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It has been remarked on this page multiple times that the tone of the show has changed, with a rise in drama and Shocking Swerves. It has also been remarked even more times that the characters have been Flanderized. Let's try to keep the page nice by not mentioning these things any more unless it's absolutely necessary to answer a question.


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     Benson vs Lewis Saga 

Obviously the storylines of this show aren't made to make 100% sense simply to keep things interesting, with that being said there are several little practicalities about this particular storyline that either didn't make sense or where never clearly answered:

  • Was 'William Lewis' really his real name? When they first identified him in the episode "Her Negotiation" they found his New York state ID/driver's license with his full name, birthdate, hometown, etc, on it. What are the odds that a career criminal like this would knowingly have his real information available on file?

  • How the hell did he break into Olivia's apartment with NO signs of forced entry?
    • He could have picked the lock. Lewis displays considerable resourcefulness, so it seems likely that he's a career criminal that might have lockpicking in his skillset.

  • What all did he do to Olivia before she gained consciousness at the beginning of "Surrender Benson"?

  • When he kidnapped her, how did he remove her from her apartment totally unnoticed by security cameras, neighbors, passerby, etc?
    • If he had a gun on her, he could easily instruct her to play it cool and walk out with him. Security cameras would be more difficult to avoid, but bystanders would just assume it's two people out for a stroll.

  • What happened when he took Olivia to the bathroom?

  • What was he planning to do with Viva and Luisa after he ushered them into the beach house? More hostages just means more trouble right? Wouldn't it have made more sense to just make up some excuse for why they couldn't come in and tell them to leave and come back later?
    • He was in the middle of making such an excuse when he noticed the little girl. Then he changed his mind. He probably wanted to torment Olivia more by threatening and/or hurting a child in front of her. Also he doesn't seem to be the kind of hostage taker who wants to avoid any trouble.

  • After Olivia managed to restrain him, why didn't she duct tape his mouth as well? The only reason he got under her skin was because while he couldn't physically hurt her, he was free to talk.
    • She was still trying to stick to protocol. Police don't gag people when they restrain them. She didn't break protocol until after he got under her skin, leading to her pummeling him with the steel bar.

  • What are the odds of a person not only surviving being beaten repeatedly with a metal bar but resurrecting himself several times afterwards? (Lewis literally died and came back to life 4 or 5 times during this storyline, is that even medically possible?)
    • "Coming back to life" could refer to his heart stopping and his being resuscitated. People can survive considerable physical injury.

  • Was he really that sick and pompous that it took him 4 days to finally decide he was going to rape Olivia? He wasted no time in raping his other victims, she was the only one with whom he needed everything to be "perfect".
    • Olivia was a special case for him. He wanted to torment her. His other victims were strangers, but with Olivia, it was personal.

  • In "Beast's Obsession" what are the odds of a rapist deciding not to rape his victim simply because she refused to resist him or fight back? Most rapists want their victims to not show any resistance, don't they?
    • Depends on the rapist. Some of them enjoy the struggle. Olivia correctly surmised that Lewis got off on the fight his victims put up, and that he would lose interest if she wasn't struggling.
    • Not if is a sexual sadist. Sexual sadists can only have erections if they see the sexual partner suffering and if the sex is not consensual.

  • In "Beast's Obsession" why in the world did Olivia not draw on Lewis when he met her at the quarry? He's walking with a limp, he has damage to one orbital socket, he's holding his gun one handed, he's at least 20 feet away when he announced himself, and furthermore, Olivia, you're wearing a bulletprof vest. You have an excellent chance of drawing your weapon killing Lewis if he doesn't surrender. Before anyone responds to this by saying that they wanted to find the missing child Lewis had kidnapped, remember the photo that Lewis texted to Benson? One word: geotagging.
    • It's possible to spoof or disable metadata in cell phone pictures. Given that Lewis was extremely resourceful and planned a lot of his torment out in detail, Olivia might not have wanted to take the chance.

  • There's no way he could've anticipated Olivia refusing to fight him back when he tried to rape her a second time. . .so was he planning on the two of them playing Russian Roulette the whole time? There's no way he could've known that the bullet was in the last chamber, so did he really not care if he died or if Olivia blew her brains out? So much of that plan seemed improvised and last minute.
    • Despite his psychopathy and complete lack of morals, Lewis possessed a twisted sense of honor. Lawful Evil in a manner of speaking. It was his turn to fire, and he wasn't going to let Olivia "win" by breaking the rules of the game, so he chose to kill himself in a manner that would still negatively impact Olivia.

     Questions pertaining to "Undercover" 

  • Although I'm glad that someone was smart enough to put Fin in as a C.O. to keep an eye on Olivia. . . .exactly what was the protocol for doing so? Obviously they had to come up with a fake identify for him like they did Olivia, I'm just curious as to how he managed to go through that whole process in the first place. Surely he had to have been hired before they got through the process of putting together a fake profile for Olivia/Kat, then going through the process of having her arrested, charged and put in the prison system.
  • I know this episode was the first one to air after the writer's strike of 2007 (I believe the original airdate was mid April 2008). The dates on the title cards indicate that the course of this episode took place during the month of February (and I've figured out that there's generally a one to two month gap between when episodes are filmed and when they actually air on TV). However there is a scene where Olivia/Kat is outside in the exercise yard with the other inmates and there is no indication whatsoever that it is wintertime in New York. Was there an unseasonably warm winter happening at that time? Or was there a miscalculation between the time of year the episode was scheduled to take place and when the scenes were actually filmed?
  • Is Captain Harris only charged with raping Ashley Tyler by the end of the episode? Based on testimony by the other characters (and other subtle and not-so-subtle hints) it's strongly suggested that he has raped other inmates in the past as well, not to mention that the squad figured out early on the guard they were looking for had been selling drugs to inmates as well. They never said if they charged him for killing Ashley's mother either. And finally there was his assault on Olivia. . .SVU probably could've put together enough evidence to put him away for much longer than the 20 years Olivia implied he would be serving.
    • Getting an inmate to testify against a prison guard would probably be an uphill battle — even if he lost his job/was convicted, the victim would still be worried about retaliation from his buddies. As for Olivia, given that she was also an investigator on the case, they probably wanted to avoid any possible allegations of collusion and/or entrapment that could muddy the waters on the entire case. (Look what happened to Olivet in the original L&O...the guy was clearly guilty, but he still got an acquittal by playing the "she works for the police, she set me up" card.) They could always try Olivia's case separately once they had a conviction secured on Ashley.
  • I realize that much of what happens in this series is very unrealistic, but who gave Olivia the 'OK' to interrogate her would-be-rapist alone? (Surely one of the conditions was him being chained to the table before she confronted him face-to-face. . . .)
  • Was anyone else mildly disappointed in the fact that Harris never confessed/owned up to his crimes? Often during this series the perps will eventually admit their crimes (if not outright boast about them with pride) when they know that there's all the evidence in the world to put them away. I also find it amusing when they try to "rationalize" their crimes (sometimes they're just completely sick in the head, sometimes they turn out to be victims themselves, the latter being the cause of the former). Either way, he denied everything until the end, and I found it interesting (and slightly disturbing) that even after it was beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty, he still had nothing to say for himself; like he seriously felt no remorse for his actions.
    • Pretty sure the implication is that he really doesn't feel remorse and every description of him and his actions essentially lead up to that ending as far as not confessing goes. He had raped a 15-year-old girl because her uncle stopped supplying him with drugs. Then killed the mother of the aforementioned girl at the mere thought of being caught due to whatever little testimony she might have given to Stabler (his fears were unfounded, but he didn't know that). It's implied he's BEEN raping prisoners because he knows he can get away with it. He almost rapes Benson. Benson confronts him in an interrogation room and when she rubs it in his face all he cares about is ripping her apart for putting him in that position; not remorse for doing what he did. Throughout it all he doesn't show any regard for his victims. The only reason he was caught at all was because Benson had seen his dick and then had tipped the teenage rape victim into telling Warner where to look for a distinctive mark. So, yeah, it sucks he didn't confess, but they leave plenty of hints that this guy is a screwed up sociopath that was never going to confess if he could get away with it.

