Law & Order SVU Transgender

Law & Order: SVU Episode Shines Spotlight on Transgender Assault

Law & Order: SVU on Wednesday served up a timely tale with a tragic twist.

The hour began with a brutal assault on a transgender girl named Avery, but unlike most SVU cases, the assailant was never really a mystery; a 15-year-old named Darius admitted to accidentally pushing Avery off a park bridge after she identified him in a lineup.

Law & Order SVU TransgenderIn spite of the incident, during which she was called everything from a “slut” to a “he-she,” Avery forgave Darius midway through the episode, leaving most viewers to wonder what could possibly happen next to fill out the rest of the hour. Then it happened: Avery suddenly died in the hospital, shifting the charge from assault to murder.

Avery’s parents did everything in their power to have Darius tried as a minor, believing that Avery’s death should carry a message of love and forgiveness in its wake, but the new District Attorney wanted to make an example out of him. He argued that, because Darius chose to confront Avery and pick on her, it was also his choice to push her.

In the end, despite everyone’s best efforts, Avery was sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention center, then another four at Green Haven — you know, that delightful place where Yates and Rudnick were reunited just last week.

At least the hour provided a teaching moment for some; Rollins, whose newly revealed pregnancy went unfortunately unaddressed, gave Carisi a lesson in the difference between gender identity and sexuality. Class dismissed.

What’s your take on this week’s episode? Are you disappointed that Avery’s parents’ wishes were ignored, or do you agree that a precedent needed to be set? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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70 Comments
  1. Tori Coop says:

    I’m sure it was good, but this isn’t exactly groundbreaking for SVU. They covered this issue 13 years ago before it was even headline grabbing. Funny that never gets mentioned, and I bet it doesn’t get mentioned that Avery was the last name of the transgendered victim in season 4. Slap in the face to SVU 1.0 maybe?

    • Lucifer says:

      Yep. The new generation of writers are childish and clearly have been putting in little jabs at the earlier years. Another notable slap in the face was having Olivia blame her lack of desire and ambition to grow in her profession all on Elliot.

      • Shay says:

        I agree with you that it was a low blow to blame Elliott for Olivia not growing life and career wise. Elliott and Amaro were both hotheads but the only reason she grew so much with Amaro is because Elliott pushed her out of her comfort zone by walking away so then she had to grow up and move on. And then she had to grow cause Cragen pushed her to help the newbies and

      • Shay says:

        as much trouble as Amaro got in and stirred up she couldn’t depend on him or fall for him like she did Elliot.

  2. Kristen says:

    It was a very powerful episode. Well done. I however disagreed that the boy got tried in adult court. He should have been tried in juvenile court. But that’s my opinion.

  3. The episode was okay. Lots of Robert Sean Leonard. Since the objective is entertainment quality, I think that we got that with SVU tonight. Now we need to see how it did versus EMPIRE and Criminal Minds. This was Criminal Minds first episode, so I think SVU will not finish ahead of it. A statement from NBC saying that no matter how SVU does ratings wise, they believe in it and it will continue on Wednesdays at 9pm est, would be nice. CHICAGO PD better beat out CODE BLACK. NBC must win at least one timeslot, and we know MOL doesn’t win anything.

  4. Carla says:

    After so many years I say good by to this program,I am fed up the brain washing to accept an normal what is a mental issue.
    We watched the first minutes and went back to international TV.
    Same for Quantico,the first minutes 2 men kissing, we also are nor watching it.
    We are going to boycott all this propaganda to destroy values.

    • rcb918 says:

      I don’t think it’s called brain washing, it’s called equal representation. It’s not a mental health issue, it’s who people are. You shouldn’t worry about your values being destroyed, you don’t seem to have any. People should value equality and representation for all people, not value hate speech and homophobia/transphobia.

      • Allison says:

        I totally agree with you Writer. It’s time people see the reality of what happens to the under represented class of people.

