Review: The Guardian: Without Consent (2004)

This episode, in attempting to stay within its legal framework setting, soon moves from a slow-burning drama into completely and totally unrealistic garbage. One male character has been sexually assaulted, shown by his walking into the office with a black eye and bruised ribs, tipping off the audience until a cop reports the rest of his injuries whilst trying to get the character to pick out his perp from an array of photographs.  His shame stops him from testifying to the fact until his attacker starts to organise a plea-bargain for 1/5th of the jail time he might serve. The B Plot features a boy who witnesses his mother sleeping with his best friend which the lead character plays advocate to decide custody and residency.

At this point, The character agonises and almost everyone in the office and his mother seems to know the exact details about what happened (mother’s intutition is realistic, the rest, pre-disclosure, is a stretch). We see the victim indirectly asking the secondary witness not to testify, and finally buying a gun and threatening his offender into changing his plea to drop the bargain and allocution which goes with it, in order to stop his name becoming public.

This was the final season of this drama five years ago, though it’s only just getting a second run in the UK due to its main star appearing in another hit show. After taking a realistic premise and going off into cloud cuckooland in order to wrap it up in one episode and also managing to remind TV fans of LA Law (except that lawyer took a beating in the LA Riots before turning armed vigilante), this does a complete disservice to male victims of abuse and will now go down in history as one early dramatic credit for a younger Zac Efron, than being useful to survivors. Thankfully more modern drama  has taken a different, more intelligent approach.


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