     In "Transitions" How come when there is a man bleeding from his groin lying on the hospital bed with a fake fingernail EMBEDDED in his back, Benson automatically assumes that he is the perp?! 
I mean he is nearly dead from blood loss in terrible shape and unconscious and Benson believes that he got it cause he got rough with a stripper and she put him in his place, I mean if it was a woman lying there it would have been a completely different story, she would have stayed up all night to catch the attacker and would make runs to the hospital so she could be there when the victim awoke, but no if he's got male genitalia he is the monster who got what he deserved.
  • Benson showing bias against males? What else is new? Seriously, the more I watch, the more I'm find myself liking her less and less due to her borderline Misandry. (The earliest of this, as far as I can remember, is in "Pique" note ) Makes you wonder if her Near-Rape Experience may have something to do with her behavior as of late.
    • Ignoring that males can be raped is one thing, but rapists whose victims are women would pretty obviously have a problem with women by default, wouldn't they? Otherwise they wouldn't be okay with having sex with them while unconscious/struggling/otherwise not consenting. Benson assumed he was the perp because the injuries suggested he was attacked in retaliation/self defense.
      • That's a pretty wide leap in logic; the injuries could easily have been inflicted by an offensive attacker. Who looks at someone badly injured and assumes, "He must have done something to deserve it?"
      • It isn't, really. It was a very specific injury to the genitals, rather than in the face or the center of the mass. Leaving aside the TV-logic that goes with it (If it wasn't related to a sex crime, why would the SVU get involved?), there aren't very many instances where a man is deliberately struck in the junk without there being some connection to his sexuality in one way or another. It's less "He must have done something to deserve it" and more "Someone must have really had a problem with this guy's dick". The go-to problem with dicks in this show? Rape. Olivia tends to be the voice of misandry, but at least in this case, she's not being irrational about it.

    Suspects not knowing their rights 
  • Why is it that almost none of the suspects they interrogate ask for a lawyer immediately? Some of them are repeat offenders who at the very least should have an idea about their right to remain silent. This makes no sense.
    • Reality Is Unrealistic. Many suspects in real life will still try and talk their way out of things or make confessions even when they really should know better. By the time the idea that they really ought to stop talking kicks in, in show and out, it is generally after a suspect has already said far too much. The show also does go to great lengths to show the tricks law enforcement uses to convince people to talk freely and we do see a lot of suspects either clamming up or lawyers showing up to put a halt to their client's talking.

    Is it just me, or is the show inconsistent on the whole issue of occasionally locking up or charging victims? This comes up when a victim won't cooperate with an investigation by lying or withholding evidence. The victim is charged and then offered a plea bargain wherein they cooperate in exchange for having the charges dropped. 
For example, there was one episode where a woman who described having been attacked by an unknown man on the street turned out to to have been a victim of domestic violence of a very severe nature. In spite of this, the team could not get her to cooperate in staying at a safe house or enforcing a restraining order, and so she went back to her husband who stabbed her in her heart that very same night of her going back to him. They could have arrested her on filing a false police report, but someone (Cragen, I believe) came out very strongly against it. However, I have seen them do this in other episodes, one of which involved a 15-year-old girl who had been raped and later beaten, somehow in connection with nude photos of herself that she'd taken and sent using her cell phone.
  • I admit that the latter example is a poor one, since it involved a corrupt judge who wanted to send said girl to juvenile lock-up for possession and distribution of child pornography, i.e. pictures she'd taken of herself. But I know that there have been others where they locked up the victim for non-compliance in their investigation.
    • A good example is the episode where they were after the guy who attacked the same women repeatedly in order to try to get them pregnant. They arrested one of his victims who had actually become pregnant by him in order to get her to admit what had happened and consent to having genetic testing done so they could prove that their suspect was the perp. She'd reported the first rape but not the subsequent ones because she didn't want her husband to know that the baby was the rapist's, and not his, so they charged her with obstruction.
  • Adding to the confusion, the same issue has come up in at least one episode of Law & Order as well.
  • I agree, the show is inconsistent on this issue. But then again, it's a complicated question that people are prone to disagree on, and the writers of L&O are no exception. In a way it's an unintentional stroke of genius because it mirrors reality so well. In real life people don't form one opinion and stick to it forever. They rationalize, they deconstruct, and they waffle. In fiction we call that being Out of Character, but in real life it happens all the time.
  • It's often a case where they're balancing two different interests. On one hand, they want to use whatever they can to protect the victim and/or convince them to talk. On the other hand, they don't want to create the illusion that they're in the habit of arresting victims for any little thing that pops up during the case, because that will discourage others from coming forward.
  • There was also a case in the first season where a victim of a serial rapist found out who her attacker was, but refused to reveal who is because she claimed he has been "changed" after joining her church and would consider it betrayal to give him away. The SVU team feels torn up about it for a whole of ten seconds before locking her up in hopes that she would break and tell him who it was.

    In "Alien", an 8-year-old girl stabbed a 12-year-old boy with scissors. They played up the fact that he was harassing her for having lesbian parents. The reasoning was that her response (stabbing) was violently disproportionate to the stimulus (harassment) and used this to charge her, stick her in jail, and claim that she's violent. However, at one point during the investigation, it also came to light that the stabbing "victim" had grabbed her, tried to kiss her, then cut her hair off. Apparently she managed to wrestle the scissors from him and used them to stab him. Far be it from me to question the impeccable legal logic of a Law & Order episode, but that kind of sounds like self-defense against a sexual assault. 

  • She never wrestled the scissors from him, him cutting her ponytail off and her stabbing him were a few days apart.
    • This is correct. The boy cuts off the girl's ponytail, and when she comes back to school with short hair she's made fun off for looking even more like a dyke than before. The constant teasing and abuse drives the girl to stab the boy in the back with the scissors, thus paralyzing him.
  • Pretty sure they happened within the same day though I don't think she wrestled the scissors from him; they were in the art room, where I'm sure multiple pairs of scissors were available.
  • Yeah, I think both incidents happened within the same day. One of the mothers state that they were told by Emma (the 8-year-old) and her older brother Charlie that Emma got gum stuck in her hair, and that Charlie attempted to fix the goof with a haircut. When Liv tells them that they know the real reason Emma's hair is short, this prompts Emma to tearfully confess that Sean (the 12-year-old) cut off her ponytail, and that she stabbed him with a pair of scissors (not necessarily the same ones that Sean cut off her ponytail with, but as stated earlier, they were in the art room, so it's not that much of a stretch to think there were more pairs of scissors there).
  • Did everyone miss the comment he made that was something like "I'll make sure she's really a girl?" That's pretty damn rapey to me.
    • Exactly. He makes a remark like that, tries to kiss her, she pushes him away, then he cuts off her hair to "make her look like a dyke." And before and after that encounter he was sending her emails in which he threatened to force some kind of sexual activity on her in order to make her straight. There is a difference between a little boy trying to kiss the girl he likes and what this kid was doing.
  • Yeah, I really don't remember the sexual assault part. Maybe I'm just not remembering things correctly, but I could've sworn that all the boy did was constantly bullying the girl for having gay parents and eventually cut her hair. Then I remember the girl finally snapping and taking the scissors used to cut her hair and then stabbing the kid. This stuff about a forced kiss is news to me. Did the episode only make a very brief mention of it or something?
    • Just because you don't remember it doesn't mean it wasn't there. It was actually a very big part of the episode.
    • You seem to not understand the difference between "I don't remember this happening. Perhaps I'm remembering things incorrectly." and "I don't remember this, so that means it didn't happen."
    • It happened. I watched the episode just last night - the boy DID try to kiss her. She claimed not to be a lesbian, and the boy said, "Prove it." Then went for a kiss.
      • He also made an implied rape threat to her in an email, where he threatened to 'cure her from being a queer'.
  • Was it a few days between the ponytail cutting/forced kiss and the stabbing? In that case it's not self-defense. (Even though I agree, that sounds like sexual assault). If you assault someone in revenge for them attacking you earlier, you don't get self-defense.
  • Sean had been picking on Emma and Charlie for months because they're being raised by two women. Sean made frequent comments to Emma of the "you're going to Hell" sort. One day he grabbed her pony tail and cut it off in the art classroom, telling her that "you're a dyke so you should look like one." Sean then tried to kiss her and Emma grabbed another pair of scissors and managed to stab him in the back. Emma became scared and got her brother Charlie, who leaves Sean outside of a hospital. We later find out about the many emails that Sean sent to Emma, and in at least one he threatens that he's going to "cure" her. When Emma admits to what she's done, she's crying and says that she didn't mean to hurt Sean and that "[she] just wanted him to leave [her] alone." Emma was a scared eight year old child, not a violent criminal.
  • Legal matters aside, Sean deserved it. I'd have arrested him for assault and sent him to the soap droppers.
    • He deserved to become a paraplegic? I mean, maybe time in juvie sure, what he did to Emma was definitely assault, sexual or not, but Goddamn.
      • He may not have specifically deserved to become a paraplegic, but he did deserve the consequences of pushing a little girl around until she snapped on him, whatever they would have been. If you set out to bully someone, whatever they do to protect themselves from you is on your own head. What he did was a kiddy version of attempted corrective rape and the very definition of a hate crime, and it was fully condoned by all the authority figures around him! She stabbed him because he had been making her miserable for months and then physically attacked her, but the blame immediately went to Emma's lesbian parents for putting her in a position to be bullied. The fact that Sean shouldn't have acted like such a little piece of shit is completely ignored. So not only does he learn that lesbians are acceptable targets, he also learns that girls (especially smaller and weaker ones) have no right to refuse his advances or defend themselves if he assaults them. His being paralyzed from the waist down is probably going to save the Special Victims Unit a lot of work in the future.
      • I think that Emma didn't deserve to be bullied and I think that Sean didn't deserve to become a paraplegic. I also think that people who claim that either of the children deserved what they got are sick (sorry but sending a twelve year old boy to "soap droppers")?
    • Why are we even arguing this? There was a whole scene where the detectives read the nasty notes Sean wrote to Emma and one clearly states that he was planning to rape her in order to (preemptively, I presume) "cure" her.

