Alexandra Cabot

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For the comic and cartoon character called Alexandra Cabot, see Josie and the Pussycats (comic).
ADA Alexandra Cabot
Law & Order character
ADA Alexandra Cabot.jpg
First appearance "Wrong Is Right" (SVU)
"Pilot" (Conviction)
Last appearance "Learning Curve" (SVU)
"Hostage" (Conviction)
Portrayed by Stephanie March
Time on show 2000–2003, 2005,
2009–2012 (SVU)
2006 (Conviction)
Seasons SVU: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13
Conviction: 1
Credited appearances 96 episodes (SVU)
13 episodes (Conviction)
109 episodes (total)
Preceded by Various (1999–2000)
Kim Greylek ("Lead")
Tracey Kibre (Homicide Bureau Chief ADA)
Succeeded by Casey Novak ("Serendipity") (SVU)
Jo Marlowe ("Torch") (SVU)
Christine Danielson (Homicide Bureau Chief ADA)
Rafael Barba ("Twenty-Five Acts") (SVU)

Alexandra "Alex" Cabot is a fictional character within the Law & Order universe portrayed by Stephanie March. She is a primary character in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Conviction.

Character overview[edit]

Cabot first appears in the SVU episode "Wrong Is Right," when she is hired to work with SVU as their permanent ADA overseeing the legality of its arrests, following a rotating mix of ADAs (among them Abbie Carmichael of the original Law & Order). It is revealed in the episode "Hell" that she is a graduate of Harvard Law School. While Cabot empathizes with the sexual assault victims she deals with, her strict code of legal ethics often forces her to make harsh decisions and judgments that go against her personal feelings.

She does occasionally bend the rules to suit her own notions of justice, however, often with unpleasant results. In the episode "Guilt," for example, she lies to detectives about having a search warrant to convict a serial child molester, and aggressively pressures one of the molester's victims to testify against him. The victim later attempts suicide, leaving him with severe brain damage. She only lied about the warrant after he attempted suicide, because he could no longer testify within the time frame demanded by the court. She is let off with a one-month suspension, but never truly forgives herself.

While Cabot had only been seen going on a dinner with Defense Attorney Trevor Langan (though no romantic relationship was ever implied or established between them), executive producer and head writer Neal Baer has said that there is an unaddressed sexual tension between Cabot and Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Baer admits saying: "We read the fan sites. We know that people are into the Alex-Olivia thing. All the codes are in there."[1]

Departure from SVU[edit]

After three seasons, Cabot makes her departure from SVU in the Season 5 episode "Loss," in which she is prosecuting a rapist named Rafael Zapata Gaviria, who worked for the notorious drug lord Cesar Velez. Zapata had brutally raped and murdered an undercover NYPD officer who was working with the DEA. Cabot receives a threat on her life, as well as that of her mother. Despite warnings from the rest of the SVU squad, Cabot continues to prosecute the case, unwilling to let Zapata scare her. Timothy Donovan, a key witness and DEA special agent, is murdered in a car bombing right before Cabot's eyes. Cabot initially wants to try Zapata, even with no witness and her own life on the line, but after pressuring from the SVU detectives and District Attorney Arthur Branch (Fred Thompson), she drops the charges. However, Zapata is immediately arrested by Federal Agents for the witness' murder and subsequently dies in his cell.

At the conclusion of the episode, she is apparently killed in a drive-by shooting while saying goodnight to Benson and Stabler. In the following scene, a cold, quiet SVU squad-room is shown with Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) reading a newspaper proclaiming her death. Benson and Stabler are called to a deserted area by Federal Agents where Cabot emerges from the car. She tells the stunned detectives that she insisted on telling them the truth before she disappears into the Witness Protection Program. She is replaced in the following episode by ADA Casey Novak (Diane Neal).

First reappearance on SVU[edit]

Detectives Benson and Stabler are still the only ones in the precinct who know the truth about Cabot's "death" until one year and four months later (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Ghost"), when she emerges from hiding to be a witness in a case against Liam Connors, the assassin who tried to kill her. It is revealed in this episode that Cabot was living in Wisconsin under the name "Emily" under the Witness Protection Program; Emily is from Tulsa and she works for an insurance company in Wisconsin. It is also mentioned that Cabot's mother died during her time in witness protection, and that she was unable to attend the funeral. She wants to see Connors brought to justice, but does not want him to be convicted of a murder that he didn't actually commit, which forces her to leave witness protection and face him in the courtroom. Connors goes to prison, having been found guilty under two counts of attempted murder (Cabot and an eight-year-old boy), plus five counts of murder. Upon winning the case, the SVU squad goes to Novak's office to celebrate, awaiting Cabot to join them. She does not show up, as the Federal Agent informs them that she has moved under a new identity and she asked him to say goodbye.

