Preaching To The Converted On Law & Order: SVU

Curative intercourse and conversion therapy get the PSA treatment.

Initial Crime

On a trip to NYC with her church group, Ann Davenport meets up with her old friend from home, Lydia, who's now living locally (and getting a whole ration of side-eyes from Ann's pastor and fellow churchies). Ann slips Lydia her hotel-room key so they can hang out after curfew, but when Lydia sneaks back in, she finds Ann next to the bed, disheveled and twitchy. Her friend from the group, Lucas, sexually assaulted her.

Real Crime

Ann and Lucas's church is One Of Those, you see, and neither Lucas nor, initially, Ann sees what took place as rape; it's "corrective" or "curative intercourse," undertaken for Ann's benefit because she has tingly feelings for Lydia and other ladies. Lucas, Reverend Gary, and Ann's parents are verrrrry earnest about, basically, how the demon of homosexuality is driven out with Lucas's...staff of righteousness, but Liv and Barba are like, God Shmod, that's rape.

REAL Real Crime

After Reverend Gary cocks up a video of himself and Lucas pressuring Ann to admit she deserved/wanted this "therapy," the case is in trouble...until the squad looks into the sketchish circumstances of Lucas's leaving school and going to live with/be home-schooled by Reverend Gary, and guess what, Gary didn't just order Ann's assault to "save" Ann. He did it to "save" Lucas, too, after having walked in on Lucas getting it on with a dude.


Pressuring this revelation out of Lucas gets him a deal -- Rape III, one to four years -- and a facilitation charge for Reverend Gary.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

Where to start. A headline should perhaps be the NBC promo department abolishing the practice of cutesy hashtags like #SVUConversion that undermine the message the show is trying to send, but what do I know.

How Was The Real Story Fictionalized?

One famous tale via HuffPo is about a boot camp, not a home-schooling/pimping situation, but features a gay teen named Lucas and a Pastor Garry.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

The minute Kip Pardue looms blandly into the frame, you know he did something. Ditto Riverdale's Casey Cott as Lucas.

L&O-verse Regulars

Surprisingly few. Michael Kostroff is back for the first time in a while as Counselor Evan Braun. Orlagh Cassidy as Ann's mother has a few walk-ons on SVU and Mothership. Very well-cast episode, though, I thought, especially Cott and Jessie Carter as Ann.

Hat tip to the day players serving us Not Having It realness on the jury, too.

Okay, Juror #4 is maybe playing to the last row with that "are you fucking kidding me?!" face, but: exactly.

It's Late, Y'all!

Lucas's pained description of his "encounter" with Ann -- "she was tense; it wasn't easy" -- is tough to hear.

Fin Speaks For Us All

Lucas's initial explanation includes the rationalization that Ann needed to feel "the full glory" of God's love. Fin:

Later, he notes that he's no preacher, "but I know the guy in the sky isn't down with rape." He's also trying to delegate a few things to Carisi and Rollins in his new role as sergeant, but given that he has to say in so many words that "this is me, delegatin'," it's not going super-well so far. Hee.

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

Fewer smeary shock faces from Liv, but the whole squad doesn't have to go to court for the arraignment too now, do they? And this isn't a breach exactly, but I don't think I see why the video Rev. Gary made turfs the DA's case when it's pretty clearly witness intimidation. Ann visiting Lucas at Rikers at the end seems non-standard, but I guess they had to get the upbeat "How can love, any love, be wrong!" line in there somehow.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

In theory, Fin, because his son is gay. In practice, I don't think the writers necessarily remembered that detail...and I'm fine with it not getting a clumsy mention.

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

Not a one, so we can rest up for the barrage of them that no doubt awaits us in next week's finale.

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