face on the job that could contribute to suicide rates and how difficult it is for spouses and other family members to get through to the NYPD that a cop needs mental health treatment.
These weren't explored in-depth, but they were important issues to raise and I'm glad SVU brought them up.
FInally, let's talk about Tucker.
Tucker's suicide was different from the others.
He had a terminal illness that would soon result in dementia-like symptoms and chose to end his life now rather than waiting for it to end naturally.
That puts his death on an entirely different level than the other suicides, to the point that it was ridiculous for him to be lumped in as yet another cop suicide.
That might have happened even if there was no Rachel Wilson accusing him of covering up her rape and no ex-partner who turned out to be a rapist.
Tucker's involvement in the cover-up was accidental at most.
SVU devoted a lot more time to Benson trying to find out why Tucker was lying to her than to the truth, which was that he was having memory lapses because of his cancer and had believed his partner's lies all those years ago.
Fin: These IAB guys know how to reel them in.
Benson: One thing about Ed Tucker. He always settles his debts.
The story took a weird turn when Benson began blaming herself for "hurting" him by breaking up with him. It was a rewrite of history.
Benson broke up with Tucker because he wanted her to retire and travel the world with him and she wasn't ready to give up her career. She had nothing to apologize for. They were in different stages of life, period. It happens.
There was an odd undercurrent running throughout the hour of Benson feeling guilty because she chose her career and her child over other people.
She wished she'd had coffee with Rachel instead of getting wrapped up in adopting Noah and getting promoted at work.
And she wished she'd stayed with Tucker instead of refusing to give up her career before she was ready.
What was up with that?
Some of it, of course, was just survivor's guilt because Rachel died and Tucker had brain cancer. But still. Benson seemed to be feeling guilty about being strong enough to put herself first, and that was not like her.
Your turn, Law & Order: SVU fanatics. How well do you think SVU handled the suicide epidemic among cops with this story?
Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts.
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