Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (season 2)

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (season 2)
L&O SVU season 2 DVD.jpg
Season 2 U.S. DVD Cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 21
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run October 20, 2000 (2000-10-20) – May 11, 2001 (2001-05-11)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 September 27, 2005 (2005-09-27)[1]
Region 2 November 21, 2005 (2005-11-21)[2]
Region 4 March 8, 2006 (2006-03-08)[3]
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 1
Next →
Season 3
List of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episodes

The second season of the television series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit premiered October 20, 2000 and ended May 11, 2001 on NBC. The show remained in its time slot, Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern / 9:00 p.m. Central. As Neal Baer's first year producing the show, the second season was accompanied by drastic changes in tone. Additionally, the series began to increase its focus on trial scenes with the addition of an Assistant District Attorney for sex crimes to the cast.

Production[edit]

David J. Burke and Neal Baer served as chief executive producers to replace Robert Palm. Baer took over in the season finale. Neal Baer, a former pediatrician, left ER to work for Dick Wolf's first Law & Order spin-off. When explaining how he first became interested in the show, Neal Baer said he was "drawn to it by Mariska"[4] who appeared in ER. Mariska Hargitay felt that Baer gave the show the direction it previously lacked and explained "There was no consistency. Dick wasn't really here. We had no leader, we had no vision."[5] Jonathan Greene also credited Baer with improving the quality of the show, saying "He literally took this, not just to the next level, but up five or six levels above that."[6] In a video interview, Richard Belzer said "The show's better this year, so I think it's directly attributable to him being at the helm."[7]

The second episode of the season "Honor", was based on a script that Jonathan Greene had written previously.[8] In it, the squad is exposed to misogynistic "honor killings" used to punish women for adultery. As one reviewer puts it, "Airing one full year before the 9/11 terror attacks, this episode examines Taliban rules and plays differently today than it did when NBC first aired it."[9] In the episode "Taken", Olivia Benson's mother dies after falling down a flight of stairs. The character's backstory, as established in the first episode, is that she was raped by a stranger, causing her to become pregnant with Olivia. The writers briefly considered changing this. Deleted scenes that accompany "Taken" on the DVD show a funeral for Serena Benson, during which it is revealed that she had consensual sex to conceive Olivia. Many episodes in later seasons reaffirm the fact that Benson is the product of a rape, meaning that the deleted scenes for "Taken" are not canon.

Cast changes and returning characters[edit]

First season cast members Christopher Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler), Mariska Hargitay (Detective Olivia Benson), Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch) and Dann Florek (Captain Don Cragen) returned to the show for the second season. Cast member Michelle Hurd (Detective Monique Jeffries) began to depart the cast over the first-half of the season.

Hurd ultimately departed from the series to join the Showtime drama Leap Years. After her departure from the show, Hurd said, "I think it's just sad they didn't have faith to stick around with me."[10] However, she said she bore no ill feelings about her time on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but felt the casting on Leap Years was a "rare opportunity".[10] Roger Friedman of Fox News reported that Richard Belzer arranged for Hurd to be fired because her character was receiving too many storylines and distracting attention from him, but that report was never confirmed.[11] Although Jeffries departed from the Special Victims Unit during the episode "Asunder", her character was still present in the episode "Runaway", which marked character's final appearance. "Runaway" was originally intended to air before "Asunder" but was broadcast out of order.[12] The retcon explanation in "Runaway" is that Detective Jeffries transferred to Vice and briefly stepped into the SVU squadroom again when they were in need of extra manpower for a case. Hurd was replaced by rapper-turned-actor, Ice-T who began portraying Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola.

Stephanie March joined the cast as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot, the series using many guest actors and actresses to portray ADA characters in the first season. Tamara Tunie took on the recurring role of Medical Examiner Melinda Warner, replacing Leslie Hendrix's Law & Order character Chief Medical Examiner Elizabeth Rodgers. BD Wong began portraying FBI Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. George Huang closer to the end of the season replacing Dr. Emil Skoda (J. K. Simmons).

Cast[edit]

Principal cast[edit]

Actor Character Main cast Recurring cast
Chris Meloni Det. Elliot Stabler entire season N/A
Mariska Hargitay Det. Olivia Benson entire season N/A
Richard Belzer Det. John Munch entire season N/A
Michelle Hurd Det. Monique Jeffries episodes 1, 7, 16 N/A
Ice-T Det. Fin Tutuola entire season N/A
Stephanie March ADA Alexandra Cabot entire season N/A
Dann Florek Capt. Don Cragen entire season N/A
Tamara Tunie Dr. Melinda Warner N/A episodes 6, 9, 11–12, 20–21
BD Wong Dr. George Huang N/A episodes 20–21

Recurring cast[edit]

Guest stars[edit]

Hayden Panettiere portrayed Ashley Austin Black, a girl who adopted the habit of purposely injuring herself because it was the only way to make her parents notice her.

