List of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit characters
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a spin-off of the crime drama Law & Order, follows the detectives who work in the "Special Victims Unit" of the 16th Precinct of the New York City Police Department, a unit that focuses on crimes involving rape, sexual assault, and child molestation, as well as any crime loosely connected with any of the three, such as domestic violence, kidnapping, and child abandonment. Since its debut in September 1999, the series has followed the career of Olivia Benson, as she progresses from the rank of Detective, working with a partner (initially Elliot Stabler, and later Nick Amaro), to Lieutenant, replacing Donald Cragen as commanding officer of SVU, and then to Captain. The unit also has a prosecutor assigned from the District Attorney's office, and frequently interacts with medical examiners and psychiatrists.
Three of the regular characters have appeared in other NBC series: Captain Donald Cragen (Florek), who was on the first three seasons of Law & Order; Sergeant John Munch (Belzer), who formerly appeared as a Baltimore detective on Homicide: Life on the Street and crossed over to episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Arrested Development, The Beat, The X-Files, and the HBO series The Wire; and Alexandra Cabot (March) who was a lead character in the sole season of Conviction in which she had been promoted to Bureau Chief ADA.
Creation and conception
The characters of Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler were named for creator Dick Wolf's children. Wolf's third child, daughter Sarina, had a character named for her, Benson's mother was named Serena, as well as former ADA Serena Southerlyn on the original Law & Order and Det. Serena Stevens on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
|current||Olivia Benson||Mariska Hargitay||Junior Detective (Seasons 1–12)
Senior Detective (Seasons 13–15)
Sergeant (Seasons 15–17)
Lieutenant (Seasons 17–21)
Captain (Seasons 21–)
|former||John Munch||Richard Belzer||Senior Detective (Seasons 1–8)
Sergeant (Seasons 9–15)
DA Investigator (Seasons 15, 17)
|former||Donald Cragen||Dann Florek||Captain (Seasons 1–15)
Retired (Season 16)
|former||Elliot Stabler||Christopher Meloni||Senior Detective||"Smoked"
|former||Monique Jeffries||Michelle Hurd||Junior Detective||"Runaway"
|current||Odafin Tutuola||Ice-T||Junior Detective (Seasons 2–8)
Senior Detective (Seasons 9–19)
Sergeant (Seasons 19–present)
|"Wrong Is Right"
|former||Alexandra Cabot||Stephanie March||Assistant District Attorney||"Sunk Cost Fallacy"
|current (guest)||Melinda Warner||Tamara Tunie||Medical Examiner||"Noncompliance"
|"Remember Me In Quarantine"
|former||George Huang||BD Wong||Criminal Profiler (Seasons 2–15)
Retired (Season 17)
|former||Casey Novak||Diane Neal||Assistant District Attorney||"Serendipity"
|former||Chester Lake||Adam Beach||Junior Detective||"Outsider"
|former||Kim Greylek||Michaela McManus||Assistant District Attorney||"Trials"
|current||Amanda Rollins||Kelli Giddish||Junior Detective (Seasons 13–21)
Senior Detective (Season 21–present)
|former||Nick Amaro||Danny Pino||Junior Detective (Seasons 13–16)
Senior Detective (Season 16)
|former||Rafael Barba||Raúl Esparza||Assistant District Attorney||"Twenty-Five Acts"
|"Sightless in a Savage Land"
|current||Dominick Carisi, Jr.||Peter Scanavino||Junior Detective (Seasons 16–20)
ADA (Seasons 21–)
|former||Peter Stone||Philip Winchester||Assistant District Attorney||"The Undiscovered Country"
|current||Katriona Tamin||Jamie Gray Hyder||Officer||"I'm Going to Make You a Star"
|current||Christian Garland||Demore Barnes||Deputy Chief||"Down Low in Hell's Kitchen"
Olivia Benson is the Captain of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes. She was primarily partnered with Elliot Stabler, until he retired after season 12. She is tough, empathetic, and completely dedicated to her job, to the point that she is sometimes seen as having little personal life. Her dedication sometimes wreaks havoc on her emotional state as she empathizes with victims of sexual assault, having been the child of rape and later the victim of sexual assault while undercover in season 9. She has allowed her compassion for victims of abuse to sometimes cloud her professional judgment and impede her ability to remain impartial. Hargitay has received both a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Benson.
In season 13, Detectives Benson and Tutuola are the senior detectives in the precinct. Throughout the first few episodes of season 13, she struggles to cope with the retirement of Stabler as she is more harsh and argumentative, as seen when she berates ADA Novak for "losing her nerve" after Novak said that Benson was "off." Her primary partner from season 13 to 14 has been Nick Amaro, but is also seen working with Tutuola and Detectives Amanda Rollins and Dominick "Sonny" Carisi at times.
Upon the retirement of Sergeant Munch at the beginning of season 15, Captain Cragen recommends to her that she should take the sergeant's exam, as she was now his second in command. In the episode, "Rapist Anonymous", she makes the announcement that she has passed the exam, officially making her a sergeant. After Cragen's retirement, she becomes acting commanding officer of SVU until she is subsequently promoted to Lieutenant in season 17 and officially takes command of the unit. At the end of season 15, she became a foster mother to Noah Porter, formally adopting him at the end of season 16.
She is taken hostage midway through season 17 ("Townhouse Incident"), but is rescued unharmed. Shortly thereafter, she begins a relationship with IAB Captain Ed Tucker.
Benson is promoted to Captain at the end of the season 21 opener ("I'm Going To Make You a Star").
Odafin "Fin" Tutuola is a sergeant in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. He was raised in Harlem and he served in the United States Army, where he saw combat in Mogadishu. A former undercover narcotics detective, Tutuola replaced Monique Jeffries after she left the squad in 2000. He transferred out of narcotics after his partner was shot. He initially has a rocky relationship with his colleagues in SVU, especially his partner John Munch and Olivia Benson. He sees the world in black and white, with all criminals equally deserving of prison regardless of extenuating circumstances. He also keeps a tight rein on his emotions, refusing to talk about his problems or to admit that the grisly nature of his work often affects him. He rarely talks about his personal life, not revealing he has a son to his fellow detectives until the sixth season. As the series progresses, he becomes closer with Munch and even saves Benson from being raped while they were both undercover in season 9. However, he also begins clashing more frequently with fellow detective Elliot Stabler. As of the season 8 episode "Screwed", he is assigned Chester Lake as his new partner. After Lake kills a suspect, Stabler accuses Tutuola of tipping him off before he is taken into custody and checks his phone records. Tutuola admits he called Lake, but says he did not expect him to run. Stabler quasi-apologizes for not trusting him, but Tutuola dismisses his apology because he believes Stabler will always be the same "bulldog". Afterwards, he requests a transfer from the squad, however the man in charge of transfers is a former colleague of Tutuola's who holds a grudge against him. Tutuola resolves himself to being "stuck" and his captain, Don Cragen, orders him to investigate a case with Stabler, who he calls a "headcase" and "cranky-balls". As time has passed, Tutuola has again warmed to Stabler, a point proven in the season 11 episode "Solitary", when a suspect throws Stabler off a roof, Tutuola nearly throttles the suspect for attacking his "friend".
After Lake's departure at the end of season 9, Tutuola was again partnered with Sergeant Munch from seasons 10 to 12, sometimes working alone or with Benson and Stabler when Munch was unavailable. Beginning in season 13, Tutuola's primary partner is Detective Rollins.
Amanda Rollins is a detective from Atlanta, Georgia, who moves to New York City to join the Special Victims Unit. Rollins appears to be a detective who is very anxious to do her job, often being told not to get ahead of herself by Detectives Benson and Amaro, and Captain Cragen. She appears to have a good rapport with her partner, Detective Tutuola, compared to his last new partner, Chester Lake. Shortly after transferring to NYC, Rollins deals with a serial rapist case that had a familiar twist for her. Rollins tries to prove to Benson and Amaro that the rapist originated in Atlanta and has come to New York for new prey, almost falling victim to him in an attempt to flush him out, since he took a preference to blonde and athletic women. When Rollins becomes distraught over a case where an actress is raped by one of the men in her life, Rollins asks Benson how she can trust any man after working this job. Benson reassures Rollins and tells her that she trusts her partner.
As for Rollins' personal life, little is mentioned of her off-duty life (although, being from Atlanta, she is a fan of the Braves, whose schedule she keeps on her refrigerator door); Amanda has mentioned that she has a sister, Kim, who has had psychotic and drug issues. Kim has also suffered repeated abuse by her ex-boyfriend. She says that while she was working in Atlanta, there was an accident that occurred that allowed for her to transfer to the SVU. Amanda also was exposed as a heavy gambler in the episode "Home Invasions". When Cragen discovered her problem, he threatened to take her badge, but decided to help instead—since he is a recovering alcoholic—by requiring her to attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings. Rollins' previously mentioned troubled sister, Kim (Lindsay Pulsipher), comes to New York in the season 14 episode, "Friending Emily", causing problems for Amanda while she is trying to work a case. Later in the episode "Deadly Ambition", Kim returns to New York beaten by her ex-boyfriend Jeff and claiming to be pregnant. When Amanda hears screams from inside her apartment, she finds Kim's ex-boyfriend attempting to rape Kim, and Amanda shoots and kills the man as he pulls a gun on her. The supposed evidence of Amanda shooting Jeff in cold blood leads to Lt. Tucker arresting Amanda in Captain Cragen's office. The charges against Amanda are later dropped when Amaro tapes Kim confessing to setting Amanda up for a life insurance policy on Jeff. Before Kim can be arrested, however, she steals everything from Amanda's apartment and disappears. In the episode "Poisoned Motive", Rollins is shot by a sniper in front of the precinct. Her shooting leads back to the daughter of Detective Tutuola's narcotics partner, who is out for revenge on the NYPD after her father was injured on the job by protecting Tutuola from a bullet.
In the season 15 episode, "Rapist Anonymous", Rollins is caught in the middle of a case in which her friend from Georgia claims to have been raped. When the alleged rapist is killed, her friend is put on trial and Rollins' personal life is revealed on the stand. This proves too much for her to handle and she is seen gambling, smoking, and drinking in the final scene. Later in season 15, she frequents an illegal casino ("Gambler's Fallacy") and is exposed as a cop by a 15-year old waitress whom Rollins and Benson had assisted in an earlier episode. The operators of the illegal casino threaten to out Rollins to Benson, and although Rollins comes clean to Fin, Benson is still outraged. Rollins eventually breaks up an art theft ring with the help of Lt. Declan Murphy, who was undercover as one of the casino operators.
In the season 16 episode "Forgiving Rollins", it is revealed Rollins was raped by her commanding officer in Atlanta, Deputy Chief Charles Patton (Harry Hamlin) in 2010. This comes to light when Patton is in New York for a conference and is accused of rape by one of his APD detectives, Reese Taymor (Dreama Walker), at a Manhattan hotel.
Rollins is revealed to be pregnant in the two-part season 17 opener when she is interviewing serial killer Dr. Gregory Yates (Dallas Roberts). The father is revealed to be Declan Murphy, who came back to New York during Super Bowl weekend 2015 to infiltrate a sex trafficking ring. Rollins undergoes a difficult pregnancy before giving birth to a healthy baby girl, Jesse. Giddish was pregnant in real life and gave birth to a boy in October 2015.
In season 20, Rollins becomes pregnant again, this time by cardiologist Al Pollack. She gives birth to another girl, Billie, but declines Dr. Pollack's marriage proposal because she doesn't love him.
