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Recap / Law And Order Special Victims Unit S 6 E 7 Charisma

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Olivia is called to interview a heavily pregnant twelve-year old girl called Melanie who claims to have an husband. She confronts the man known as Abraham in a building who lives in a building with several children. He proceeds to barricade himself inside the building and kills all the inhabitants inside. The detectives find out they are dealing with a fanatical cult whose leader is loose on New York.

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This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Blasphemous Boast: What ultimately causes Eugene Hoff's downfall is when he orders Melanie to decide whether he or Benson is telling the truth and then shoot the liar. Then he tells Melanie that Olivia is evil and she and the cops are there to kill him because he is "greater than God". Melanie promptly shoots him because "nobody is greater than God", meaning that he had told a lie, and he had just told her to kill the liar.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Even though he is nothing more than a con artist that is really good at deceiving people, it's shown that Eugene might as well genuinely believe the bullshit he spouts, something which the heroes call him out on.
  • Broken Bird: Benson is the one most visibly affected by the children's murder at the start of the episode, to the point she breaks down in tears to Huang.
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  • Con Man: What Abraham Ophion/Eugene Hoff ultimately is. He was arrested four times in the past for check forgery, counterfeiting, identity theft, and various fraud, tried to fund his own church to get tax exemption and the only reason he keeps Melanie around is because she has a 2 million dollar fund that will become available after she becomes 21 or has a baby, which is why he impregnated her in the first place.
  • Creepy Child: Abraham's children for the brief time they appear just standing around and being unnerving. Just like you'd expect from children raised by a cult.
  • Cult: Eugene/Abraham leads a Branch Davidian style religious cult that has completely brainwashed his followers and has similar apocalyptic beliefs.
  • Disappeared Dad: Melanie's father ran away and left both her and her mom at Eugene's mercy. Subverted when its revealed that Eugene killed him for his money and hid his corpse.
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  • Death of a Child: At the start of the episode, Abraham has one of his six children murder the others and commit suicide when the police try to raid his building. The detectives are pretty affected by it to the point Captain Cragen has to appoint psychological help for them.
  • Interrupted Suicide: When Abraham gets cornered by the cops during a set up, he tries to slit his own throat. Benson tackles him because he hid Melanie and if he dies, they would have never found her.
  • It's Up to You: Benson and Munch are left to investigate the case after Stabler and Tutuola are told to take a leave due to being emotionally compromised.
  • Meaningful Rename: Eugene Hoff took the name Abraham Ophion after the Biblical one because he had multiple wives and spawned many children. One of his female followers renamed herself Sarah after Abraham's wife.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Eugene Hoff was based on David Koresh, an heretical Christian terrorist that also lead a militarized cult and practiced polygamy with his female followers, including underage. Lampshaded in-universe when Huang says that Koresh also had a 10-year old wife and when a cop finds a gun stash in one of the cult's hideouts, he compares them to the Waco incident where Koresh met his end.
  • Offing the Offspring: Taken Up to Eleven. Eugene was the father of all the children in the cult except Melanie, and they were all killed on his orders.
  • Pædo Hunt: As if brainwashing adult women to be his sex slaves wasn't bad enough, Eugene does it to little girls too.
  • Sex Slave: The female followers in Eugene's cult are separated from their husbands, sons and brothers and forced to sleep with Eugene.
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