In the second episode "Honor", Marshall Manesh played an Afghan diplomat and Anil Kumar played his son. Both of their characters follow Sharia law and condone honor killings. The diplomat's wife was played by Susham Bedi. Despite having no power in her country, her character gets the chance to make or break a New York case in a climactic scene of her episode. Tracy Pollan who played Harper Anderson in Season 1, reprised her role as the paranoid rape victim-turned-vigilante in the Season 2 episode "Closure".

The fifth episode "Baby Killer" has a tragic opening in which a seven-year-old is shot by one of her classmates. The shooter Elias was played by Nicolas Martí Salgado. Carlos Leon portrayed a gang leader who played a large role in how Elias came to possess the gun and how he became traumatized enough to fire it. The sixth episode, "Noncompliance" featured Kevin Breznahan playing a schizophrenic man and Kathleen Chalfant playing his mother. Although they realize that Breznahan's character is mentally ill, they wish for him to remain off medication because the world comes across as incredibly frightening compared to his own version of reality. The seventh episode "Asunder" was the first of two guest appearances for Nestor Serrano on SVU. He played a police officer accused of spousal rape. Amy Carlson guest starred as his wife.

Jim Gaffigan guest starred as Oliver Tunney, a convicted child molester who used to be a party clown.

In the thirteenth episode "Victims", Eric Roberts guest starred as a vigilante ex-cop. His character killed sex offenders who were known to be spreading HIV every time they raped. Elliot Stabler begins taking antiretrovirals in this episode after a visit to a crime scene exposes him to the blood of an HIV positive victim. This is referenced in the fourteenth episode "Paranoia" as well. In "Paranoia", Khandi Alexander guest starred as a police officer who secretly works for internal affairs.

In episode fifteen, "Countdown", Andrea Bowen played a key witness who helps the SVU track a serial killer. In the episode "Runaway", Kelly Karbacz played a teenage girl who goes missing. Sean Nelson guest starred as an informant who helps the SVU search for her. With regard to this episode, showrunner Neal Baer said "That's the only episode ever broadcast just once on the network — because it was stinky."[13] However, the producers still decided to showcase a scene from the episode in the Season 1 DVD extras to help analyze Cragen's character.[14]

In the eighteenth episode "Manhunt", noted for exploring the partnership between Detectives Munch and Tutuola, R.E. Rodgers and Paul Sparks guest starred as a serial killing duo. R.E. Rodgers' character is revealed to be the smarter of the two when he murders his partner and escapes to Canada. The second last episode "Pique", featured Margot Kidder and Chad Lowe in a dysfunctional and abusive mother-son relationship. The detectives come to learn about this by examining Lowe's character, a disturbed killer with piquerism. In an interview with Larry King, Chad Lowe talked about how exciting this role was. Specifically, "if you're playing a serial killer, you can't play them with judgement. You have to try to get inside their minds. So the further removed it is from your own experience, the more of a challenge it is."[15]

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
23 1 "Wrong Is Right" Ted Kotcheff David J. Burke & Jeff Eckerle October 20, 2000 (2000-10-20) E1403 13.39[16]
Stabler's daughter, Maureen (Erin Broderick) bears witness to a horrific crime scene: the murder of a man who was set on fire. The internal investigation into the psyches of the SVU detectives yields interesting results. Monique Jeffries is removed from active duty and placed on desk duty and is replaced by Fin Tutuola. Cabot joins the SVU squad as a permanent Assistant District Attorney for the sex crimes unit.
24 2 "Honor" Alan Metzger Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene October 27, 2000 (2000-10-27) E1407 13.20[17]
A woman found in the park shows signs of being viciously assaulted. She is identified as Nafeesa Amir, the daughter of Afghan diplomat Saleh Amir (Marshall Manesh). During the investigation, the detectives learn that Nafeesa and her brother Jaleel (Anil Kumar) were raised according to Taliban traditions in which an "honor killing" is the punishment for disobedience. Although her individually has been suppressed for her entire life, the SVU squad turns to Aziza Amir (Susham Bedi) for help, hoping that the love she feels for her daughter is stronger.
25 3 "Closure (Part II)" Jean de Segonzac Teleplay by: David J. Burke, Judith McCreary & Wendy West
Story by: Wendy West
November 3, 2000 (2000-11-03) E1409 13.40[17]

Stabler and Benson investigate a sexual assault very similar to one they worked six months ago. They assume that the prime suspect from the previous case (Neil Maffin) is again responsible. Things turn more complicated when they learn that he is being followed and surveilled by his alleged victim (Tracy Pollan) who is desperate to get her life back.

