SVU: Object Of Obsession
By Koli Marie
When the episode starts with a college guy trying to coerce a girl into sex with the excuse “But I did your calculus homework for you” and that’s NOT what SVU is investigating, you know that the case is going to be a doozy. During his quest to coerce this co-ed whose homework he did, he discovers a dead body. Cut to Elliot Stabler’s house, where he’s looking for something, maybe his keys, when his eldest daughter sneaks into the house at two thirty in the morning. He grounds her and then we’re back at the crime scene. Through investigation, Benson and Stabler find that the victim, Jeanne Gallagher, was a Sophomore.
Jeanne was a hostess for the basketball team at her college, St. Ray’s. Hostesses offered an array of services, up to and including sex, though it’s never expressly stated. Jeanne was raped at a party a few months back and when they find the college kid that raped her then, they assume they found her killer. When, in fact, she died after a fall, so no murder, however her literature professor, Henry Rousseau “made love to” her dead body. He confesses to sex with a deceased person and it’s case closed.
There is something I’d like to address here, one is the lack of consistency just within this episode. When we first enter Rousseau’s office, the scene card notes his name as James. When he is arrested at the end of the episode, Olivia calls him Henry. For the purpose of this article, I’ve called him Henry since that is the name he’s arrested under. It’s maddening that whoever edited the episode and added the scene cards in between can’t be consistent. Even if the mistake was Mariska’s and his name was actually supposed to be James, they should have still changed the name on the card. It just keeps the level of consistency at a professional level.
My love for Olivia Benson is unmistakable. But season one Olivia Benson, specifically, is so snarky I live for it. When Benson and Stabler go back to the crime scene to try to get evidence that Rousseau is the murderer, Elliot mentions that maybe the murder weapon is the brick building. They walk over and Olivia plays the role of “attacker” and says, “So, what, he bashes her head against the wall like this. Oh, no, you meant he hit her over the head with the building. Got it.” And that is my favorite line of this episode. Hands down, bar none. Brian Cassidy in this episode also is just adorable. Hearing him try to be “hard”, which season one Cassidy just isn’t, by attempting to imitate what he imagines one of their suspects said to Jeanne earlier in the night they found her body while the two were fighting, is just absolutely priceless.
Overall, editing room mix-ups aside, this episode is a good one and goes back to that theme of betrayal. As a college student I have to say, I can’t imagine even my creepiest professor doing what Rousseau did. It shows how much rumors spread on a college campus, and it shows how much a professor really has to do to lose their job once they’re tenured. While this episode gives me the heebie jeebies (do people still use that phrase?), it has always been one of my favorite episodes. Mainly because of Olivia Benson.