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"Law & Order" Discord (1993)

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Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
3 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's an above-average series that occasionally touches on some important social issue, in this case rape -- or, rather, the accusation of rape. It's based on an actual incident involving a celebrity whose name I forget. A young girl is invited to a rock star's hotel room for an autograph or something and the rock star takes what he wants regardless of her protests.

Forcible rape is always of interest. In the first place, sexual and aggressive behavior are assumed by some psychologists to be antagonistic responses. If a man has just had a fierce argument with his wife, does he really want to make love to her? Do people really "make up" that way or is it pluralistic ignorance, in which people think other people do it? Of course, since it does happen, the rapists are unusual people whose mental composition should be studied.

Second, it's easy to make an accusation of rape after willing sexual congress, especially when the person accused is wealthy and prominent and likely to buy the victim off. Even in the absence of a monetary reward, there is the payoff associated with victimhood, what Freud called secondary gain.

The principals here are Moriarty and Hill, joined by Jill Hennessy, who looks elegantly gorgeous the way some models do. The detectives are Noth and Orbach. But someone should point out that S. Epatha Merkeson is a splendid actress, at least in this role. Her predecessor, Dann Florek, was fine too, but his masculinity masked his anima. Merkeson can be stern, efficient, and simmer with anger, but she's never for a moment bullying, and her sense of humor is ironic. It's a tough combination of traits to pull off but she does it, and never better than in this episode.

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