Analysis Of Scorched Earth

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“Scorched Earth” and the Possibility of Justice In an argument between prosecuting attorneys in “Scorched Earth,” the first episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s thirteenth season, a pessimistic critique of the American legal system’s power to protect the weak from the strong, the unspoken but nonetheless manifest presupposition of said attorneys regarding the ends of the justice system, appears in contrast to an implied legal idealism, but this critique is ultimately rendered tepid by a partial triumph later on in the episode for the side of justice through the work of dedicated legal agents sensitive to the rights of the powerless. The episode begins with hotel maid Miriam Deng claiming that Roberto Distasio, an Italian politician, attacked and raped her. Detectives arrest Distasio, having just gotten onto a plane bound for Italy, just before takeoff. The crime scene, a comfy presidential suite, yields ample evidence for Distasio’s guilt, and Deng relates the story of her attack consistently and convincingly, but a conflict arises: Deng, it turns out, despite her earlier claim that she lacked a criminal record, was arrested for prostitution in Sudan, her birthplace. She later tells detective…show more content…
Benson enters the office of executive district attorney Michael Cutter, where he and assistant district attorney Alexandra Cabot have been speaking. Benson, after telling the two about her talk with the Deng, remarks with either resignation or exasperation that she “was a victim of Sharia law.” Benson’s tone is difficult to reconcile with the apparent seriousness of what she is saying, but the most intuitive interpretation of this dramatic pairing, and, therefore, the most legitimate, is that Benson means not “Sharia law,” but “that annoying, backwards thing known as Sharia law.” One is lead to believe that Deng was a victim of a farce masquerading as law, but now, in this place, just law will protect her rather than harm her

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