Elliot Stabler was a senior detective in Manhattan's 16th Precinct, also known as the Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes. He is one of the original members of the squad. A former Marine and a dedicated detective, he has a 97 percent closure rate, but his dedication can turn to obsession and cause him to take cases personally. His dedication to the job also makes him the target for several IAB investigations during the course of his 12-year career at SVU. At the start of the series, he is married with four children. He separates from his wife Kathy during seasons 7 and 8, but they reconcile after she becomes pregnant with their fifth child. Elliot is Catholic, which sometimes complicates the cases he works on, but also helps him form a close friendship with ADA Novak. His partner is Olivia Benson, with whom he generally has a good working relationship, but it is not without tension and friction, especially in seasons 7 and 8 when they are separated as partners for some time. Captain Cragen also makes both detectives speak with psychiatrist Rebecca Hendrix in order to decide whether they can continue working as partners. Dr. Hendrix tells Cragen that he should split them up only if he wants to lose his two best detectives.
- Portrayed by Richard Belzer
- Episodes: "Payback" – "Wonderland Story", "Spring Awakening", "Fashionable Crimes".
John Munch was a detective, and later a Sergeant in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. A conspiracy theorist and dedicated detective, Munch is first partnered with Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters), whom he thinks of as a kind of younger brother, alternately poking fun at him and imparting (often questionable) advice on life and women. When Cassidy leaves the precinct in 2000, Munch is briefly partnered with Monique Jeffries (Michelle Hurd), and then with Odafin Tutuola (Ice-T). He and the gruff, uncompromising Tutuola get off to a rough start, but gradually came to like and respect each other.
Since being promoted to Sergeant at the beginning of season 9, Munch has taken more of a leadership role and does less investigating in the field, partially due to the fact that Tutuola was partnered with Detective Lake in season 9. After Lake's departure in the season 9 finale, Munch begins working with Tutuola again, while occasionally acting as squad commander when Cragen was unavailable. In season 13, Munch is seen mostly in the precinct helping with interrogations and research, as Tutuola is partnered with Detective Rollins. He continues to act as squad commander when Cragen is absent. In season 14, Munch is temporarily reassigned to the Cold Case Unit, after solving a decade old cold child abduction case in the episode, "Manhattan Vigil". He returns to SVU in the episode, "Secrets Exhumed", in which he brings back a 1980s rape-homicide cold case for the squad to look into. Munch filed his retirement papers after the events in the episode "American Tragedy", formally leaving in "Wonderland Story". He subsequently accepted a position at the District Attorney's office as an investigator.
The character was first created for the NBC police drama Homicide: Life on the Street, where he worked as a homicide detective with the Baltimore Police Department. The character was based on Jay Landsman, a central figure in David Simon's true crime book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, a documentary account of the homicide unit's operation over one year. After the series cancellation in 1999, the character was transferred to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, having appeared within the original Law & Order in cross-over episodes. Within the series, it is eventually said he left Baltimore after his wife cheated on him with a friend. Munch has been the only fictional character played by a single actor to appear on eight different television shows: Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, The X-Files, Arrested Development, The Beat, and The Wire. He is also mentioned in UK TV series Luther.
Donald Cragen is the Captain of the Special Victims Unit. Florek originally portrayed the character from 1990 to 1993 in the original Law & Order series. During his Law & Order tenure, Cragen was investigated by internal affairs for corruption. During the investigation to prove his innocence, he discovered that he was being framed by his former captain and mentor, whom he turns in and is cleared by IAB. He was an alcoholic for much of his early career, but goes sober after pulling his service revolver on a taxi driver in a drunken rage. He has remained sober since, even after the death of his wife in a plane crash. Cragen was written out of Law & Order in 1993, as he is transferred to Anti-Corruption Task Force, occasionally making guest appearances on the show. The character was brought back full-time in 1999 to be the Captain of the Special Victims Unit. As SVU Commanding Officer, he is portrayed as a somewhat stern but understanding father figure to the detectives who work under him, often giving them a great deal of leniency because he trusts their ability to get results. Cragen departed at the end of "Amaro's One-Eighty" after his girlfriend Eileen got two tickets for a six-month cruise around the world and he decided to use his unused leave time to carry him through until June, when he was set to hit the mandatory retirement age.
- Portrayed by Dean Winters
- Episodes: "Payback" – "Disrobed", "Rhodium Nights" – "Above Suspicion", "Undercover Blue", "Her Negotiation" – "Downloaded Child", "Gone Fishin'" - "Chasing Demons"
Brian Cassidy was a detective in the SVU during the series' first season. The youngest and least experienced member of the precinct, he has a genuine desire to put rapists and child molesters in prison, but lacked the professional detachment necessary to deal with the often grisly sex crimes. He often has trouble concealing his anger and revulsion toward the cases he investigates and this created friction between him and his colleagues, made worse when they poke fun at his relative lack of sophistication. A genuinely talented and driven police detective, he makes a real effort to learn from the other members of the precinct, particularly Munch, whom he thinks of as a sort of older brother/mentor figure. He has a brief affair with Olivia Benson, and has trouble dealing with her after the relationship ends. Cassidy was written out of the show midway through the first season. Cragen sends him to interview a young girl who was repeatedly raped and brutalized, causing Cassidy to realize that he cannot emotionally handle the types of crimes that a SVU detective must deal with on a daily basis. Cragen then offers to assist Cassidy with a transfer to another department, narcotics.
After a twelve-year absence from the show, Cassidy returned in the season 13 finale, "Rhodium Nights". He is working undercover as security personnel for Bart Ganzel, the owner of an escort service. When Amaro and Rollins go to speak to Ganzel, Cassidy confronts Amaro and punches him in the face. After Cassidy is arrested, he is in the interrogation room with Amaro when Benson walks in and sarcastically greets her old colleague, explaining to Amaro how Cassidy worked SVU in another "century." Cassidy agrees to help them as long as they don't blow his cover. After Cassidy helps SVU get insight on the war between Ganzel and an opposing escort service, he has to play both sides of the law as he refuses to sacrifice his three years of undercover work. In the season 14 premiere, Bureau Chief ADA Paula Foster reveals to Detective Benson that Cassidy is working undercover for her. Benson, along with Cassidy's former SVU partner Sergeant Munch, meets with him on two different occasions to get information on the escort war. When Benson goes to Ganzel's loft to speak with Cassidy again, they walk outside to what appears to be an attempted theft of Ganzel's car. Benson gives chase to one person, while Cassidy and the car thief pull guns on each other. A patrol car pulls up, and two officers draw their weapons, as Cassidy identifies himself as police. As Benson returns to identify herself as police, the patrol officer shoots Cassidy twice. Benson calls for a bus and rides with him to the hospital, where he survives, as the bullets missed his main arteries. It is discovered that the officer who shot him was contracted by Ganzel to shoot Cassidy after Ganzel finds the bugs that the DA's office had installed in his loft. Later, Cassidy and Benson share a kiss in his hospital room after Benson tells him she isn't the same person he knew years ago. In the episode, "Undercover Blue", Cassidy is accused of rape by a prostitute while he was undercover almost four years prior. It is revealed that Cassidy was being set up by the woman and her boss to make money off a lawsuit against the NYPD and the charges are dropped. Also in this episode, Munch says that Cassidy paid the price for having a relationship with a prostitute while undercover with Ganzel, as he was demoted from detective to an officer who works nights at a Bronx courthouse. Benson and Cassidy also are forced to reveal their romantic relationship in this episode when Amaro and Munch go to Cassidy's apartment and find Benson there.
Monique Jeffries was a police detective with Manhattan's Special Victims Unit and was one of the initial detectives in the SVU squad. Earlier in the series, she is partnered with various detectives, including Brian Cassidy. Initially, she is only seen at headquarters, doing research and showing up in court for various cases to represent the department. After Cassidy's departure in the middle of the first season, she partners with Detective Munch and begins going out on investigations. Shortly after this, she is physically and emotionally shaken when a car explodes while she is pursuing a fleeing suspect. Survival of the incident leaves her feeling "restless", and she has a one night stand with a man she recognized as a suspect in a previous sexual assault case the unit had investigated. After she confesses this to a department psychiatrist, who is working for a commission investigating problems in various police units, she is taken off active duty and ordered to receive treatment. Captain Don Cragen, feeling she has become "reckless" and "a danger" to herself supports the decision. At the end of the season 2 premiere episode, Detective Fin Tutuola shows up at the SVU precinct, and Jeffries asks if she can help him. Upon reading the folder Tutuola gives her, she realizes he is there to take her job. Finding desk duty intolerable, she cleans out her desk and leaves her gun and badge on the desk of Captain Cragen. In the second season, although she is shown in three episodes, it is revealed that she was reinstated and transferred to the Vice Unit.
Detective Danielle "Dani" Beck is Detective Olivia Benson's temporary replacement in season 8, while Benson is on an undercover assignment (Mariska Hargitay was on maternity leave). Dani had a husband, a cop named Mike Dooley, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. She and Stabler get off to a rocky start, but they eventually form a solid partnership. A turning point in their relationship occurs when they share a passionate kiss after celebrating a case at a bar, although post-kiss nothing more than increased sexual chemistry is ever implied. During a case involving child abuse, Beck tries to foster a traumatized adopted girl, who attempts to burn down her apartment and kill them both. Shaken, Beck tells Stabler she could not stand working in the Special Victims Unit anymore unless he asked her to stay. Stabler reluctantly says he cannot make that decision for her, so she decides it would be best to return to her old post at the Warrants squad. Hargitay returned to her role as Benson in the following episode.
Detective Chester Lake transferred to the Manhattan SVU from the Brooklyn Special Victims Unit at the end of the eighth season and was partnered with Detective Fin Tutuola. He is of Native American ancestry, specifically Mohawk, and speaks proudly of his ancestors, noting that many of them helped to build the city's skyscrapers and subway tunnels. He also used to compete as an amateur mixed martial artist under the name "Naptime", but had to quit after tearing his ACL. Lake suffers from insomnia and often takes walks at night when he cannot sleep.
In the final episode of the ninth season, Lake begins attending meetings of individuals in Philadelphia who share information on "cold" murder cases. He later shoots and kills a fellow police officer, who was suspected of raping two illegal immigrant girls ten years ago, killing one. Lake disappears while his fellow detectives investigate. They are able to prove Lake killed the other cop in self defense after he was shot at himself by a second NYPD officer with a history of brutality. Lake is found, wounded, and taken to the hospital. The second officer, however, is released after the jury deadlocks. The officer is killed the same night and Lake is found standing over the body and makes no denial to his fellow SVU detectives. He is arrested and last seen in the series sitting handcuffed in a police car. It was confirmed on April 18, 2008 that Beach would not be returning to the series to reprise the role in the subsequent season.
Nicholas "Nick" Amaro is a NYPD detective who has transferred to the Special Victims Unit from Warrants and Narcotics. When Nick was little, Amaro's father beat his mother. Nick's father later fled to Miami, Florida; he attributes his firm belief in divorce to this. He is fluent in Spanish, is married, with a young daughter named Zara, and has a living mother, Cesaria (Nancy Ticotin). His wife, Maria Grazie Amaro (Laura Benanti), is doing overseas reporting in Iraq. Since Maria has been deployed in Iraq, their relationship has been somewhat tense, although they always seem to work through their differences.
Initially, Amaro did not see eye to eye with his new partner, Detective Benson, mainly because she was adjusting to having him as a partner instead of Elliot Stabler. After their rocky start, Amaro and Benson begin to have a mutual respect for each other and work well together. During his early days in SVU, Amaro has a tough time adjusting to the cases and tells Benson he has the urge to physically assault a suspect, but she tells him the better solution would be to ensure that the perpetrators never see the light of day. In the episode "Hunting Ground", Amaro saves Detective Benson and a kidnapped victim by shooting and killing a man. He is seen visibly shaken as it happened to be his first kill shot. In the episode "Valentine's Day", he sees his wife go into an apartment of a man he does not know. In "Street Revenge", while trying to work a case of vigilante justice, he shadows his wife to see where she goes during the day; he later gets into a heated argument with his wife at the SVU squad room (after going to Philadelphia and assaulting a military friend of hers), and she tells him she is seeing a psychiatrist because she is trying to adapt back into her old life.
