Review: Law and Order SVU: Impulsive (2008, US)

This episode, written by Jonathan Greene, falls over itself with its issues and is another that suffers from the need to provide twists and turns but ends up pandering to cliché and prejudice. The teen in the equation is the aggressor rather than the teacher but this is one of the twists after initially presenting him as the victim, defining the kid as the sex addict with zero origin aside from “looking on the internet.” However a deal is worked out following face-to-face discussion between the lawyers, the cops and offender and victim, making you feel like SVU is swapping places with Law and Order itself, but unfortunately branding every boy in a teacher abuse case a potential liar.

The deal sends him off to an institution where he is raped himself and then the social commentary turns to the treatment of offenders. The issue of compensation is left hanging as if a teenager would just take the cash and not want to have the same kind of justice as the female victim. Just for once that twist shouldn’t have been ambiguous if it was going to form an assumption with no further input from that character, just a patronising “[He’s] going to be all right”.

The slick writing fulfils the TV brief at the expense of wasting the opportunity to explore the multiple issues at length. They might have been re-examined properly in the next four seasons, but UK viewers would need to rent them on DVD to find out.

– CBG

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