The season premier episode, "Infected", of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was possibly the most moronic and insulting piece of television that I've ever seen. In brief: a young boy (Walt from Lost) witnesses his prostitute mother get killed by one of her johns. The detectives find him hiding in the closet and take him to the police station, where he later incorrectly identifies the killer in a voice line-up. However, he later sees the defense lawyer walking out of the station with a guy he recognizes from a charity who used to help his mom, and he concludes (rightly) that this man was the killer. So the boy feels responsible for letting his mom's killer go free, leaves the police station, gets a gun, and goes and kills the guy. So far: no problem. It's simple revenge, right? It's regrettable that a young teenager has to go to jail for a while, but we all expect the DA will cut him a deal and he'll be out in 10 - 15 years for murder-one. Reasonable.

But no. The defense lawyer presents some ridiculous argument that the boy isn't at fault, the gun itself is at fault. The boy has witnessed so much gun violence that he can't help but use a gun to kill his mom's murderer. I'm not sure how this is different from "revenge", but apparently it is because the argument convinces the ADA that the boy isn't at fault and offers him a sweet plea bargain. Then a lawyer from the "American Gun Association" shows up to try to stop the plea deal because he doesn't want anything on record showing that, in the words of the defense attorney, "the actual gun itself is to blame for the death, not the person who held it".

At this point everything in the episode it completely ridiculous, but it gets worse. The AGA lawyer gets an injunction preventing the criminal court judge from accepting the plea deal. Is this possible? Who knows. But the AGA lawyer wants to establish in civil court that the boy killed out of revenge, not "gun disease" (hence the title of the episode, "Infected"). So a civil judge hauls the defense lawyer, the ADA, and the criminal court judge into his courtroom and the AGA lawyer questions the boy until he admits that he killed his mom's killer because he hated her. At which point the criminal judge, the ADA and the defense lawyer conspire together to turn this confession into a mistrial so that the boy won't be convicted of murder.

Anyway, that was probably confusing and hard to follow, but so was the episode. The central principle, that the defense attorney had a "scientific study" proving that gun violence is a "disease" and that killers are no more to blame than people who catch colds, is uttery insulting to any viewer's intelligence and betrays a complete lack of sophistication on the part of the show's creators and writers. Even the most cursory review of human history will make it clear that people have been killing each other for thousands of years, and the level of violence in America where we have the Second Amendment is abnormally, incomprehensibly low compared to historical norms... not least because our own government kills very few of us compared to governments throughout history. People killed each other with stones, spears, swords, and now guns. But the inanimate objects aren't to blame; there's nothing magical about guns. It's just unbelievably retarded.

What's more, every bad guy in the show was a white male. The charity worker was a white male, and he turned out to be a "sex addict", child molester, and muderer. The AGA lawyer was a white male, and he made the poor boy cry on the witness stand and was portrayed as speechless in the face of facile, shallow arguments about "gun disease". The civil judge who disrupted the criminal trial with the injunction was a white male. All the good people were minorities or women, like the ADA, the defense attorney, and the criminal court judge who conspired to bring about the mistrial on spurious grounds so that the boy who murdered his mother's murderer could go free. The "scientist" who testified about the "gun disease" study was black.

To top it off, I tried to email the show to express my disappointment and the email address provided isn't even any good! So I decided to write it all out here in the hope that someone from the show will find it. If anyone can determine who wrote this episode please post their name in the comments.



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