    Our 'Shocking Swerve' entry refers to an episode where Elliot puts a guy away in Rikers, then after that guy is exonerated by someone else who confesses, the real perp dies. The ADA tells them they can't get the guy out now because the real perp isn't available to confess. But in 'Criminal', the exact same case arises: they put a guy away, and it turns out he's innocent; the difference is that once they figure out who the real perp is, they get the guy out almost immediately. Wat? 
  • Two possible explanations come to mind; however, I imagine this was just an oversight on the part of the writers:
    • I can't remember that one ref'd in Shocking Swerve, but it could have been that the only evidence implicating the real perp was his willingness to confess. Maybe they hadn't yet contracted a confession from him and had no evidence besides that? Still, it seems a bit weak.
    • They couldn't free the wrongfully convicted man based on the advice of that ADA who had a lot more friction with the main cast and who eventually lost her job for showing up to court drunk. When they successfully freed the guy in "Criminal", Novak was the ADA. Could be that the former ADA just didn't care enough to get thing moving.
    • My mother is a lawyer, and I usually make a point of not watching any Law and Order show in her presence because it turns into a free-for-all of what they get wrong...but in this case, she said it was true, the guy would be stuck in prison unless the governor pardoned him.
    • They had forensic evidence in addition to the confession in "Criminal"; in "Shocking Swerve," all that had happened was that Stabler had personal knowledge of another person's guilt. He arranged for the guilty person to make a formal confession, but he had not yet done so. Once he died, the only evidence of his guilt was Stabler's say-so. The confession was on tape, but it was an audiotape, not a videotape, and had not been authenticated, which is to say, the person making the confession had not signed a notarized paper acknowledging that it was he on the tape, or otherwise signed a transcription of the confession. The big deal for Stabler in "Shocking Swerve" is that he jumped the gun in telling the innocent person he would be released, before his release was in any way secured. It might seem as though in the other episode the prisoner was out "almost immediately," but that has more to do with the way the show compresses time, and omits or expands scenes or details for dramatic reasons.
      • For further evidence of this, look at "Confidential" later in the same season (in which a similar situation is narrowly averted). The real perp is killed, but the detectives don't freak out about the innocent man until after they learn that the evidence in the case was lost. Clearly they had figured the DNA would clear the innocent man (DNA analysis wasn't available when he was first convicted) and weren't worried until they learned that they didn't have that either.
      • Also, I'd have to watch again, but I don't think the guy in "Criminal" had been convicted yet (I know he had a previous conviction but that doesn't apply). When the case is pending, the DA can just drop the charges; once the guy's been convicted, getting him out requires the much more complicated process of getting the conviction overturned.

    In 'Baggage', a serial rapist was caught in the act of attempting to hog-tie a woman in what turned out to be a police sting. But because they couldn't indisputably connect him with the earlier crimes, they had to let him walk. Um, what? Didn't they just catch him in a sting with clear intent to commit rape? 
  • That episode had quite a few problems; I wrote a small rant about their treatment of a suspect which included a large amount of Police Brutality and denying him a lawyer and resulted in the poor man committing suicide instead spending more time with SVU. Other things include being uncooperative with the detective that had been working the case for six month because they thought he would take all the glory for it, finding killer by finding his sisters DNA in a non criminal database, and that they finally convicted him by saying that the victim used more electricity than usual that day proved he used a kiln to set her on fire.
  • From what I remember, the guy opened the window or something so the victims body would decompose slightly faster and make it seem like she was killed on a day he was visiting his mom. The judge then said if they couldn't prove he wasn't at his moms house, she'd dismiss the entire case against him.
    • Actually, victim's body was left in her own ceramics studio which contained a kiln. The perp activated the kiln to heat the room, thereby quickening decomposition, which had the effect of making it seem like she'd been killed a couple days earlier. But he also knew that the CSU and ME would be able to compensate for the effects of the kiln in their analysis if they happened to walk in while the room was still very hot, so he went back later to shut down the kiln; he opened the window to release the heat. The more ya know!
  • They didn't catch him "with a clear intent to commit rape" by legal standards. They jumped way too soon and arrested him as soon as he showed signs of aggression towards the undercover cop. It's clear from the audience perspective, especially with the benefit of hindsight, what he was trying to do, but from a legal standpoint, it was a long way from what they observed during the sting to being a brutal serial rapist/murderer. Combined with his (manufactured) alibi, that was enough to get him released.

    Did Olivia or Melanie shoot Abraham in "Charisma"? 
  • Melanie did. I can see why you'd be confused because of the camera angle, but based on their reactions, and Melanie's dialogue explaining why she pulled the trigger at that particular moment, it's apparent that it's Melanie who fired the shot. That takes a careful viewing, though, because the camera isn't on Melanie when she does it.
    • I thought they intentionally tried to confuse you but ultimately it was supposed to be Melanie, except Olivia grabbed the gun by the barrel afterwards before tossing it aside. Shouldn't it have been hot to the touch if it was just fired?
      • Actually, given the situation, a little heat (or even hand burn) isn't the problem she'd be focused on.

     Seriously, why hasn't Cragen transferred Stabler and Benson out of SVU by now? 
Yeah, we know the "real" reason, but in-story it makes no sense that Cragen would keep two ticking time bombs like them on the roster. ESPECIALLY Elliot "Punch first and ask questions when forced" Stabler.
  • It may have something to do with the fact that Elliot and Olivia are the SVU's best detectives, according to both their case completion rates and at LEAST one psychiatrist who spoke to Cragen after their psychological reviews.

    Where did Casey get that t-shirt? 
  • The "Sex Crimes" one in "Night".
  • NYPD Softball league.

