[This week's Production Blog was written by Gwendolyn Parker and John P. Roche, the writers of this week's SVU episode, "Traumatic Wounds."]
Eyewitness accounts of a crime can make or break a case. However, witnesses often get details wrong. In fact, memory studies show that two people can experience the exact same event, but "remember" it completely differently.
What if someone experiences a crime and remembers it differently than another person who witnessed (or participated in) the same criminal act? In such an instance, the burden on investigators to uncover the truth becomes enormous. As writers, we found the uncertainty of eyewitness accounts compelling. This issue served as a springboard for an episode we're excited to bring you: "Traumatic Wound."
As the episode developed, a returning veteran character emerged. We wanted to make sure we got our details right, so we began to work with an expert from the Veterans Health Administration. She answered our questions and helped us ground our invented details in reality.
Ultimately, however, we had to rely on our imagination as writers to make our character truly come alive. Finding the character's voice is often the first step in that alchemy. In the picture below, we were shooting a scene where our Vet actor, Frank (superbly played by Eion Bailey) waits to be loaded into a van.
It was a scene that contained one of the first lines we wrote for Frank: "There's no moon. Visibility's down. Something terrible is going to happen." For us, as writers, those words were a portal into Frank's point of view, letting us see the world through Frank's eyes.
Ultimately, in order to get at the truth, our detectives had to similarly discover how to see the world through Frank's eyes. Watch and see where it leads!