Law & Order: Special Victims Unit took inspiration from the Turpin family abuse case for Wednesday night's episode, and there are a ton of similarities.
For those unaware of the "Horror House" case, David and Louise Turpin allegedly abused, held captive and malnourished their thirteen children their entire lives. The children's ages ranged from 2 to 29, but many older children were so malnourished so much that authorities first believed they were teenagers.
Their crimes were not discovered until one of the children escaped and told the authorities. An extremely similar case plays out in the episode, with a ton of common ground.
Scroll through to see all the similarities.
The show kicks off with a young woman named Ester fleeing the house by busting out of a locked room.
She sneaks out of the house and flees to a nearby train with two of her brothers close behind, attempting to catch her.
In the Turpin, one of the children escaped from the house with photos of its condition on a deactivated cell phone. She gave the photos to authorities, who then raided the home.
When the SVU team examines the girl, they find out she was bound by her ankles. This observation is later proved when Rollins breaks in the family's home and sees a child chained to a radiator.
This mirrors one of the most shocking findings in the Turpin case, with one child being chained to a bed when police raided the home. They also found that other children has previously received the same treatment.
Ester is extremely malnourished when she is found, so she wants to constantly eat while receiving medical care. She is so malnourished that the team thinks she is a teenager. However, she is actually 27 years old.
This is actually what happened in the Turpin case. Many children were presumed to be teens due to malnourishment, but were in their '20s.
When Rollins investigates the family, she sees them take a peculiar family photo at a bowling alley. Every child is wearing a matching T shirt to pass off the perception of a happy family.
The Turpins also took similar photos, such as the one above.
As Rollins investigates, she comes across one of the family's former homes. It is in disarray with dead animals and a putrid smells.
The Turpins abandoned a Texas home in a similar fashion. Garbage was everywhere, chains were attached to beds and dead animals were found.
At the abandoned home, Rollins also discovers strange religious writings on the walls. She also previously observed that Ester had a wide capacity of knowledge about the Bible, as if she was forced to learn it.
The Turpin parents forced their children to memorize the Bible and God had "called on" them to have so many children.
At the end of the episode, the couple maintains that they did nothing wrong to their children.
In the real case, David and Louise were charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse on a dependent adult and nine counts of child abuse. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges, with a preliminary hearing set for May 14.
The biggest difference between the episode and real life comes in the final act.
On SVU, the police raid goes south and a firefight between the abusing couple and authorities. Both the mother and father use semi-automatic weapons to fire on the officers, injuring several.
Ester is struck by a bullet, and the family soon surrenders.
However, in real life, the raid went much smoother. All children were saved and there was no such firefight.
The similarities between the cases are apparent, and it seems like this is yet another example of the SVU writer's room ripping a plot line from the headlines.1comments
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. All past episodes of the show are available to stream on Hulu. Seasons 15-18 are available to stream on Netflix.
Photo Credit: NBC