A week ago, I wrote a blog item about how I’ve been finding myself disturbed by what feels like increased levels of graphic violence on NBC’s Law & Order franchise this season. In particular, I pointed to the Oct. 17 episode of L&O: SVU, in which the curiously named victim Elizabeth Hassenback was raped on two occasions, then murdered by a sociopath intent on charting his victims’ ovulation cycles so he could impregnate them.
Well apparently, I wasn’t the only one who raised an eyebrow over the victim’s moniker, as Elisabeth Hasselbeck, perky panelist for daytime chatfest The View, took it upon herself to call an SVU producer and express her dismay about the episode, a conversation which she recounted on her show this morning. (Rewatch the segment by clicking here, courtesy of the good folks at Best Week Ever.) Now in SVU’s defense, the Hassenback character wasn’t a talk-show host or any sort of conservative public figure in a ripped-from-the-headlines case. But when you come right down to it, the writers’ choice of victim name was pretty distasteful, particularly considering the hideousness of the crime. I mean, wouldn’t you expect a backlash if SVU started a trend of giving its rape-murder victims names like Kelly Clarksen, Angeline Jolique and Christine Aguilar? Seriously, why go there at all? Of course, whether The View’s producers will back Hasselbeck’s threat to ban L&O stars from her show’s couch remains to be seen, but I’m curious, in the dustup between NBC’s massive crime-procedural franchise and one of the nation’s most irritating TV personalities, whose side are you on?