EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Law & Order: SVU' tackles Ray Rice's domestic violence case

Season 16 | Episode 8 | “Spousal Privilege” | Aired Nov 19, 2014

This week, Law & Order: SVU took on the infamous Ray Rice domestic violence case. It’s an issue near and dear to the show’s heart. Mariska Hargitay (aka our heroine, Sgt. Olivia Benson) heads up the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization created to empower victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. You might have seen the “No More” PSAs on NBC. They’ve got a powerful message, and “Spousal Privilege” was an hour of television that demonstrated exactly why such an organization has to exist.

A.J. Martin (The Walking Dead’s Chad Coleman) is a former pro NFL player turned network sportscaster. Whilst perusing leaked celebrity nude pics under the cover of “investigating,” Fin stumbles upon footage of Martin fighting with his wife, Paula (Meagan Good), in a parking garage. We see A.J. swatting Paula on the backside as they argue. The next shot is a little more serious. Remember Ray Rice dragging his wife’s unconscious body? Yeah—that. Paula eventually awakens and stumbles to their car, helped by her husband. The gang notes a patrolman approaching them to get to the bottom of why Paula is missing a Louboutin and needs to hold on to the side of the SUV for support. Rollins figures out by their formal clothes that this must have occurred after a celebrity ball that took place in town six weeks ago. Liv wants to follow up on this.

A.J. and his wife are questioned, arrested on softball charges, and released after paying a fine. The captain of the arresting officer’s precinct pretty much brushes the whole thing off, telling our dicks that they were both drunk and Paula merely tripped due to her inebriation. That was some stumble. She was out like Richard Simmons, and no conscious woman is going to let one of her luxury shoes out of her sight. By the way, the chief? He’s got a football in his office.

SVU‘s most seasoned detectives, Olivia Benson and Odafin Tutuola, pay a visit to the Martins. Everything seems hunky-dory, except for the tension in the air when A.J. snaps at his son. He also gives a scary side-eye to his wife when she dares talk over him. Oh yeah, this one is a pillar of the community. Liv takes Paula aside and asks her if there’s anything she needs to tell her in private. Did you find my Louboutin? No. That’s all I got for you, Liv. A.J. lumbers upon them, noting it’s his house and anything Liv needs to say to Paula, she can say to him. His big ham-hock arm is slung “protectively” over his wife’s shoulders. Just arrest him now.

This case hits the cops pretty hard. Liv wants A.J. in jail, if not brought before a firing squad. Amaro says it is never okay to put your hands on a woman or child. Fin wants to get back to surfing celebrity nudes.

The heady discourse is interrupted by the television debut of the rest of the parking garage footage. Remember the biggest talking point of the Ray Rice vid? Him knocking his wife out with one punch? Yeah—that. It’s a whole different story now. It probably should have been a whole different story for everyone when they witnessed an unconscious woman being dragged through a parking garage, but I digress.

A.J. and Paula are brought in for questioning. It’s the usual B.S. designed to protect their money situation—I was drunk, he was drunk, I got jealous, I provoked him, I’m sorry, it will never happen again, we’re seeking spiritual counseling, don’t you touch our endorsement deal.

Barba sides with Liv. Honestly, watching a giant slab of a man punch his wife tends to do that to you. A.J. is charged with reckless endangerment and will face prison time if found guilty.

After his arraignment and bail is set, Liv approaches Paula in the insanely nice ladies’ room of an NYC courthouse to try again. Paula is having none of it, despite Liv’s quiet imploring for her to let them help her. Paula accuses Liv and her officers of wanting to stifle a strong black man. Liv manages to keep from rolling her eyes, realizing that Paula is grasping at any excuse she can.

We go to trial. Barba is on fire. His opponent, human scalpel defense attorney Rita Calhoun (Elizabeth Marvel), is scoring just as many points. The climax of the trial is Barba’s interrogation of Paula Martin. She protests that this is a matter they are handling within their family, and it’s no one’s business but theirs. She also insists that A.J. is a wonderful, sensitive man who is a superlative husband and father. His striking her was just “a reflex.” I’d hate to be the doctor who taps his knee with that rubber hammer. Dude will end up through a wall and into the fish tank in the reception area. Barba continually points out that she keeps looking to A.J. for something while testifying. Support? Permission? Is she gauging his reactions to her testimony?

The jury is in. A.J. is found guilty. No one is happy because a family has been torn apart. Paula takes the opportunity to tell Liv that she beat her worse than A.J. ever did. And scene.

Yeah, it was a sad ending. I have to give the SVU writers kudos this week. We’ve come to expect that signature SVU twist at the end of every episode. By the time the credits roll, someone is usually revealed to be on fire, receiving a large insurance payout, or pregnant. Sometimes it’s all three! This week, there was just Barba assuring Liv that she did the right thing. She did … but it doesn’t make it any easier or less sad.

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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