Peter Kramer / NBC

The Law & Order: SVU Squad Tries To Put The Cycle Of Abuse On Ice

A hockey-team hazing goes horribly awry, but St. Liv's sanctimony really needs to go puck itself.

Initial Crime

After a tough loss for his all-city hockey team, Jack Wilson is berated by his fellow players until the star of the team, Kyle Turner, steps in to stop it...except that, after we cut away, it turns out Kyle ordered a couple of his fellow players to hold Jack down while he sodomized Jack with a hockey stick.

Real Crime

The squad has a tough time pinning everything down -- there isn't any blood or DNA on Kyle's hockey sticks, and his family has closed ranks around him -- but when Jack dies thanks to an infection related to his injuries, the team ramps up on the pressure on Kyle to confess...and, more importantly, to implicate his father Jim as indirectly responsible thanks to the abuse he's been doling out to Kyle, his older brother Adam, and his mother Helen for years on end.

REAL Real Crime

Well, it's hard to say. Is it the borderline disrespectful rendering of Jack's bleeding, which is about as realistic and compelling as a third-grade diorama?

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Or is it the fact that, when quizzing Kyle's doctor after he suffers a "practice injury" his own self, Lieutenant Benson fails to catch her snap on what a spiral wrist fracture might mean, despite the fact that literally everyone who has watched a medical OR police procedural since the mid-'80s knows what that shit means -- and then, when the doctor is obliged to say in so many words that Kyle shows signs of longterm physical abuse, reacts thusly:

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There is absolutely no excuse for Olivia Benson, the squad's commanding officer, to be written or directed in this ZOMG way after two decades on the job. None. Fucking stop it, show; underlining Liv's empathy in this silent-movie fashion is having the opposite of the desired effect.

Verdict

The Turners stonewall the squad endlessly until older brother Adam gets fed up, provokes a beating from Jim that he secretly records on his phone (and for which, not for nothing, the makeup department seemed somewhat unprepared; it's tough to get a good shot of, but if you watched the ep too, you may also have noticed the very obvious over-eye skin patch apparently borrowed from the Syfy offices),

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and gets Jim locked up that way with an assist from Kyle on finding Jim and getting him to deliver a semi-damning monologue about Kyle's future before he's arrested. Kyle gets three years in juvie. Barba gets the week off.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

Possibly Jordan Preavy, although the dialogue is at pains to note that hazing generally is on the increase lately.

How Was The Real Story Fictionalized?

Preavy played football, not hockey; he and his teammates were in high school, not middle school; his teammates' parents weren't charged; Preavy took his own life a year after the assault. That said, I suspect one could find a more substantively similar hazing case without too much searching.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

Brent Sexton, in his usual rigid-bellied shouty bully role.

L&O-verse Regulars

Brian Hutchison as Jack's dad had a tertiary role in the 2005 SVU featuring various former members of an army unit freaking out on their wives thanks to an anti-malarial drug. Erika Rolfsrud as his mom has a few later-stage Motherships on her c.v. Amy Spanger (Kyle's mother) played the wife of a Marine in the Maria Lauterbach episode from 2008.

It's Late, Y'all!

"Tearing in his rectum caused by a blunt instrument."

Fin Speaks For Us All

A few "wut" faces, but it seems like a guy who knows who the original Bash Brothers were wouldn't also be naive about talented kid athletes having contracts with their teams/leagues.

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

Again, it's not a breach of police procedure, but giving Liv lines like "This wasn't a couple kids playing grab-ass; we need answers!" is egregious, all right.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

Carisi, because Bobby Bianchi put his face through a plate-glass window when they were kids, and Carisi covered for him...and Bianchi knifed a guy and wound up in Sing Sing, and Carisi feels responsible because maybe if he'd told, Bianchi could have blah blah sliding doors; Rollins, to a degree, because she's acting like kind of a know-it-all about Helen Turner's failure to act/leave, and seems stricken that she didn't know this detail about Carisi's childhood; Liv, because ugh.

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

None, and we should prolly enjoy the silence now because Chicago Everything crossover season approacheth.

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