In the season 14 premiere, Amaro's wife decides to take a job in Washington, D.C., citing that they need a break from each other. Amaro is clearly rattled by this and goes as far as to threaten to shoot Detective Brian Cassidy if Cassidy did not tell him for whom he was working undercover. This, along with his erratic behavior, causes the SVU detectives to be very cautious around him with sensitive information regarding Captain Cragen's case. In "Twenty-Five Acts", Amaro seeks temporary SVU commanding officer, Captain Harris (Adam Baldwin), to let Amaro work their rape case solo, telling Benson that she needed a partner she could trust, Benson working the case with Rollins.
In the episode, "Undercover Blue", Detective Cassidy is put on trial for rape while he was undercover. Amaro is called to the stand by ADA Derek Strauss and he is asked questions about his undercover work. When Cassidy's lawyer questions him, he is forced to reveal that he had a romantic relationship with the sister of a drug lord he was investigating undercover. Munch then informs him that the NYPD brass is requesting he take a paternity test because the woman is claiming he has a son from the relationship. He goes to the woman's house to confront her, but is denied by her boyfriend. Later, while watching the boyfriend pick his alleged son up from school, he witnesses the man complete a drug deal using the boy. Amaro then meets the boy and tells the woman that her boyfriend is using their son to deal drugs. After Cassidy apologizes to Amaro for what his lawyer did, Cassidy helps Amaro bust the boyfriend for drug dealing. The episode concludes with Amaro knocking on the woman's door and her reluctantly letting him in.
Amaro begins to show great concern when Rollins begins gambling again, and they begin to get close. In the episode "Reasonable Doubt", he comes out of a shower in Rollins' apartment.
Declan G. Murphy
- Portrayed by Donal Logue
- Episodes: "Gambler's Fallacy", "Beast's Obsession" – "Spring Awakening", "Undercover Mother", "Community Policing"
Lieutenant Declan G. Murphy is first introduced working as an undercover cop who meets Rollins when she's on a gambling binge. Shortly after William Lewis escapes from prison, One Police Plaza appoints Murphy commanding officer of Manhattan SVU, deeming it inappropriate for Benson to lead the manhunt to recapture Lewis. Murphy's reign as commanding officer continues after Lewis's suicide at the request of One Police Plaza. Murphy is a by-the-book CO, often checking behind the detectives' backs that they are apprehending suspects correctly, and he often uses his undercover expertise to lead the direction of investigations. Murphy's strictness often causes him to butt heads with the detectives, mainly Amaro, who does not trust him. Morally, Murphy has shown himself to be flexible. When Benson faces perjury charges after Lewis's suicide, Murphy lies under oath to persuade the grand jury to dismiss, saying that Benson did what she had to do to save the girl Lewis had kidnapped. However, when Amaro is arrested for his assault on a photographer investigated for child pornography and building a torture chamber, Murphy tells Amaro that he knows Amaro doesn't value his advice, but to stand down and keep quiet, regardless of the circumstances. After the charges are dismissed, Murphy tells Benson he will do what he can, but that he would not pull strings for Amaro, as he is unconvinced that Amaro's career is worth saving. At the end of "Spring Awakening", Murphy tells Benson that he has been chosen for an undercover assignment and recommended to One Police Plaza that command of the SVU be returned to her. Subsequently, in the episode "Undercover Mother", Murphy's undercover assignment is revealed after SVU takes down a sex trafficking ring.
In the seventeenth-season episode "Community Policing", Murphy returns after finding out about Rollins' pregnancy while he was "4,000 miles away in Serbia trying to take down a sex trafficking ring." Rollins reveals to Murphy that he is in fact the father of her child. Upon hearing this, Murphy lets her know that he is now here to stay, albeit temporarily; however, he gives Rollins a secret cell number, and tells her that should she need him, he would be on a plane within an hour.
Sergeant Mike Dodds is introduced in the season 17 episode, "Maternal Instincts", as the son of Deputy Chief William Dodds (Peter Gallagher), who transfers to the 16th Precinct to serve as Lieutenant Benson's second-in-command. He is a war veteran, having enlisted after 9/11 and served in Special Forces. Immediately prior to his transfer, Dodds worked Anti-Crime, and before that, he worked out of the 71st Precinct. Dodds is a consummate professional and devoted to his work; as a result, he takes some time to warm up to his new colleagues but he gradually comes to respect and like them. He is shot in the line of duty while pursuing serial killer Dr. Gregory Yates in upstate New York but eventually recovers. Only a few months into his tenure, he is offered a position with the joint terrorism task force by his father but decides to stay with SVU, boldly going against the Deputy Chief's wishes (the elder Dodds had meant for his son's time at SVU to be nothing more than a career step). In "Manhattan Transfer", Dodds is made Acting Commander of SVU after Lt. Olivia Benson is relieved of her duties. In the subsequent episode, Dodds leads SVU's continued investigation into a sex trafficking ring while continuing to consult Benson. He happily returns command of SVU back over to Benson after the case is closed. In "Heartfelt Passages", Dodds is shot in the stomach during a hostage situation. He makes it through surgery, but he later suffers a stroke in the ICU and is put on life support. After its determined that Dodds is brain dead, he is taken off life support and dies. Both Chief Dodds and the entire SVU Squad were devastated by his death and Olivia Benson suffers from survivor's guilt. It is shown a few months after the tragic event that the Deputy Chief still holds Olivia responsible for what happened to his son. As Olivia herself admits, "he's not wrong".
As seen in "Heartfelt Passages", Sgt. Dodds is a recipient of the US Flag Bar, World Trade Center Breast Bar, NYPD Meritorious Police Duty, NYPD Excellent Police Duty, and NYPD 150th Commemorative Breast Bar.
Katriona "Kat" Tamin
- Portrayed by Jamie Gray Hyder
- Episodes: I'm Going to Make You a Star - present
Officer Katriona "Kat" Tamin is introduced in the Season 21 premiere "I'm Going to Make You a Star." Having worked undercover with the NYPD Vice Unit, she is called on by Benson to assist SVU in building a case against an influential media mogul. In the later episode "The Burden of Our Choices," she transfers to Benson's squad as a detective-in-training and is placed under the supervision of Fin and Rollins. She sometimes acts recklessly and against orders, a pattern of behavior that concerns Benson.
Assistant district attorneys
In season 1, ADA Abbie Carmichael, from Law & Order, prosecuted SVU cases for 6 episodes.
- Portrayed by Stephanie March
- Episodes: "Wrong is Right" – "Loss", "Ghost", "Lead" – "Liberties", "Hardwired" – "Witness", "Scorched Earth" – "Learning Curve", "Sunk Cost Fallacy"
ADA Alexandra Cabot first appears in the season 2 premiere episode "Wrong Is Right", when she is assigned by the DA and Police Commissioner to work with SVU as their permanent ADA. She serves as SVU's ADA until the fourth episode of season 5, in which she survives an assassination attempt by a drug cartel's hitman and subsequently enters the Witness Protection Program. In the season 6 episode "Ghost", she returned to testify against her assassin, but quickly disappears back into Witness Protection after the trial.
She appeared in the 2006 short-lived Law & Order spinoff Conviction as Bureau Chief of the homicide unit. In season 10, she makes a surprise return to SVU as the temporary ADA, replacing ADA Greylek, for six episodes, starting with the episode "Lead". Although Cabot was absent for the first four episodes of season 11, she becomes their permanent ADA in the fifth episode ("Hardwired") after EADA Sonya Paxton entered court-ordered alcohol rehab. She left SVU in the season 11 episode "Witness" to work for the International Criminal Court to seek justice for rape victims in the Congo. She later returned in the season 13 premiere "Scorched Earth", in which Cabot is the lead prosecutor in a rape case against a man who is the favorite to become Italy's next prime minister. She is the prosecutor in seven episodes, sharing the ADA duties with Casey Novak and Bureau Chief Mike Cutter. Cabot's last episode of season 13 was "Learning Curve" in which she is aiding in the investigation of a school molestation scandal.
Elizabeth Donnelly was SVU's Bureau Chief Assistant District Attorney from seasons 3 to 6. In the District Attorney's office, she serves as the supervisor for ADA Cabot and her successor Casey Novak. Donnelly is elevated to judge in season 7. In the season 10 episode "Persona", Donnelly takes a leave of absence from her role as a judge and resumes her previous role as an Executive ADA to prosecute a cold case she was involved with in 1974, when a battered woman (Brenda Blethyn) murdered her husband. She admits to Benson that she was somewhat responsible for the woman absconding from custody and therefore took on the case due to "unfinished business." Her role in the escape leads to mishaps in the justice system being termed "doing a Donnelly" for many years to follow. This episode calls attention to the difficulty Donnelly experiences as a woman working in the justice system. But the revelation that the fugitive had been pregnant at the time of her crime leads Donnelly to what, for her, is an act of leniency. She leaves the office, yet again, and returns to the role of a judge.
From season 7 through 12, the SVU ADAs work without a Bureau Chief supervising their work, and are watched more closely by the District Attorney. In season 13, Executive ADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) is transferred from homicide to take over Donnelly's former role as supervisor.
- Portrayed by Diane Neal
- Episodes: "Serendipity" – "Cold", "Reparations", "Blood Brothers" – "Valentine's Day"
Casey Novak was SVU's Assistant District Attorney from seasons 5 to 9, replacing ADA Alexandra Cabot. Although she quickly loses her innocence when dealing with sex crimes, she still shows uneasiness when dealing with the gray areas of human involvement, preferring the letter of the law to the messiness of each individual reality. Nonetheless, Novak has a 71 percent success rate in the cases she prosecutes, whereas the average for prosecutors is 44 percent. After initial hesitation, she becomes particularly close to Stabler as they bond over being Catholic and a love of sports. It is revealed that in her final year of law school, Novak was engaged to a man, Charlie, who suffered from schizophrenia. She ended the relationship when his symptoms became so severe she felt she could no longer be intimate with him. In 2002, Charlie attacked her in her home during a psychotic episode. She convinced the police not to press charges, but ended the relationship. He eventually became homeless, and was found dead as a "John Doe" in the spring of 2007. She developed a deep compassion for the mentally ill afterward, but still feels guilty for not being able to help him, as shown in season 9's "Blinded." She states that she is a big supporter of the U.S military. She says that her father was an M-60 Door Gunner on a Huey during the Vietnam War. His helicopter crashed three times and he received a Purple Heart. In season 9, her final year as the SVU ADA, she grew increasingly more reckless and unsure in her prosecution. It is implied that friend and former boss Liz Donnelly (Judith Light) aided in her censure, leading to her replacement by ADA Kim Greylek in season 10.
It is revealed that Novak was censured for three years and subsequently re-hired by the DA's office. This is explained in the season 12 episode "Reparations", where she returns to SVU as their temporary ADA to prosecute a rape case. She is opposed by Law & Order: LA Deputy District Attorney Jonah Dekker (Terrence Howard) who is representing the defendant. Casey not only finds herself at odds with Dekker, but also Judge Lena Petrovsky (Joanna Merlin), to whom she had previously lied in the season 9 finale ("Cold"), which ultimately led to her censure.
ADA Novak returned as a recurring character, along with ADA Cabot, in season 13. She was last seen as the lead prosecutor in "Valentine's Day", in which she goes up against Defense Attorney Marvin Exley (Ron Rifkin), who is defending a woman who seems to have fabricated her own abduction.
Kim Greylek was the SVU's Assistant District Attorney who replaced Casey Novak at the beginning of season 10. Greylek previously worked in the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women in Washington, D.C. where she had the nickname of "The Crusader." A dogged prosecutor, she pushed the detectives to make cases for the sake of politics in favor of pursuing actual offenders. She can be unrelenting, threatening to charge a defendant with a hate crime for raping two women in the season 10 premiere, and having a teenage boy charged with assaulting a police officer so he can be tested for HIV. In the episode "Babes", Greylek also angers a woman believed to be involved with a young girl's suicide, but she was found not guilty. After gloating about her innocence, the woman attacks Greylek for correcting her about being "innocent" and to wash the blood off her hands before holding her daughter's baby. When the officers pull the woman off her, Greylek tells Stabler to charge her with assault.
