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Law & Order: SVU Blames The Editing

When a Faux-chelorette gets raped, the show's producers try to cover it up. How unreal -- er, UnREAL -- is that?

Initial Crime

Bachelor Pad-ish reality show Heart's Desire is on as we open, with Benson grumbling at a pub bartender to turn it off and wondering who watches this crap. Smash cut to...

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Hee! I love that watching shite reality shows is such a consistent character beat for Rollins. ...Anyway: as the Chris Faux-rrison teases tantalizing footage of two contestants, Melanie and Ryan, getting it on in the Fantasy Suite Dream Suite, Melanie freaks on live TV, because she has no memory of having sex with Ryan, and wouldn't have agreed to it because she's a virgin/The Virgin.

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Real Crime

After a series of cheap but nevertheless enjoyable shots at "romanceality" TV and how heavily it's scripted, edited, and reliant on retrograde sexism and heteronormative assumptions as well as the Stockholm-syndrome compliance of its "contestants," the squad discovers that Ryan was actively turned off by Melanie's declaration that she couldn't wait to bone him...after marriage, and went with another lady instead, so somebody else must have snuck into the room and assaulted Melanie, but that takes forever to unravel because...

REAL Real Crime

...the Faux-nim Murroid producers have hidden footage, implicated the line producer as the prime mover in facilitating another cast member's raping of Melanie, and re-cut their "cooperation" with the investigation for a primetime "special episode" casting themselves as the crusaders for justice and SVU as a bunch of apathetic bumblers.

Verdict

Once producer Lizzie realizes how thoroughly her bosses have screwed her, she wears a wire to a park meet and gets them to admit everything...but Graham, the "friend zone" "character" and actual rapist, takes a plea to avoid going to trial; the producers, the Princes, also plead to avoid jail time; and Lizzie bitterly packs up her desk.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

Carisi comments at one point that it's kind of amazing this hasn't happened before, and I actually agree, but to date, it in fact hasn't, at least not on the Bachelor franchise (Challenge vet Tonya Cooley sued MTV for an alleged sexual assault that she also says camerapeople rolled tape on without interfering on her behalf; a She's Got Game contestant filed against The Game last year for assaulting her). But it's still a solid rip on the show (that, with four women left, there are still multiple Ashleys, for one).

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

Adam "Thomas Forrester" Gregory didn't actually do it. Michael Gross and Wendie Malick play producers Jeffrey and Regina Prince; Larisa "Alex Mack" Oleynik is Lizzie.

L&O-verse Regulars

Gross is familiar to franchise fans from an earlier SVU ep (the aging playboy infecting people with HIV); a CI where he played a shrink who became obsessed with his patient; and the stock-fraud Wall Street dingle who's scared of the Mob on Mothership. Malick was a Mothership defense attorney in S14. Caprice Benedetti, who plays Ryan's mother/attorney, has appeared on all the L&Os before, though I don't remember her in any of them (the best known is probably the Mothership in which Michael Imperioli killed a model).

It's Late, Y'all!

Evident thrusting in the motion-sensor footage in the opening; Melanie says that the morning after the rape she doesn't recall, she "was sore...down there."

Fin Speaks For Us All

Busted by Liv for watching Heart's Desire, Carisi hand-waves that he was cooking and Rollins put it on. Fin's "uh-huh...'cooking'" face is a nice piece of business:

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He follows that up by reminding his colleagues/the audience that reality TV is all fake. Later, Ryan tells the detectives he doesn't "kiss and tell." Fin reminds Ryan that ten million people saw the video.

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Seriously.

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

Not really, so I'll just be that guy and bust Rollins's chops for giving the dog people food.

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In fairness, I doubt I could resist that adorbles face either. Franny 2016.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

When Melanie runs sobbing into her mom's arms at the end, Liv seems to spend an inordinate amount of time staring at them and chewing the inside of her cheek, but I think they were just running short and it wasn't a because-moms thing.

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

Dodds Jr. is off for the week, but in the meantime, we have Rollins and Carisi BFF-ing it up at her house (and Carisi not only cooking but burping Jesse; Rollins, lock that down already, you fool); Rollins tearing up at the nonsense on Heart's Desire before it goes feloniously pear-shaped; and Liv and Tucker planning a romantical take-out-and-chill date (and during the pub date we see them on in the beginning, both appear to be drinking coffee or tea, versus booze).

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