Law & Order: SVU: Burned

Friday 15 October, 10:00pm on Five

The crime drama series following the NYPD’s elite sex crimes investigation squad continues. In this instalment, a woman embroiled in a messy divorce accuses her husband of rape. Stabler has serious reservations about the victim’s story, but Benson is concerned that her partner’s judgement is being clouded by his own domestic situation. When Valerie Sennet accuses soon to be exhusband Miles of creeping into her house and raping her, the detectives’ first puzzle is working out how the culprit tracked his estranged wife down. Miles, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, is subject to a restraining order. He is only allowed to see his daughter once a month, during supervised visits. Stabler puts it to Valerie that her daughter Tessa, who was upset about the restrictions placed on her father’s visits by her mother, might have told him their address and provided him with a key. “There’s no way she’d risk it,” Valerie insists, brusquely. “Even if she were angry with you?” asks Stabler. Valerie responds with a terse request not to involve Tessa in the case. When the lab results are returned, it transpires that Valerie tested positive for recent sexual activity, but negative for any trace of Miles’s DNA. Stabler, who has his suspicions about the victim’s story, suggests that in all likelihood Valerie had consensual sex with someone else on the same day as the alleged attack. Stabler’s theory is given more ammunition when the detectives discover that a judge recently refused to renew Valerie’s restraining order against her ex because of a lack of evidence for him being abusive. “I’m not saying there aren’t terrified women in need of protection,” the judge explains. “But there are a lot of vindictive ones who abuse the system in the guise of a divorce strategy.” At this point, Stabler admits that his wife was recently advised to accuse him of sexual assault in order to speed up their divorce.

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