The team unmasks Hudson University's homophobic recruiting practices; Rollins flirts with disaster.
A mercifully Benson-lite episode. Let's get to it.
College football prospect Cedric Jones takes a recruiting trip to The Worst College On Earth, Hudson University. Things begin promisingly when he's met in a limo by two very friendly cheerleaders and the coach, Glenn Morshower, and showered with booze and underwear-clad lady attentions, but go awry after he's taken to the NFL-class weight room by his future teammates and blindfolded. His uncle, who remembers Rollins from growing up together in Georgia, comes to NYC to ask for her help tracking Cedric down.
Cedric turns up alive, yay! Except it's because he's in holding for flipping his shit in a gay bar and punching a patron in the face, yiiikes. On top of that, it took four officers to subdue him, so Rollins finds him post-tasing, facing a hate-crime charge.
Seems that, after the blindfold went on, it wasn't Tanya and Zoe who peeled the banana; it was Ty Lee, a male cheerleader, at the behest of the all-powerful football team, and when it looks like that might come to light, Tanya visits Cedric in the clink to show him video they took of him enjoying himself during the encounter, after which he tries to hang himself. Rollins and the rest of the SVU-by Gang then go after Morshower and Hudson for rape, and close the case when the chief hazer, Eddie Thorpe, reveals that he went through even worse as a freshman.
The Miami Dolphins hazing scandal that led to Jonathan Martin's departure from the team for "emotional reasons" last November after teammate Richie Incognito and others used racial slurs and made suggestive remarks about his mom and sister. (In addition, Missouri lineman Michael Sam's departure from the closet more recently is hinted at to some degree by the Thorpe subplot.)
Hudson is not a pro team, but the real-life clowns harassed another player, who remains anonymous, with gay slurs and inappropriate touching. An NFL report claims the Dolphin head coach and his staff didn't know this was going on.
I always see Jason "Jackie Jr." Cerbone's name in the credits and assume he did something, but he's just defense counsel here; it's Morshower's culture of dated "manliness" concepts and take-no-prisoners hazing that's guilty.
An almost prudish episode by SVU standards, but plenty of homophobic epithets, and a broom handle is used for off-book purposes.
Benson has to have a warning chat with Rollins about all the overtime she's put in for so early in the year, and of course Rollins agrees to track down Cedric even though it's not an SVU case at first, but the show's likely saving the true egregion for next week.
Rollins; Benson, who's irritated that she's "the voice of reason" when it comes to finding mitigating circumstances for Cedric's behavior; Amaro, who played college football, which given that the man has a 28-inch waist I find difficult to comprehend.
He tells Rollins, "C'mon, man, I know you're close to the family but you've done all you can do."
Morshower takes a plea offscreen. Thorpe tells Amaro he's quitting football because he is gay, and he doesn't think the NFL is ready for that.
Oh, brother. Shades of Brandon Walsh's downward gambling curlicue on 90210 in the opening bumper when Rollins loses a wad of money on a call at the buzzer in an NBA game. Later, she's braced by her bookie; asks her bar-owner friend for a loan, which she later pays back by dropping a brick of twenties on him after they've just Done It and snitting that now they're even; and tells a story at GA about her dad dragging her and her sister to the track on Christmas that doesn't entirely sound like she thinks it's shitty parenting. Fin gives her a side-eye a few times like he totally knows what's going on, but that poop isn't set to hit the fan 'til next week.