    Why, when Olivia is shown as being really traumatized by events in Undercover over several episodes, did they not show Casey not even being vaguely freaked out or upset by events in Night (discounting the scene in the hospital), Raw or Alternate
  • Because people respond differently to trauma and not everyone reacts the same. It's also possible that she did have trauma but the show didn't see fit to feature it, as they tend to do with characters not named Stabler or Benson.
  • In Night, Elliot mentions that Casey has taken time off work and doesn't want anyone to see her while she's out; that sounds like she's upset.
  • Casey also doesn't remember what happened to her in Night (and probably never will). I'm sure it was still scary in its own way to wake up in the hospital the way she did, but she doesn't have actual memories of what it felt like to be beaten like that, while Olivia does have (and is haunted by) very vivid memories of the attempted rape. The other two aren't nearly as personal; Olivia and Elliot occasionally get assaulted by suspects as well (Elliot is also in the courtroom shooting in Raw) and aren't traumatized. The incidents in Night and Undercover stand out because they're much more brutal and personal.

    In "Authority", how come Munch never commented on how Merritt Rook looked a hell of a lot like an older version of a man in Baltimore whose wife got shot? 
I know it goes way beyond Celebrity Paradox (celebrity who guest starred on two shows in the same continuity as different characters paradox?), but that would have been a (darkly) funny moment if he did. Hopefully this could happen if "Authority" gets a sequel... And I'm fairly certain it will.
  • They never mention when actors pop back up again. Diane Neal (Casey) played a rapist in a previous episode, and no one mentions how the new A.D.A. resembles a prior perp.
    • Not limited to SVU, either. Jerry Orbach played a defense attorney in an early episode of the main L&O before being cast as Lenny Briscoe. Alfred Molina was a perp on SVU before becoming one of the main characters of L&O: LA.
    • S. Epatha Merkerson was a cleaning woman who was the mother of a victim in an early episode of regular L&O. Plus, there are non-celebrity actors who have popped up repeatedly. Anne Dowd is a character actor who had played nine very different characters over all the different series. Some perps, some victims, some witnesses, some background characters. Denis O'Hare played six, including two priests, a schizophrenic who represented himself, and a retarded man who ended up institutionalized. Lindsay Crouse played a judge who was shot and paralyzed, and then sued for her right to die, before the person who shot her was brought to trial. McCoy opposed her, because he wanted her as a witness. She eventually does die. Then she shows up six years later as another judge, plus, she is on SVU as a third judge. Peter Francis James played a judge on several eps of SVU, was a suspect's father on an episode of CI, and was a judge again (but not the same one) on L&O. Think of it as a repertory theater.
  • Practically speaking, that was one case out of thousands that Munch worked for a few days in a different city entirely almost a decade and a half ago that he wasn't even the primary investigator on. There's a good chance he didn't even remember the other guy, and why would he? Who remembers the exact facial details of people they barely knew one time over a decade ago?

    Why did the episode "Doubt" end with the viewers left to decide on what the verdict was? All evidence obviously pointed to the man being innocent and the girl committing perjury. 
  • A poll was held and more than 60% of the viewers sided with the professor.
  • I think the idea was supposed to be that with a case like that, which was nothing more than he said/she said, things aren't clear-cut. So they decided not to actually give the ending.
  • In Real Life, a lot of cases do end up like this because of insufficient or conflicting evidence.
    • Well I don't know, I mean I think they tipped it just slightly toward making the alleged victim a shakier witness than the alleged perp, just to convey the idea that the emotional trauma of rape may cause the victim to become very unstable and difficult to believe, leading to a mistrial or not guilty verdict. Somewhat inadvertently then, in that sense, the person who posted this topic reflects in their question that intent of the writers.
      • The interesting thing about that episode was that it exposed each individual viewer's subconscious prejudices. Those who believe rape victims should act a certain way or remember details correctly will side with the professor, while those who have difficulty accepting that a woman could lie about being raped will side with her. In reality, the episode didn't give enough information to determine who was telling the truth. The only unbiased answer would be "I don't know which side to believe".
      • What broke that woman's credibility with this troper was her accusing Elliot of groping her when he dropped her off at home and her attorney used his separation from his wife as evidence to support. Even if Elliot was separated from his wife and kids, the guy is more than professional enough to NOT GROPE A VICTIM!
      • If she had been raped, then that would have happened after she had been traumatized, on top of being physically exhausted, medicated, and possibly still inebriated. Eliot took her home because she could barely stay on her feet. The attorney brought the issue to trial, and it's implied that she came up with the accusation as a strategy when Myra told her that Elliot escorted her home.

    In Dependent the guy that Elliot killed could not have been the rapist and murderer. 
When the little boy gets home his father is attacked from behind, he then runs across the house into his parents' bed room and sees someone else raping and killing his mother. He later identifies the monster that attacked his dad as his sister's boyfriend and he said he also saw his sister there. Also, why would a man need an object like a candlestick holder to rape somebody, if he was as high as they said he was I doubt he would have worried about leaving DNA. Finally they made remarks earlier that the person who did it had anger issues with the mother and it was a personal crime yet the boyfriend had never meet her before. It seems the only thing they were able to prove was that the boyfriend was also there and attacked the father, but since Elliot accidentally killed him they decided to pin the crime on him and let the girl that raped and killed her own mother go free.
  • As far as I know, Elliot did not "accidentally kill" the boyfriend. Warner had confirmed there was something wrong when she examined the body, saying the boyfriend stopped taking medication. I haven't seen the episode for a while, but it was something along those lines.
    • But Elliot did kill him, the kid not taking his medicine just made it a lot easier for him to do it.
    • Warner's assessment was that the kid had quit taking his heart medicine, which controlled a palpation syndrome; without the medicine, he suffered a heart attack due to the pursuit and confrontation with Elliot. Although he was attacking Elliot at the time of his heart attack, Warner determined that Elliot's return blows were not the culprit; it was just being in that situation caused a heart attack. (Or maybe something more technical, but that was the gist of it anyway.)
  • Being high is a good enough reason someone might need to rape someone with a candlestick holder instead of performing the act themselves. Some people don't have as easy a time performing when they're drunk or high.
    • Well even if they don't need to use a candlestick, if he was as high as they said, then he may have just been in a delirious state of mind, which can cause ... very erratic, bizarre, and unpredictable behavior.
  • Also the story the girl gave was full of holes and contradicts evidence from earlier that episode. She was telling them what happened during a drug induced blackout which she should have no memories of with the help of sodium amytal a drug that Huang had said in an earlier episode is useless for truth telling and memory recovery. It is usually used to get the person to say what the questioner wants to hear and they gave it to her after constantly asking if she remembers her boyfriend raping and killing her mom.