  • Special appearance by Doris Belack as Judge Margaret Barry.
26 4 "Legacy" Jud Taylor Jeff Eckerle November 10, 2000 (2000-11-10) E1401 13.40[17]
An abused seven-year-old girl lays in a deep coma as the detectives investigate members of her dysfunctional family to determine the source of the abuse. After her mother (Jennifer Dundas Lowe), father (Paul Michael Valley) and brother (Adam Zolotin) lie to protect each other, Munch gets emotional because of a similar case that has haunted him for years.
27 5 "Baby Killer" Juan J. Campanella Dawn DeNoon & Lisa Marie Petersen November 17, 2000 (2000-11-17) E1411 12.80[17]
The tragic shooting death of a young girl leads investigators to a little boy Elias (Nicolas Martí Salgado). Elliot and Olivia interview him with his parents (Sara Ramirez and Robert Montano) as he is one of the youngest murder suspects they have ever questioned. Meanwhile Alex argues with her co-workers over what punishment would be ethical. Ballistic evidence reveals that Elias picked up the gun after a gang related murder which he must have witnessed. In addition to providing a mitigating circumstance for Elias' case, this allows the detectives to apprehend a wanted criminal (Carlos Leon).
28 6 "Noncompliance" Elodie Keene Judith McCreary November 24, 2000 (2000-11-24) E1417 15.40[16]
The question of patients' rights surfaces when a schizophrenic man (Kevin Breznahan) refusing to take his medication is a suspect in the stabbing death of a psychology doctoral student. Against the wishes of his mother (Kathleen Chalfant), the court eventually has him medicated.
29 7 "Asunder" David Platt Judith McCreary December 1, 2000 (2000-12-01) E1404 15.43[16]
The truth behind the alleged rape of a woman (Amy Carlson) by her police officer husband (Nestor Serrano) comes to light when a history of domestic abuse is uncovered. Monique Jeffries leaves the squad and files a discrimination suit against the NYPD.
30 8 "Taken" Michael Fields Dawn DeNoon & Lisa Marie Petersen December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15) E1406 14.31[16]
The case of a seventeen-year-old rape victim (Jenna Lamia) during the opening festivities of a luxury hotel takes a strange turn when her immediate family tries to keep the scandal quiet by preparing a lawsuit. Detectives soon realize that the girl isn't as innocent as she pretends to be, especially when an innocent man (Derek Cecil) gets caught up in her scheme. Benson struggles to deal with her mother's death.
31 9 "Pixies" Jean de Segonzac Teleplay by: Tracey Stern
Story by: Clifton Campbell, Jeff Eckerle & Tracey Stern
January 12, 2001 (2001-01-12) E1416 14.80[17]
The investigation of a gymnast's murder involves her strict trainer (Philip Casnoff), a wealthy benefactor (Armand Schultz) and a competitor (Kate Mara).
32 10 "Consent" James Quinn Jeff Eckerle January 19, 2001 (2001-01-19) E1419 13.60[17]
College girl Kelly D'Leah (Tammy Blanchard) is raped during a frat party, but can't remember anything that happened. The detectives find that she had a date rape drug in her system, leaving the squad with many suspects and accomplices. They ultimately discover that the boy who had sex with Kelly (Zak Orth) was unaware that she had been drugged.
33 11 "Abuse" Richard Dobbs Teleplay by: Dawn DeNoon & Lisa Marie Petersen
Story by: Dawn DeNoon, Lisa Marie Petersen & Gwendolyn M. Parker
January 26, 2001 (2001-01-26) E1415 15.20[17]
Stabler and Benson suspect parental neglect may have led to the tragic death of the son (Paul Tiesler) of two famous singers (Christine Andreas), leading them to fear for their little girl Ashley (Hayden Panettiere). Benson realizes that the career-obsessed parents are ignoring Ashley and that her desperate cries for attention have led to a pattern of physical injuries. When Benson pushes the case further, the parents' reaction puts her job in jeopardy.
34 12 "Secrets" Arthur W. Forney Teleplay by: Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene
Story by: Robert F. Campbell, Jonathan Greene & Wendy West
February 2, 2001 (2001-02-02) E1416 15.72[17]
A case involving the rape and murder of a teacher hits a snag after the woman's taboo sexual history is exposed by one of her students.
35 13 "Victims" Constantine Makris Nick Kendrick February 9, 2001 (2001-02-09) E1420 14.90[17]
A former police officer (Eric Roberts), now a community activist, is a suspect in the murders of known sex offenders, all of whom share a certain characteristic that scars their victims for life. One of them (Rosemarie DeWitt) attempts suicide, leaving Stabler in a potentially life-threatening situation.
36 14 "Paranoia" Richard Dobbs Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene February 16, 2001 (2001-02-16) E1426 14.10[17]
The rape of a veteran police officer (Khandi Alexander), who trained Benson, is first linked to her ex-husband's gambling debts and then to her fellow officers.
37 15 "Countdown" Steve Shill Dawn DeNoon & Lisa Marie Petersen February 23, 2001 (2001-02-23) E1412 15.50[16]
The detectives work around the clock to find an abducted girl when clues point to a serial killer (Jonathan Fried) who kills his victims after three days, and follows a very specific pattern: during the three days the man has a "Party Day", a "Picture Day", and finally a "Special Day" on which the victims are raped and murdered. The investigation is assisted by the killer's last victim (Andrea Bowen), who escaped.
38 16 "Runaway" Richard Dobbs David J. Burke & Nick Kendrick March 2, 2001 (2001-03-02) E1405 14.56[16]
The search for a police officer's runaway daughter (Kelly Karbacz), which leads the detectives through an underground rave culture that caters to wayward teens, is seen through the eyes of the squad room personnel and their interviews with the Internal Affairs division. SVU employs the help of informant Tito Frank (Sean Nelson) and Monique Jeffries who returns in her final appearance to help her former colleagues find the missing girl. Darrell Hammond guest stars as a businessman.
39 17 "Folly" Jud Taylor Todd Robinson March 23, 2001 (2001-03-23) E1428 14.30[17]
The beating of a young man (Eddie Cahill) uncovers a dangerous male escort service where the boss (Patricia Kalember) may have reasons for sending her staff on potentially deadly dates.
40 18 "Manhunt" Stephen Wertimer Jeff Eckerle April 20, 2001 (2001-04-20) E1431 12.70[17]
When the details of a kidnapping reveal similarities with a series of previous rapes and murders, Munch and Fin find themselves tracking down a serial killer (R.E. Rodgers). The killer proves exceedingly clever when he takes advantage of the trust that his partner (Paul Sparks) has in him and exploits Canadian extradition law.
41 19 "Parasites" David Platt Martin Weiss April 27, 2001 (2001-04-27) E1427 13.40[16]
When the remains of a young woman are found buried in an apartment courtyard with a collar and leash, Detectives Benson and Stabler determine that the dead woman is Ava Parulis (Mili Avital), a Romanian immigrant who was brought to the United States for an arranged marriage. They discover from Ava's estranged twin, Irina (Mili Avital), that the dead woman had left her abusive husband, and made a habit of taking advantage of wealthy suitors.
42 20 "Pique" Steve Shill Judith McCreary May 4, 2001 (2001-05-04) E1422 14.30[17]

