Even though Law & Order: SVU always throws twists and turns into their incredibly formulaic plot before dramatically ending by throwing Dick Wolf up on a black screen, I did not see them killing off Rihanna in last night’s highly anticipated ”Funny Valentine” episode. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see them killing off Micha Charles. It’s not really Rihanna. Just a character that’s beyond based on her.
In case you missed last night’s episode, let me run through it for you. If it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s literally ripped from the headlines. So before you ask, no, this wasn’t a rerun. It’s just a condensed version of the Rihanna and Chris Brown anti-love story that we’ve all come to hate.
Micha Charles and Caleb Bryant (yes, they went there with those initials) are two incredibly popular performers who happen to be dating each other. Unfortunately for Micha, Caleb has a little bit of a problem controlling his anger.. as well as his fists. When Micha confronts him after catching him hitting on another woman, he beats her up. (Kinda like how Chris Brown attacks anyone who dares to call him out for being an asshole, but I digress.) While she debates whether or not to press charges, her post-abuse photo gets leaked to the media and splashed all over the front pages of newspapers.
Even though he bruised her entire face, she decides not to press charges because she loves him. Also, her team claims that it’s bad for her image. She’s finally made it in the industry and she doesn’t want this whole abuse thing to get in the way. So despite the fact that a court ordered Caleb Bryant to stay away from her, he ends up sleeping over at her place and tweeting out a photo of it so everyone knows. Then he gets a tattoo of her battered face on his stomach and calls it art — because SVU only has 42 minutes to squeeze an entire lifetime of horribleness into their episode and they’re trying as hard as possible to make sure we know it’s supposed to be Chris Brown.
Why is it so important that we know it’s Chris Brown? Because the episode ends with Caleb Bryant killing Micha after she forgives him — as well as the message that it was inevitable as soon as Micha went back to him.
I think the people behind Law & Order: SVU are trying to say something. Or they’re just trying to get ratings up for their show by exploiting a real life abusive relationship. But the part of me that still believes in humanity hopes that they’re trying to say that domestic abuse isn’t fixed with a pretty piece of jewelry and an apology. It’s a real problem that needs to be addressed in a real way. Ignoring it for the sake of record sales doesn’t make it disappear. It just makes people forget about it until it’s too late to do anything.
Do I want Rihanna to die? OF COURSE NOT! But do I think she’s 100% safe dating Chris Brown? OF COURSE NOT. And I like to hope that Law & Order: SVU wanted to make some kind of statement about the dangers of looking the other way because it’s easier and more profitable to do so. Then again, I might just be looking too deep into a show that cast recently caused an uproar by casting Mike Tyson. Either way, the episode wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for the show. If you missed it, it should be airing in some kind of specially-themed marathon on USA by this weekend.