    NY State hasn't performed the death penalty in decades. Can someone tell the SVU that? 
Every episode has the ADA threatening the death penalty. Which NY hasn't used since 1963. Then one episode revolved around a man wanting to go back to his home state to be given the death penalty. What?
  • Law and Order may be based in a place that's a lot like New York, but it really isn't. All Myths Are True, republicans have magical powers, the death penalty exists in New York, and the government experimented on inner city black kids.
  • Actually one of the suspects did mention that NY hasn't used the Death Penalty in years, but the detectives handwaved it by saying that they could make an exception.
  • Except they can't make an exception now. It's gone beyond just not being used now- the state of New York declared the Death Penalty unconstitutional in 2004. Nobody can use the Death Penalty anymore. It might just be a case of the ADA or Elliot trying to use ignorance about the death penalty in Perp Sweating to make the guy talk, letting them think they could be sent to the chair if they don't do exactly what they say (Jerkass behavior and bullying like this isn't unheard of for the show). Of course, that doesn't explain why they use it when there are other laywers present....
  • In the L&O universe, New York has had an execution in the past couple of years. It was shown on-screen in the main series, and was the subject of the sixth-season finale (the same episode where Claire was killed by a drunk driver).
  • Having the death penalty in the show gives the viewers a sense of closure. Plus, it's an easy plot device for the writers to fall back on when a character needs motivation to share information. This is L&O, creativity need not apply.
  • In a recent episode, Elliot told a suspect who said NY hasn't done the death penalty in years that he could still be convicted of a capital crime and have to sit around until they change the legislation.
  • New York did briefly restore the Death Penalty, and did sentence some people to it, although no one was ever executed. So the regular L&O, "Teenage Wasteland," where Nora Lewin debates whether to do what she believes is right, and not ask for the death penalty, or to do her job, and ask for it, as it has recently been reinstated, is actually very good. Now, while no one has been executed in New York in many decades, the death penalty exists in statute. This means that a DA can ask for someone to be sentenced to it. What is currently unconstitutional in any method of execution. It is possible that at some future date, a method will be adopted which will be constitutional in New York, and theoretically, someone sentenced to death in 2004-2011 could be executed. It's pretty likely that a lawyer would argue that since the person under sentence wasn't sentenced to the method under question, they can't be executed by that method, and that would probably work, given the reluctance of the state to use capital punishment, but it is all theoretical.
  • L&O is set in New York. Aside from the fact that Mayor Giuliani made a guest appearance, and the 9/11 terrorist attack happened there, there are other very specific things mentioned. When the detectives are in Central Park, they correctly talk about going "down" to Alphabet City, or "over" to Riverside Dr. They talk about real subway stops, and even eat at real restaurants. It's actually one of the most accurately-depicted cities on TV.
  • Plus, even though the New York Court of Appeals had declared the death penalty unconstitutional, a future Court could reverse that decision. True, a judge who sentences a person to death will stay the sentence indefinitely due to the Court of Appeals's ruling, but who wants to be the test case for revisiting that question?
  • As mentioned, the original Law & Order actually had a few of the defendants go on to be executed within the context of the show. Aside from the one that was shown in the episode Claire died, there was a woman who shot a cop and later converted to Christianity while on death row, and probably a few more besides that. I was actually coming here to post a headscratcher about the episode where the defendant claims New York hasn't executed anyone since the sixties; while true in real life it isn't true via the show's continuity.(Before anyone says the guy could have just been uninformed, Casey confirmed it, and she should know better.)

    Whatever happened to Finn wanting a transfer because of Elliot's general douchebaggery? I feel like it was mentioned once and just magically never brought up again. 
  • The transfer paperwork was held up due to red tape. The guy handling his paperwork was an ex-colleague of Finn's who held a grudge against him, and stalled his transfer to get back at him. All of this was mentioned at some point in season ten. They haven't said anything since, so I guess we're to assume that one guy can stall his paperwork indefinitely. The whole thing about Finn wanting a transfer was probably done as a cliffhanger, in order to draw in viewers and boost ratings. Kind of a lazy and cheap ploy, but there you have it.
    • Actually it was mentioned in the first episode of the new season (And from his reaction of being told to work with Stabler, they were still not at the best of terms).
    • Given that Cragen, Liv, and Munch were very aware of the conflict between the two and that Fin was doing everything short of quitting the NYPD to leave SVU, it's not that hard to believe that the three aforementioned played keep-away until they both cooled off.

    The episode Babes in general. 
  • First off, a guy kills someone because he thinks he raped his sister. It confuses me that anyone would do this without investigating anyone's side of the story.
    • People act without thinking all of the time, especially if they're enraged. A significant portion of real-life murder cases involve this kind of thing. Would you be level-headed enough to get the other side of the story if you believed a loved one had been raped?
  • Then, a girl appears to commit suicide. In an earlier episode, they find out that someone who appears to have hung herself was strangled and then hung up. But here, they make no effort to investigate this, and instead go after a woman who insulted her over the internet.
    • Blame the idiot ball for this one.
    • The issue is that they were trying to investigate from the state-of-mind angle - they had reason to believe that the online harassment may have contributed to the suicide in the first place - which isn't unreasonable considering that at the time the episode aired, there weren't really any laws for cyberbullying. Not to mention, the previous instance I believe you're citing is that one in which it was thought that an autoerotic strangled herself. In that one, they ALSO believed it was a death caused by (in this case, accidental) self-strangulation - and the only reason they had further reason to suspect foul play was because Warner (who wasn't part of the initial investigation) re-examined the body and gave them reason to.
  • At the end, when the mom gets off, Greylek insults her enough to get the mom to attack her. Then Greylek says she's gonna get her for assault. Any sensible person in the room would ignore these charges and report Greylek to the ethics committee or whatever. Instead, we see the moms daughter crying that her mom is going to jail.
    • As far as Greylek provoking the mom, provocation is not a legal defense to assault and battery (which is what the mom did), and what Greylek did did not violate the ethics rules for lawyers. IIRC, Greylek said that the jury may have found the mom not guilty, but that doesn't make her blameless, and that the general public would realize that, to which the mom responded by hitting her. The mom's trial had already concluded, and what happened could not prejudice a jury, cause a mistrial, or otherwise affect her case. At worst, the mom might have an entrapment defense (which rarely works, because you have to prove that an ordinarily law-abiding person was lured/baited/provoked by law enforcement into committing the specific crime) and, while YMMV, what Greylek said may not be considered offensive enough to be considered an ethics violation or to provoke a physical assault.

    Something that just bugs me to no end. In "Monogamy," if Nicole had been sexually active with both Richard and her lover around the same time, why on Earth would she tell Richard he wasn't the father of her child? There was no possible way she could have known that and she turned out to be wrong 
.Truth in Television. A lot of women do the same thing in Real Life. It happens for one or more of the following reasons:
  • She's an idiot who doesn't know how how conception dates work, leading her to either miscalculate them, or assume that they're accurate down to the exact day (in reality, there's a margin of error of a couple of weeks, so if even if she didn't have sex with her husband on the estimated date of conception, he could still be the father).
  • Some nonsense about woman's intuition, as if a woman can feel who the father is.
  • Wishful thinking. She wanted to have the baby with her lover, not her husband.
  • She wants to hurt one of the possible fathers.

    In Ridicule, why is Elliot, the male cop, unsupportive of the man who is claiming to have been raped by women, while Olivia, the female cop, defends him from the people they question and the other male detectives? 
  • Because Elliot and the other male detectives didn't believe it was possible for a man to be raped by a woman. Yeah, they were holding the Idiot Ball that week.
  • The issue is why only females support the notion that men can be raped by women in this episode.
  • Both Dr. Huang and Captain Cragen supported the man and Munch didn’t really say anything about it. The only people who attacked him and claimed he was making it up were Elliot and Fin who were both giant Jerkasses in this particular episode.
  • In my experience (which admittedly isn't enough to be definitive), I've noticed that men usually are less likely to be sympathetic when a man is raped by a woman. Whether that's reflective of the overall population, I have no idea.

    Why include Huang, Warner, Munch, Fin, and Cragen in the opening credits if they appear in 25% of episodes, and for only 5 minutes in those episodes? 
  • They still appear frequently enough to be considered part of the main cast. Cragen is the captain, plenty of reason to be in the opening credits. Munch and Fin are still important detectives, and in Munch's case, around the whole show. Warner is their go-to ME for every dead body they find, and Huang interviews every suspect/defendant that seems to have issues.

    In that episode with the trans* woman, why do they assume that both she and the boyfriend planned a killing of his brother and that the boyfriend knew she was born a boy? 
Even Huang, the smart one, said something like "She's the master here, so break the other one first."

    In Turmoil how come Olivia assumes Alex is the one who reported her and Elliot for misconduct and not the kid they assaulted a few hours earlier 
In Turmoil Captain Cragen is reprimanded and suspended because of actions by Elliot and Olivia. Olivia blames Alex for it and claims she turned her back on them. Why does she think that Alex was the one who reported there misbehaver, when a few scenes earlier Elliot was seen jumping and beating a teenager while she stood around and watched. Elliot even identified himself to the kid. I think it would be more reasonable of her to assume it was the kid complaining about being attacked by 2 detectives. Also I do not remember if Cragen was removed before or after Elliot attacked his son in the squad room with Olivia again just standing around and watching (luckily for Richard his mother was there to stop his father). If it happened afterwards then there is a whole room of witnesses that might have turned Elliot in.

