#181 - A Touch of Guilt

(Summary prepared by Reg Jones)

Three college football heroes, Alex (Adam Arkin), Bink (Richard Masur) and Kim (Lance Hool) have been soaking up beer in a local bar when Kim gets the hots for the waitress, Lani (Beverly Kushido). The more she resists him, the more determined he gets. The trio wait outside. When she leaves for the evening, they force her into a car and take her to the beach, where they rape her. When they return her to the now closed bar, Lani grabs a screwdriver out of her car and stabs Lance. The other two rush him to the hospital emergency room.

It turns out that Alex is the spoiled, manipulative son of U.S. Senator Scofield, whose "fix-it" man arranges a cover story for Alex and his friends. They'll say that Lance was stabbed by a local guy with whom he had "words" a couple of times. Mr. Fix-it gets a local hoodlum with a record to be identified, arrested and booked. Of course, the hoodlum will receive some cash under the table and the charges will later be dropped. Very tidy. Unfortunately for the boys, Lani breaks down when she is questioned about the night of the stabbing and reveals the truth about what happened.

When her allegation is printed in the newspaper, her parents are humiliated. So shamed is her father (Seth Sakai) that he forces her to retract her sworn statement, as if that will make the incident go away. But McGarrett isn't buying that. He gathers information that ties one of the boys to the scene of the rape. When McGarrett goes to their apartment to make an arrest, he finds Lani there preparing to shoot Alex and Bink. At McGarrett's urging, she relents. And Bink, the only one with a shred of conscience among the rapists, confesses.

NOTE: There were two tragic elements in this episode that made it especially compelling. First was the way Lani's parents shunned her, treating her rape as dishonoring them. Thus, the innocent victim became the guilty party. Second was the cynical way in which the crime was treated by the boys, the Senator and Mr. Fix-it. Adam Arkin (Alan's son) played this spoiled brat/amoral lizard role to the hilt. Only one person made a move toward redemption, and that under pressure. Bulky, lumbering Bink, the dumbest of the lot, was the only one to truly feel "a touch of guilt." Richard Masur handled the role well.