      • Shay says:

        How are you any better?..just because their values are different than yours doesn’t mean they don’t have any. They have a right not to like or watch a show for what ever reason they choose and they have a right to say it. If you look at the episode Avery had a therapist and in the news some transgender teens are killing th emselves so it being a mental health issue can be a reasonable thought. You may not agree but that doesn’t mean the other person has not values. Talk don’t attack. Back on topic this episode was actually a huge let down. I expected them to do something powerful with this topic, instead they made this episode. The only message this episode sent was confusion. They don’t want people attacking transgender but then they don’t want the person who did it punished so harshly. But no matter what the kid is usually like he picked on a kid and that resulted in the death of the child. Yes they should have tried him as an adult. Bullying is leading to the suicides, assaults and more to countless kids, it’s not just a transgender kid problem. So if justice becomes stricter maybe kids well think more before they act. The excuses for this child during this episode were not sufficient but they are excuses being used everyday for behaviors of bullies.

        • Erik says:

          Except the teens don’t kill themselves because they are trans. They kill themselves because they are severely depressed and likely being bullied for being different.

          • Shay says:

            Extactly which is why they should have harsher punishment for those that engage in bullying behaviors. No one said that they were killing themselves because they were transgender. People have to learn that just because they don’t understand or don’t agree with a person’s choices doesn’t give them a right to attack and/or bully them.

        • cthulhu says:

          I’m pretty sure the kid’s remorse was enough. I’m pretty sure his guilt was enough punishment. Is was quite obvious that he did not in fact hate Avery, and you could see that he truly did regret what happened. Do you think putting a child in an adult prison is going to help them never hurt someone again? No. It’s going to cause trauma and expose them to more violence. He would have been better off going home and getting his head chewed off by his mom.Trauma is why people develop into sociopaths and killers, because they have no clear and productive way to deal with it. And as sketchy as the people are in jail- do you really think prison is going to have a positive impact on the kid? No. I don’t think he should have teased the kid, but I don’t think he would have ever wished any harm on her. I don’t know why so many people these days have such a strong urge to punush. It’s sickening, and frankly if anyone knew what compassion really was, what Avery’s parents were trying to get through and what most lgbt or equal rights people really want to express, nobody would be saying to throw the kid to the wolves. It’s barbaric.

        • Regina Litle says:

          This was not the case to use. This boy clearly messed up and did not look lightly at his own behavior. If the parents who lost the child can show mercy, why not the court? Yes, he should get some form of punishment mistake or not. But for this case, where the person is 15 and shows no background history of hatred and deep distress, why not let him be charged as a juvie and released at 18? Clearly he is not a threat to society but there are others who have been shown to be psychopath sent to rehabilitation in past shows. This was ridiculous!

          His sentences changes nothing! Most people who do this, show no remorse but here this boy is and it is disregarded. WOW!

    • Nicole says:

      So you are just going to turn off SVU and watch what, the Duggars? Real moral value people there. No matter what peoples beliefs are, episodes like this bring important issues that society is dealing with and look at them from different angles. Good job SVU writers for tackling all kinds of different issues relevant to our society today in their episodes.

    • Wow you’re ignorant. Have fun under your rock.

    • Cathy says:

      41% of transgender people commit suicide. 53% are attacked regularly. What if you YOU were in the same boat as they are ? Would your “Values” change ? The problem is NOT the victim, it is the mentality you have of “It’s just not worth my time” — and so these people, who through no fault of their own are killed without so much much as a grain of sympathy from people that share your perhaps lack of sympathy for others.

      She got killed simply because of the way she LOOKS…what if that were you or one of your children ?

      Transgender people often have children, wives, parents, loved ones of some sort in the background…waiting for them to come home to a loving home…

      …just like you do.

      When they don’t come home because of hatred and belligerence it leads to a lifetime of sadness and despair. That’s not fair to anyone who has to suffer from discrimination and outright physical abuse…

      • Amanda says:

        53% are attacked regularly just because they’re transgender…SOME of them are attacked because they fail to tell the other person that they’re transgendered or they come too strongly when the man asked them to stop. Whether you are for or against it, you have the right to know if you’re dating one and SOME don’t tell that truth right away and get beat up for it. I use to see it all the time in college, working in the dorms as a resident assistant. A man would talk to who they thought was a female, but later while they’re becoming intimate, they found out she was transgendered. That is a huge difference that people don’t talk about, which would have made for a more interesting show. Because if the man gets mad, then they’re considered a homophobe and that isn’t fair.

