It was a role that surely would attract Veronica Hamel. She's been a volunteer at a rape crisis center, and the phenomenon and the trauma are a serious concern of hers.
So here she is, in "She Said No" (Sunday at 9 on NBC), playing a victim of date rape, a woman attacked by a fellow adult student, played by Judd Hirsch, after an impromptu dinner.
The drama zeros in on the emotional impact of the episode -- the anger, the self-doubt (Could I have avoided this?), and the embarrassment and frustration of going to court.
But this date-rape drama has a twist: After the trial ends in a hung jury, frustration quickly turns to outrage as the Hirsch character, a lawyer, sues Hamel's victim for slander.
From the viewer's standpoint, there's no doubt of Hirsch's guilt and nastiness. But before the jury, he cuts a much more impressive figure.
"When I was watching him," said Hamel, "I thought, my God, I almost believe him myself. And I know ... "
So what's a jury to do, especially when the accused assumes the guise of the injured and takes the victim to court?
The film was written by Michael O'Hara, who also wrote "Those She Left Behind," a successful TV movie in which a husband was turned into a solo parent when his wife died in childbirth. He seems to have the knack for asking the question, What do you do when something awful suddenly turns terrible?
For her part, Hamel's work at a crisis center has given her an idea of how bad things can be when it comes to rape. Even before Hirsch's character puts Hamel and her legal counsel (Lee Grant) on the defensive, there is the pattern of extreme angst, emotional reactions that Hamel said generally go like clockwork.
She spent additional time consulting therapists and victims at the center and seems to feel the teleplay is faithful to what she has learned about rape. "Michael O'Hara," she said, "has been very mindful of my concern about certain things being accurate."