But Greylek also has a softer side, as she warns Stabler to get a good defense attorney after his daughter Kathleen (Allison Siko), who has bipolar disorder, is charged with breaking and entering and theft, because the DA's office will prosecute her. Greylek also rushes to get justice for three women who were drugged and raped by a man obsessed with pornography in the episode "Smut". Greylek also seeks justice when a man is brutally beaten outside a strip club with the man's ex-wife and 13-year-old transgender daughter as the prime suspect.
After appearing in only 14 episodes, Greylek was written out of the series in the episode "Lead"; in the middle of a trial where pediatrician Gilbert Keppler (Lawrence Arancio) is found guilty of molesting four of his male patients. She is last seen doing a press conference with Cragen, Benson, and Stabler on the steps of the courthouse while the doctor's attorney hands the SVU squad a lawsuit for failure to take action against Keppler immediately. Later in the episode, Benson and Stabler discover the doctor murdered in his home. The detectives hold CSU out of the house until Cragen and Greylek arrive. Suddenly, they see ADA Cabot walk up to the scene with Cragen. Cabot tells the detectives that the Justice Department called Greylek back to Washington and DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) let her leave immediately.
Sonya Paxton was SVUs Executive ADA who temporarily replaced Alexandra Cabot for four episodes in season 11, starting with the season premiere, "Unstable". Paxton works in the Manhattan District Attorney's office under the authority of Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston; Law & Order), as an Executive Assistant District Attorney. A member of the DA's office for over 25 years, she has a black-and-white view of the law, and makes sure all procedures are handled "by the book." Working in the Appeals bureau, she was the first to get a Capital Conviction in New York when the then newly elected Governor George Pataki brought back the death penalty in 1995. McCoy sends Paxton to SVU to "clean house" in the "he-said, she-said unit" due to too many convictions being overturned. However, things start out rocky as she butts heads with the SVU team, particularly Detective Stabler. In the second episode "Sugar", she and Stabler get into a heated argument after Paxton calls the suspect's lawyer after he declines his right to counsel twice. In the fourth episode "Hammered", Paxton is prosecuting a case where a man drank heavily and murders the woman he met at the bar. The defense blames alcoholism for the murder during the trial. Intending to use a computer-generated video mockup of the crime, Paxton accidentally plays a version in which the defendant's face is superimposed onto the attacker. Paxton is embarrassed and meets Benson and Stabler at a bar where she is seen drinking. The following morning, she arrives 45 minutes late to the mistrial hearing, appearing distraught and blaming a "fender bender". Judge Barry Moredock (John Cullum) asks if she needed medical help, but the defendant points out that she is drunk. Moredock orders Benson to come with a breathalyzer, which reveals her blood alcohol level is .082, resulting in a mistrial. Moredock orders Paxton to seek treatment. At the end of the episode, she returns to the SVU precinct and apologizes to the team, stating that she intends on making amends to each and every one of them.
She later appears in the season 11 episode "Turmoil", meeting ADA Cabot outside the courtroom after Cabot discovers she is being investigated by the state bar. Paxton tells her to watch out for Benson and Stabler, because they are only loyal to each other.
In season 12, Paxton makes a surprise return to SVU and served as the Executive ADA in the ninth episode ("Gray") to prove to the DA that she hadn't lost her 'winning ways'. Paxton and Stabler go at it again, with Stabler telling her to "go have a drink." In the seventeenth episode ("Pursuit"), she returns again to help an old friend, Alicia Harding (Debra Messing), who is being stalked. Paxton tells the SVU squad that she has been working to find Harding's missing sister for decades, as it was her case. She also tells them that she started drinking in part because she felt responsible for the killer having never been caught. She releases confidential case information to Harding, which puts Harding in danger. Benson and Tutuola go looking for Paxton at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to reprimand her for giving out the information. Benson makes a shocking discovery when entering the women's restroom – Paxton is bleeding to death on the floor. As Benson tries to help her, Paxton says "It's okay, I got him," and she dies in Benson's arms. M.E. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) discovers a hair in Paxton's throat, which she got by biting her attacker—which ultimately helps solve the case.
Christine Lahti was originally slated to guest-star in a single four episode-arc as Executive ADA Sonya Paxton, in the eleventh season of the long-running Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, while producers found a permanent replacement for outgoing ADA Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March). Lahti couldn't commit to a permanent role, since she resides in Chicago, while filming of SVU takes place in New York City. SVU executive producer Neal Baer revealed that, "She's [Paxton] from Appeals and she's tired of having rape cases overturned because of misidentifications. She's coming to clean things up." She returns again in the eighth episode of that season to "clash" with Cabot.
According to Lahti, Paxton was originally written as a control freak, "needing to always be right and prove others wrong" — but behind this, were Paxton's fears, insecurities, low self-esteem and an alcohol problem.
Lahti again returned to SVU for two episodes, in the series' twelfth season. In response to Lahti's return, Baer stated, "We're bringing back characters we love this season." Lahti's character was written out of the series by way of death; such is a rarity for those who work with the SVU team on the show, with only a few other characters encountering a similar fate, including CSU technician Ryan O'Halloran (Mike Doyle) in the tenth season, and Sergeant Mike Dodds (Andy Karl) in the seventeenth season.
WPIX described Paxton as an "ADA with a dark side" who has "serious control issues and several skeletons in her closet". On the day of the airing of the episode "Hammered", Lahti stated that Paxton is the person that "everyone's loving to hate", and that hopefully the viewer's perception of her would change after the episode, sympathizing with the character's drinking problem.
Previously.TV, while noting the misleading representations of lawyers on television, commented on the realism of Paxton's alcoholism storyline, contending that it "could happen, as alcoholism among lawyers is an issue."
In an interview with HollywoodOutbreak.com, Lahti said she believed that her character struck a huge chord in the show, "...when those episodes were airing, everywhere I went, people came up to me and said how much they hate me", others approached Lahti and praised her, saying, "We love that you’re so mean to Stabler (Christopher Meloni). We’ve been waiting for someone to stand up to him."
Lahti appeared in 7 episodes of SVU as Paxton, more than any other character in the Executive ADA capacity.
ADA Jo Marlowe is drafted by DA Jack McCoy in season 11 after ADA Alexandra Cabot takes a leave of absence to help rape victims in the Congo. She is a former police lieutenant and Detective Stabler's partner approximately four years before he paired with Detective Benson. She first appears in the 21st episode of the season, "Torch", in which McCoy directs her to handle a case in which two young girls were killed in a fire. Stabler and Benson show up at the crime scene and Stabler is shocked to see his old partner and more surprised to know she now works for the DA's office. Benson believes Marlowe only took the job as SVU's ADA so that she could work with Stabler again.
In the following episode, "Ace", Marlowe and Captain Cragen clash over the way to handle a case in which a baby-trafficking ring is discovered and a young woman and her baby are in danger. Marlowe orders Benson and Stabler to catch the ring's leader in the act, while Cragen wants ESU to take the perp at his warehouse. Cragen remarks to Marlowe, "You're the boss in court counselor, not here." Marlowe leaves the precinct only to have Cragen follow her outside, where he reminds her of "why she really retired" back in 1995: when she was a lieutenant she had sent two undercover detectives who later died in an attempt to arrest a drive-by murderer. Marlowe responds it was a "Command decision." Cragen's detectives do arrest the ringleader, while Cragen saves the young woman in the warehouse. Marlowe is able to convict the leader by using his delivery doctor's testimony, which he delivered in the judge's chambers for protection.
In the season 11 finale, "Shattered", Marlowe is taken hostage, along with Detective Benson and Dr. Warner, in the morgue by Sophie Gerard (Isabelle Huppert), the distraught mother of a dead boy. Gerard shoots Dr. Warner and Benson and Marlowe must take action to save her life. In talking the mother down, Marlowe says she knows what it is like to be in pain as she reveals that she was diagnosed with an "aggressive" type of cancer and had a bilateral radical mastectomy a year before taking the job at SVU. Marlowe makes Gerard drop the gun by picking up the dead boy and saying that he needs his mother and handing him to her. ADA Gillian Hardwicke replaces Marlowe as SVU's permanent ADA at the beginning of season 12.
- Portrayed by Francie Swift
- Episodes: "Bullseye", "Behave", "Delinquent", "Smoked", and "Double Strands"
Sherri West is brought in as a temporary ADA to start season 12. West first appears in the second episode, where she is the prosecutor on a case where a pedophile is kidnapping and raping young girls. When the suspect is brutally beaten in the SVU holding cell by an officer, West assures the judge that violence against the defendant will not occur again. West next appeared in the third episode, "Behave", in which Benson works with to get justice for a rape victim named Vicki Sayers (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and to ensure that Bill Harris (James Le Gros), her rapist, is put away.
West returned in the 23rd episode, "Delinquent". When SVU detectives find a teenage boy named Hunter Mazelon (Sterling Beaumon) naked and asleep in a young woman's bed, West tells them that she can’t charge him with a sex crime but he can be charged with burglary and criminal trespassing, among other charges. When Hunter says during his arraignment that Stabler molested him after handcuffing him, West's case is in jeopardized, since there was also no actual victim. West manages to get Mazelon to allocute, which he did falsely, but Stabler wished for West to call for a recess. Tutuola and Stabler comment about how they have been “burning through ADAs” and maybe West cut the deal to cover Stabler so that they would like her.
In the season 12 finale "Smoked", a rape victim is murdered days before her trial is set to start. West is called again and pushes Benson and Stabler to find the victim's murderer. Benson and Stabler, with West's help, discover the murder was orchestrated by the rapist, a friend, and a greedy ATF agent. West never gets the chance to convict anyone, however, the victim's daughter kills all three defendants in the SVU squad room, before Stabler is forced to shoot her dead.
In the fourth episode of season 13, "Double Strands", West appears back in the SVU precinct, but now as a defense attorney; it is revealed that the firm that hired her "offered her a better deal."
Gillian "Gill" Hardwicke was SVU's primary ADA in season 12. She is a Brooklyn ADA who transfers to Manhattan SVU due to her great admiration for detectives Benson and Stabler. She replaces Mikka Von (Paula Patton), who had been fired after only one case with the SVU team. Hardwicke has a 92% conviction rate as she stated in her premiere episode, "Branded". She often gets into conflict over cases with Benson and Stabler; with Benson over a case where a woman was raped as a teenager and she began seeking revenge on her attackers, branding them with hot clothes hangers. She and Benson also clash when Vivian Arliss (Maria Bello)—who gave custody of her son Calvin (Charlie Tahan) to Benson—is a suspect in a string of burglaries. Hardwicke and Stabler get into conflict over a case where presumably, a boy named Nicky Roberts (Al Calderon), shot and killed his abusive stepfather; she is eventually forced to drop the case because both Nicky and his mother Sandra (Drea de Matteo) admit to killing him, creating reasonable doubt for both of them. In "Penetration", Hardwicke convicts a man who raped FBI Agent Dana Lewis (Marcia Gay Harden) while she was undercover, on orders from Brian Ackerman (J. C. MacKenzie), the leader of a white supremacist group who is angry at Lewis for killing his son Kyle in the season 7 episode "Raw".
In her final episode, "Bombshell", Hardwicke attempts to convict twins Cassandra (Rose McGowan) and Doug (Ryan Hurst)—who are also in a sexual relationship—for their involvement in a man's brutal stabbing along with fraud crimes in New York and Miami. They are released on bail due to lack of evidence, which leads to Doug's murder by Cassandra‘s former lover Jerry Bullard (Tom Irwin). Hardwicke is mentioned in the episode "Reparations" as Tutuola says she is at a convention in Miami, before ADA Casey Novak returns as their temporary prosecutor. West then assumes the temporary ADA role for the final two episodes in season 12.
