Law & Order: SVU season 18 episode 13 review: The genetic debate

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Can a gene dictate a rape? This is a question that Law & Order: SVU season 18 episode 13 asked repeatedly, and on the surface, it’s a question that we did balk hard at. As a viewer, this was a tricky defense to by into due to the heinousness of the crime. As humans, we’re compelled with the power of choice. Even if your upbringing may make you predisposed to certain things, you ultimately are in control of whether or not you want to get better, or to avoid some of the terrors that haunt your past.

With rape, it’s even more the case. There’s no scientific evidence that it’s addictive, and there are no links out there that suggest that such a thing is genetic in the slightest. Therefore, the case at the center of “Genes” was one that we assumed would be open-and-shut for Benson and Barba — yet, it ended up being a tad more complicated than that.

Specifically, what we saw was a whole cult-like organization designed specifically to “help” men who found themselves to be more predisposed to rape or other violence against men. However, the head of said group was not paid, and nor was he a preacher. Even in the midst of all of this, it was still difficult to prosecute and get the desired result. A big part of that had to do with an initial confession that was made that was no longer there. Not only that, but one of their key witnesses (a member of said “cult”) in Will was missing in action at the time.

We think that in the end, this case was more about mental illness than it was genetics or anything else. Young men were being told to bought into an organization that was not real, and the leader was not helping anyone. Instead, he was only further perpetrating the crimes. There was a better way to help some of these men, or prosecute the ones who were guilty. Thanks to Will’s testimony, the operation could be shut down, and Benson and Barba were able to exit the case tonight with a win.


“Genes” did have its merits as an SVU episode, given that we do love rich courtroom drama, and after so many weeks on the air it was nice to get Benson and her team back in action. However, this was still an episode that was challenging just because the premise was a bit more out-there than the typical episode of the show. Grade: B.

What was your personal Law & Order: SVU season 18 episode 13 review? Were you able to buy into the central focus of this story? Be sure to share some of your thoughts below! (Photo: NBC.)

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