Tonight’s SVU ripped its story from the headlines of Elliott Rodger, the “virgin killer” who published a deranged manifesto about his misogynist rage and non-existent sex life before going on a killing spree.
A creepy young man named Holden Chase uses his phone to film himself lurking around New York while monologuing about how much he hates women who have rejected him, men who are more sexually successful than him, and his own virginity.
Holden starts hunting down a series of pretty blonde acquaintances he obsessed over but who never noticed him. He quickly graduates from stabbing the women to killing them.
The SVU detectives go all out to find him, eventually executing a search warrant on his apartment. They find Holden’s 100 page “manifesto” detailing all the injustices he believes he’s suffered.
Our detectives compile a list of all the people he might target, and go to warn them. Defying needle-in-a-haystack odds, Amanda and Nick go to a school to warn the husband of a schoolteacher Holden once adored – and find him shot to death. Holden has taken five students hostage.
Amanda and Nick break several rules of hostage negotiation by putting down their guns and allowing themselves to be taken as hostages too. But Amanda – no shirker in the pretty blond category herself – soon sweet talks Holden into letting everyone go.
Once the hostages are released, she purrs, “May I kiss you?” – a line that’s been used by no real hostage negotiator, ever. But Holden goes for it. Moments before their lips meet, a sniper sends a bullet through the kid’s skull. The blood that spatters Amanda’s face was certainly more pleasant than kissing this psycho would’ve been.
What They Got Right:
Truth is stranger than fiction, and the unbelievably deranged character of Holden Chase was based on the unbelievably deranged real murderer Elliott Rodger. The privileged, Hollywood-raised Rodger wrote a 100,000 word “manifesto” describing how women rejected him despite how superior he was. And so he decided to kill everyone. He wrote:
“My orchestration of the Day of Retribution is my attempt to do everything, in my power, to destroy everything I cannot have….All of those beautiful girls I’ve desired so much in my life, but can never have because they despise and loathe me, I will destroy. I will kill them all and make them suffer, just as they have made me suffer. It is only fair.”
A day before his attack, he posted a video to YouTube, in which he sat in the leather seats of his BMW and gave a chilling monologue, delivered in a flat voice:
The next day, he killed his roommates in his apartment, then went to a sorority house. When no one answered the door, he killed some passers-by, then went to a deli and shot another person. He hit several people in his car along the away. Eventually, he turned the gun on himself.
The tragedy led to the usual debate about gun control and mental health in America. Congress put together a resolution condemning the day – but did pretty much nothing else. Every few months, it seems, there’s another crazed young man with too much hate and too many easily accessible guns. What will it take, America?
Twitter users responded with their own experiences with misogyny, using the hashtag #YesAllWomen. It’s worth checking out this compilation of the most powerful tweets.
On to another tragic plot point – why didn’t Olivia and Nick didn’t detain Holden on his bike? They were right – at that point, they didn’t have enough evidence. And when the crowd whipped out their cell phones to videotape the argument, Nick worried about the Eric Garner case.
Eric Garner was a NY man who reportedly stepped in to break up a fight. When NYPD arrived on the scene, they inexplicably arrested Garner for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. The police put him in a choke hold, while he cried out that he couldn’t breathe. Garner died. The entire appalling incident was captured on another man’s cell phone – leading to a huge public outcry and changes in police policy. More and more, civilian cameras are capturing interactions with police – and the resulting accountability is forcing reform.
What They Got Wrong:
I couldn’t believe Olivia left her baby in the ICU! At that point, one woman had suffered some superficial stab wounds and a groping. There are 100 other SVU detectives – let them take care of it! I feel for her; as a working mom, I’ve been in a similar situation – a baby in a hospital, while work was calling. But I got a colleague to cover for me, and used sick leave. Every working mom I know would do the same. Olivia is going to have to learn how to balance work life with mommyhood.
That said, Noah’s old rib fractures were very realistic. In child abuse cases, we would often see a child in the hospital for a new injury – a broken leg, say – and in the course of examination, we would then find evidence of older injuries that were never treated. Broken ribs are a common healed injury. Bone scans of at-risk toddlers can provide a heartbreaking glimpse of a life that has already been filled with too much tragedy.
Finally, the execution of the search warrants were off tonight. Just because the police have a warrant doesn’t mean they can look through everything in the house. Our detectives only had permission to look for Holden’s knife. But they started clicking through his computer. They wouldn’t find a knife there. If they wanted access to e-files, they needed to present a judge with probable cause that they would find evidence of a crime on the computer. And Olivia can’t just shoulder her way into Holden’s neighbor’s apartment. She’d need a separate warrant for that – even if the neighbor is dead on the floor.