        This episode just glossed over a bigger problem and that’s why it was a let down. If they aren’t going to dig into the meat of the situation, then they need to just leave it alone.

        • Shay says:

          They had an episode on SVU like that…remember where the transgender person knocked out and killed the brother of the guy that the transgender person was lying to…the transgender person had hope to get the sex change operation before telling the guy the she was really a man but after the operation he probably still wouldn’t have told him. The guy killed himself in the squad room bathroom when he found out the she that he was in love with was really a he. And the transgender person ended up in a man’s prison after the failed attempt to get housed in a women’s prison.

    • The show certainly doesn’t destroy values such as kindness, empathy, and compassion. That seems to be the job of people like you. You must be proud; you seem to be quite good at it.

    • The show certainly doesn’t destroy values such as kindness, empathy, and compassion. That seems to be the job of people like you. You must be proud; you seem to be quite good at it.

  5. Barbara says:

    I think 17 seasons is enough for me. There are always reruns of NCIS.

  6. Ann says:

    Poor show. Won’t watch again. Darius was not guilty.

    • Lyn says:

      Darius was guilty of being a bully and behaved with a gang mentality toward someone who was alone. Darius was with his posse. He wasn’t charged with murder, but manslaughter in a situation he initiated, He WAS guilty.

      • AngieD says:

        I agree that he was guilty, but it was as their expert witness said – a moment that got out of hand. If the kid was truly hateful, he wouldn’t have felt guilty, would not have apologized – both occured before Avery died. This was a good kid who put himself into a bad situation due to a teenage mind. No one denied his guilt, but just his intent. He had no known history of bullying. His sentence was extreme – he should’ve been tried in juvenile court. I had a history of bullying, then I could see the hate crime attached, but his life was ruined due to his 1 mistake and the courts choosing him as an example. If the victims parents can forgive him (and I think they did because of his pre-death apology), then the courts should’ve considered a less severe punishment – perhaps the 3 years and probation for 4 years afterwards.

        • Lyn says:

          True, but that’s what the appeals process and parole boards do for the convicted post trial.

          • Regina Litle says:

            I hope they show this because this was a terrible way to end. I believe a jury would have done better by this boy. This over sentencing was the WORST I have ever seen on this show!

        • Regina Litle says:

          Amen!!! I so agree. I have read various comments to see if anyone saw what I did. I was so upset that I got on line to google a way to let my thoughts be heard. They took this one to far. I am glad to see that there are other people who saw what I did.

  7. Keziah says:

    The tears were genuine. This is what’s wrong on so many levels with our system. I agree that a punishment should be served but this was too far. I know it’s hard to tell when a child is genuine, but too often bright, kindhearted youth are put into a system based off of things even they don’t understand. Something needs to change and the parents wishes should have been heeded. Juvy and rehabilitative therapy were more fitting

    • mrmcgee says:

      Plus he was already shattered by what he had done. Yes, he needed some punishment and rehabilitation, but that kid is going to come out of the system much worse.

      • Regina Litle says:

        He will. This episode ripped my heart out on both sides. Punishment of some sort yes…but this was ridiculous. I have seen other L&O SVU which non-remorseful genuine killers get away with rehab. I am so hurt and disappointed. So much so I google a site to find just to express my pain.

    • Sophia says:

      I agree. Darius will come having learned more about crime and will have a tough time adjusting to life. There are so many other ways to treat home so he will learn from his mistake and be a better person in the end.

    • Regina Litle says:

      Exactly….I have never been so broken hearted and brought to tears on this over sentencing. This is the WORST sentencing that I have EVER seen on L&O SVU. I have never googled a way to express myself but I want DIck Wolf to hear my pain and disappointment on how poorly this ended!!!