Melissa Sagemiller had previously been on SVU in season 1 episode "Russian Love Poem", portraying a rape victim. Sagemiller said about her character's personality: "She's tough... she has a heart, she just gets what she wants." Sagemiller also added, "She sticks to the letter of the law, sometimes to a fault, but in the end I think she always does the right thing."
- Portrayed by Linus Roache
- Episodes: "Scorched Earth", "True Believers", "Lost Traveller", "Father's Shadow"
Executive ADA Michael Cutter from the final 3 seasons of Law & Order has been promoted to Bureau Chief ADA of the Special Victims unit, where he is supervising ADAs Alexandra Cabot and Casey Novak. Both Cabot and Novak were previously supervised by Bureau Chief ADA Elizabeth Donnelly, before she was elevated to judgeship in season 7. The season 13 premiere, "Scorched Earth", was Cutter's first appearance on SVU, in which he helps Cabot with her prosecution of an Italian diplomat accused of raping a hotel maid.
In "True Believers", Cutter takes the lead in a case where a college music student (Sofia Vassilieva) is raped at gunpoint by a drug dealer. Defense attorney Bayard Ellis (Andre Braugher) accuses the NYPD of racially profiling the defendant, who is African-American, and reveals that Tutuola and Rollins frisked three identical suspects - all of which result in Cutter losing the case.
In the episode "Lost Traveller", ADA Cabot is forced to call on Cutter after defense attorney Marvin Exley (Ron Rifkin) tells her to "call her boss" to work out a deal for his client. In "Father's Shadow", Cutter is the lead prosecutor when a reality show producer named Fred Sandow (Michael McKean) is accused of raping young first-time actresses. Cutter's office does not drop the charges, even when the producer's son takes his father’s girlfriend and her daughter hostage and demands that his father be set free.
- Portrayed by Harry Connick, Jr.
- Episodes: "Official Story", "Father's Shadow", "Hunting Ground", "Justice Denied"
Executive Assistant District Attorney David Haden joins the show in the season 13, "Official Story", with a four-episode arc. Referred to as the executive assistant to the District Attorney, or the DA's "number two", Haden is a dedicated prosecutor who is assigned a case with Benson and the SVU squad when the CEO of a private military contractor is confronted by Occupy Wall Street protesters and later found drugged and sexually assaulted in a park. A much larger crime and conspiracy in Iraq is unveiled, with a rape occurring overseas and the rape kit being kept hidden. Haden and the SVU detectives are threatened by the CEO (John Doman), but Haden dismisses the threat, telling Benson, "This is what I live for." Although Benson is at first wary of Haden, they are both surprised to find they work well together. As the case develops, so does their relationship, as they share dinner and a kiss at the end of the episode.
In the following episode, "Father's Shadow", Haden offers to take Benson to dinner, but she respectfully declines, saying she is still on duty and joking there would be a possible conflict of interest. Later, Haden shows up at the scene of a hostage situation, in which Benson is trying to talk a teenage boy down from killing his younger sister. After Benson finally convinces the boy to give her the gun, Haden comforts her and offers to take her home. In "Hunting Ground", Haden and Benson's relationship becomes romantic as they work together to catch a serial killer; they are shown on a date and later sleeping together.
In "Justice Denied", Haden becomes involved in an SVU case in which it appears that Benson had coerced a confession out of a man eight years earlier and the real rapist is attacking women again. After defense attorney Bayard Ellis questions their relationship and threatens to expose them, Haden and Benson have to decide how they are going to handle the case without having their judgement clouded. At the end of the episode, after the real rapist has been caught and the wrongfully imprisoned man released, Cragen informs Benson that the District Attorney has decided to form a Conviction Integrity Unit to investigate past cases and ensure no one is wrongfully imprisoned. Cragen says that the DA's office will be starting with sex crimes, and that Haden has been appointed as the Bureau Chief of the unit. Benson and Haden meet for drinks and decide that they have to end their relationship and pretend like it never happened.
In the 13th-season finale episode, "Rhodium Nights", Defense Attorney Marvin Exley (Ron Rifkin) tells Benson that Haden may not be the person he claims to be, hinting that Haden is corrupt. It is revealed in the season 14 premiere that Haden's name came up on the wire tap in the investigation of an escort service. At the end of the episode, after several members of the DA's office are arrested for bribery and corruption, including Bureau Chief Paula Foster (Paget Brewster), Amaro tells Benson that Haden resigned from the office.
Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba is brought in at the behest of temporary SVU captain, Steven Harris (Adam Baldwin), when Barba requests a transfer from Brooklyn to Manhattan after he prosecutes two johns for raping a prostitute. Barba is a headstrong, by-the-book prosecutor, who puts pressure on not only the detectives, but also the victims and witnesses. In his first case, he prosecutes a rape similar to one portrayed in the best selling erotic novel Twenty-Five Acts, supposedly written by the victim, Jocelyn Paley (Anna Chlumsky). Barba tells the detectives to uncover anything and everything about Paley and her attacker. After rushing to put Paley on the stand to testify, Barba and the detectives discover that she did not write the book, which forces Barba to get creative with the trial. When Barba exposes the defendant's viciousness by taunting him with a belt, the jury finds the defendant guilty.
ADA Barba goes head to head with the Suffolk County District Attorney, Pam James (Jane Kaczmarek), in the episode "Beautiful Frame", after a Manhattan rape victim is charged with murder of her ex-boyfriend in Suffolk County. Benson questions the charges against the woman and gathers enough evidence for Barba to put another man on trial for the murder, as Barba and James race to get a conviction before the other. Barba and the SVU detectives uncover a scandal within the Suffolk County DA's office, as one of James' investigators set the young woman up for the murder. Barba offers to spare James' office further embarrassment as long as the investigator is convicted for the murder in Suffolk County.
In the episode, "Funny Valentine", Barba and the detectives have a tough time convincing pop star Micha Green (Tiffany Robinson) to testify against her abusive boyfriend, hip-hop artist Caleb Bryant (Eugene Jones III). After a shooting that kills her manager with Bryant as a suspect, Barba and Benson convince Green to testify to the grand jury. But when she finally takes the stand, she tells Barba that Bryant was not at the scene and instead says Barba and Benson put those words in her mouth. The couple flees on a vacation, where Bryant finally beats Green to death.
Towards the end of the fourteenth season, Barba becomes close with the squad, and they rely on his legal advice on many of their assigned cases. In the episode "Undercover Blue", Benson goes to Barba in an attempt to provide evidence that could potentially exonerate Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) against a rape charge. In the season finale "Her Negotiation", Rollins calls Barba in on a weekend for a misdemeanor case in which she senses the accused, William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber) is more dangerous than he seems. When Lewis turns out to be a serial rapist and murderer, Barba tries to put him in prison, but Lewis’ lawyer (and lover) manages to get the charges dropped. Soon afterward, Lewis kidnaps and tortures Benson, who escapes after beating him within an inch of his life. In “Psycho/Therapist”, Barba faces Lewis in court when the latter acts as his own lawyer and accuses Benson of assaulting him. Barba manages to convict Lewis of kidnapping, unaware that Benson gave perjured testimony.
Esparza was added to the opening credits in season 15, making Barba the squad's fourth full-time ADA. On February 7, 2018, Esparza left the series after six seasons in the episode "The Undiscovered Country". In this episode, Barba disconnects a severely handicapped baby’s life support in a mercy killing and is charged with murder. Although he is found innocent, he decides that it is time to move on from the DA’s office.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone is appointed by District Attorney Jack McCoy as special counsel prosecuting Rafael Barba in the death of a terminally ill child in the episode "The Undiscovered Country". First introduced in the Chicago P.D. third season episode "Justice" and appearing in his own show, Chicago Justice, Stone, the son of the late Executive ADA Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) has spent most of his adult life in Chicago, primarily as prosecutor with the State's Attorney's office in Cook County.
In his first appearance at Law & Order: SVU, Stone attends his father's funeral before being brought in to prosecute Barba. However, when Benson confronts him during the trial and he admits he sympathizes with Barba but cannot ignore the prosecution because he fears it will set a bad example to others, she urges him to talk to Barba and be more reasonable with him. This later results in Barba being found not guilty, a result Stone ultimately approves with.
After Barba resigns, traumatized by the case, Stone takes over as ADA overseeing the Manhattan SVU. His stint begins to a rocky start, particularly with initial tension with the rest of the members of the SVU team due to Barba's sudden departure. He soon begins to grow into the job and bond with them, particularly as he reveals that he was a professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs' minor league system, briefly called up to the major leagues, but was forced to retire from the game due to injury that tore his ligament. He also has a sister named Pamela (Amy Korb) who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and whom their father committed to a psychiatric hospital. Peter visits her every week after their father's death.
When Pamela begins to show signs of memory loss, believing that he is their father, Stone reluctantly increases her medication on her doctor's advice, concerned that stopping the medication could cause her to become suicidal. In the episode "Remember Me, Too", Pamela is abducted by members of a criminal network Peter is prosecuting, who ultimately invade the psychiatric hospital and shoot her. Pamela dies in her devastated brother’s arms. In the season 20 premiere "Man Up", it is revealed that Stone blames himself for her death, and has been drinking heavily and having anonymous sex to numb the guilt. In the final episode of season 20, Stone devises a fake prosecution to entrap serial rapist Rob Miller (Titus Welliver), and tells one of his victims to lie under oath. The ruse is revealed, making Miller so angry that he incriminates himself - just as Stone planned. While his plan is successful, however, he realizes that he let his emotions get the better of his legal ethics, and that he has to resign to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Dominick Carisi, Jr.
|Dominick "Sonny" Carisi Jr.|
|Law & Order character|
Peter Scanavino as Dominick "Sonny" Carisi
|First appearance||"Girls Disappeared"|
|Portrayed by||Peter Scanavino|
|Title||NYPD Junior Detective (Seasons 16-20)|
Assistant District Attorney (Season 21-)
|Seasons||16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22|
Assistant District Attorney Dominick "Sonny" Carisi, Jr. is introduced in the season 16 premiere, "Girls Disappeared." He originally serves as Detective Amaro's temporary replacement when Amaro is reassigned to Queens. He has brief SVU experience in other boroughs, including Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. In the fifth episode of season 16, it is revealed he has permanently joined the Manhattan SVU team.
Carisi, an Italian-American, is an inexperienced detective who transfers to the Manhattan Special Victims Unit as Detective Nick Amaro's (Danny Pino) temporary replacement when Amaro is reassigned to Queens. He began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer in the Bronx. After getting his detective's shield, he did some time in Vice and then did a few stints in the Special Victims Units for various boroughs before transferring to Manhattan SVU.
Carisi grew up in Staten Island ("off Arden Avenue") which is where his parents still reside. He is Roman Catholic, and wanted to be a priest when he was a child; two of his cousins are in the priesthood. His badge number is 0188.
Carisi gets off to a rough start with his new colleagues in the sixteenth season premiere episode "Girls Disappeared", coming off as blunt and insensitive during his initial meeting with Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish). He is nonetheless a talented detective with a knack for interrogations, getting suspects to talk by playing "good cop". He also eventually wins his colleagues' respect and friendship.
Unlike his older, more seasoned colleagues, he has difficulty keeping his emotions in check when confronted by the horrific crimes he sees. He is particularly upset by a case in which prominent dentist Neil Alexander (Paul Adelstein) rapes his own niece; while taking Alexander’s fingerprints, Carisi loses his temper and nearly breaks Alexander’s hand.
In the fifth episode, it is revealed that Carisi has permanently joined the Manhattan SVU team. In the same episode, Carisi helps turn one suspect against another during the investigation of a porn star's rape, earning him praise from Benson. Throughout season 16, he mentions that he is going to night classes at Fordham University's law school. A running joke has Carisi annoying Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) with unsolicited advice on how to prosecute cases. Barba eventually allows Carisi to shadow him for a trial, with Carisi helping Barba spot a key inconsistency in a witness' testimony. Some months later, Carisi reveals that he has recently taken the bar exam and thanks Barba for the earlier opportunity. The season 17 episode "Intersecting Lives" reveals that Carisi has passed the exam; however, in the season finale "Heartfelt Passages," he decides to postpone his plans to become an assistant district attorney for the time being. At the end of the episode, he serves as a pallbearer for Sgt. Mike Dodds (Andy Karl) after the latter is killed by a corrupt corrections officer.
