Recap: Holy lycra tights, Batman! There’s a masked man taking on a serial rapist in New York. And NYPD is not delighted to receive the assistance of the caped vigilante.
Tonight’s episode opened with the fifth victim of the SOHO Rapist being bundled into an ambulance. The requisite twist? The crime was interrupted by a man in a superhero costume. Both men fled.
A British journalist taunts NYPD for its inability to catch the perp, and a community group expresses its collective outrage. The naysayers get even louder when a 6th victim is targeted. The masked man again comes to the rescue before dashing off into the night.
Olivia tracks down the suspect, and beats him up after he tries to hit her. Bam! Pow! Nice moves, Olivia. And she didn’t even have to get bitten by a spider.
A few odd things about the rapist: he hasn’t left a shred of DNA at any of the 6 scenes. The taunting journalist claims he has a taunting letter written by the rapist, which includes details that only the rapist would know. Oh, and the rapist keeps getting into fights with a guy dressed like Batman. My Spidey sense says something is off here.
Meanwhile, Nick ignores the case and trails his wife to charming sidewalk cafes where she sips white zinfandel and giggles with her apparent lover. Instead of bringing evidence to the crime lab, Nick drives to Philly to punch the guy in the face. Wham! Ka-pow! (I could picture several real cops doing exactly the same thing under similar circumstances.)
Rape #6 turns out to be a copycat rapist, who’s only guilty of the single crime. Nevertheless, the copycat is beaten within an inch of his life and hung from a basketball court fence. The culprits? A bunch of caped crusaders who call themselves the New York Justice League. They’ve decided the justice system is too slow, and they want revenge on a much quicker schedule. (Quicker even than SVU’s two-minute evidence processing system? Imagine how peeved they’d be by the wait in real life!)
Moving on to rape #7. The victim is Fantastica, a woman from … the Justice League itself! Holy coincidence, Batman! Wearing a mask and thigh-high patent-leather boots, Fantastica was staking out a rooftop with a stuttering comic store clerk in a rayon cape, when the SOHO rapist attacked her. The stuttering-clerk-turned-vigilante claims he fended off the rapist.
After a commercial break, Nick’s wife storms into the police station and berates our handsome young detective (because, hey, he’s not really doing any police work anyhow, right?) for punching her platonic friend. Also, that house she’s been going to? It’s not her lover’s – it’s her shrink’s. (Nice call, Tokobali!)
Nick’s remorse established, SVU barrels through some suspects for the SOHO rapist: the prime one being the randy restauranteur whose alibis include half the sous chefs in Manhattan. Personally, I suspected the taunting reporter. How’d he know those were details “only the rapist” would know? But no, it was the stuttering comic-book clerk – the very founder of the Justice League. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
Like so many superheroes before him, he did it all to impress a girl. A beautiful woman had stopped by his comic-book store and scoffed at the notion that NY was dangerous. To prove to her that it was, the clerk began the string of SOHO rapes. Convinced by the attacks, she shopped at BuyCostumes.com, joined the stutterer’s nascent Justice League, took up the Fantastica persona, and went out with him to beat up other civilians. Riiiight.
What they got right:
Believe it or not, there have been a bunch of real-life full-grown men dressing up as superheroes and walking city streets hoping to fight crime. Things didn’t turn out so well for them, either. A caped crusader calling himself Phoenix Jones of the Rain City Superheroes was arrested in Seattle after allegedly pepper-spraying a crowd of innocent club-goers in the mistaken belief that he was breaking up a fight. Folks, leave the police work to the police, and the molded plastic breast-plates to Val Kilmer.
I thought it was interesting that the SOHO rapist “started things he couldn’t finish.” As a sex-crimes prosecutor, I was astonished by how many rapists became impotent during the sexual assault itself.
I also liked that Nick’s wife said, “I’m your wife! You can’t treat me like one of your suspects.” My husband and I are both lawyers, and, during fights, often accuse each other of cross-examining.
What they got wrong:
Ice-T said they’d get the rapist’s note from the British reporter’s “cold dead hands.” True, it would probably take a while. But no one has to die. The Department of Justice is very careful about issuing subpoenas to journalists. Per the U.S. Attorney’s Manual, before any prosecutor issues such a subpoena, she must get a series of approvals within DOJ. Might take a while for the politicals mull it over. If the top brass agrees, the prosecutor can then issue a subpoena compelling the evidence.
The journalist would probably move to quash the subpoena, citing First Amendment freedom of the press, and the court would hold a hearing. If the journalist had direct evidence of a crime, the government would probably win, and the reporter would be in contempt of court and possibly jailed if she still refused to turn the evidence over. Journalist Judith Miller spent 12 weeks in nasty old D.C. Jail while she refused to turn over her sources in the Scooter Libby case. Eventually, she gave in, testified under government subpoena, and then probably went home and took the longest shower of her life. So – cold dead hands? No. A few months later? Yes. Certainly long enough to enrage the masked men of the Justice League.
Will they stop continually sending Amanda out as bait for rapists? I know she looks great in a short skirt and stilletos. But this is just silly, and not something real police officers do. Real crime is way too random and sporadic for this technique.
Ice-T grumbled that it was a “nice change” that the stop-and-frisks would be of white males this time. Oh, come on. That may be a valid point in real life. But the vast majority of victims and suspects on SVU are white. And good looking. And endowed with a trust fund.
Also, Ice-T, please snap on a pair of gloves and stop fondling the rapist’s knife with your bare hands. Jeez Louise, we’re never going to get any usable prints that way. That said, I laugh at every one of your awesome one-liners. Although the best one tonight was Munch’s, after Nick’s wife stormed into the precinct: ”That’s why I stopped marrying Italian women.”