  8. Knox says:

    I let my 10 year son watch this episode so he can learn that you can’t go around treating people like that .a split second decision cost him is childhood and his so called friends threw him to the wolves …yes punishment was harsh but we as parents have to teach our kids that bullying comes with repercussions

    • Griffin says:

      I agree, his friends had also hit Avery and pushed as well. Both should have on included in the hate crime.

    • Shay says:

      I think that is an awesome lesson for you to be teaching him. And yes all 3 boys should have got the hate crime statue because they all in one it. If those boys were real then what would the other two have learned…nothing

      • Regina Litle says:

        Normally people who commit hate crimes have a behavior pattern already established, There was nothing presented to say he was performing a hate crime. He made a very poor decision that caused someone her life and for that punishment should be handed down but this severe to someone who was already broken. If anything, the boy with the mother who showed no compassion toward Avery supported what her son had done. That boy was the one that should have been charged with the hate crime but Darius was immediately broken. He will not survive the system. It won’t bring Avery back. I hate she died but Darius is a life that can be saved. The boy I spoke about and the others who thought nothing of it, should be the one doing HARD time not him…

  9. Rev. Charles L. Nowell, Sr says:

    Your see the District Attorney should never guest star on this svu show. He was a idol on House. Now you see how a Afro-American 15 yrs. Is treated by a racist judge and district attorney may this show how politics treat afro-American youth.

    • Shay says:

      Any kid regardless of color should be tried as adult in that situation. He targeted, picked on and caused the death of another kid. And he only got 7 years…if that were real life and it was your child pushed off a bridge and he died would you want the person who killed him to get out in 3 months to a year just because he was an African-American male. Yes there is racism in the world but instead of looking at how we can teach our kids how to make better decisions in situations like this so that no life is destroyed…the racism crutch is pulled out and excuses are made. Forgiveness is not about avoiding or reducing consequences which was the message Avery’s parents would have sent but the judge did her job. Weather she was racist or not doesn’t matter because she was not have been able to impose anything on him if he had respected the boundaries of another enough to keep his hands to himself and not engaging in bullying and harassment behaviors. Stop the bullying for whatever reason and teach the youth to respect life and others and then African-American youths will not be in the system so much. Yes he was a kid but he knew what he was doing was wrong…no making excuses. He African-American youth make better choices.

      • Anna says:

        Good heavens. No child should be tried as an adult. Children (and yes, this includes teenagers) are more impulsive and less likely to fully consider the ramifications of their actions than adults. What these kids did was incredibly awful, but to think that their brains are as developed as a grown man is completely ignoring what cognitive scientists have been finding for years.
        In addition, it’s awful that we try children as adults even though they are still considered children in every other aspect. This kid still can’t vote, join the army, get married without his parents permission, buy cigarettes or a ticket to a rated R movie, yet we treat him like an adult in the prison system. That’s BS.

        • Shay says:

          You are right children are impulsive and don’t consider the ramifications of there actions so if it was petty larceny or even possibly simple assault then by all means charge them as children however the willful murder of another child should not result in the slap on the wrist. Punishment should be both a consequence and detorate from doing it again. So 7 years for the death of another child I can see…if he was an adult he would have gotten 25 to life.

          • Regina Litle says:

            This was not a willful murder. He did not set out to kill anyone. Kids tease and Darius and his friends were a 112% wrong but locking him up as an adult when the boy is clearly messed up over this…really? What if Darius were your son? Wonder if you feel the who book of the law should be thrown at him when you know this is not your child normal behavior. No slap on the wrist but this was clearly over sentencing….CLEARLY!

            The boy was broken and him during however many years you all think he should do will not make him anymore broken. This was not justice but vengeance. There is no pattern of him EVER being a bully!!!

  10. GraceM says:

    I’ve noticed a pattern over the years with Mariska Hargaity’s hair.
    She grows it out long, which looks great on her, then she chops it off, most of the time short.

    Why does she bother growing it out if she hates it long?

