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A sportscaster and his girlfriend are involved in a case of domestic violence in which the girlfriend is concerned about tearing apart her family. 

Amaro's familial troubles regarding the custody of child flood into the workspace. Rollins tries to offer her assistance but their relationship seems rocky. 

Fin comes across footage of a sportscaster, A.J. Martin, seemingly sexually assaulting his drunk girlfriend, and then dragging her out of a stairwell and to their car. Benson claims that if it looks like assault, it needs to be pursued. Especially after Ray Rice and other incidents. 

Amaro and Rollins question a cop who seems to be withholding information because he's a fan of A.J. They all describe the situation as a drunken spat and even the girlfriend claims that it was her fault for causing a scene when she was intoxicated. A.D.A. Barba says that there's nothing to do.

When Benson and Fin visit Martin's household, there is a strong vibe of domestic abuse. Martin wonders why the police aren't looking for the people responsible for leaking the footage. The girlfriend refuses to speak up about any problems at home.

Back at the precinct, the squad uncovers that the leakers paid for the additional footage of the night in question. The footage reveals the horrible truth - that Martin used excessive violence in his encounter. He knocked out his girlfriend cold with one punch, and then dragged her out to the car. He claimed that she had fallen while going up the stairs. 

Interviewing Paula and Martin leads to Paula agreeing with Martin's story. But Benson is insistent that it was assault. 

Martin refuses to plead guilty to a felony, and the case goes to court. Reckless endangerment. Martin is equally insistent that Paula will back up his story and that he won't get in trouble. He asks for anger management or A.A.

Paula refuses to play the victim and wants only to keep her family intact and not perpetuate any stereotypes. Martin and her announce their engagement and Benson's case against her husband looks even less likely. 

A medical examiner calculates the force of impact when brought to the stand. Benson herself is brought to the stand and explains how many victims of domestic abuse can come under Stockholm syndrome. 

A drunk Rollins pushes Amaro to his limits later that night in a bar, question everything from his anger issues to SVU's place in making Paula's decision for her. She goes too far and invokes a violent reaction from Amaro, but he restrains himself from hurting her. The explosive encounter highlights both character's flaws. 

Martin and Paula get married, and the Reverend that married them is called to the stand. He condones their marriage, but reveals that he hasn't seen the video before. 

Martin is finally called to the stand. He says that Paula is filled with the strength to get through this charade and that that gives him courage to take responsibility. Barba comes back with a scathing cross examination that really drives home the points of domestic abuse.

Paula is finally called to the stand in an attempt to throw off Barba. Paula is convincing in her love for Martin, and her want of a stable family, but Barba strips away the illusion. He paints the picture of her being Martin's hostage, and how trapped her son and her truly are. 

Martin ends up being found guilty. 

Paula claims that Benson broke her family apart, and Barba tries to console Benson and belives that they did the right thing. 


Law & Order: SVU
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Law & Order: SVU Season 16 Episode 8 Quotes

After Ray Rice and the others? If it looks like domestic violence, we follow through.


Amaro: If you don't want naked pictures online then don't take naked pictures.
Rollins: Yeah, and don't wear a short skirt if you don't want to assaulted right?