Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Season 11, Episode 16

Witness (17 Mar. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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A potential witness in a rape case is reluctant to testify because she is an illegal immigrant who both witnessed and was the victim of unspeakable war crimes against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



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Title: Witness (17 Mar 2010)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Olivia Benson
Dr. George Huang (as B.D. Wong)
Dr. Melinda Warner (credit only)
Lainie McCallum
Bryce Kelton
Anne James ...
Nardalee Ulah


A girl who appears to have been assaulted is brought to the hospital. When she wakes up she denies that anything happened to her but the doctors already examined her and confirm she was sexually assaulted. Benson and Stabler try to convince her to come forward but she's reluctant to. They eventually catch the one who attacked her and his lawyer mounts a defense on the fact that she's extremely promiscuous. And when she collapses just as she's about to testify, she's brought to the hospital and the doctors says she doesn't have much time. She dies so there's no one to testify against the one who assaulted her. But they know of a witness so they to try to find the witness and learn that she's an African woman. She's reluctant to testify because woman in her country are mistreated. They try to convince her to. The defendant's lawyer reports her to the INS and she faces deportation. So they try to find a way to keep her in the country. Written by

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Release Date:

17 March 2010 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


[last lines; Alex is leaving to join a new ICC task force]
Detective Olivia Benson: Wow. Nardalie really got to you.
A.D.A. Alexandra Cabot: She inspired me.
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User Reviews

Contrived plot serving as soap box
3 April 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The episode again made me shake my head at the contrived plot, where an unsympathetic rape victim suddenly falls dead of the flesh-eating disease. Researching the disease itself, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, it does appear that it can spread quickly throughout the body before causing death. Despite the contagious nature of the disease, little precaution seemed to be in place to prevent infection; Olivia in fact held her hand as she lay dying without any protection. I too decided to research the issue of rape in the Congo which is involved in the story; again a witness is presented in SVU who comes from darkest Africa whose past seems tainted by terrorist paramilitary groups. I thought how I would feel as a Congolese to have my country (the largest in Africa after Algeria) reduced to a line about how rape is commonplace. Again, I learned something important. But I fear in doing so, the plots are becoming less than public service announcements and Law and Order being reduced to a soap box.

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