    • Win says:

      I know a man who grows his hair out to donate to charity. Personally, I cut my hair short after growing it out every once in awhile because it’s my choice to have a different (non-faddish) hairstyle to love and enjoy – rinse, lather, repeat. :D

    • Shay says:

      She looks better with long hair…I am not necessarily a fan of the part straight down the middle of her head though

  11. Two important messages in this episode but I just felt they undercut the (sorry if I’m not being PC, not from the US) LGBT bullying message in favor of the perp as a victim side of the story. Maybe they should’ve made the perp white to not start the racial argument? Race is obviously also an important issue, and if the law system can be colorblind, but I just wish this story could’ve been about the LGBT teens and the struggle they go through. The suicide rate of trans teens in my country is high and I just find it so sad, I mean I just know what a struggle it was to go through the teens and then add not feeling comfortable with your gender, just heartbreaking. Sorry SVU but I think this episode was a miss but I do hope you brought awareness to some viewers.
    And yes, I’m also very curious about Rollins’ pregnancy so to not put even one line in there about it was a miss as well. And in the next episode it looks as though she’s about to give birth, gawd she’s huge, lol

    • Rags says:

      I just finished the episode, and I don’t really remember the plot focusing so much on race. What makes you say that race was salient? Darius and his friends were Black and Avery was White, but just because the characters areally multi-ethnic and/or multi -racial does not mean the plot centered on that.

  12. Pranathi Aedla says:

    Typo. Avery was not sentenced to three years in juvie.

  13. H says:

    “Avery was sentenced to three years of juvie” no, Avery is dead, Darius was sentenced.

  14. v says:

    Ok. So why did they keep saying that he pushed her off the bridge? He didn’t push her off the bridge. He pushed her off of him and she tragically fell off the bridge. Why didn’t anybody point that very clear fact out.

  15. Chris Garson says:

    I thought the actor playing Darius was fabulous. I really felt his regret and knew that his mistake would haunt him the rest of his life. He should not have been tried as an adult. It was not a hate crime. Justice was not served.

    • Regina Litle says:

      Agreed! He was an awesome actor! I felt it to my bones and his mom too…MY LORD! This was hard to watch. They truly did OVERSENTENCE Darius!!! SAD!

  16. monieet says:

    What about flipping the victims race: Tans black, bully white… Now that would have been original.

    • Melissa Batson says:

      And accurate. There have been nineteen murders of transgender persons in the US so far this year. Seventeen were persons of color.

  17. Tom says:

    Is it correct to call him a she just because he wears girls clothes? I don’t recall any mention of surgery. I seriously don’t know. I’m not familiar with ettlquet involved here. Everyone on the show did it.

    • Melissa Batson says:

      It would have been irresponsible of a surgeon to have performed surgery on someone as young as Avery. Proper etiquette would have been to address her as the gender she was presenting or, better yet, ask her what pronouns she prefers.

    • Tom, generally you should call people what they like to be called.
      Like, I’m calling you Tom, because you stated that is your name.

      If you wanted to be called Ellen Louise, I would call you that instead.
      If you wanted to be referred to as “she”, I would do that too.

  18. Aly says:

    I thought this one of the worst episodes SVU has ever done. The logic behind it was ridiculous. Let’s send a 15 year old to prison and it will solve all transgender violence. Give me a break. It’s sad to think the justice system couldnt care less about the wishes of the victim. Wrongly done SVU.

  19. mary p says:

    I thought the show ended horribly making a scapegoat out of darius and it appeared to be racially profiling adding to the awful injustice and politicalism in our courtrooms. It was obvious an accident which was brought on also not just the push but the heels. I don’t agree with bullying but the punishment did not fit the crime. I just pray this really didn’t happen and if it did that judge needs to be removed from the bench

  20. Tb says:

    I did t like the way the show ended because I feel that the consequences were a little stiff for a 15 year old

  21. Janet Sparrow says:

    This is not about enlightening anyone. It is a big tease all the way to the lousily written ending where everyone looses. Sorry I wasted my time. Sorry I allowed myself to be manipulated emotionally for such junk writing.
    Janet

  22. I think this episode was very well written. I watched it with my eleven year old son and used it as a teaching tool. I feel that arguments for both families were clearly portrayed. in the end both families lost; nobody wins. That is real life.

