Ani Gets Suspended Over A Sexual Harassment Case By An Ex-Boyfriend On 'True Detective,' Which Would Probably Never Happen If She Were A Man
Detective Ani Bezzerides says it herself, and she's not wrong: This would have never happened if she were a man. On Sunday night's episode of True Detective "Down Will Come," Ani's sexual past comes back to haunt her in her career when her ex-boyfriend (well, boyfriend might be a strong term) Steve Mercier files a sexual harassment complaint against Ani with Internal Affairs. According to Ani's boss, the complaint is legitimate as Mercier is her subordinate and that can count as coercion. Ani tries to fight the charge when her boss tells her he also found out about her sexual history with her partner Detective Ilinca to which she says it was a one-time thing. She then states that this complaint would never warrant action if she were a man to which her boss says that's not true. But I'm with Ani here, within the police departments in True Detective's version of Los Angeles (as well as in real life at times), there is a distinct sexism present between cops.
Ani definitely does have some trouble with intimacy, that's extremely clear throughout the four episodes of the show that have aired so far in Season 2. Her ending with Steve brought about consequences she did not expect. However, she's probably not wrong in saying that while she's in the office getting penalized for a mutual relationship, Mercier is outside slapping high-fives with his police buddies. If a woman had to file these kinds of complaints, she would probably be the butt of jokes and harassment.
Then there's the fact that in their meeting about her behavior and the recent complaint, Ani's boss calls her sweetie. It's the kind of terminology that might not bug everyone, but to me feels like it puts Ani down to this level of being less than a man. Her boss doesn't take her side about any of the issues she brings up, and even her partner, who maintains he is her friend, basically insinuates that their one tryst together ruined his marriage.
I'm genuinely glad that True Detective brought up this issue in Season 2, especially since they received some flack that Season 1 had a woman problem, that the female characters in the season were ancillary and written and treated terribly. To have Ani deal with sexual harassment complaints because she is a woman who freely explores her sexuality and doesn't want to be committed in a relationship (similar to the stereotypical attitudes of men), is interesting because it does flip gender roles and show that there is a problem with gender inequality when women take on strong roles. I hope the show continues to embrace Ani as a strong woman, in fact I kind of wish she could have gotten into the action of the major shootout at the end of Sunday night's episode more. But what is important is for all four main characters to get deep, real character developments and face real issues people face, even in the midst of some insane and dark situations.
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