SVU's Beast and His Obsession

Tonight's episode wasn't about a realistic problem that society faces -- there were no untested rape kits, no reluctant witnesses, no restitution for child-porn victims. "Beast's Obsession" was pure thriller. It was disturbing; it was intense; it left you clenching the edge of your seat.


Horrible Lewis escapes from prison, and uses his freedom to torment Olivia by going on a crime spree in Manhattan. By the third commercial, he's tortured and raped two people and killed seven more. His victims include a hospital nurse, prison guard, defense attorney and a doctor and her two young daughters. Using the youngest daughter as bait, Lewis lures Olivia to a secluded warehouse. He makes one final unsuccessful attempt at raping her, then forces her to play Russian roulette. Lewis may be the world's worst forced Russian roulette supervisor, because in the end, he takes the gun from Olivia and shoots himself in the face.

Verdict: C for realism, A for drama

What they got right and wrong:

Typically, I comment about what's real and not real in these cases. I'll do some of that here. But this show wasn't about what it's really like to be a sex crimes detective. Tonight, SVU took its heroine and put her in the most dangerous, disturbing and intense situation she could be in. It tested her mettle and set her up for hardships to come. But her choices -- her willingness to sacrifice her career and her life to save a child -- showed her incredible strength. Tonight's episode was about the heroism that SVU detectives show, even if the story itself was far removed from the more mundane challenges they face.

Okay, down to brass tacks: When a prisoner breaks out of jail, he usually goes to his girlfriend's house. If he manages to stay out for a while, he might try to get a change of clothes, a steak and a beer.

Once again, Lewis tried but was unable to rape Olivia. The inability of an assailant to maintain an erection is surprisingly common in rape cases. As a sex-crimes prosecutor, I handled several cases where the rapist became flaccid mid-act, and was unable to complete it. Often, rape is about power, not desire.

There really is a "Lazarus effect," where a person appears to be dead for a long time, and is then revived. One amazing British doctor has been able to revive people several hours after they die. I'm skeptical that Lewis's ditzy girlfriend had such skills with the meds she mixed into his cupcakes.

What do you think, SVU fans? Should prisons allow inmates to receive home-baked cupcakes? Will the people of NY blame Olivia for killing Lewis- - or applaud her for it? And should Olivia just put her therapist on permanent retainer at this point? Leave your comments!