Observed by an FBI psychiatrist, George Huang, the detectives uncover a horrifying motive for the murder of a software company employee by a fired colleague when they learn of the disturbed suspect (Chad Lowe) and his true relationship with his overbearing mother (Margot Kidder).

  • Special appearance by Doris Belack as Judge Margaret Barry.
43 21 "Scourge" Alex Zakrzewski Teleplay by: Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene
Story by: Neal Baer
May 11, 2001 (2001-05-11) E1432 15.06[16]
The team searches for a serial killer (Richard Thomas) who justifies his crimes with paranoid religious motivation set on by a rapidly deteriorating medical condition. Even though she knows that he has been driven to kill, his wife (Karen Allen) begs the prosecutors to show leniency because of his condition.


References[edit]

  1. ^ Lambert, David (July 7, 2005). "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Second Season in September!". TVShowsOnDVD. Retrieved July 8, 2005. 
  2. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 2 - Complete [2000] [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved September 17, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The 2nd Year: 2000-2001 Season (6 Disc Set) (DVD)". EzyDVD. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ Green and Dawn (2009), p. 26
  5. ^ Green and Dawn (2009), p. 28
  6. ^ Green and Dawn (2009), p. 25
  7. ^ Belzer, Richard (2000). Richard Belzer Interview. Universal Channel. 
  8. ^ Green and Dawn (2009), p. 6
  9. ^ Pandya, Gitesh. "DVD Review: Law & Order: SVU – The Second Year". Box Office Guru. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Green and Dawn (2009), p. 155
  11. ^ Levins, Harry (January 10, 2011). "People in the news". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. E4. 
  12. ^ Green and Dawn (2009), p. 219
  13. ^ Green and Dawn (2009), p. 27
  14. ^ Florek, Dann. Police Sketch: Dann Florek (DVD). Wolf Films. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Interview with Chad Lowe". CNN: Larry King Live. January 24, 2007. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h "SpotVault Law & Order: SVU (NBC) – 2000–01". SpottedRatings.com. December 9, 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Episode List – Season 2". TV Tango. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]


Preceded by
Season 1
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
list of seasons
Succeeded by
Season 3