"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Uncivilized (TV Episode 1999) Poster

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Very Good, Very Disturbing
s_l_wood6 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is episode is excellent, and deeply unsettling. The plot involves the molestations and murder of a young boy, and the detectives convoluted investigation of this crime. The episode is thoroughly gripping, and has two outstanding aspects, the first being the depiction of an outraged public. When a suspect is arrested, and this individual has been convicted of a similar crime, his neighbors are furious that they were not warned they were living near a convicted sex criminal. The angrily accost the police, and their anger is understandable. However, some civilians take their outrage too far, and one even lies to the police to improve the chances that this suspect will be convicted. The irony is that the actual suspect is innocent, and thus the civilian who was trying to help was only helping the actual perpetrators of the crime by steering the blame towards someone else. The mentality of the public shown in this episode reminded me of people on a witch hunt several hundred years ago, and also shows how difficult the investigation is for the police, as they must be careful about what evidence they consider valid. Not only are the guilty criminals often lying to the police, sometimes even civilians lie as well, making the investigation that much more cumbersome. Even more impressive is the depiction of the actual perpetrators of the crime. When they are finally cornered by the police, the two criminals have very different reactions. One is sincerely remorseful, and also horrified by what him and his friend have done. He cries and squirms in his chair as he describes the crime as "awful," and clearly wishes the whole incident never happened. The performance by this actor is exceptional, as his distress is so convincing and he appears to desperately wish he could erase the whole incident from his memory. At the other end of the spectrum is his friend, who also confesses but shows no remorse at all. He describes first reading about sex crimes on the internet, and how he got an idea in his head to commit one himself. He talks enthusiastically about his growing interest in molesting a boy, then insists he is not gay, He justifies killing the victim by saying the victim was crying and he had "to shut the kid up." He refers to the victim as "a loser," and is very forceful in describing the incident in which he acknowledges no wrong doing. His facial expressions are difficult to read, but in addition to being completely unremorseful, he seems perhaps slightly proud of what he has done. I had two ideas as to his thoughts: either he enjoyed the sex crime and is completely indifferent to killing the victim, or he enjoyed the sex crime and has a sick sense of entitlement that caused him to enjoy killing the victim, partly to quiet him and partly to make his domination of the victim absolute. The different attitudes of the two perpetrators was interesting to me for two reasons. First, it shows how extreme an influence one person can have over another. One person who is evil to the core can encourage a weak willed but decent person to do things they normally would never do, and for which they are haunted by remorse. Also, when we hear of these disgusting crimes being committed, we are so appalled it is natural to just regard all perpetrators of these crimes as monsters. This episode showed a deeper analysis of sex criminals, as they do not all have the same mentality. This episode was entertaining and thought provoking.
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Girl Scout Cookies Trivia
siouxzie292 August 2007
The cookies that the Girl Scouts are selling on the street are President's Choice Decadent Chocolate Chip - a Canadian product made by the Loblaws grocery store chain. Later, in the office, two additional types of cookies made by the same company are visible: gingersnaps (with the Union Jack on the package) and lemon cookies (yellow package).

As a Canadian, I thought it was a very interesting product placement. In Canada, the Girl Guides (the Canadian version of Girl Scouts) have their own brand of cookies that they sell for fund raising purposes. I know a lot of Canadians are associated with the show - I think it's a nice touch.

Are President's Choice products even available in the US? For the record, they are excellent cookies.
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