SVU Episode # 15-16: “Gridiron Soldier”

Today’s post is written by the fabulous David Delee.  David was a licensed private investigator and holds a Masters in Criminal Justice. Now he writes the acclaimed Grace deHaviland Bounty Hunter novels and is a star of the Dark Road Publishing empire. Check out his latest novel, Pin Money.

Image of David DeLee

David was kind enough to fill in for me because I’m still hunkered down trying to finish up my next book. I’m six days past my publisher’s deadline. Gah! I’m the person who shows up five minutes early for everything. David’s generous blogging freed me up to perfect my own story (which I’m hoping to turn in tomorrow).  With my extra time last night, I wrote a smoking hot sex scene. So, when my book eventually comes out and you get to the part where you think Yowzers! you’ll know that was written the evening of 3/5/14, while intrepid David was discovering the crazy things that turn up in Google when you’re researching SVU.

Many thanks, David! Hope you’re recovering from your 3 AM Google adventures today!

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Talk about life imitating art. Tonight’s SVU episode began by tackling the Jonathan Martin – Richie Incognito hazing scandal and ended with University of Missouri player Michael Sam’s

recent announcement about his sexual orientation. Quite a feat considering the episode was written in December and wrapped up production in early February, days before Sam came out according to an article in the Wall Street Journal today.

Recap: Amanda Rollins is spending her time off in a bar upset over a ref’s bad call in a basketball game on TV. Turns out she’s in deep with her bookie, who’s threatening her, and so desperate she goes to her ex-sponsor, ‘thirteen-stepper’ Nate who’s surprisingly free with his bar’s money, giving it to Rollins, presumably so she doesn’t get her legs broken, asking only in return she go to a Gambler’s Anonymous meeting with him.

 Meanwhile football player Cedric Jones arrives in town from Georgia where he’s met by Hudson University coach Bill Becker and Zoe and Tanya, two, beautiful, young women the coach introduces as his hostesses for the weekend. After telling the girls he’s committed to Georgia Tech, Cedric attends the recruitment dinner where the coach has some of the other players give him a tour of the facility, a tour that ends in the weight room, where according to one of the players, “boys turn into men,” and where Zoe and Tanya are waiting for him, with a blindfold, and Cedric with a grin so big it would make the Cheshire Cat proud.

 Larry Jones, Cedric’s uncle and an old track star friend of Amanda’s, arrives in the squad room to report Cedric missed his flight home and is now missing. While Rollins and Fin check out the school, Amaro gets a location on Cedric’s cell phone. It was left at a gay bar in Chelsea where Cedric got into a fight and beat up a man who tried to pick him up.

 Arrested for assault and possibly a hate crime, Rollins and Finn bring him to the SVU interrogation room, where questioning him its clear Cedric’s hiding something. Rollins and Amaro soon learn Cedric was pranked in the weight room, expecting to be ‘serviced’ by Zoe and Tanya, when they took the blindfold off—surprise—Cedric was being serviced by Ty, a gay member of the cheerleading squad.

 When Cedric learns there’s a video of Ty performing fellatio with him, he attempts suicide, breaks his neck, but survives, thus ending his chances of ever playing football. Finally Benson interested and orders Rollins to pick up Tanya, ready to charge her with witness tampering and blackmail because the coach sent her into tell Cedric about the video.

 All of the players involved in the prank are brought in. The detectives want to see who’ll break ranks first. They score with Eddie Thorpe. In the interview, Benson realizes something’s eating at Eddie. He’s got a lot of weight on him. He tells her he can talk it. It was nothing he can’t handle. But when Amaro asks if they raped him, Eddie lets loose and takes out the one-way mirror glass with his fist.

 The coach and several players are arrested and take a plea, avoiding a trial and saving Eddie from having to testify about what was done to him. In the end, Eddie tells Amaro he’s quitting football, not because of the assault but because he’s gay, and that the NFL isn’t ready for that.

