Original Air Date: May 1, 2013
Caitlin – Senior Staff Writer
PTSD among soldiers is a very relevant issue these days, but it’s not exactly the subject matter the SVU typically investigates. Still, there are few topics the writers can’t tie into sexual assault in one war or another, usually with emotional results.
Two girls go to a warehouse concert, filled with people packed in like sardines. Suddenly, one is pushed to the ground and raped by several men. Her friend and boyfriend try to help, but are unable to reach her through the crowd.
Gaby is badly battered and unconscious when her father arrives at the hospital, demanding answers. The good news is that we have a lot of suspects in custody. The bad news is it’s difficult to know who did what. When Gaby wakes up, she can’t identify much, but can remember one man on top of her: Frank, a security guard who previous said he attempted to save her. Frank takes even less well to being taken in than most of the suspects we see on the show.
Frank is a veteran, and when he hears of Gaby’s accusations, he says he might have slipped out of awareness for a moment. Gaby identifies him and all the other attackers she can remember. Later, she asks Olivia if she’ll ever recover and Olivia tries to reassure her. As Frank is being taken into a truck, chained to the other suspects, he panics and tries to punch the officers around him.
Nick, also ex-military, recognizes the symptoms of PTSD. Not only does he understand why Frank acted the way he did, he also doubts what he did in the warehouse. Amanda isn’t happy about this, but Nick goes to talk to Frank anyway. Frank reports that, at the time of the rape, he had a flashback to when a fellow soldier was killed. He was on top of Gaby, but he was trying to protect her from non-existent sniper fire. He also remembers seeing someone flee the scene.
Nick and Amanda continue to bicker over whether Frank’s recollection is real or not. One thing is real: that man he mentioned, Lewis, who claims that he left without seeing anything. Olivia convinces Gaby to call him and try and get him to confess. It works to a degree. Lewis admits that, at the request of Gaby’s friends, he did intentionally pull her shirt down. Now it looks like Alex, Gaby’s ex, is the new main suspect.
Nick enters Frank’s holding cell to tell him he’s free to go, but that he’ll have to testify- something he’s not up for. Alex’s friends and Gaby’s friend Britt stick up for him. They were all either not at the concert or not involved in the rape, but Barba argues that by stripping Gaby of her top, they could have helped to trigger it.
Frank eventually agrees to testify, but is chewed out in front of the courtroom by the defense attorney, portrayed by Jeffrey Tambor. While responding to questions, Frank remembers another person who filmed everything that happened. The lawyer spins this as Frank changing his story yet again, and the judge says she’s about ready to agree to have his testimony thrown out. She agrees to give Barba one more things to get the story straight.
Munch and Nick ask Frank to confirm the man with the video tape did exist. He was Lewis’s brother, who managed to get the best recording of the event yet. The defense’s clients plead guilty without a trial. Later, Amanda apologizes to Nick for continuing to suspect Frank. He says the only reason he did recognize the PTSD there was that he never say it in his own wife after she came back from Iraq.
Next Week: Poisoned MotiveFollow @Cait4TTC