In "Parole Violations", his sister Bella's (Marin Ireland) fiancé Tommy (Michael Chernus) reports that his female parole officer raped him at gunpoint in her office. While he dislikes Tommy, Carisi comes to believe his story and works to make sure that the woman is brought to justice.
In "Next Chapter", he is held at gunpoint and nearly killed by a rape suspect, former police Sgt. Tom Cole (Chris Bauer). Benson saves him by shooting Cole in the back of the head, killing him.
In "In Loco Parentis", Carisi's niece Mia (Ryann Shane) says she was raped by a classmate, Ethan (Sam Vartholomeos), at a college party, but later admits it was consensual. However, Ethan rapes her for real in her room after she invited him over to apologize. Carisi takes the stand in Ethan's trial and admits what Mia told him. ADA Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) gets Ethan to confess to the rape, for which he is sentenced to seven years in prison. Carisi helps Mia move out of her dorm and tells her that she was not at fault for what happened to her.
In "Sunk Cost Fallacy", while driving a victim, Jules Hunter (Sarah Wilson), to her house, Carisi's car is hit by a car ignoring a stop sign; the driver flees the scene, with the car being reported as stolen two days prior. Carisi is injured, and Jules is killed. It is implied that their car was hit by Jules' abusive husband, Nick (Scott Porter).
In the season 21 premiere, "I'm Going to Make You a Star", Carisi leaves the NYPD to become an assistant district attorney. His new role finds him caught in the middle of conflicts between his former colleagues at SVU and his new boss, Vanessa Hadid (Zuleikha Robinson), at the district attorney's office.
During "She Paints For Vengeance", he is assigned his first case when a young stripper/aspiring artist (Tonya Glanz) is raped by a former athlete. Carisi initially has trouble defending her and nearly resigns but encouragement from Benson persuades. The next day, he handles his job more professionally by getting the rapist to show his aggressive nature and is able to successfully convict the rapist.
- Portrayed by BD Wong
- Episodes: "Pique" – "Bombshell", "Father Dearest", "Born Psychopath", "Thought Criminal", "Depravity Standard"
Dr. Huang is an FBI forensic psychiatrist and criminal profiler, specializing in studying sexual predators and their victims. He becomes SVU's resident psychiatrist in season 3 after he was originally on loan to the squad towards the end of season 2. Though he is liked and respected by the SVU detectives and they generally defer to his professional judgment, his diagnoses sometimes hinder prosecutions, particularly where he finds mental illness, making defendants either not fully responsible for their crimes, or not fit to stand trial. This makes him a constant pain for the ADAs who are trying to prosecute the offenders. He frequently observes interrogations of suspects, advising detectives on how to best interact to obtain a confession. Very little is known about Huang's personal life, other than that he is gay, which he noted in season 11's "Hardwired", has a sister (noted in "Inheritance"), and that he speaks Cantonese and Mandarin.
Dr. Huang was last seen in a main role during the season 12 episode "Bombshell" in which he helps Benson and Stabler get information out of a homeless man. The reason for his departure is not revealed until the season 13 episode "Father Dearest" in which Dr. Huang returns to the SVU squad temporarily to aid in an investigation and tells them about his new assignment in Oklahoma City. Huang returns to New York in the season 14 episode, "Born Psychopath", and helps the SVU detectives with a case involving a young boy who has become increasingly violent towards those close to him. He diagnoses the boy with antisocial personality disorder and makes arrangements to get him into a treatment facility.
After not appearing in season 16, the first season he did not appear in since joining the show in season 2, Huang returns in the season 17 episode, "Depravity Standard." He tells Benson that he took early retirement from the FBI in order to return to New York, where he is now doing private consulting.
Dr. Warner is a NYC medical examiner who is one of SVU's biggest allies. Though originally a recurring character, she became a regular cast member in season 7, remaining through season 12; she reverted to being a recurring character in season 13. In the season 7 episode "Blast", she becomes directly involved in the efforts to rescue an eight-year-old kidnapping victim who has just been diagnosed with leukemia. Warner is held hostage with Detective Stabler at a bank where the hostage taker's father is the manager. When the taker demands Detective Stabler to come out of the office, he gives Warner his second gun, which she later uses to shoot the taker to prevent him from committing suicide by cop. In the season 9 episode, "Harm", she uses her medical skills to diagnose past torture in a victim and takes the lead in making the case to prosecute the doctor responsible. In the season 11 finale "Shattered", she is held hostage in her own morgue with Detective Benson and ADA Marlowe and is shot by the woman holding them hostage. She talks Benson through life-saving techniques before the woman lets her go to get real medical attention. She is well liked by the SVU squad, though briefly argues with Stabler when he accuses her of botching a DNA test on Benson, expected to absolve her of a homicide, before she discovered the DNA was intentionally doctored to make Benson look guilty. She served as a doctor in the U.S. Air Force during the Gulf War and is married with a daughter.
|Dr. Emil Skoda|
|Law & Order character|
|First appearance||"Denial" (L&O) |
"The Third Guy" (SVU)
|Last appearance||"Folly" (SVU) |
"Rubber Room" (L&O)
|Portrayed by||J. K. Simmons|
Emil Skoda is a psychiatrist who works with the New York Police Department. In addition to his own private practice, he often testifies for the prosecution as an expert witness on whether a defendant is legally sane to stand trial. He also profiles suspects and offers advice to the District Attorneys regarding witnesses' and suspects' mental states.
Unlike his predecessor, Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, little has been revealed about Skoda's personal life. One exception occurs in the episode "Burned", in which he compares a teenage suspect to his own son and admits that he enjoys rollerblading and Nintendo.
Skoda is also far more skeptical than Olivet of defendants pleading insanity, and quicker to believe they were faking to avoid prison. In more than one episode, both Skoda and Olivet are hired to evaluate a suspect, and argue over the appropriate diagnosis. The two doctors have radically different training and education: Olivet is a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. earned through graduate studies and a research-based dissertation; whereas Skoda is a physician, a doctor of medicine specializing in psychiatry. Skoda also has differences in philosophy with Captain Donald Cragen, with whom he argued passionately on cases.
As has often taken place in the Law & Order franchise, Simmons first appeared as a different character—Jerry Luppin in the Season 4 episode "Sanctuary". Simmons also played another character in Law & Order continuity—Colonel Alexander Rausch in the Homicide: Life on the Street Season 4 episode "For God and Country", a continuation of the Law & Order Season 6 episode "Charm City".
Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers was a recurring character in the Law & Order franchise. She was the medical examiner on SVU throughout the first season and has since been replaced by Dr. Melinda Warner. She also had a recurring role on Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent and appeared in one episode of Law & Order: Trial by Jury and Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.
- Portrayed by Mary Stuart Masterson
- Episodes: "Weak", "Contagious", "Identity", "Ripped", "Philadelphia"
Dr. Rebecca Hendrix is a former police officer who was at the police academy with Detective Benson. She left the force to become a psychiatrist. She initially appears for three episodes in the series' sixth season, to replace series regular BD Wong while he was performing in Broadway's Pacific Overtures. Within the series, it is said that Wong's character George Huang is on special assignment with the FBI back in Washington. Neal Baer stated that the character also gave him an opportunity to introduce a conflict between Benson and Stabler and said "Stabler hasn't always felt warmly toward psychiatry, but he does warm up to this character—who has been both a cop and a shrink."
Masterson reprises the role in the seventh-season episode, "Ripped", where she helps Detective Stabler come to terms with unresolved issues in what Baer called "an emotionally devastating scene". She makes a final appearance in the eighth season, episode "Philadelphia".
|Detective/Officer Monique Jeffries||Michelle Hurd||1999–2000||14||Special Victims Unit;|
Recurring character from 1999-2000
Regular character from 2000–2001
|Detective/Officer Brian Cassidy||Dean Winters||1999–2000,
|33||Special Victims Unit (Season 1)|
District Attorney's Office (Seasons 13-14)
Internal Affairs Bureau (Season 15)
DA Investigator (Season 19)
|Detective Ken Briscoe||Chris Orbach||1999–2000||11||Special Victims Unit|
|Detective Lennie Briscoe||Jerry Orbach||1999–2000||3||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Detective Ed Green||Jesse L. Martin||1999–2000||2||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Commissioner Lyle Morris||John Driver||2000||2|
|Lieutenant Ruben Morales||Joel de la Fuente||2002–2011||52||Technical Assistance Response Unit|
Captain Ed Tucker
|Robert John Burke||2002–2004,
|30||Internal Affairs Bureau|
|Officer Robbins||William H. Burns||2002,
|Officer Ramirez||Donnetta Lavinia Grays||2003–2007||7|
|Chief of Detectives Muldrew||John Schuck||2004–2005,
|Detective Mike Sandoval||Nicholas Gonzalez||2004–2005||2||Narcotics Unit|
|Detective Danielle Beck||Connie Nielsen||2006||6||Special Victims Unit|
|Detective Chester Lake||Adam Beach||2007–2008||2||Regular character from 2007 to 2008 (Season 9);|
Brooklyn Special Victims Unit (Season 8)
|Detective Joe Dumas||Scott William Winters||2011, 2013,
|4||Brooklyn Narcotics Unit|
|Captain Steven Harris||Adam Baldwin||2012||3||Special Victims Unit|
|Sergeant Cole Draper||Michael Potts||2012,
|6||Internal Affairs Bureau|
|Lieutenant Alexandra Eames||Kathryn Erbe||2012–2013||2||Crossing over from Law & Order: Criminal Intent;|
Joint Terrorism Task Force
|Deputy Commissioner Hank Abraham||Josh Pais||2013–2016||7||Public Affairs|
|Lieutenant Declan Murphy||Donal Logue||2014–2015||8||Special Victims Unit|
|Detective Dominick Carisi, Jr.||Peter Scanavino||2014||3||Special Victims Unit;|
Regular character since 2014
(Season 16, Ep. 5- present)
|Deputy Chief William Dodds||Peter Gallagher||2014–present||12||Supervisor of all Special Victims Units in NYPD|
|Sergeant Mike Dodds||Andy Karl||2015–2016||14||Special Victims Unit|
Crime Scene Unit technicians
|Harry Martin||Lou Carbonneau||2000–2002||12|
|Burt Trevor||Daniel Sunjata||2002–2004||15|
|David Layton||Jordan Gelber||2002–2003||8|
