Pathological Relationships in the Media: Harry’s Law ‘After the Lovin’

I was quite appalled on Sunday night after watching the episode, ‘After the Lovin’ on NBC’sHarry’s Law‘. One of the episode’s story lines featured a narcissistic man, Tommy,  who was in a relationship with several women at once and lying to all of them.  When the story line began, one of his girlfriends was suing him.

Tommy, the narcissist, got caught because he had bought several pairs of the same style shoes for his five girlfriends for Valentines‘ Day gifts. As it turned out, two of the women ran into each other and figured out what was going on. In addition, under questioning by counsel, Tommy admitted to telling each of girlfriends at the onset of each relationship that he was impotent and subsequently could only  offer companionship and cuddling.

The plot thickened. Next, Tommy told each girlfriend that her own unique love  had revived his dormant penis, which resulted in each of the relationships becoming sexual.

While telling this story to counsel, Tommy appeared like a slimy jackass. The woman who had brought suit asked him how many other women he had told the same story to and was visually hurt when he told her that he’d been sleeping with four other women at the same time. She then explained how special Tommy had  made her feel, by spinning his lies about her love curing his impotence. I was really hopeful at this point in the narrative that we were going to see a narcissist shamed on national television for lying to and cheating on women.

However, to my utter dismay, the narcissist then turned the tables. Tommy convinced the woman and the lawyers that the only reason he had lied and cheated was because of his own low self esteem. Tommy justified his behavior by painting himself as the poor guy whom all women broke up with. “You would have left me too, ” Tommy told the woman. And then the whole scene changed, with everyone looking sad and sympathetic for the sexual predator. And that’s how it ended! No settlement to the victim, no shaming for the perpetrator!

Shame on you, NBC. With all the public awareness growing about pathological relationships, your writers should have done the right thing and not let this slimebag wriggle off the hook.

I visited the ‘Harry’s Law’ webpage to see what, if anything, was written about the episode. I found a quiz about the episode called “You Be the Judge” and took it.

The quiz consisted of one question about each of the story lines. The one about Tommy’s treatment of the women was, “Tommy deserved to be sued by his scorned lover” (

How infuriating. Tommy didn’t scorn his lover. Tommy systemically lied to and cheated on five women at once, and then was made to look like he was the victim.  What if Tommy was HIV positive or had syphilis and infected all of his lovers? There is nothing funny or socially acceptable about lying to and deceiving multiple sex partners.

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Maybe we should boycott NBC until their writers revisit this story hold Tommy accountable for his actions.