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Is Law & Order: SVU's Take On The Roger Ailes Allegations Fair And Balanced?

HA HA HA HA HAAAAAA try 'tiresome and preachy,' but there's some good work from the guest stars.

Initial Crime

Liv is second guest chair on FOX HNT & Friends ; the main guest is Davina Delucci, an actress who's recently come forward with allegations that her director on a past project raped her in-scene. Liv's there to provide context, I guess, and because she's...fundraiser friends, for lack of a better term, with the lady co-host of the show, Heidi Sorenson. Heidi has an awkwardly intense reaction to Davina's description of her assault...

Real Crime

...and, after the director throws to a break, discloses that the producer at HNT, Howard Coyle, raped her in his office a few months prior. She then goes dark, avoiding Liv, so Liv doorsteps her at her apartment to pressure her to report Coyle -- and, when Heidi balks, gives her unacceptably snotty tone: "When you're ready to have a serious conversation, you know where I am," like, nice victim advocacy, Lieutenant.

Siiiiigh, but of course Heidi is swayed and decides to press charges, despite HNT's spin on the situation, namely that Heidi "aged out" of the demo, didn't get her contract renewed, and is defaming Coyle and the network as payback.

REAL Real Crime

Heidi's courage inspires other victims of Coyle's grabbiness to come forward too, and while Barba can't get most of their depositions admitted, it becomes clear that Coyle has kept all of them quiet for so long because he videotaped their encounters...selectively, so that it would look consensual and the married ladies would shy away from reporting him. The heir to Heidi's seat, Margery Evans, denies that any of this is going on and even perjures herself on the stand to that effect, then goes rogue with a body cam and tries to get her tapes back from Coyle, who is described as paranoid but is also a moron, apparently, because he's like, you can buy them with a beej, then tries to force her. Margery escapes and turns over the tapes to Barba and Liv. Coyle is fucked, as it were.

Verdict

After Barba smugly shows Coyle and his attorney Margery's footage, we cut away, but we hear later that Coyle got 18 months and HNT had to settle for gazillions with Heidi and Coyle's other victims. God forbid we actually see that scene, instead of the one in which Heidi happily shows off the under-construction space for her new non-profit empowering teenage girls to Liv; glows about how free she feels; and moistly thanks St. Olivia of Mannahatta, because everything good that happens is because of Our Mother Of SVU.

...Show. Seriously. Dial that shit back.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

After a drive-by reference to Last Tango In Paris (and possibly Vincent Gallo) in the open, it's all Ailes all the time.

How Was The Real Story Fictionalized?

Ailes isn't alleged to have raped anyone, I don't think, or to have kept blackmail material on them to keep them quiet.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

Christopher McDonald as papery-skinned bully Howard Coyle, but it's an all-star line-up throughout: Bonnie Somerville as Heidi, Peyton List as Margery, and Mark Moses as Heidi's supportive but ultimately gutless co-anchor George.

L&O-verse Regulars

Jenna Stern and Peter Gallagher return as Judge Barth and Dodds Sr., respectively -- and I'd like to acknowledge Gallagher's work in the ep. The writing obliges him to apologize pathetically to Olivia for ripping her head off about Dodds Jr.'s death earlier in the season, and to be forgiven by Her Holiness, but he does well with it, and especially well in a scene where Coyle threatens to return fire on NYPD with an exposé on Dodds Jr.'s death and why the internal investigation into it closed so quickly.

Beth "The Poor Man's Andrea Roth" Chamberlin as past HNT anchor Gwendolyn Gates also played the long-suffering wife in SVU's "Treat Williams is a retired pro QB whose CTE is making him feloniously inappropriate" episode. Paloma "Davina" Guzmán's very first role was on S18 of Mothership. Peyton List has a couple SVUs from the aughts, including the S2 bad-touching-gymnastics-coach ep. Christopher McDonald has now appeared in all the franchises. Mark Moses was in the "stolen embryos/Gabrielle Anwar" episode.

And don't look now but...

It's Late, Y'all!

I'm not a fan of the word "panties." Other than that, relatively tame.

Fin Speaks For Us All

George won't speak up for fear of losing his job.

Yup. When George insists he has Heidi's back, Fin snaps, "Then act like it."

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

I could make a joke here about whatever's going on with Rollins's hair-color narrative, but: not really. Dodds Sr. sucking up to Liv isn't a great look, but I guess it's not against the rules, although the lemony face she pulls when he announces he's coming with her to question Coyle should be. One, it makes perfect sense to send a man along to try to faux-relate to a skeezepack like Coyle. Two, that's your boss, boss.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

Liv, because she's friends with Heidi and because Liv.

Revelations About The Continuing Characters' Personal Lives That We Should Remember Going Forward

We see Liv putting Noah to bed (the artwork on her office fridge would have sufficed, but...here we all are) and as usual, the writing of her as a mother is off-puttingly sugary. I get the impression that MarHar IRL is a pretty normal and straight-ahead mom, and not an idiot, so for real now, is there some reason someone in her life is not informing her that writing she may think portrays Liv as a hard-charging advocate for victims and committed single mom is in fact making her look like a sanctimonious dingleberry? Because she deserves better, and so does the show, and so, for God's sake, do we. End of harangue, FOR NOW.

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