Law and Order Season 1 Episode 11 starts with the discovery of a black girl who’s been raped and has misogynist slurs written on her body. She blames white cops. On the plus side, off the bat they get her mom and a “Rape intervention specialist” to help.
On the downside, they immediately judge the mom for not filing a missing persons report sooner, and mansplain her job to the intervention specialist.
So then they get pissy that the family calls in a Congressman they call “Mr. Civil Rights soundbite” to advocate for the victim. Because he should totally just trust the system that has worked so well for so many black rape victims I guess.
Shouty Cragen gets all shouty and orders them to make the girl talk and arrest the advocate if he tries to get in the way and Damn, Logan gets a good line objecting to the order.
Is Logan dead to me still? Is he redeeming himself? What the heck underpins his rapidly shifting worldview?
How Normal was leaving your car windows down and your doors unlocked in New York in 1990?
Cragen orders the officers into the church where the Congressman has staged a protest, to talk to the girl. Stone and the rest say it’s a mistake but Cragen’s gotta show this guy who’s the Alpha. Man, he was so much better on SVU.
Cragen should get outside more, and stay outside longer, maybe for 18 seasons or something.
Of course it all blows up in their face. Take a lesson, Cragen.
Cragen’s definitely presented as wrong but we’re still asked to root for him and see this guy as an opportunist because he wants to use this case to take down white guys at the top of the structure instead of the specific cops accused of the crime.
So now the DA feels forced to argue the whole thing was a hoax,’s just a crappy message and both the specific rape case and the larger systemic inequality get lost.
It’s not like a lot of black women were in the writers room but the writers who worked on this episode thought enough about the optics to have a black woman judge side with our (mostly) white heroes.
And then Paul has to clean up the mess. Gets his priest to talk the mom into talking to him. Turns out the girl was pregnant and lied because she was terrified of her Catholic family.
The moral of this episode to me is that Paul should just run the show.
But we don’t get that before we get a last-minute insertion of a crappy stereotype of black dad as batterer.
“Another zombiefied soul casts his vote for order rather than justice” - A+ quote from the Congressman to Paul defending the system
Oh man I am a fan of Stone but he is not who you should go to for advice on issues like this. Also betting he’s literally never had to think about whether he’s a white lawyer, or a lawyer who’s white.
Ok intended moral of the show seems to be that we are past segregation and as such the best way for black people to get ahead is within the system, as we see from Paul and the Judge.
Gotta charge my phone but I’ll be back in about an hour for the one with the bombing of an abortion clinic.
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