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"Contrapasso"
SVU, Episode 19.03
Production number: 19003
First aired: 11 October 2017
  th of 432 produced in SVU  
th of 432 released in SVU
  th of 1185 released in all  
Written By
Richard Sweren

Directed By
Jean de Segonzac


Summary

The Special Victims Unit works to uncover which of three suspects castrated a man and left him for dead. Also, Olivia receives unfortunate news from Trevor Langan.

Plot

Fin and Carisi arrive at the crime scene, room 240 in the Skyline Hotel after a 911 call. They find a bloody steak knife, a huge blood stain on the coverlet of one of the beds and testicles in an ice bucket. The detectives follow a blood trail leading to a badly wounded man in his mid-forties, Jason Karr.

Karr survives, though he will need plastic surgery and hormone replacement therapy. His toxicology screen comes back with alprazolam and a high blood alcohol content. While at the hospital, Benson gets a call that the DA is closing the investigation into Noah’s bruises.

In Yorktown Heights, Nora Galen, the woman who called 911, tells detectives that there was a screaming in the room. They next visit Julie Wade in Yonkers, whose credit card was used to pay for room 240. She denies making the reservation and discovers her card missing. She does not recognize the victim. Her boyfriend is pushy and angry, making Fin suspect he might have something to do with Karr’s assault.

Karr says got a drink at the hotel bar and met a woman named Angela, who does not resemble Julie Wade. After going to her room, she made him a drink and they began fooling around. He then blacked out. When he woke up, he had been maimed.

Carisi recognizes Julie Wade on hotel security footage. Julie again denies being in the hotel or in Manhattan, even after being confronted by the evidence. Fin and Carisi track down the assault weapon to the Cheyenne Steakhouse, three blocks from the crime scene. The hostess remembers Julie eating with a regular, Evelyn Bundy, and Nora Galen, the woman who called 911.

Each of the three women deny knowing Karr and lawyer up. The squad connect the three women by the high school they attended, Packard Prep in Rye Brook. All three were members of the Updike Literary Club and Karr was their faculty advisor.

Karr denies knowing any of the three women. His young wife seems skeptical, but does not speak much. Barba is reluctant to prosecute with no victim identification and little evidence. Benson orders the three women to be arrested for obstruction.

Trevor Langan informs Benson that Noah’s birth mother, Ellie, lied that her parents were dead. Ellie’s mother, Sheila, is filing a petition to vacate Noah’s adoption.

Meanwhile in holding, Julie and Nora try to convince Evelyn to confess and waive their right to counsel. The women recount how Karr made them feel special in his poetry class before he had sex with each of them. When they met up at their reunion, they decided to confront Karr for his actions. Julie brought him upstairs to her room and the three women confronted Karr. After Karr claimed that the teenagers had seduced him, Evelyn spiked his drink with her anxiety medication and asked Julie and Nora to leave before assaulting him.

Evelyn brought a knife from the steakhouse for protection as he forcibly raped her 20 years ago. As this is considered rape in the first degree and not statutory rape, there is no statute of limitations and the detectives arrest Karr.

During Karr’s trial, Evelyn describes her attack 20 years ago. She shows a conch shell that Karr gave her in high school. Evelyn smashes the shell on the witness box and badly cuts her hand. Mrs. Karr is visibly shaken by the shell’s appearance. She brings the detectives the Packard Literary Journal from 1995 and a conch shell similar to Evelyn’s.

Karr testifies that he did have a relationship with Evelyn, but that he loved her and never forcibly raped her. He cries on the stand, clearly affecting the jurors. Barba submits the literary journal into evidence, specifically a poem written by Evelyn titled “Corkscrew”, which describes her assault.

Barba worries he will lose and is thinking of offering a plea deal, but Benson talks him out of it. In closing arguments, Miss Rivers, Karr’s attorney, argues that Karr has already suffered enough at the hands to Evelyn. Barba makes an impassioned, sarcastic argument that fairness and vengeance is justice. Karr is found guilty.

Benson reads to Noah, but is interrupted by a knock at the door. It is Sheila Porter, Noah’s grandmother.

Cast

Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest Cast

References

references

Quotes

Carisi: [to Fin] So I'm eight years old. I go to the store with my mom. Now, while she's paying, I end up boosting some, uh... some Rolos.
Fin: When I was that age, I was all about Jujubes.
Carisi: So what am I gonna do, right? We get outside, pull the Rolos out of my BVDs. She busts me. She makes me go back into the store. I got to cop to everything. I cried... I cried like a little baby and then I had to do it all over again on Sunday at confession, but bless her heart, she never did tell my old man.
Fin: My pops would've backhanded me if I did something stupid. I stayed out of trouble mostly out of fear.

Evelyn Bundy: [to Carisi] You don't understand. You're a man.
Carisi: Listen to me, Evelyn. That man is a predator and he should be in prison.
Evelyn Bundy: Yeah, what do you know about it?
Carisi: You're right. I don't know, but I do have a niece. If I found out one of her teachers was doing that to her, cop or no cop, I would beat the living crap out of him.

Evelyn Bundy: [to Carisi] Do you know what "contrapasso" means?
Carisi: No.
Evelyn Bundy: It's from Dante's "Inferno." A punishment a sinner gets in hell is the opposite of his sin. So thank you, Mr. Karr. You always did encourage me to read the classics.

Olivia: [to Barba] Why do we do this, Rafael?
Barba: Because the next girl who gets raped needs to know that that person is us. No matter what.

[During his closing argument in court]
Barba: Jason assaulted Evelyn, Evelyn assaulted him back. That sounds fair to me. Sounds like justice at work. To be just, it has to be fair. I mean, that's what Ms. Rivers asserts. You know, I can't really disagree with that. In purely pound of flesh terms, Mr. Karr certainly gave up a hell of a lot more than he got. Fair? Not a chance. To be totally fair, you should give Jason one of Evelyn's breasts. An arm, maybe. That's only fair. And as we have now decided, that means it's just. Jason Karr forcibly raped Evelyn Bundy when she was little more than a child, but to tack a prison sentence on Mr. Karr's already gargantuan suffering would tip the balance of justice in Ms. Bundy's favor, and hey, there's no way that's fair, so there's no way that's just. A man whose store burns down rushes out, buys some gasoline, a book of matches and sets the house of the arsonist on fire. Hey! It's fair, so that means it's just! A man whose children have been murdered buys a gun and splatters the brains of the killer's children all over their bedroom walls. It's fair. It's just. Why bother with cops or courts? If it's fair, it has to be just! Let the blood flow in the streets, I say! Oh, wait, you don't like it? I say get a bigger pair of boots.

Background Information and Notes

  • Goof: There is some overlap with the timeline from Mood, though this would contradict Benson getting news that she has been cleared of child abuse charges on September 28, when her confrontation with Brian Cassidy happens in October.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

3147 Cedar Road
Yorktown Heights, New York
Thursday, September 28

Cheyenne Steakhouse
702 10th Avenue
Friday, September 29

Supreme Court
Part 17
Thursday, October 5

Supreme Court
Part 17
Monday, October 9


Previous episode:
"Mood"
"Contrapasso"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 19
Next episode:
"No Good Reason"
Seasons 12345678910111213141516171819

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