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The Prophetic Screenplay Writer

I watched an episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" last night on NBC. I got to say that it's one of the best episodes I ever watched. It is the 142nd episode titled "911", where SVU received a 911 phone call from a little girl Maria, who claimed to have been sold into child pornography. Detective Olivia Benson spent the entire episode trying to fend off her team members who felt Maria is a hoax and trying to keep Maria online long enough for her team to track the child down. The entire story took me on a rough roller coaster rides where there is a peak and a valley every few minutes.

As well as this episode is written, there is a hole in the story that that author overlooked. And I felt the author took advantage of this hole unknowing to self-fulfill a prophecy at the end of the story. That hole started with the introduction of a voice-changing device. Benson's team member brought in a voice-changing device that can help anyone imitate a little child's voice. Next, audio recording experts determined that the traffic noise in the background played back on a looping tape. Speculating that Maria is voice-changing hoax, traffic noises are faked with an electronic recording device, and the fact that the cellphone signal is jumping from cell-tower to cell-tower, The SVU team made an assumption that the criminal is a gadget-freak.

It turned out at the end of the episode, Maria is for real and the criminal is really a gadget-freak who shoots child pornography in the basement of his electronics store. But if you think through the evidence that led the SVU team to the criminal, you'd realize that two out of three evidence ended up in a spoof of speculation. Those two are the voice-changing device and the traffic noise looping tape. So that means, the only evidence that points the criminal to a gadget-freak is the cellphone signal jumping from tower to tower.

Having one electronics know-how does not make someone a gadget freak in my book. How the SVU team members came to that conclusion is really based on their own speculative evidence, which translates to the author's illusion. In the end, when the criminal turned out to be a real gadget-freak, the author is simply fulfilling his/her own prophecy concerning the electronic gadgets he introduced.

Do you think the SVU team had enough evidence to say that the criminal is a gadget-freak?

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 25 Jan 2006 16:13:46 -0800

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