    In Baggage who on the team was leaking info to the press. 
I know this episode has already been mentioned twice on this page but in it the thing the chief of detectives seemed angriest about was that one of the detectives was talking to the press and giving them classified information. He gave Cragen an ultimatum to find this person but nothing ever came of it.
  • There are always a gazillion people running around in the background in the squad room, chances are that one of them leaked it.
  • A later episode has Dale take "credit" for it. He thought Stabler would appreciate the glory.

    In Outcry, the press wants to use a video of the victim at a party and they say the cops can't prevent them from airing it because of the First Amendment. If I recall correctly, the Supreme Court ruled that the press can't withhold evidence in a police investigation, so why was this an issue? 
  • Because SVU exists in a universe where laws exist solely for the purpose of making the NYPD's lives harder, apparently.

    In "Bullseye" why didn’t they ask the little girl anything about her rapist? 
She was alive and functioning through out the episode, I know the child was traumatized but if they asked her to describe something about her attacker she might have said young, longhaired or Scottish, which would have ruled out the innocent man whose life they ruined and was Driven to Suicide. Instead they never even showed her a picture of the man and need the kid to pee on the floor before considering the dead man might be innocent.
  • The attacker had a ski mask or something on, so they couldn't see any of his features. They could have done a voice ID, but at that point they thought they had the guy since he had the pictures of the rapes on his computer. Sure, they were hacked on by the real perp, but still...

    In the episode Identity there are two twins, and one of them is really a boy even though he's been made to look like a girl since he was unintentionally castrated when he was circumcised. The doctor handling them was molesting them and the twins kill him, by having one of them stay at a movie theatre and the other kill him so they can't use their DNA to identify which one of them did it. But the mutilated one had been on drugs for years to make him look like a girl, so that would show up in any DNA samples at the scene! 

  • Besides the above plot hole, there's also how the team treated the situation when they found out. They chew out the parents a little bit until they understand it was an accident, although they're in a bit of a corner because they spent the whole episode telling the "girl" that she couldn't have been orally raped because the DNA they got off the perp (who had died after "she" bit down and he fell off a roof, don't ask) was male. So how do they handle this sensitive information that he's been living his entire life as the opposite gender? Why, the doctor's nurse barges in and flat out says that he's really a boy. But instead of treating this as a serious situation, where the nurse would be sued for causing god knows what level psychological distress, the detectives support her for telling the truth. Even though it would later get the molesting doctor killed, showing that the twins did not take this revelation well.
  • Gender drug therapy doesn't affect DNA, it affects hormones. His chromosomes would still be male, regardless of how many hormones his parents gave him.
    • Yeah, but traces of the drugs would show up in whatever secretions/body parts they tested for DNA. So they could just run those tests after the DNA and find out which twin it was.
      • They dealt with that. It was explicitly stated that enough time had passed since he stopped taking the hormone therapy that it had worked it's way out of his system by the time of the murder.
      • However, they just said "perfect crime" and gave up without at least trying or jailing them both for conspiracy after the fact.
      • It would have been a waste of time to charge them with anything, since the simple fact that the other one could have done it is more than enough for reasonable doubt.
      • Except you don't have to prove which one killed him. To prove conspiracy, you only have to prove that one of them killed him(easily done, given the DNA), and then argue that they worked together, one killing him and the other creating an alibi. Conspiracy to commit murder carries the same penalty as murder.
      • True, but in order to make a case for conspiracy, you also have to prove that they did, in fact, work together, which is a lot more difficult that one might think. For one thing, just because one twin's trip to the theater happened to create an alibi for the other twin doesn't automatically mean they planned it that way. While I'd say it probably wasn't a coincidence, the point here is that it could be one, which creates reasonable doubt on the conspiracy front. Without evidence of actual cooperation between them (A verbal or written agreement, for instance), any two-bit defense attorney could get an acquittal.
      • Hand the case off too McCoy. He's prosecuted people for conspiracy on less than this and won.

For one, why reuse an episode title from the main series? Two, how do you have an expectation of privacy when you are intimidating the owner into letting you stay? What happened to inevitable discovery? Why not hold the guy on the stolen credit card? Can't you do a paternity test on the woman the criminal is taunting and try her mom's case? Also, very awkward casting.
  • For the first one, it's a different series, so I think they can do that if they want. The rest, I got no clue.
  • The thing that annoyed me was that they didn't think to check his last cell mate until partway through the episode, yet my first thought (and that of the people watching it with me) was, "Check out who he went to prison with, and see if anyone got out recently, idiots!" The detectives suck at their jobs these days. Also, can you even make someone a legal guardian without getting their permission first?
    • An explanation for why they didn't check at first could be that they were so pissed off at the guy for shooting at them they didn't care about anything he had to say. Once they calmed down a bit, they checked his old cell mate.

    What happened to Jo Marlowe? 
Yes I know she was a Creator's Pet and everyone hated her and blablabla... But why is there no in-universe explanation for why she left? The new season starts and we see this random new ADA without any explanation.
  • I'm a bit shocked that we got nothing about Marlowe's whereabouts. And to be honest, I never had any problems with her. Personally I always thought people hated her for the same reason they hated Dani: She dared to be a woman with a close relationship/history with Stabler not named Benson.
    • Can't speak for anyone else, but I've never been a fan of the Benson/Stabler ship and I actually liked Dani, but I disliked Marlowe from the get-go. She was self-righteous, she treated everyone else like crap, the character dominated the show as soon as she turned up, and Sharon Stone's acting was abysmal. There was nothing likeable about the character whatsoever — I liked Stuckey better than I liked her. That being said, I was annoyed that we didn't get an explanation for her sudden absence, despite being glad she's gone.

    Just how old is Calvin supposed to be? 
The kid looks, sounds and acts like he's around 12, maybe a year or two younger, yet they occasionally have him do something that only a kid much younger would do — drawing that picture in art class is already an odd thing to do for a kid his age, and it doesn't help that it looks like it was drawn by a 7-year-old. Olivia calling him "sweetie" doesn't help, either. Any kid over the age of 9 would resent that. I would chalk it up to SVU being clever and having him regress to childlike behaviors, since he never got to experience being a little kid with his mother, but there is zero confirmation of this in-universe — they act like he's being a totally normal kid. Which leads me to...I remember having free-drawing in my sixth grade art classes, and I can't even draw much better ten years later. It may be a bit sappy, but not neccessarily out of character. Also, "regressing"? I don't know where you're getting that from. He seemed perfectly normal, even if he had some abandonment issues.
  • Considering his crappy childhood and abandonment problems, he was probably just supposed to be working out the kind of childlike expressions that never got him anywhere as a kid by taking a second crack at it. Media can't write kids for crap in general, but Calvin and Olivia got along as well as they did because they were giving each other what they needed at the same somewhat-stunted level. They were both too old to be acting the way they were to each other, but because it was so new and they were both enthusiastic about it, it worked out.

    All through out the episode where the teenage pedophile (Who has yet to commit a crime, mind you) turns himself in, the detectives are going on about how "no one is born a deviant" but then Olivia tells the kids mom "You didn't make him a pedophile. That's who he is." 
  • The differences are that the detectives were saying, "No one is born a deviant," or, "No one is born a child molester." No one starts off life automatically molesting children. Performing those acts is a conscious choice. When Olivia says, "You didn't make him a pedophile. That's who he is," she's saying that his sexual attractions were that way the moment he was born, in the same way someone is born gay or straight. Being a pedophile and being a child molester are not the same thing. Having urges and desires is very different from acting on them. The main problem with this episode is that despite these differences, the detectives treat the kid who tries to get help for his urges like someone who has already committed a crime, thus negating their own point.

    "Doubt": Novak's closing argument 
In it, she said something to the effect of "Why would the victim accuse the professor if he weren't guilty?" You fail logic forever Casey: assuming that all things being equal the alleged victim was telling the truth, didn't she make a false complaint of sexual harassment against Detective unStabler? Why would she have accused him of touching her if the video footage we saw of him catching her innocently on the apartment steps was clearly doctored to fool the viewers?
  • Actually it was more her saying that why would the victim go through all of the embarrassment and hell of a trial if she wasn't telling the truth but point taken.

