Tonight, Law & Order: SVU season 20 episode 4 delivered a story entitled “Revenge” and it was an hour full of misogyny and male rage.
Basically, the case began with a series of mysterious rapes and assaults, which began with masked men demanding to see Chad and Stacy. As it turns out, these names were mostly code for an incel, an online community that was in this case full of terrible men desperate to do terrible things. These men wanted to get vengeance on women who “wronged” or rejected them, and basically they orchestrated a situation in which they would rape women who were tied to each other’s past. With that, there would be no clear motive, and they could create alibis to protect themselves when the women each person actually knew were assaulted.
These men were horrific, and there’s no other way to say it. The difficulty that we saw over the course of this episode was seeing Benson and the rest of the team figuring out a way in which to actually arrest all of the men responsible. As it turns out, that was no easy task when they all tried to cover themselves — especially the leader of the group, who didn’t come clean until he was in the same room with a woman from his past, someone who “rejected” him when he called and asked her to prom. (As it turns out, she never had his real phone number.)
From a legal standpoint, what was most interesting about this episode was that this was the second show this week (alongside NCIS) that addressed the Supreme Court decision to not allow cell-phone tracking without a search warrant. This made it infinitely harder on SVU to pin the right guy, especially when they tried to bring the evidence to court saying that it was an error on the phone company’s part. Eventually, the team was able to figure this out … but it was a close call.
We do hate that we live in a world where these sort of men are out there — toxic, jealous, and horrific people who think that they have some sort of right to treat women like nothing. These are men who lurk in the worst corners of the internet and spew hate; they let it fester and boil and allow themselves to do the unthinkable.
This is what is important about SVU episodes like this — they expose some of these dark corners and bring these horrific people to light. It’s a way to caution victims, tell compelling stories, and also hope to weed these people out of the world for good. Everyone is worthy of respect, and women have the right to choose their partner and be happy with them. What these men did constitute the worst nightmares out there and they represent the darkness underneath the surface. This was a well-written episode of the show that effectively took on an issue in need of exposing.
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