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Law & Order SVU–Fin on the “Down Low”

In this clip from a 2004 episode of the long-running television drama, Law & Order, Special Victims Unit, the detectives are investigating the case of a murdered assistant district attorney, who they discover is gay and has been having an affair with his coworker. Fin is suspicious of the alibi presented by the co-worker’s poker buddies, who he suggests are on the “down low.” Fin explains to his colleagues that the “down low” is a phenomenon specific to the black community in which ostensibly straight men have sex with other men, but do not consider themselves gay.

discussion

How does Fin explain what the “down low” means and who practices it?

How does Fin’s description of black masculinity relate to being on the “down low”? How does the black community view being gay, according to Fin?

How do Fin’s colleagues react to his explanation? Are they surprised? Why?

What do you think the men on the “down low” might be worried about? Why are they pretending?