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Legitimate Rape - Recap

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The episode begins with a female reporter named Avery Jordan reporting from the men’s locker room of a baseball team. Next, she is shown meeting Olivia at a restaurant. She tells Olivia that a co-worker of hers sexually assaulted her in her house a month ago, but she was too busy to report it earlier. She says she didn’t want to meet at the station because that would attract too much attention. Before she can tell Olivia anything more, a couple of guys recognize her and insist she take a picture with them. Avery as a result is forced to leave in a hurry and Olivia gives Avery her card, so they can finish their conversation later.

Avery returns to her apartment and sees an envelope kept outside her door. In the envelope, are photos of her meeting with Olivia and of her having sex with a guy and “Watching You” is boldly written on those photos. Avery is really terrified on seeing them. Avery arrives at the station and tells Olivia and Nick about the photos. She says Richard Purcell, her cameraman, is the one who is stalking her. She tells them how he raped her after dropping her off at her apartment after a tour nearly a month ago. She says she did not protest or try to stop him, but simply froze. She went the next day to a doctor and got checked for STDs. Nick and Olivia tell her that the doctor’s report might be helpful in building a case against Purcell. Nick and team find out that Purcell studied law but never gave the bar.

Cragen sends Finn and Rollins to question Purcell and tells them to remember that he knows the law. When questioned, Purcell says the sex was consensual and Avery is probably worried because a network anchor who she is seeing might have found out. Avery tells Olivia and Nick that she is seeing Jason, a co-anchor, but he is married, so she doesn’t want it made public. She tells them that just because she is sleeping with Jason doesn’t mean Purcell didn’t rape her. Jason tells Rollins and Finn that Purcell is blackmailing him too. Next, Barba shows Avery a video of her having sex with Jason in a hotel room and says a camera was hidden in the room. Avery is told that Jason was anonymously sent this video two weeks ago. Avery now realizes why Jason called things off between them. Rollins concludes Purcell did this because he wants Avery to himself.

Olivia and Barba convince Avery to file charges against Purcell, saying that otherwise he won’t stop. Purcell is arrested and Olivia informs Avery that the judge has set a really high bail, so Purcell will remain in jail till the hearing. Olivia asks her if she has gotten a pregnancy test done and she says she hasn’t. Avery suddenly realizes she is late and breaks down, saying she can’t’ be pregnant with Purcell’s baby. Next, Avery is helped up the stairs of the courthouse by Olivia because she is apparently well into her pregnancy. Avery tells Barba she never thought it would take so long for this case to go to trial. Barba calls Nick, Olivia, Finn and Rollins to testify and they all reveal to the court the things they found against Purcell during their investigation. The defense doesn’t put up much of a fight during these testimonies, which surprises Barba.

Barba tells Finn and Rollins to convince Jason to testify. Jason is initially reluctant, but eventually gives in. The next day in court, when Barba is questioning Jason, Purcell asks the bench if he can approach. The judge calls for a recess and tells the counselors to come to her chambers. In her chambers, Purcell tells the judge that his lawyer isn’t doing a very good job of defending him, so he wants a change of council. Barba tells Avery about Purcell’s request to the judge and says the judge has allowed Purcell to represent himself. Avery gets really agitated on hearing this, saying first he raped her and now he will get to interrogate her in front of everybody.

In court, Purcell begins his cross examination with Jason and makes it sound as if Avery was sleeping with Jason only because it helped her career. He calls Olivia to the stand next and compels her to concede that sometimes rough consensual sex could look like rape. He even questions why Avery decided to keep the baby of the person who raped her and asks Olivia if she has ever seen such an instance in her career. Olivia awkwardly replies that it’s known to happen. Barba calls Avery to the stand and asks her why she decided to keep the baby. She says she was earlier told by the doctors that she couldn’t get pregnant and when she found out she was pregnant with Purcell’s child she initially wanted to get rid of the baby, but eventually realized that the baby was a part of her.

The judge calls it a day and outside the courthouse Barba tells Rollins and Finn that Purcell’s next witness is going to be Congressman Fritz Showalter, who is also an obstetrician. Rollins recalls that Showalter had started a campaign against abortion of rape victims a few years, saying it was destruction of evidence. Finn thinks Showalter is a nut job and Barba tells them to get him something against Showalter before the next hearing. In the next hearing, thanks to the information Rollins and Finn have dug up against Showalter, Barba manages to prove to the court that the Congressman isn’t really a credible witness.

Purcell calls Avery to the stand and through his questioning manages to unsettle her. He eventually tells her with a smirk on his face that she desperately wanted to get pregnant and he gave her the baby that she always wanted. The arguments are all complete and it’s time for the jury to decide. The jury finds Purcell “not guilty” on the charges of rape and only finds him guilty on the charge of stalking. Barba talks to one of jurors and he admits that everyone agreed on the legitimate rape argument except one juror who just wasn’t ready to give in, so they cut a deal and decided to settle only for the stalking charge. Avery’s water breaks outside the courtroom and she is rushed to the hospital.

At the hospital, Avery gives birth to a baby boy and while she is chatting with Olivia, she is subpoenaed. Turns out, Purcell is suing her for custody. Barba discusses this issue with Cragen and team and tells them it’s a civil suit. Barba says he knows a good lawyer who can help Avery. At the family court, the lawyer recommended by Barba does a good job of putting forth Avery’s case. Avery wins full custody, but is devastated when the judge rules that Purcell will have supervised visitation rights once every week. On the day he is scheduled to see his son, Purcell waits for Avery at the station and begins to get agitated when she doesn’t show up.

Avery is in her apartment with Olivia and is packing her stuff to run away somewhere with her son. Olivia says what Avery is doing is illegal and tries to talk her out of it, but Avery is completely frustrated and can’t think of any other way to keep Purcell away from her life. Olivia returns to the station and tells Cragen that Avery has taken off with her son. Cragen understands and decides to lie to Purcell that they aren’t aware of where Avery is, but a search is underway. While Cragen goes into the other room to give Purcell the news, Olivia hints to Nick that her father like Purcell had raped her mother, which is why she never talks about him. The episode ends at this point.