Law & Order: SVU Episode “The Good Girl” Review

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Screen capture: A scene from the recently televised episode, "The Good Girl," of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Philip Winchester, Stephen Tobolowsky and Joe Grifasi as ADA Peter Stone, defence attorney and Judge Hashi Horowitz, respectively.

With accurate research comes great drama. “The Good Girl,” the latest episode in the long running Dick Wolf created police procedural drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”  Televised on Thursday, 11 April 2019, the episode features a story which which resonates on a personal level for many Americans.

“The Good Girl”

The Jean de Segonzac directed episode “The Good Girl” finds Lieutenant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) working to uncover a 13-year-old Mackenzie Tolliver’s (Eowyn Young) secret when she refuses to name the baby’s father.

After Mackenzie implicates drama teacher Quentin Dreyfus (JD Taylor), the 13-year-old’s step-father, Garrett Howard (Derek Cecil), pays the teacher a visit where a heated off-camera results in the teacher’s death. The murder weapon is a bowling trophy.

Dreyfus, a closeted-gay man to all his work colleagues, had plans to marry boyfriendJohn Woodward (Richard Prioleau). According to Woodward, Dreyfus had no interest in woman and or underage girls of any description. Dreyfus had “never had sex with a woman.”

In the episode’s narrative, The West Village Pin Poppers is an LGBT bowling league. It is where Dreyfus and Woodward met. The trophy Howard used to kill Dreyfus came from this league.

In court, the defence attorney (Stephen Tobolowsky) produces a Missouri marriage licence showing Howard and Mackenzie were married before relocating to New York City. “The marriage licence was duly recorded in a courthouse in Caruthersville, MO [Monday], 27 August 2018,” Detective Dominick Carisi Jr. (Peter Scanavino) said as he was walking into Benson’s office.

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“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” 20th season promotional graphic. Image Credit: IMDb

With 20-seasons under its belt and another one on its way later this year, the success of “Law & Order: SVU” is readily apparent. Even though “Law & Order: SVU” has an exemplary ensemble cast, the research that makes episodes plausible is not without merit.

“Law & Order: SVU” writers responsible for crafting the storyline for “The Good Girl” did the necessary research. It is the plausibility of such narratives that makes series fans loyal to the production.

Researching a Plausible “Law & Order: SVU” Narrative

It takes a lot of time to conduct research. One simply cannot put pen to paper without researching key elements of the narrative. This is what “Law & Order: SVU” writers do.

During the show’s lengthy run, numerous highly motivated exceptionally qualified individuals written teleplays for the Wolf created drama. Credited with writing the teleplay for “The Good Girl,” are Brianna Yellen and Lawrence Kaplow.

Yellen has worked on more than 60 “Law & Order: SVU” episodes as a writer. Kaplow, in addition to working on nine episodes of the police procedural, also provided his writing talents to such productions as “Family Law,” “Hack,” “K-Ville,” “House,” “Body of Proof,” “Rogue,” “BrainDead” and “Chicago Justice.”

Absolute Minimum Age for Marriage

Currently, there are 16 states that do not have an absolute minimum age for marriage. Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming have not established a statutory absolute minimum age.

South Carolina, one of the mentioned 16 states without an absolute minimum age for marriage, has on the books conflicting laws. Several South Carolina judges, in case of pregnancy, allow marriage without an age limit. Such rulings have proven somewhat controversial.

Missouri, prior to 2018, had not established an absolute minimum age for marriage.

Missouri Marriage Laws

The Governor of Missouri, in July 2018, signed into law a bill establishing an absolute minimum age to marry. The then newly signed law prohibits individuals at least 21-years-old from marrying persons under 18-years-old.

Missouri marriage law requirements specify both parties must be least 18-years-old to apply without parental consent. Even with parental consent, Missouri prohibits individuals under 15-years-old without “special circumstances” and “good cause” marrying. The law took effect Tuesday, 28 Aug. 2018.

The episode also stars Kelli Giddish, Ice-T and Philip Winchester in the respective regular roles as Detective Amanda Rollins, Detective Sergeant Odafin Tutuola and ADA Peter Stone. The next episode, the Michael Pressman directed “Exchange,” will be televised Thursday, 25 April 2019.