    The end of "Screwed" bugs me. 
The detectives did some questionable things in past episodes, so the guy didn't kill anyone? And why is Novak in trouble? She didn't do anything.
  • Don't think I've seen the episode you're talking about, but if you can raise large enough concerns about the legitimacy of the police working the case (such as finding evidence of racism, excessive violence, planting evidence, etc.), it can throw their entire investigation into doubt. During the OJ Simpson trial, doubt was cast on the legitimacy of the case because of taped evidence of some of the detectives using racial slurs in an unrelated case. If the defense attorney working the case could draw attention to the mountains of misconduct the SVU detectives perform week after week, it would cast doubts on the whole affair.
  • Part of the problem was the fact that Darius screwed the investigation in the prequel episode "Venom". As in Darius handed EVERYTHING, including DNA evidence and a full-blown confession to SVU, but had everything tossed out through some BS legal loopholes that Darius KNEW to exploit to get himself off on the murder charge. That said, the SVU detectives needed to look for entirely new evidence, anything OUTSIDE of everything that could have given Darius a one-way ticket to jail. That said, Casey was attempting to resurrect what she could of the investigation via testimonies of Fin, Elliot, and Olivia - and having them testify about Darius' character, demeanor, intentions, and connections to the murder investigation. That's all Casey COULD do - IMPLY that there was a strong enough connection between Darius and the murders. That said, the only way for Darius to counter the detectives' words was for him to completely destroy their credibility - something that was all too easy to do because a cop that had a grudge against Cragen that had access to SVU's jackets was actively handing all their records over to Darius. So yeah, credibility of investigating detectives shot = entire investigation questioned = suspect walks away free.

    Don't they have metal detectors? 
Is it just me, or is the Manhattan SVU precinct the most dangerous place to be in the city? It seems that every other week, some perp pulls a gun or a knife. I get that all the cops carry guns, but shouldn't they at least have civilians walk through metal detectors on the way in? My middle school shouldn't have tighter security than a police station.

Is it just me, or do the detectives on the show straddle the line between sting operations and entrapment? Every other time they set up some poor schmuck I end up wondering whether what the police are doing is actually legal.
  • Can you give an example?
    • I can give an example. In one episode, a convicted child molester is released from prison. After a young woman is raped, the cops assumed he did it. So Stabler decides to go undercover as just released convicted child molester as well to see if he did. Stabler decided it was a good idea to coax the guy back to the slammer. In the end, the guy fell off the wagon and kidnapped the girl. Stabler saves the girl and kills the molester. Of course, the molester DID in fact call out Stabler on his assuming nature for basically trapping him to rape again. Not only that, but the fact that the guy is now dead, we never learn if he did in fact rape the other girl.
      • IIRC, Stabler had just given up on testing the guy when he showed up in a van with a party in the back, so to speak. The whole thing is morally dubious, cause SVU.
    • Entrapment is a defense that works much more often in television than in real life. In answer to your question, use the following standard (which is the actual legal standard for entrapment: Law enforcement lures, baits, or provokes an ordinarily law-abiding person into committing a crime that he would not have committed but for the government intervention. This is how undercover sting operations, such as drug buys, work.
    • Were he still alive, the above defendant wouldn't have a case for entrapment because ultimately, he took the girl of his own free will. While you could make the argument that he might not have if Elliot hadn't set himself up as the perfect partner in crime, it's clear from those events that Elliot didn't actually force him to do it. That said, it seems like SVU was going out of their way to ruin the guy's shot at rehabilitation, which certainly says something about their moral character.

    Harassment or Good Detective Work? 
This may be a case of Truth in Television, but how much investigating can the police do if the victim does not want to report the crime? It's true that they just have the victim's best interests at heart, but it seems like in a lot of the episodes Benson and Stabler (usually Benson) really cross the line and are just flat-out harassing the victims. I can't even count how many episodes start out with a girl waking up in the hospital after being attacked, only to refuse to cooperate with or lend anything to the investigation. And every single time the detectives (again, usually Benson) browbeat her until she agrees, sometimes going as far as arresting them for some minor charge in order to get them to cooperate. And their favorite line to use is "if you don't help us he's just going to do this again to some other poor girl," which is an extremely manipulative way of essentially saying that the well-being of any potential victim is in the current victim's hands.
  • In some cases, it's not entirely in the victim's hands. The police are obliged to investigate every report of a crime they receive, whether the person who placed the report is the victim or not — obviously if the victim is willing to cooperate it makes their job easier, but they still have to investigate the original report to the best of their ability even if the victim doesn't want them to. I believe that some professions (such as doctors and nurses) are also legally obliged to contact the police if they believe that someone they're treating is the victim of a serious offence, meaning that again, the victim doesn't necessarily have a say in whether the police launch an investigation. As for the point about harassment, I suppose it depends on your viewpoint. Sometimes they arguably do cross the line (but then, given that this is a drama series we're discussing, it's arguably adds more drama if they do so rather than if they rigidly respect boundaries to a fault), but on the other hand it seems quite obvious that the police would rather persuade the victim of a crime to help them convict the criminal. One way to do that is to appeal to the victim's sense of justice and empathy, and make the entirely reasonable assumption that they wouldn't want anyone else to suffer like they did at the hands of the person who hurt them. Emotionally manipulative it may be, but that's part of the dilemma of being a cop, I suppose.

     Huang saying that he thinks Drew is lying in "Privilege" 
  • Okay, so Drew is suspected of murdering his former girlfriend. He takes a polygraph in an effort to prove his innocence. He passes with flying colors. Huang explains that while he display a "guilty" (read: deceptive) response on a control question about stealing from a friend, he displays a truthful response on the question about whether he murdered Carmen Trancoso. Huang says that he suspects that Drew manipulated his physiological response to the control questions so that his guilty response wouldn't stick out when he answered the relevant questions. When asked if the graph readout could mean that Drew actually is telling the truth, Huang admits "It could, but I think he's lying." That's it. The whole explanation of his point of view is "I think he's lying." At no point does he present a single piece of evidence that contradicts the polygraph's verdict of truth. So, Dr. Huang, it's okay to completely ignore established evidence in favor a gut feeling?
    • Firstly: Polygraph tests don't produce established evidence, they produce test results that have to be verified and interpreted by the tester, just like any other. Huang's statement (that he, the tester, thought Drew was being deceptive, but the polygraph didn't catch it) is saying the test is inconclusive and therefore useless.
    • Secondly: Drew was lying, and Huang was right not to blindly trust the machine.
    • Well, okay, but the fact that Huang turned out to be right about Drew lying doesn't make it any more reasonable for him to have assumed that in the first place, especially since he even admitted that the results could just as easily be interpreted to mean that Drew was being truthful. (See above). It almost seems like he said that because the writers needed a reason for Drew's truthfulness to be in question. Also, if the test is inconclusive, then the results are just as useless for arguing that that he's lying as they are for arguing that he's telling the truth. This sort of thing is the reason polygraph results aren't admissible in court: Too much hinges on the interpretation of the tester.
      • Which is why they don't use it in court. Drew was actually lying and Huang relied on his own examination over the test results, which is why the test results weren't used for anything except a chance for him to observe how Drew took the test. It's not "established evidence", it's part of the investigation.

    Don't bother with backup 
  • In the episode "Folly," the unit convinces a male escort to wear a wire while speaking to a woman who has been sending other escorts out to die. Okay, reasonable enough. However, the unit is simply waiting in the car, listening when she finds the wire. They hesitate, then eventually mobilize and then... wait outside her door until they hear the escort screaming. My description doesn't do it justice, but the length of time between them ascertaining that their plant was in trouble and actually doing anything is astonishing. Not to beat a dead horse here, but if it were a female victim they would have barged in the second their informant was even slightly in trouble.
    • The fact that she found the wire on him is another Headscratcher. They knew that the two were in a sexual relationship and that she's a very high-powered woman... given the inevitability of her feeling him, they should have hidden the wire better.