 Rollins ended up sleeping with sleazy Nate. Afterward she tells him she won’t be going to any more meetings because she hit a lucky streak, tosses him money as repayment, and tells him they’re even.

 Verdict: B+

 This is the part where Allison would let us know what the show got right and what they got wrong with respect to the law, legal procedure, and courtroom shenanigans, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t even play one on TV so I don’t feel qualified to do that, but wow, the things I learned from tonight’s episode.

 First up, “Bull in the Ring” – Amaro said to Coach Becker he didn’t know teams still did that drill anymore. I’ve never played football so this old football drill was new to me. I looked it up online and found out it’s a player stands in the middle of a ring of players (hence the name of the drill) as his teammates tackle him repeatedly at full force. Much like they showed it on the episode, though I didn’t really see it until I looked back again on rewind to see what the players were doing. Some coaches believe it’s an exercise in agility and mental fortitude, others think it’s violent. Duh. Sounds violent to me. Here’s a 2011 article about it when a youth football coach decided to stop the drills after his team suffered up to 20 concussions in one season.

 Next was “Straight-baited” – While at the university when Ty admitted to performing oral sex on Cedric, Rollins said, “Come on, they straight-baited him.” According to the Urban Dictionary “straight-bait” is a heterosexual that is seduced by a homosexual of the same sex into having sexual relations with them. When googling the term straight-bait, be careful what links you click on, you might see more than you bargained for.

 Then there was “Rape by Deception” – Not a crime I’d ever heard of, and clearly not a charge Benson was willing to entertain when Rollins brought it up. According to our friend’s at wikipedia (yes, I know, not the most reputable resource in the world but its late, go with me on this). Rape by deception is a crime in which the perpetrator has the victim’s sexual consent and compliance, but gains it through deception or fraudulent statements or actions. Though it is on the books in a few states, sometimes referred to as rape by fraud, according to an article I found in The Yale Law Journal (see I can find scholarly material too). “Rape-by-deception” is almost universally rejected in American criminal law. So I say, “You go, Olivia.” She really did study for that sergeant’s exam and this proves she deserves to be running the joint.

And lastly, from Finn’s reaction when he learned Cedric’s phone was in a bar in Chelsea, does that mean there are no straight bar there?

In closing, I’d like to say I enjoyed this episode, as I typically do, being a longtime fan of the show. And while I could quibble with some things, like this wasn’t an SVU case and there was no way Olivia should have let Rollins run with it—at least not until they learned about the sexual component of the hazing. The show is at its best when it engages in debate over issues with no clear cut, black and white answers. In tonight’s episode that point came in the discussion in the squad room over Cedric consent, or lack of it. What constitutes consent? Does force need to be a component to make it rape? Is deception a factor in determining consent? Interesting stuff to ponder, if you ask me.

And finally, Allison, thank you for asking me to fill it. It was a lot of fun.

 What about you, SUV fans? What did you think of this episode? Did the writer’s do the Martin-Incognito scandal justice? Do you think the NFL’s ready for Eddie Thorpe and, more importantly, Michael Sam? Can Olivia and Finn grow into their roles of momma and pappa bear? And with offspring like Amaro and Rollins are they ready for it? Let us know what you think.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hi, Allison,
    I just wanted to thank you one more time for asking me to pinch hit for you on this. It was fun, and anything I can do to help get your next novel out, I’m all in. :)

  2. I love all of the Law and Order shows. They always capture the gray areas of human nature and the law. They are also great at cashing in on controversial topics in the news. Never heard the term, “Straight-baited” or “Rape by Deception” before, so I learned something new.

    Nice blog post and site for that matter! You did splendid David. :)
    Diane

    • Glad you stopped by, Diane, and thanks for the kind words. I agree, the Law & Order franchise has always been something unique and for the reasons you mention, one of my favorites as well.

  3. Very interesting write-up, David! It makes we want to read one of your books.

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