  23. Melissa Batson says:

    I thought yhe interesting parallel was to an incident that occurred a couple of years ago in Baltimore when two women dragged a transwoman out of a restroom in a McDonald’s and savagely beat her while employees looked on, encouraged the assailants, recorded the assault and downloaded it to you tube.

    I am a transwoman and thought this episode of SVU handled the very real issue of trans-hatred very well. Just one example is the attitudes of the mother of one of the boys who was not charged. The mother’s first instinct was to place the blame on Avery. She questioned whe she was in the police station with her son instrad of Avery’s parents. When you ask how her son could have de-humanized Avery to the extent he did you need look no farther than the mother.

  24. I found this episode to be terribly moving. I was harassed to nearly the point of no return in High School. Not for trans issues, just for being queer. The taunting, the threats, all of it came right back to me as if it were yesterday, although it was closer to 40 years ago truthfully. I watched the episode twice, then came to the conclusion that there might not be any correct or best resolution to the story. Trying a 15 year old as an adult is wrong on so many levels, but the fact is a life was snuffed out as a result of his actions. A young man who had EVERY RIGHT TO LIVE. It seemed to me that everyone was right in their own way, as stupid as that might sound. It was a tragedy in every respect. Darius, who knew fully well what he had done, Avery’s parents, whose lives are ruined beyond repair, Darius’ mother, who is sick about what has happened and who knows what awaits her son in prison. I suspect there is no proper resolution to be found in the legal system for broken hearts and broken lives.

    • Shay says:

      I agree there is no resolution to be found in the legal system..the legal system is not designed to be based on emotions…it is designed to use fact and reason to determine a fitting punishment. If a 15 year old broke into a home and accidentally dropped a gun that shot and killed the owner who surprised him he would have probably recieved the same punishment from the courts because the owners death resulted from the actions of that 15 year olds poor decision to commit as crime…the same is true for this episode…Darius committed a crime when he harrassed and assaulted Avery during which Avery was pushed back and fell off the bridge there fore he is guilty of manslaughter in the eyes of the law…all the emotional stuff is secondary. Those kids that bullied you growing up should have recieved a consequence…then they would have known that even if they don’t understand or agree with your lifestyle choices you had a right to make them and they did not have the right to harrass you for it.

  25. Regina Litle says:

    I don’t know if Dick Wolf will ever see this but I just had to let my thoughts be heard. I just watched the second episode of this season regarding the Transgender. I am at a loss and beside myself with the verdict.

    In all the years that I have watched television and I have watched a lot of t.v., I can’t believe the verdict that was allowed to be handed down in court to Darius. There is no way he should have gotten such a harsh and hard sentencing. Never in my life have I seen anyone as remorseful, upset, distraught over one bad decision that was made by a 15 year old boy. (By the way that young actor played the heck out of his role)

    And how, how was a hate charge attached to this? There was no pattern of hatred in this boy’s background. He could have gone to juvie and been released at 18. This was no haterd of transgender. It was a boy who made a poor decision and a horrible mistake. IF the parents could see this, I can’t understand why the judge didn’t see this.

    Yet, it was okay in another episode in a past season to let a little girl who was clearly a psychopath with a history established that she had done harmful things to animals before graduating to killing a little boy to be sentenced to a rehabilitation facility. But, this boy who was genuinely messed up and showed clear remorse is given the whole book of the law thrown at him. This was wrong!!!!!

    Again, I don’t know if anyone will see this but I had to express myself regarding how this episode was done. I just can’t believe what has happened but no doubt this happens in real life. What a terrible, terrible message this says about justice, This was not the case for this. So disappointed… so hurt.

    Darius going to jail changes nothing. I doubt anyone will ever be as remorseful as he was. My God this was wrong!!!!!

  26. Angela Rose says:

    Just caught this episode in March 2016. Been a long time since I watched SUV, I won’t be watching anymore. Although probably a realistic portrayal of the way politics railroads justice in America, it left me feeling sick. Thank God I could turn over to Modern Family and feel better. That kid that played young Darius acted his butt off, though – we’ll be seeing more of him: #youngDenzel.