Portrait of a Sadistic Psychopath
William Lewis is a character in four episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. This character is interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, he has a godlike detachment from pain. In the first scene, he presses his fingertips to a hot griddle to burn his fingerprints off while not flinching in the slightest degree. For another thing, he usually presents with a smile that has little to do with the normal vicissitudes of everyday emotions people go through from moment to moment. I’ll go ahead and call his smile “psychopathic.”
This man has committed a string of outrageous crimes and gotten away with all of them through a combination of luck, charm and sheer manipulativeness. He seemed gifted with enormous stores of cold empathy. He just knew how to get into the head of everyone he needed to bend to his purpose. So far, he managed to have two female defense attorneys fall in love with him. He ended up murdering the first one and killing the father of the second. A female juror became convinced he was a victim of misjustice after her jury had convicted him and she helped him escape.
As a sadist, even his in his merciless tortures, he still has soft touches speaking in a low voice, showing his victims his awareness of what they are feeling. Contrast that to out-of-touch caregivers who do all the right things for their charges but treat them as if they were blocks of wood.
He loved to turn accusations around on the accusers. Olivia Benson was “obsessed” with him. SVU had a “vendetta” against him, an innocent man. A certain type of woman loved to mother what appeared to be the victim in him.
A lot of viewers have felt a dark attraction to William Lewis as they have confessed online. “I know it’s wrong, but I LOVE the way Lewis says Olivia” when she calls him at his ex-lawyer’s apartment…makes me wish MY name was Olivia so I could set it as my ringtone or something.” and “Is it really bad that I find myself really attracted to William Lewis? Like not even just the actor, the actual character….” Oh course, Hannibal Lecter also had fans. Of course, Hannibal and William are only fictional psychopaths. But actual killers are notorious for their groupies. As was said in The Believers, “It’s always the badass who makes a girl’s heart beat faster.” But the preferred subject matter of Hollywood movies proves that much, anyway.
And look at America’s electoral politics. The ultimate badass, Trump, is president. Two contenders for the Democratic presidential ticket are still in the race. One is a corrupt, mediocre and boring shadow of a man. The other is an idealistic, genuinely sincere crusader who has something real to offer. Dear reader. You are a voter. Who are you going to vote for?
2 thoughts on “William Lewis:”
I’m not a TV watcher. I gave it up some years ago, but versions of this character do keep turning up, as do vampires who are also often charming and attractive (but seldom portrayed as gratuitously sadistic, their need being for a different food).
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Cluster B – An example from fiction relevant to reality