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Recap / Law And Order Special Victims Unit S 11 E 16 Witness

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A woman (Diora Baird) is raped and cut in her apartment building's stairwell and claims a black woman saved her by punching the perpetrator (Eric Lange) in the eye. The lady is identified as Nardalee Ula (Saidah Arrika Ekulona), an illegal immigrant from Democratic Republic of the Congo, who came to America after escaping a life of sexual abuse against women used by the country as a "weapon of war". After the victim dies from MRSA, Nardalee is the only one who can testify against the rapist, but risks being deported. After her successful testimony she is awarded a U-Visa, but declines it, saying she will be going back to the Congo to help save other women from sexual abuse. Meanwhile, ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March) makes a shocking decision of her own.


This episode provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Tamara Tunie (Melinda Warner) sits this episode out.
  • Attention Whore: The main cast accuse Lainie McCallum to be one. Despite being generally portrayed as sympathetic, the main cast wasn't portrayed to be in the wrong. Dr. Wong raises the possibility that she has Histrionic Personality Disorder.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Nardalee Ula stops Bryce Kelton from raping Lainie McCallum.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While Lainie McCallum gets justice for her rape, she didn't live to see it happen. Nardalee Ula also declines a chance to be a proper U.S. citizen and decides to help the women in Kongo. Finally, Alex was inspired by Nardalee and resigns as an A.D.A. to be an international lawyer, leaving the cast for the second time.
  • Book-Ends: Alex returned to the series walking towards Elliot and Olivia wearing her white coat. She exists the series walking away from Elliot and Olivia wearing her white coat.
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  • But Now I Must Go: Alex was inspired by Nardalee Ula's bravery and resolve that she resigns as an A.D.A. to become an international lawyer.
  • Crying Wolf: Discussed with Lanie. Dr. Wong suggests that she has Histrionic Personality Disorder, causing her to be overdramatic and an Attention Whore, which made it more difficult to believe when something genuinely horrible happened to her.
  • A Day in the Limelight: As this is her last episode as a regular (for the second time), Alex gets the focus of all the main cast.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While Lainie McCallum is the Victim of the Week, she dies halfway through the episode leaving the witness and hero to her rape, Nardalee Ula, as the central guest character.
  • Defiled Forever: Nardalee's husband rejected her after she was raped the first time.
  • End of an Age: This is Alex Cabot's final episode as a series regular (for the second time).
  • History Repeats:
    • Alex departs the cast for the second time.
    • Much like last season (which was ironically Alex's return episode), the A.D.A main character departs third quarter into the season.
  • The Illegal: Nardalee Ula immigrated from Kongo illegally. This was the main reason why she didn't want to testify against Bryce Kelton as doing so would expose her to the immigration department.
  • Irony: Alex's first departure is her being sent to witness protection. Here she leaves because she was inspired by her witness.
  • Killed Offscreen: Lainie McCallum succumbs to her hand infection, but her actual demise wasn't shown.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lainie McCallum is a Shameless Fanservice Girl who has No Nudity Taboo, provided two Lingerie Scenes, Toplessness from the Back, and wears off-shoulders and mini-skirt during a trial that forces Alex to borrow a blazer from a court staff just to cover her up a little.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Nardalee Ula's Big Damn Heroes moment above is only told by her rescuee Lainie McCallum.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Nardalee's six year-old daughter died from internal injuries she sustained when she and her mother were raped.
  • Put on a Bus: Alex departs as a series regular for the second time.
  • Rape as Drama: Bryce Kelton forcing his way on Lainie McCallum is the entire plot of the episode.
  • Rape as Backstory: Nardalee Ula was repeatedly raped by African Terrorists. This was the reason she came to the U.S.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The episode's theme.
  • Secondary Character Title: The title refers to Nardalee Ula.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Lainie McCallum has no qualms if people see her in her underwear or dressing in front of them. She's also fond of wearing revealing clothes.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Lainie McCallum is this towards a man named Jason. She claims that they were Childhood Friends, but Jason's dialogue suggests that they're really not.
    • Bryce Kelton is this for Lainie herself, with his eventual rape kick-starting the entire episode.
  • Wham Line: Nardalee casually telling Olivia that Alex is coming with her to Congo.


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