Neither Kid Is All Right
When a trans teen is attacked in a park, the aftermath tears apart two families...and gives Liv an RSI from shaking her head.
Avery Parker, a trans teen, is taking pictures in Fort Tryon Park on her way home from school when Darius Brown and his friends set upon her, calling her names like "tranny" and flipping her skirt up. The "game" of keep-away they're playing with her camera goes awry when Avery's heels -- the ones her mom warned her about wearing in the park -- trip her up and she falls on Darius, who pushes her off him, and she stumbles over the side of a pedestrian bridge. Everyone runs off except a couple of tourists. Avery's taken to the hospital with a broken leg, among other injuries.
In the aftermath, Darius is distraught by his behavior; a gifted artist, he makes an apology drawing for Avery, who loves graphic novels. No sooner has she graciously read them than she throws an embolism and dies, upping the charges against Darius to second-degree manslaughter...
...and when O'Dwyer hears that Barba wants to send the case to family court so Darius, generally a good kid otherwise, doesn't do 20 years, he cherry-picks the case to try Darius as an
example adult, with a hate-crime attachment. The Parkers don't want that, saying it goes against all the grace and compassion Avery was about, but O'Dwyer persists, though he's somewhat conflicted.
For most of the episode, I thought the story might take a turn in a Kalief Browder direction. It didn't, and it's a sad comment that 15 minutes of very detailed Google-stringing left me unable to isolate a single case, or even a group of cases, this might have been based on. There are just too many.
The most famous guest star is Robert Sean Leonard as Kenneth O'Dwyer, followed by
Tracy "Crazy Laura" Middendorf Rebecca Luker* as Avery's mom and Adrienne C. Moore as Darius's mom, so: n/a this week. Moore is marvelous, though. That moment when she realizes Fin and Rollins have come to arrest Darius, and she dissolves into silent tears, then yanks it together to try to call out to him in a normal voice is awful and gorgeous.
Nothing as gory as last week, but epithets like "tranny" and "he/she" still land like bombs.
I understand that, on SVU, someone has to draw the dumb-about-contemporary-issues card so that the show can Leight-splain right and wrong thinking on the topics of the day. I understand that that someone is usually going to be Carisi, because he's new. But does it not seem to anyone else like a detective getting transferred to the Special Victims Unit would get, at the very least, a remedial crash course in gender-identity facts and terms? No, that means Rollins couldn't sigh, "There's a difference between gender identity and sexuality, Carisi," but couldn't she sigh it at a non-departmental colleague?
...Anyway: not really. Although speaking of Carisi, I couldn't get a good screengrab (as it were) but did it look to you guys like Scanavino was guilty of misdemeanor freeball? I'm prepared to call it a victimless crime; I'm just saying.
Maybe a teeny bit of Because Moms from Liv, but it's a pretty straight-ahead case with no parallels to the squad. Again, though, Mariska Hargitay is on what-a-world #SMDH detail for aaaaaaages at a time. It's a fucked-up situation that tore two families apart. We got it. Just yell "cut" so MarHargs can play some Bejeweled.
Allow me to speak for us all to Fin when I say that the suit
Darius's attorney goes with a bench trial, which tends to result in lower sentences for defendants. Darius is found guilty, and gets seven years.
Rollins is looking like hammered first-trimester ass, poor kid, and I...do not get Liv's hair, at all.
I loooooved the version of this 'do that had a side part and was longer in the front; this just looks like your field-hockey coach at the annual awards dinner. She has like the best hair in procedural TV, guys. What is the plan here?