Mike Tyson Law and Order SVU
- Updated: February 7, 2013
Warning there may be some spoilers below
Law & Order: SVU depicts grisly, gruesome and unspeakable acts of violence. However, Wednesday’s episode of the long-running procedural caused a media firestorm in recent weeks not because of what was depicted, but because of who was helping to tell the story.
The casting of Mike Tyson, athlete and convicted rapist, sparked outrage from viewers and rape victims, as well as a Change.org petition signed by more than 15,000 asking NBC and the series to reconsider Tyson’s casting.
Despite his own past criminal history, on Wednesday’s episode, Tyson played the victim of a series of injustices. His character, Reggie Rhodes, was behind bars for a murder he admitted to committing, but the reasons why he committed the crime was kept from the jury during his trial. With just 10 days left before Reggie was due to receive the death penalty, Det. Benson and activist attorney Bayard Ellis headed to Ohio to meet Reggie and confirm that he had, in fact, been sexually assaulted by a Jerry Sandusky-like camp counselor who had terrorized another young man under investigation by the rest of the SVU squad in New York.
It was a good start to the show seeing a gym teacher get stabbed in both testicles with an ice-pick after touching a boy; but then things just went out of control.
Although SVU showrunner Warren Leight has not spoken out publicly about Tyson’s casting, or the subsequent controversy, on Wednesday he tweeted a thanks to Tyson for “taking on a role a lot of actors would not be brave enough to play.”
So what did you think of Tyson’s role and his performance?