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American Tragedy 

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A celebrity Southern chef shoots and kills a teenage African-American boy that she thought was a serial rapist. But was her life in danger, or was she just an over-reactive racist?


Fred Berner


Dick Wolf (created by), Warren Leight (teleplay by) | 2 more credits »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mariska Hargitay ... Olivia Benson
Danny Pino ... Nick Amaro
Kelli Giddish ... Amanda Rollins
Richard Belzer ... John Munch
Ice-T ... Odafin Tutuola (as Ice T)
Raúl Esparza ... Rafael Barba
Dann Florek ... Donald Cragen (credit only)
Cybill Shepherd ... Jolene Castille
Jeffrey Tambor ... Ben Cohen
Kevin Carroll ... Cory Carter
Leslie Odom Jr. ... Reverend Curtis Scott
Pablo Schreiber ... William Lewis
Cindy Katz ... Chloe
Allison Mackie ... Bethenny
Tamara Tunie ... Dr. Melinda Warner


A celebrity Southern chef shoots and kills a teenage African-American boy that she thought was a serial rapist. But was her life in danger, or was she just an over-reactive racist?

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 October 2013 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Rafael Barba: [to Jolene] On the night you saw Mehcad Carter, did you see a field hand, a jungle animal or just a boy trying to make his way home?
Ben Cohen: Objection.
Jolene Castille: No, I want to answer that. I saw a hooded man following me. I told him to back off, and he came through my gate.
Rafael Barba: So if it had been a white man who was walking behind you, would you have told him to get back? Would you have pulled your gun?
Ben Cohen: Objection.
Jolene Castille: If it was a white boy, I wouldn't have been afraid.
Rafael Barba: So, let's be clear. Mehcad Carter didn't have to do ...
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User Reviews

Stand your ground?
2 November 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Cybill Shepherd who started out on the big screen playing southern teen beauty queens in The Last Picture Show now over 40 years later looking much a senior citizen beauty queen plays a cooking show host who shoots a young black teen out of fear. Trouble is that the only thing the kid was carrying was a cellphone.

Never mind there was a string of rapes in her area and never mind that the SVU squad captured the real rapist, Cybill sticks to her story and ADA Raul Esparza brings her to trial.

Her attitudes are clear, watch when Ice-T gets too close for comfort how she reacts.

The episode was inspired by Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida with the added element of fear of rape thrown in as this is a show about sex crimes. A state lawmaker from my area is the sponsor of a stand your ground bill inspired by the Trayvon Martin case. It's a bill whereby you can use a criminal defense fear for your life. Of course your fear is a truly subjective item. What Shepherd is doing in this case however fits the stand your ground pattern of the proposed law and what George Zimmerman did in real life to Trayvon Martin.

An interesting and thought provoking story from SVU.

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