Alexandra Cabot

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ADA Alexandra Cabot
Law & Order character

ADA Alexandra Cabot.jpg

Cabot in "Learning Curve"
First appearance "Wrong Is Right" (SVU)
"Pilot" (Conviction)
Last appearance “Sunk Cost Fallacy" (SVU)
Portrayed by Stephanie March
Time on show 2000–2003, 2005,
2009–2012, 2018 (SVU)
2006 (Conviction)
Seasons SVU: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 19
Credited appearances 97 episodes (SVU)
13 episodes (Conviction)
110 episodes (total)
Preceded by Various (1999–2000)
Tracey Kibre (Homicide Bureau Chief ADA)
Kim Greylek ("Lead")
Gillian Hardwicke and Sherri West ("Scorched Earth") (SVU )
Succeeded by Casey Novak ("Serendipity") (SVU)
Christine Danielson (Homicide Bureau Chief ADA)
Jo Marlowe ("Torch") (SVU)
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 assistant district attorney (ADA) overseeing the legality of its arrests, following a rotating mix of ADAs (among them Abbie Carmichael of the original Law & Order).[1] She is a graduate of Harvard Law School,[2] and has an "uncle Bill" who is a federal judge.[1] While Cabot empathizes with the sexual assault victims with whom she deals, her strict code of legal ethics often forces her to make harsh decisions and judgments that go against her personal feelings. Her moral compass has earned her respect within the SVU squad.

She does occasionally bend the rules to suit her own notions of justice, but often with unpleasant results. In one case, she is so determined to put a serial child molester in prison that she aggressively pressures one of the molester's victims to testify, going so far as to threaten the boy with legal action if he does not comply. The victim later attempts suicide, leaving him with severe brain damage and thus unable to testify. She then lies to the detectives about having a search warrant for the victim's home, which results in the molester's conviction on a technicality, but gets her in trouble with her superiors. She is let off with a one-month suspension, but feels responsible for the victim's plight.[3]

Executive producer and head writer Neal Baer has said that an unaddressed sexual tension exists between Cabot and Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Baer said, "We read the fan sites. We know that people are into the Alex-Olivia thing. All the codes are in there."[4] When asked in a 2009 press call if Cabot and Benson were in love, March said, "I’m not saying we’re not…I’m not saying we’re not in love."[5]

Departure from SVU[edit]

After three seasons, Cabot made her departure from SVU in the season-five 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 Drug Enforcement Administration (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's murder and is subsequently killed in his cell.[6]

At the conclusion of the episode, Cabot is apparently killed in a drive-by shooting while saying goodnight to Benson and Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). In the following scene, a cold, quiet SVU squad room is shown with Stabler 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 had insisted on telling them the truth before disappearing into the Witness Protection Program.[6] She is replaced in the following episode by ADA Casey Novak (Diane Neal).[7]

First reappearance on SVU[edit]

In the season-six episode "Ghost", events surrounding the arrest of Liam Connors (Brian F. O'Byrne), the assassin who shot her, led to Cabot's return from the Witness Protection Program as Connors is arrested for her murder while being pursued for several others and an attempted murder of a young boy who witnessed one of his crimes. She reveals that the assumed identity she was given was an insurance salesperson originally from Tulsa, that she was living and working in Wisconsin under the name "Emily", and that she missed her mother's funeral in New York due to what happened. She is reluctant to see him convicted of a murder he did not commit (he does not know she is alive, either), but still wants justice and testifies against him in court. 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.[8]

In Conviction[edit]

About a year after her reappearance on SVU, Cabot returns to New York and resumes her work in 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 were much different from those of the young ADA who 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. Plans were made for 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 moot.[9]

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; she is implied, and later confirmed, to be 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.[10] 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, Cabot is revealed to be training in Albany, and will eventually return to the Appeals Bureau. McCoy asks Executive ADA Sonya Paxton (Christine Lahti) to assume Cabot's role.[11] Paxton is ultimately fired for showing up to trial drunk,[12] and Cabot returns to her old job, 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).[13] Benson and Stabler are later 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".[14]

In another episode, Cabot tries a rape case with an illegal immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as her star witness. The witness was herself raped in the Congo, 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 injuries 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.[15] She is replaced by ADA Jo Marlowe (Sharon Stone).[16]

Subsequent appearances[edit]

Season 13[edit]

ADAs Alexandra Cabot and Casey Novak both returned to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for the show's 13th season.[17] 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.[18]

