Ever eager to tick all the politically correct boxes, NBC’s veteran procedural “Law & Order: SVU” kicked off its 17th season by fulfilling a laundry list of left-wing fantasies. In an episode that nicely combines the show’s signature “ripped from the headlines” storylines with attacks on rich white male one percenters, “SVU” outed Manhattan’s Deputy Chief Medical Examiner (M.E.) Dr. Carl Rudnick (Jefferson Mays) as a cross-dressing, mentally ill, independently wealthy serial killer (sound familiar?) who used his position to cover his tracks as he dismembered women alive for pleasure.
Not many medical examiners could post a $2,000,000 bail on a moment’s notice. But Rudnick is no ordinary civil employee. Backed by layers of trust funds and a vaguely massive family fortune, Rudnick walks free within hours to murder the only witness who could take him down before skipping town on a bus to Canada. Rudnick is intercepted in Rochester in all his gender-bending glory after getting flagged for shoplifting despite carrying a money belt with $64,000 in cash. Given his amateur slip-ups, it’s amazing it took the SVU more than a decade to catch him.