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Recap / Law And Order S 8 E 10 Ritual

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Directed by Brian Mertes

Written by Kathy Mc Cormick, Richard Sweren, & IC Rapoport

An Egyptian man named Josef Moussad is killed in what appears to be a mugging gone wrong. Witness testimony puts Eric Martin, the husband of Moussad's niece Nari, in the frame and he is arrested. Moussad hired a doctor to perform female circumcision on Eric's young daughter, as is common in Egyptian cultural tradition; so Eric killed him. Eric believed there was no other way to keep his daughter safe, since the family was so adamant that she have the procedure.

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Meanwhile, Ross petitions a family court to have the Martins' daughter removed from her mother. Nari testifies that she thought she was protecting her daughter, but is pushed to admit how she herself has suffered as a result of being circumcized. McCoy and Ross make a deal with the Martins: Eric will accept a lesser sentence for manslaughter, and Nari will cede custody of their daughter to Eric's parents until he and social services agree otherwise. The DAs are satisfied, but aware they could only help in this case because they knew about it; there are thousands more girls they can't protect.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Calling the Old Man Out: Nari gets to do this with her mother; who had Nari circumcized and was going to do the same to her granddaughter.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Moussad and his family thought so, but it's definitely averted by the legal system.
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  • Downer Ending: The Martins' twelve-year-old daughter has lost both parents and her great-uncle, knows what her family was planning to do to her, and has to move out of state to live with relatives she doesn't know well. Meanwhile, the DAs know that thousands of girls all over America are suffering because of FGM.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Ross gets Nasser's lawyer to co-operate by threatening him over his unpaid parking fines.
  • Ripped from the Headlines; There had been an increasing number of cases of FGM reported in the United States at the time of the episode airing.
  • Slut-Shaming: Nari did this, upset that her daughter had a boyfriend and wanted to wear makeup.
  • Very Special Episode
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Very much the case with regard to female circumcision.
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