Review: Sex Crimes Unit on HBO real life SVU drama
By April MacIntyre Jun 19, 2011, 18:38 GMT
There are two main stories of victims, one is the brutal rape in 1993 of Natasha Alexenko in the Upper West Side apartment building, where she was raped at gunpoint.
Make sure to watch HBO's documentary "Sex Crimes Unit" this Monday June 20, as we get a front row seat to the DA's office in New York City and see the laborious efforts of a group of underpaid legal eagles who fight for people otherwise forgotten.
The setting is Manhattan District Attorney’s famed Sex Crimes Unit, the first unit dedicated to the prosecution of sexual assault to be established in the U.S.
We are taken on a day-to-day look from an insider's perspective of mostly female prosecutors, as they investigate leads, prep for trials and negotiate plea bargains.
The People v. Kevin Rios is a dramatic case built on the testimony of a less than savory victim, a prostitute, who must overcome people's prejudice against her profession and character.
It was the physical evidence collected and then processed for a DNA profile, combined with artful arguments presented by these attorneys which seals the man's fate.
The documentary is directed by Emmy winner Lisa F. Jackson (HBO’s “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo”).
It wasn't that long ago that the burden of proving rape was squarely on the female victims, as their own sexual past was admissible evidence that could be used to argue the rape victim had the assault coming.
Slowly, laws were changed, and the current use of DNA testing was a direct result of the work of a father of five daughters, Manhattan district attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, 91.
Morgenthau, DA from 1975 to 2009, is interviewed at length and speaks his heart about the inequities beforehand, a not so distant past when most women kept rape and sexual assault quiet, hidden.
There are two main stories of victims, one is the brutal rape in 1993 of Natasha Alexenko in the Upper West Side apartment building, where she was raped at gunpoint. As time was running out on the statute of limitations, the DA's Cold Case Unit tested the DNA from the stored sealed rape kit. After an emotional revisiting of the crime for Natasha, the perp was found and convicted.
The other story is that of a prostitute who brought charges. The Sex Crimes Unit fought hard for her despite the argument that Rios claimed consensual sex.
If you are a fan of procedural TV police dramas, this real life SVU team will engage and make you glad that there are such dedicated people working hard for victims behind the scenes.
This documentary is educating and also a cautionary tale for younger women on how to safeguard themselves in clubs (predator poaching grounds) and drinking in public places, and for those who may have been victims of similar crimes to come forward and not fear the process of establishing justice.