|Captain Judith Siper||Caren Browning||2003–2006,
|Ryan O'Halloran||Mike Doyle||2003–2009||52||Murdered in 2009 by Dale Stuckey|
|Millie Vizcarrondo||Paula Garcés||2005||4|
|Dale Stuckey||Noel Fisher||2009||4||Sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009|
|Keegan Simmons||Jabari Gray||2009–2010||6|
|Adrienne Sung||James Chen||2011||7|
|Colin Bennett||Max Baker||2012–2015||3|
|Pat Fisher||Gibson Frazier||2004||2|
FBI special agents
|Special Agent George Huang, M.D||BD Wong||2001–2002,
|24||Regular character from 2002 to 2011 (seasons 4–12)|
|Special Agent Dana Lewis||Marcia Gay Harden||2005–2006,
|Special Agent Dean Porter||Vincent Spano||2006–2007,
|Special Agent Tom Nickerson||Frankie Faison||2007–2008||2|
Assistant United States attorneys
|AUSA Claudia Williams||Pam Grier||2002–2003||2|
|AUSA Raul Menedez||Robert Montano||2005||1|
|AUSA Marion Springer||Jayne Atkinson||2007||1|
|AUSA Camilla Velez||Valerie Cruz||2010||2|
|AUSA Christine Danielson||Gloria Reuben||2010–2011||2||Previously Bureau Chief ADA|
|AUSA Bree Price||Caris Vujcec||2012||1|
|AUSA Connie Rubirosa||Alana de la Garza||2014||1||Crossing over from Law & Order, Previously ADA|
Manhattan district attorneys
|DA Adam Schiff||Steven Hill||2000||1||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|DA Nora Lewin||Dianne Wiest||2001–2002||2||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|DA Arthur Branch||Fred Dalton Thompson||2003–2006||11||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|DA Jack McCoy||Sam Waterston||2007, 2010, 2018||3||Crossing over from Law & Order; Previously executive ADA|
Chief assistant district attorneys
|CADA Charlie Phillips||Jeffrey DeMunn||2000–2001||2|
Bureau chief assistant district attorneys
|BC-ADA Elizabeth Donnelly||Judith Light||2002–2004||12||Special Victims Bureau; Later Judge|
|BC-ADA Tracey Kibre||Bebe Neuwirth||2005||1||Homicide Bureau; Crossing over from Law & Order: Trial By Jury|
|BC-ADA Christine Danielson||Gloria Reuben||2007||1||Homicide Bureau; Later Assistant US Attorney|
|BC-ADA Michael Cutter||Linus Roache||2011–2012||4||Special Victims Bureau; Crossing over from Law & Order|
|BC-ADA Paula Foster||Paget Brewster||2012||2||Public Integrity Bureau|
Executive assistant district attorneys
|EADA Jack McCoy||Sam Waterston||2000||1||Crossing over from Law & Order; Later District Attorney|
|EADA Stan Villani||Ron Leibman||2001||4|
|EADA Lydia Ramos||Priscilla Lopez||2008||1|
|EADA Elizabeth Donnelly||Judith Light||2008||1||Previously Bureau Chief ADA; Later Judge|
|EADA Sonya Paxton||Christine Lahti||2009–2011||7|
|EADA Garrett Blaine||Teddy Sears||2010||1|
|EADA David Haden||Harry Connick, Jr.||2012||4|
Assistant district attorneys
|ADA Abbie Carmichael||Angie Harmon||1999–2000||6||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|ADA Erica Alden||Reiko Aylesworth||2000||3|
|ADA Kathleen Eastman||Jenna Stern||2000||2|
|ADA Alexandra Cabot||Stephanie March||2000, 2005,
|16||Regular character from 2000 to 2003, and 2009 to 2010 (seasons 2–5, 11)|
|ADA Fritz||Albert Jones||2007, 2009||2|
|ADA Kristen Torres||Lizette Carrion||2008–2009||2|
|ADA Kendra Gill||Gretchen Egolf||2009–2010||2||Later Defense Attorney|
|ADA Jo Marlowe||Sharon Stone||2010||4|
|ADA Sherri West||Francie Swift||2010–11||4||Later Defense Attorney|
|ADA Mikka Von||Paula Patton||2010||1|
|ADA Gillian Hardwicke||Melissa Sagemiller||2010–2011||10|
|ADA Casey Novak||Diane Neal||2011–2012||5||Regular character from 2003 to 2008 (seasons 5–9)|
|ADA Rose Calliar||Tabitha Holbert||2011–2012,
|ADA Rafael Barba||Raúl Esparza||2012–2013||11||Regular character from 2013-18 (season 15–19)|
|ADA Pippa Cox||Jessica Phillips||2013–2016||7|
|ADA Derek Strauss||Greg Germann||2013–2014||3|
|ADA Kenneth O'Dwyer||Robert Sean Leonard||2015–2016||3|
|Don Newvine||Frank Deal||1999–2001||5|
|James Woodrow||Craig Wroe||2000–2002,
|Ms. Regal||Liz Larsen||2000–2002||3|
|Roger Kressler||Ned Eisenberg||2001–2006,
|Carolyn Maddox||CCH Pounder||2001,
|Cleo Conrad||Jill Marie Lawrence||2002–2008||17|
|Trevor Langan||Peter Hermann||2002–2010,
|Gina Bernado||Illeana Douglas||2002–2003||3|
|Morty Berger||Michael Lerner||2003–2006||2|
|Barry Moredock||John Cullum||2003–2005,
|Donna Emmett||Viola Davis||2003–2004,
|Lorna Scarry||Mariette Hartley||2003–2004
|Nikki Staines||Callie Thorne||2003–present||4|
|Rebecca Balthus||Beverly D'Angelo||2003,
|Lionel Granger||David Thornton||2003–2010||10|
|Dave Seaver||Michael Boatman||2003–2004,
|7||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Lynne Riff||Blair Brown||2004||2|
|Chauncey Zierko||Peter Riegert||2004–2007||7|
|Oliver Gates||Barry Bostwick||2004–2007||5|
|Jason Whitaker||Bradley Cooper||2005||1||Cross-over episode with Law & Order: Trial By Jury|
|Linden Delroy||J. Paul Nicholas||2005–2006
|Sophie Devere||Annie Potts||2005–2007,
|Hashi Horowitz||Joe Grifasi||2005–2007,
|Charlie Moss||James Naughton||2006–2007||2|
|Matthew Braden||Steven Weber||2007||3|
|Russell Hunter||Austin Lysy||2007–2011||7|
|Miranda Pond||Alex Kingston||2009–2010||4|
|Patrice Larue||Jeri Ryan||2009–2010||3|
|Dwight Stannich||Robert Klein||2009–2012||4|
|John Buchanan||Delaney Williams||2010–present||14|
|Jonah Dekker||Terrence Howard||2011||1||Crossing over from Law & Order: LA|
|Marvin Exley||Ron Rifkin||2011–2012,
|Bayard Ellis||Andre Braugher||2011–2013,
|Sherri West||Francie Swift||2011||1||Previously ADA|
|Linus Tate||David Pittu||2011–2014||6|
|Kendra Gill||Gretchen Egolf||2012||2||Previously ADA|
|Barry Querns||Reg E. Cathey||2012–2013||4|
|Lorenzo Desappio||Jason Cerbone||2012–present||6|
|Rita Calhoun||Elizabeth Marvel||2012–present||12|
|Martha Marron||Renée Elise Goldsberry||2013–2014||2|
|Minonna Efron||Nia Vardalos||2013–2014||3|
|Ben Cohen||Jeffrey Tambor||2013–2014||4|
|Vanessa Mayer||Lauren Ambrose||2013||2|
|Judge Alan Ridenour||Harvey Atkin||2000–2011||18|
|Judge Susan Valdera||Leslie Ayvazian||2000–2002||5|
|Judge Kevin Beck||Peter Francis James||2000||5|
|Judge Barry Abrams||Patrick Tovatt||2000||1||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Judge Walter Schreiber||John Ramsay||2000||1||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Judge Margaret Barry||Doris Belack||2000–2001||2||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Judge Mark Seligman||Tom O'Rourke||2000–2006||19|
|Judge Lena Petrovsky||Joanna Merlin||2000–2011||43|
|Judge Arthur Cohen||David Lipman||2002–2009||13|
|Judge Danielle Larsen||Sheila Tousey||2003–2004||10|
|Judge Lois Preston||Audrie J. Neenan||2003–2011||20|
|Judge Walter Bradley||Peter McRobbie||2003–2008,
|18||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Judge Mary Clark||Marlo Thomas||2004||4|
|Judge Philip Wyler||William Whitehead||2004||2|
|Judge Rebecca Steinman||Susan Blommaert||2004||1||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Judge Joseph Terhune||Philip Bosco||2004, 2006||6|
|Judge Karen Taten||Patricia Kalember||2004–2008,
|Judge Elizabeth Donnelly||Judith Light||2005–2010||12||Previously Bureau Chief ADA|
|Judge Peter Harrison||Peter Gerety||2007–2008,
|Judge Gregory Trenton||John Henry Cox||2007, 2010||2|
|Judge Barry Moredock||John Cullum||2008–2011||5||Previously Defense Attorney|
|Judge L. Maskin||Tonye Patano||2009–2012||6|
|Judge D. Andrews||Lindsay Crouse||2009–2011||7|
|Judge Sylvia Quinn||Kate Nelligan||2010||2|
|Judge Sheila Tripler||Anita Gillette||2010||2|
|Judge D. Serani||Michael Mastro||2011–2016||12|
|Judge Elana Barth||Jenna Stern||2011–2013
|12||Resigned in 2019 and went into private practice|
|Judge Karyn Blake||Ami Brabson||2012–2015||13|
|Judge Colin McNamara||Stephen C. Bradbury||2012–present||17|
|Judge Felicia Catano||Aida Turturro||2013–2016||7|
|Judge Delilah Hawkins||Victoria Rowell||2013–2014||2|
|Judge Edward Kofax||John Rothman||2014–2019||5||Disbarred and imprisoned|
|Judge Hashi Horowitz||Joe Grifasi||2015||2||Previously Defense Attorney|
|Judge Ellery||Rocco Sisto||2019–2020||2|
|M.E. Elizabeth Rodgers||Leslie Hendrix||1999–2000||9||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Dr. Elizabeth Olivet||Carolyn McCormick||1999–2001,
|6||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|Dr. Emil Skoda||J.K. Simmons||2000–2001||6||Crossing over from Law & Order|
|M.E. Melinda Warner||Tamara Tunie||2000–2005,
|88||Regular character from 2005 to 2011 (seasons 7–12)|
|Dr. Emily Sopher||Linda Emond||2004,
|Dr. Rebecca Hendrix||Mary Stuart Masterson||2004–2007||5|
|Dr. Cap Jackson||Jeremy Irons||2011||2|
|Dr. Peter Lindstrom||Bill Irwin||2013–present||12|
|M.E. Carl Rudnick||Jefferson Mays||2014–2016||7||Sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015; medical license revoked|
|Paramedic Martinez||Joselin Reyes||2003–2007,
|Dr. Anne Morella||Julie White||2003–2005,
|ER Nurse Carey Hutchins||Elizabeth Flax||2003–2005,
|Dr. Kyle Beresford||Stephen Gregory||2004–2006,
|Dr. Jane Larom||Anne James||2006–2008,
|Dr. Manning||Amir Arison||2009–2011||8|
The Stabler family
|Kathy Stabler||Isabel Gillies||1999–2011||30|
|Maureen Stabler||Erin Broderick||1999–2002,
|Kathleen Stabler||Holiday Segal
|19||Holiday Segal is replaced by Allison Siko as Kathleen Stabler in 2005|
|Richard "Dickie" Stabler||Jeffrey Scaperrotta||1999–2001,
|Elizabeth "Lizzie" Stabler||Patricia Cook||1999–2001,
|Elliot Stabler Jr.||Various||2008–2011||5|
|Bernadette Stabler||Ellen Burstyn||2008||1||Elliot's mother|
Barry Moredock, a judge, originally appeared as a defense attorney in the episode "Appearances", on a case in which a child pornography maker is put on trial for giving instructions on how to kill via a story on his company's website. He works on another case with Cabot in the episode "Manic", where a child kills two high school students and is given medication from his mother due to an illegal marketing campaign by the major pharmaceutical company Tauscher-Leto. In the seventh season, he works as a defense attorney on a case with Casey Novak as ADA in the episode "Raw", where he defends a Neo-Nazi group. In the season 9 episode "Blinded", Moredock and Novak work on a case together in which a violent, schizophrenic artist kidnaps and rapes two girls. Starting in the episode "Babes" to present, Moredock is a judge. His first case (seen) is the case of a homeless boy burned to death by a high school student. In the episode "Smut", he is blackmailed when SVU is notified about a video he was sent by an acquaintance showing a dolphin humping a woman on his personal file server, which could be classified as pornography. Moredock recuses himself from the case, in which a rapist claims he was driven by pornography to sexually assault women. He reunites with Cabot in the episode "Lead" as the judge presiding over the case of a developmentally man who killed the pediatrician who molested him as a child. As the trial goes on, it is discovered that the defendant suffers from lead poisoning caused by Chinese-made products. In the 2009 episode "Hammered" Moredock presides over the case of a heavy drinker accused of killing a woman during an alcoholic blackout. When ADA Sonya Paxton shows up to court drunk, he orders her to get alcoholism treatment. In "Possessed", Moredock drops a statutory rape case because the statute of limitations had run out, even as he states that he finds the defendant, an elderly pedophile, repulsive.