In Conviction[edit]

About a year after her reappearance on SVU, Cabot returns to New York and resumes her work at the District Attorney's office as the Homicide Bureau Chief (replacing Tracey Kibre from Law & Order: Trial by Jury) in the Law & Order spinoff, Conviction. She plays a tough, but understanding supervisor to a young group of ADAs. Her attitude and personality in this role was much different than that of the young ADA that prosecuted cases in SVU. Cabot's departure from witness protection and return to New York as a Bureau Chief was not explained during the show's airing, as she was a last-minute addition to the cast and most of the early episodes had already been written before she was added. There were plans in later episodes to explain Cabot's return to New York, plus a greater exploration of her personal life and past, but the cancellation of Conviction made this a moot point.[2]

Second reappearance on SVU[edit]

The explanation of Cabot's return from Witness Protection to the DA's office in Conviction was finally revealed in the SVU Season 10 episode, "Lead", where she reveals to the SVU detectives that she has been asked by DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) to step in for Kim Greylek (Michaela McManus), when Greylek was called back to the Justice Department. At that point, she had not told her former colleagues of her return; it is implied, and later confirmed, that she is still traumatized by her attempted murder. The detectives learn she had left Witness Protection after Velez died in prison and Connors was extradited to Ireland. Sometime between 2006 and 2007, she stepped down from the position of Homicide Bureau Chief and is replaced by Christine Danielson (Gloria Reuben). Cabot begins work in the Appeals Bureau until her return to SVU. She remains at SVU for the remainder of the season, in which she appears in six episodes in what Cabot calls a "temporary" role. She replaces Greylek.

In the Season 11 premiere, it is revealed that Cabot is training in Albany, and will eventually work back to the Appeals Bureau. McCoy asks Executive ADA Sonya Paxton (Christine Lahti) to assume Cabot's role ("Unstable"). In the fourth episode of Season 11, Paxton shows up drunk to trial; it is revealed that she is an alcoholic. She is ordered to go through court-mandated rehabilitation and has to leave her role at SVU. Cabot returns in the fifth episode, commenting that she had "clawed her way" out of Appeals to return to SVU, to prosecute a man running a pedophile advocacy group. In this episode, Stephanie March is added to the Season 11 opening credits as a series regular (though only in episodes in which she appears). In the eighth episode, Detectives Benson and Stabler are informed that Cabot had been accused of withholding evidence and is being investigated by Liam Black, a member of the State bar association. In that same episode, Paxton returns to give Cabot some "much needed advice".

In "Witness," Cabot tries a rape case with an illegal immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as her star witness. The witness was a rape victim in the Congo herself, and Cabot works to help her get asylum, as well as trying the rape case, which then becomes a murder case after the victim dies from an infection caused by a large cut sustained during the rape. Cabot succeeds in getting the rapist convicted and gets the witness a visa that would allow her to remain in the United States without fear of being deported. However, the case affects both the witness and Cabot; the witness decides to return to the Congo to help rape victims there, while Cabot decides to take a leave of absence and joins the Prosecutor's Office of the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes sex crimes and other human rights abuses in areas such as the Congo. She is replaced by ADA Jo Marlowe (Sharon Stone) in the 21st episode "Torch".

Third reappearance on SVU[edit]

ADAs Alexandra Cabot and Casey Novak both returned to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for the show's 13th season.[3] In the season premiere "Scorched Earth", Cabot makes her first appearance in the squad room since Season 11. She is the lead prosecutor in a rape case against a man who is the favorite to become Italy's next prime minister. When the accuser, a hotel maid, is caught on tape admitting she could make money off her alleged rapist, Cabot's new boss, SVU's Bureau Chief ADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache), says that they are dropping the charges. Cabot fights Cutter, however, and the case does make it to trial, with mixed results; the jury finds the defendant guilty of unlawful imprisonment, but are deadlocked on the rape charge.

In the episode "Spiraling Down," Cabot is convinced by the detectives to set up a sting operation to catch johns after they rescue an underage prostitute. They arrest former pro quarterback Jake Stanton and both Cabot and Benson seek to make an example out of him, but Cabot is unexpectedly forced to face off with defense attorney Bayard Ellis at trial, after Benson tells Stanton's wife to call him. After the case takes a turn for the worse, Cabot berates Benson after court when Benson defends Stanton. Cabot implies she knows Benson had something to do with Ellis defending Stanton. Cabot ultimately loses the case after the jury finds Stanton not guilty due to mental instability caused by the numerous concussions he suffered during his career.

Cabot is the prosecutor in seven episodes of Season 13, sharing the ADA duties with Novak, Cutter, and Haden. Cabot's last episode of Season 13 was "Learning Curve" in which she is aiding in the investigation of a school molestation scandal.

Credits[edit]

March has been credited in 96 episodes of SVU (appearing in 92),[4] making her the third-longest ADA in the Law & Order franchise history, surpassed by Casey Novak (SVU), and Ron Carver (Law & Order: Criminal Intent). Additionally, she is credited in all 13 episodes of Conviction, bringing her total episode count to 109.

Seasons Years Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
2 2000–01
3 2001–02
4 2002–03 × × ×
5 2003 ×
6 2005
1 (Conviction) 2006
10 2009
11 2009–10
13 2011–12
Seasons Years 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Episodes

References[edit]