Law & Order: SVU’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Episode

-By Warner Todd Huston

The next episode of NBC’s Law & Order: SVU will feature another story “ripped from the headlines.” This time, the show that mines controversy will tackle “legitimate rape” ala former Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin.

The promo for the episode clearly gives the gist of the show.

A woman (The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan) is raped by a co-worker (David Marciano, Homeland) but she decides to keep the child. The episode features the rapist being tried for the crime. An “expert” witness is then seen uttering the Akinesque line.

The voice over says: “Ripped from the headlines. Words that set off a national controversy.”

A character sitting in the witness box then says, “It’s nearly impossible for a victim of legitimate rape to become pregnant.” This is followed by looks of disgust by the two female lead detective characters sitting in the courtroom gallery.

Clearly the jury accepts the expert’s testimony hence all the grimacing by the show’s stars,

To subtly drive home an allusion to a politician like Todd Akin, on the lapel of the character testifying is a prominent U.S. flag lapel pin, just like one a conservative politician might wear. How often do you think characters on Law & Order: SVU have worn flag pins, do you think?

Law & Order: SVU recently courted controversy by hiring real-life rapist Mike Tyson for the ill-fitting role of a victim of child abuse.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001