    Prosecution can't bring new evidence to court? 
I don't know much about American or New York state law, so here's a law question: I just watched an episode about a mother shaking her baby, leading to brain damage. In that episode, new evidence comes up during trial, which the prosecution isn't allowed to bring up in court. Is the law really like that? I'm not saying that the defense shouldn't be allowed to consider the new evidence - they should - but things can change outside of investigation or prosecution control.
  • I remember the episode though I don't remember what happened exactly, so I'll amend this once I come across the episode (which I'm pretty sure is called "Shake") and watch the court part. That said, the only reason I can think of is that all evidence regardless of which party discovered it needs to be looked over by both the prosecution and the defense in order to prepare for a proper argument/counter-argument once that evidence is brought up in court.
  • In that episode, it's a combination of the fact that the prosecution has already rested (meaning they're not at a point in the trial where they're the ones in charge) and the fact that the evidence itself is slightly iffy — it relates to a change in the child's condition that doesn't actually reveal anything new about the crime itself. If it had actually been evidence with serious value, the ruling might have been different.

    The episode American Tragedy 
  • The detectives routinely ask the same questions of the victims of rapes: Did you see anything? Did you feel anything? Did you smell anything? Yet the detail of the rapist smelling like kitchen oil only comes up after the rapist is caught and Mehcad (the boy mistaken as the rapist) is dead. Idiot Ball Played for Drama writing in full effect?
  • Jolene Castille acts scared for her life, and then goes full on racist following the revelation that she shot an innocent boy, going so far as to defend her actions (which we all have right to do) using a line ripped from headlines about the rapist in question that was somehow leaked to the press. I get that witness testimony can change, but why didn't Barba bring up that amendment to her testimony in court?
    • Not only that, while Rollins was fingerprinting Castille, Castille recognizes Rollins from Georgia through her accent. The next thing Castille says? "How'd they rope [Rollins] in this, honey? You know if we were back home, you know they would have given me a medal." Uhh... why didn't Rollins bring this up with Barba?
      • Could be that she did and we just don't see it happen. Could be that she didn't consider it necessary when it's already established beyond a reasonable doubt that Castille is a racist, especially keeping in mind that the detectives generally don't want to spend any more time with Barba than they really need to.

     Stabler's departure 
  • For several years, Stabler has been a serious loose cannon. He's beaten suspects, violated civil rights, bent & twisted the law, and admitted to actually fantasizing about killing perps. He's been reprimanded, investigated by Internal Affairs, and criticized in the press. But, throughout, he's stood up to it and pretty much refused to change his ways. And, yet, in the end, when IAB threatens him over an entirely justified, fully witnessed shooting of an armed assailant who had already shot several people in the middle of the squad room, Stabler just quits and doesn't even attempt to fight for himself. Huh?
    • I'm pretty sure the issue here is the fact that the shooter in question was a girl who was around the same age as his kids - a girl that he heavily sympathized with throughout the episode. And then he ended up shooting and killing her. Regardless of why he shot her, the fact remains that he killed someone that could have been his own daughter, which was probably much harder for him to personally reconcile than just shooting a bad guy of the week. (Beyond the scope of the series continuity, Chris Meloni decided not to come back to the show after Season 12 due to disagreements over his contract, so the sudden excuse is probably just something they came up with on the fly.)
    • Yeah, the suggestion is that's not that he can't fight IAB, it's that he was personally traumatized to the extent that he didn't want to keep doing that job anymore.

     "Pornstar's Requiem" Verdict 
Three things bugged me about this episode:
  • Why didn't the District Attorney re-direct the victim when the Defense Attorney argued that she performs in rape roleplay porn so there was no way for the defendants to know she wasn't consenting? It wouldn't be that hard to ask "When you perform, do you give consent offscreen to your costars who pretend to rape you?"
  • Why did the Judge set aside the verdict? It seems like there was enough evidence to convict and it was up to the jury to decide who was telling the truth, the victim or the defendants. The jury didn't disregard any of the judge's instructions. If I was on that jury, I would've ended up in Contempt of Court for asking why the Honorable Son of a Bitch wasted my time forcing me to hear details of something I don't want to hear for no good reason.
    • Law isn't a machine. It's run by humans that are easily manipulated and loaded with their own biases. Cases can get thrown out for that shit far more commonly than you'd give it credit for. Anyway, given the talk and reasoning the judge gave, it sounds like the traditional narrow-minded "You work in porn so you don't respect yourself." bullshit notion. Also, the conversation between Dodds and Benson indicate that the University of Cornwell has some political influence on the movers and shakers. Coincidentally, while not all women or men star in rape porns, you'd be surprised how often judges are quick to throw out rape cases or cases of domestic abuse because of sexual history. They're not supposed to, but whoops, there it is.
    • This is another example of Hollywood Law. In New York, a guilty verdict can't simply be set aside just because a judge disagrees with the jury.
  • How didn't that end with everyone giving up? The DA bitches at the judge. The cops walk away. The victim goes back to porn because "With all my choices taken away, this is the only choice I have left." This case screamed "appeal on 6th Amendment grounds". Every episode starts by mentioning how dedicated these people are and they end the show with "Sorry you couldn't get justice. Enjoy getting trained."
    • There seemed to be notions on all angles that the detectives and Barba were ready to fight back. Barba was ACHING to go back to trial and possibly for that Judge's neck and job. One problem: can't make a case without a defendant. Evie was completely broken and she perceives that there's no more hope for fighting back. To be fair to her, after seeing two dudes get convicted of rape, only to be released because the judge thinks "I'm nothing more than a whore." would throw out the fight in many people. Once she's seen what she saw in that courtroom; that was it for her. She was broken and victimized by the same legal system that was supposed to protect her.

What's the point of Carisi? He is, honestly, incredibly stupid and yet the writers insist he's incredibly skilled, just green. But then they have him save child porn from a case on his tablet for evidence, not realizing that possession is a crime even for cops, especially on a person tablet. That's like putting a murderer's blood-covered coat in your laundry! Are we really supposed to believe Carisi is a competent cop and may have passed the NY bar exam on his 'first try'?

    The 'Svengali' pizza bomb 
So, after she's been receiving threats and signs point to a stalker trying to get her off the case/shut her up, Olivia receives a mysterious pizza at the precinct - she didn't order it, and seems weirded out by it. But, she just orders Fin to toss it out. Everyone else is present, and nobody at all seems suspicious of this mystery pizza sent specifically to Liv. In fact, as Fin's about to go throw it out, Chester actually asks if he can have the pizza so it doesn't go to waste, then carelessly tosses the box on his desk - causing it to explode. This is season 9, and all of the detectives present should have known better than to treat such an occurrence so glibly. Mysterious, un-ordered food in a box showing up at the precinct for a detective who's been threatened on the current case? Nobody found that suspicious and worthy of caution and investigation? How long have these people been doing their jobs, again? It's very hard to believe the thought that it might have been a trap never crossed the mind of anyone present there. It makes them all look irresponsible and downright stupid.
  • IIRC, Olivia was distracted during that scene and was just about to leave when the pizza arrived, and she wouldn't have connected the pizza with the death threats. When she told Fin she didn't order it, I imagine he presumed someone else ordered it and it had been misconstrued as Olivia's. Lake was sitting a few feet away and probably didn't hear Olivia saying she did not order the pizza, he likely just presumed she didn't want it. Overall, chalk the whole thing up to complacency. The SVU squad have been threatened with death many, many times before then, they've never (I think) been targeted inside their own precinct before.

     Did they just retcon Kathleen Stabler's problems 
In "Crush" Olivia thought Kathleen would be able to get through to a teenage abuse victim. Kathleen told the victim that she used to let boys use her, have sex with her, and hit her. Two problems: 1) Kathleen was bi-polar, the victim was not; 2) while Kathleen did express regret over her manic sexual activity, there was never any indication that she was physically abused. Do the writers just think that the problems of young blonde girls are all interchangeable?
  • I'm not sure Kathleen's mental health was relevant here. Also, given the circles she was running in, it's possible that she was abused and we just didn't see it (and more to the point, neither did Elliot...Kathleen might have told Olivia about it in confidence).