In the episode "Spiraling Down", Cabot is convinced by the detectives to set up a sting operation to catch johns after they rescue an underaged prostitute. They arrest former professional 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.[19]

Cabot is the prosecutor in seven episodes of season 13, sharing the ADA duties with Novak, Cutter, and Haden. The character last appeared in "Learning Curve", in which she helps the investigation of sexual abuse in an exclusive preparatory school.[20]

Season 19[edit]

Cabot returns six years later in the Season 19 episode, "Sunk Cost Fallacy". At this point, she has since retired from the D.A's office and moved to Florida following her last appearance, but has returned to New York this time around. Cabot is first seen by now Lieutenant Olivia Benson and Detective Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino) helping a woman and her two children flee town and Benson mistakes her ordeal as her participating in a kidnapping which Cabot denies. Later, Cabot informs Benson and Carisi that she was inspired by a case she handled five years earlier where an abusive husband was let free and brutally murdered his wife who Cabot was representing. Afterwards, she started working at a women's shelter and began helping women escape from their abusive spousal husbands.

In SVU's latest case, a woman named Jules Hunter and her four year old daughter Ruby have gone missing and evidence came up in Jules' car that has the cops believe they had been killed. Jules' sister Sherrie informs the detectives that Jules' husband Nick has been abusive and stated that life would be easier if his wife was dead. Nicholas is arrested and charged with murder. After first spotting Cabot, Benson brings up Jules and Ruby to which Cabot reveals she's hid them away and planted evidence that had the cops believe they were dead. Benson talks with Jules and she tells her the abuse she's suffered under Nick. Realizing Jules and Ruby are alive, Olivia has the charges of murder reduced to assault and Nick makes bail. He sues the department and the D.A's office for false arrest, negligence, and wants $50 million.

Olivia is brought to speak before a private court motion and reveals to Nick and his attorney that Jules and Ruby are alive. Cabot moves to have Jules and Ruby hidden, but Olivia persuades them to stay and follow the law and put Nick behind bars. Jules ends up killed in a car wreck ruled out to be an accident and an angry Cabot urges Olivia to have the husband put away. It's implied Nick negotiated the accident, though covered his tracks with an alibi so he wouldn't be directly responsible. He gains custody of his daughter which disappoints Cabot and Benson. The women part ways once again, able to settle their differences on the matter. Cabot goes to meet with another client in the need to hiding away.


March has been credited in 96 episodes of SVU (appearing in 92),[21] making her the third-longest ADA in the 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
19 2018
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


  1. ^ a b "Wrong is Right". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 2. Episode 1. October 20, 2000. NBC. 
  2. ^ "Hell". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 10. Episode 17. March 31, 2009. NBC. 
  3. ^ "Guilt". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 3. Episode 18. March 29, 2002. NBC. 
  4. ^ Chonin, Neva (March 23, 2005). "With hot 'Law & Order' squad's focus on sex crime, suddenly everybody's watching the detectives". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco, California: Hearst Corporation. Retrieved May 12, 2009. 
  5. ^ Warn, Sarah (February 25, 2009). "Stephanie March talks about the possibility of an Alex/Olivia romance on "Law & Order: SVU"". AfterEllen. Retrieved September 27, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Loss". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 5. Episode 4. October 14, 2003. NBC. 
  7. ^ "Serendipity". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 5. Episode 5. October 21, 2003. NBC. 
  8. ^ "Ghost". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 6. Episode 16. February 22, 2005. NBC. 
  9. ^ "The Wolf Pack". Archived from the original on 1 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-04. 
  10. ^ "Lead". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 10. Episode 15. March 10, 2009. NBC. 
  11. ^ "Unstable". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 10. Episode 11. September 23, 2009. NBC. 
  12. ^ "Hammered". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 11. Episode 4. October 14, 2009. NBC. 
  13. ^ "Hardwired". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 11. Episode 5. October 21, 2009. NBC. 
  14. ^ "Turmoil". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 11. Episode 8. November 11, 2009. NBC. 
  15. ^ "Witness". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 11. Episode 21. March 17, 2010. NBC. 
  16. ^ "Torch". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 11. Episode 21. April 28, 2010. NBC. 
  17. ^ TV Line:Law & Order: SVU Scoop: Stephanie March, Diane Neal Heading Back to Court
  18. ^ "Scorched Earth". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 1. September 21, 2011. NBC. 
  19. ^ "Spiraling Down". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 10. December 7, 2011. NBC. 
  20. ^ "Learning Curve". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 21. May 9, 2012. NBC. 
  21. ^ Alexandra Cabot — IMDb