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"Law & Order: SVU:" Tonight, Hell
Wow. Take a look, if you can, at tonight's pretty unusual and pretty powerful "SVU." Below is the clip and - superficially at least - what is notable about this episode, entitled "Hell," is the fact that this is the first TV program to have ever been shot at the United Nations.
That's just the window dressing, however. This one's about genocide, and atrocities that happen five thousand miles from here. Here's the logline: "The episode deals with a teenaged African refugee who escapes a lifetime of rape and terror, only to become a victim of violence here in the US. She and her friend a former child soldier forced to do unspeakable things before his escape enlist the help of SVU detectives to find and capture 'The Devil' a brutal army leader who escaped punishment in Africa. "
The bad guy - or the "Devil" - is someone named Elijah, or Joseph Serumaga. He's played with scary - and I do mean scary - conviction by Mike Colter. (Colter? Broadway fans may know the name - he appeared in "A Soldier's Story" a few years back; his big screen credit was the character Big Willie Little in "Million Dollar Baby.")
CNN has a very good piece on-line about this episode, and spoke with John Prendergast, co-chair of the Enough Project - an advocacy group that works to prevent genocide in six African nations. He helped write and craft this episode with show boss Neal Baer, and told the network that "Hell" "...dovetailed quite neatly with fiction, and hopefully more people will understand now what is happening in real life with President Bashir and Sudan...because they saw it on 'Law & Order.' "
The closing thought tonight?
"What's the answer, father?" Stabler asks a priest who had adopted the little girl. "To tell Elijah's story," he replies, "and pray someone listens."
Fair warning: This one's hard to watch, but it's also an unforgettable "SVU."