Kathy Stabler is Detective Elliot Stabler's wife: they got married when they were both 17. The two are separated for some time in seasons 6 through 8, but Kathy shows up in the squad-room in the season 8 finale "Screwed" and tells him that she needs him to come home because she is pregnant. In the season 9 episode "Paternity", Kathy and Detective Benson are involved in a car accident while Benson was helping Elliot by bringing Kathy to the doctor for a check-up. Kathy is pinned and unconscious when Benson wakes up and calls for help. Benson is tasked with helping EMS stabilize her as they cannot get into the car. Kathy is extracted from the car by firefighters and placed in the ambulance, where she goes into labor and delivers a baby boy before she becomes unconscious again. Elliot, who had been upstate retrieving a perp, arrives at the hospital and embraces Kathy and his new son, Elliot Jr. Kathy and Elliot have five children together: Maureen, Kathleen Louise, twins Richard ("Dickie") and Elizabeth ("Lizzie"), and Elliot Jr ("Eli").
TARU Tech Ruben Morales
Ruben Morales is an officer in the NYPD's Technical Assistance Response Unit who aided the SVU squad with investigations that included computer or video evidence. He appeared in 52 episodes between seasons 3-12. In the Season 7 episode "Web", Morales takes a hands on approach in the investigation of an Internet pornography site. Due to his own guilt about his nephew's rape by an online predator, Morales beats one of the suspects up in the interrogation room, threatening the detectives' case.
CSU Tech Ryan O'Halloran
Crime Scene Technician Ryan O'Halloran came in frequent contact with the SVU detectives when they investigated crime scenes of their victims. He appeared in 52 episodes between seasons 5-10. He was one of SVU's biggest allies until his death in the season 10 finale. He was murdered by CSU tech Dale Stuckey, who was trying to prevent O'Halloran from informing the detectives that he was the real killer of a defense attorney and young woman.
Ed Tucker is an officer in the Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD who has frequently been assigned to question the SVU squad whenever there is an allegation of misconduct. He has appeared in 21 episodes throughout the duration of the series, starting with the season 3 episode "Counterfeit". He has opened numerous investigations on Detectives Stabler, Benson, Amaro, and Rollins and frequently feuded with Captain Cragen. Tucker was originally introduced as a Sergeant, but was later promoted to Lieutenant. Although he feuded with the squad for many years, Tucker slowly became an ally for Benson after she took over for Cragen as squad commander. In the season 16 finale, "Surrendering Noah", he alerted Benson that 1PP would likely not consider promoting Amaro to Sergeant now that Benson, who looks to become SVU's Lieutenant, will need a Sergeant by her side. In "Townhouse Incident" (season 17), Tucker—who has now been named the Captain of IAB—acts as the hostage negotiator when Benson and others are taken captive in a violent home invasion; he is selected at Benson's request and reveals that he was a negotiator prior to transferring to IAB. When Tucker tries to help Benson bust a sex trafficking ring with ties to the Catholic Church (and his own cousin, a priest), it is revealed that he and Benson are in a romantic relationship when. In "Heartfelt Passages", Tucker tells Benson of his intention to transfer to the NYPD Emergency Response Unit's Hostage Negotiation Team.
As seen in "Heartfelt Passages", Capt. Tucker is a recipient of the U.S. Flag Bar, the World Trade Center Breast Bar, NYPD Meritorious Police Duty, NYPD Excellent Police Duty, and NYPD 150th Commemorative Breast Bar.
In Season 18, Tucker wanted Benson to retire with him. Benson had mixed feelings about this. The two eventually ended their romantic relationship. In Season 21, he made a guest appearance, where he is shown to be retiring. Tucker has remarried, and has two stepdaughters. Tucker privately reveals to Benson he is dying of lung cancer, that has metastasized to his brain, causing memory loss. After Vice Officer Rachel Wilson blames Tucker for ignoring her rape at the hands of Internal Affairs Officer Gary Wald before her suicide, Tucker records a confession from Wald to make things right. Tucker also reconciles with Benson. However, before the trial, Tucker commits suicide. In his suicide note, Tucker leaves everything to his wife and claims that he killed himself so she wouldn’t have to take care of a dying man.
- Portrayed by Charlayne Woodard
- Episodes: "Silence", "Chameleon", "Loss", "Criminal", "Identity", "Pure", "Underbelly", "Smoked"
Sister Peg is a Catholic nun who lived and worked in New York City. Most of her work involved helping and protecting prostitutes, and so she came into contact with SVU detectives Stabler and Benson. In the season 6 episode "Pure", she was kidnapped by the murderer that the SVU detectives were trying to capture after they came in contact in the SVU squad-room. She was beaten up by a pimp in the season 8 episode "Underbelly", after trying to help one of his girls. She was killed in the season 12 finale "Smoked" by the young girl who fired a gun in the SVU squad-room with the intention of killing the men in holding who murdered her mother.
- Portrayed by Ernest Waddell
- Episodes: "Haunted", "Strain", "Venom", "Outsider", "Screwed", "Conned", "Learning Curve", "Intersecting Lives", "Send In The Clowns", "Down Low in Hell's Kitchen"
Kwasi Tutuola or as he prefers Ken Randall is Detective Tutuola's son and is first mentioned in "Counterfeit", where Fin stated he loved old cop weapons. Fin stated that Ken is 18. He is introduced in the season 6 episode, "Haunted", in which Tutuola is shot after trying to prevent a robbery. Ken reveals to his father that he is openly gay in the season 7 episode, "Strain". In the season 7 episode, "Venom", Ken is arrested after he was found digging in a vacant lot while he was intoxicated. It is discovered that Ken was searching for the woman and baby that his half-brother, Darius, said he had killed. This puts heat on Tutuola within the squad, as he fights to exonerate his son and prove that Darius is a murderer. When Darius cons SVU into getting his confession without his lawyer present, the case continues in the season 8 finale, "Screwed". Ken returns to try to help his father and the rest of the detectives find evidence to convict Darius. While being questioned on the stand, Ken's mother is forced to reveal that Darius was a product of rape by her own father. This news left Ken stunned that Darius is also his uncle. Afterwards, he and his father mutually cut ties with Darius for his actions. During the season 13 episode, "Learning Curve", Ken asks for Sergeant Munch's help in revealing to his father that he is getting married. But before Ken is able to tell his father, his fiancé is brutally attacked. While at the hospital, Munch tells Tutuola that the man is Ken's fiancé, which makes Tutuola determined to find the attackers. Eventually, Alejandro recovers from his injuries and he and Ken marry. As of "Intersecting Lives", Ken and Alejandro are expecting a child, having found a surrogate; to Ken's surprise and relief, Fin is excited about becoming a grandfather.
During "Send in the Clowns ", Ken and Alejandro visit Fin at his job for his birthday. They are shown to have been successful in adopting a baby boy named Jaden, who Fin dots on to his coworkers.
In "Down Low in Hell's Kitchen", Ken assists SVU in tracking down a serial rapist attacking gay men outside a bar.
Special Agent Dana Lewis
FBI Agent Dana Lewis, who first introduced in the season 7 episode "Raw" while working undercover to bring down a white supremacist group as "Star Morrison". Lewis (while undercover as Star) slaps Munch and calls him "kike" as a part of her cover, prompting her arrest for assaulting a police officer. She's forced to blow her cover and reveal herself as a Federal Agent during the trial against the group's leader when she shoots and kills the leader's son before he could kill Stabler. She tries to apologize for her actions after the case is over, but Munch holds no grudge. Agent Lewis specializes in undercover work, often working under assumed identities for weeks or even months at a time. While working undercover, she uses the name Star Morrison and speaks with a Southern accent (though the actress herself is not from the South). In the season 8 premiere "Informed", she shows up in New York again when Detective Benson is hounding her eco-terrorism informant to tell her about her rape. Lewis and Benson must find the informant after she goes missing and stop her from conducting a terrorist bombing. Lewis mentions to Benson that she calls her informant "Peggy Sue" because she reminds Lewis of her baby sister, Margaret. In her last appearance, Lewis tells Benson and Stabler that her family (husband and children) is currently living in Europe to protect them from criminals who attempt to retaliate against her. One of these criminals, the leader of the aforementioned supremacist group, ordered a fellow inmate to attack and rape her in the season 12 episode "Penetration". Elliot Stabler has been injured each time she has worked with them, by gunshot in season 7, by explosives in season 8, and by gunshot again in season 12 which was the only injury she was directly responsible for. Stabler half-jokingly refers to her as a "jinx", saying "[he's] nearly been killed" every time Lewis shows up; she counters his remarks by saying that maybe she is his "good luck charm", as he's survived every injury during their three episodes together.
In the season 14 episode, "Secrets Exhumed", Agent Lewis returns to partner with SVU when she believes that a Manhattan cold case is connected to several rape-homicides across the country. Lewis beats Detectives Benson and Amaro to the Miami correctional facility where the detectives were supposed to rearrest the suspect, a handicapped man, who was being released after completing his stint for another crime. Lewis accompanies Benson and Amaro back to Manhattan, where she observes the interrogation and pleads with Captain Cragen to let her have a shot at the suspect after the detectives could not get the man to admit to killing the fifth victim. When Cragen obliges, Lewis sweats the suspect into admitting he was at the scene when the victim was murdered. Amaro begins to question the confession when the boyfriend of the victim comes to the precinct and Lewis says that he was an old friend from when they dated in college at Tulane University. Pieces of the confession begin to fall apart as Munch and Rollins finds evidence missing in the cold case file and the boyfriend of the victim admits to having a romantic relationship with Agent Lewis. Amaro then gets the suspect to recant his confession and Lewis begins to seem increasingly panicked. Cragen gets Lewis to believe that the handicapped suspect had an accident and he will be awhile before her and Benson could re-interview him. As Benson begins to ask Lewis questions, Lewis realizes that Benson's questioning seemed interrogation-like. Benson and Amaro begin to ask Lewis pressing questions about the nature of Lewis' relationship with the victim and her boyfriend at the time. They get her to admit they had a several-month-long romantic relationship, which subsequently got Lewis pregnant. After he forced Lewis to get an abortion, she found out that he asked the victim to marry him. Lewis, in tears, admits she went to the victim's home, and after the victim taunted Lewis with the fact he asked her to marry her, she says she blacked out. She says that when she came to, the girl was dead. She tells Benson, who is clearly shocked and distraught, that she is so sorry. Cragen enters the room with a pair of handcuffs and tells Lewis she is under arrest for the murder. Amaro grabs the handcuffs and takes her into custody. Resigned to her fate, she cooperates, repeatedly saying, "I understand," as tears continue rolling down her cheeks.
Special Agent Dean Porter
FBI Agent Dean Porter worked with Detective Benson as her handler during her stint undercover in an Oregon eco-terrorist group during season 8. When a man is murdered with ties to the group EDGE, it's discovered he was a pedophile by Benson, working under the name Persephone James, who is investigating the crime as a civilian. After Benson uncovers the pedophile nest and deduces that a girl is missing, Porter blows Benson's cover after she was arrested by local police. Benson convinces Porter to help her search for the girl even though Porter was aggravated with Benson and her obsession on finding the girl. But when they find the victim and she confesses to why she killed her rapist, Porter understands why Benson is passionate for working sex crimes.
Porter returns later in the season 8 episode "Florida" after Benson gives Simon Marsden (Michael Weston) money, who she had just discovered was her half-brother. Marsden was being looked at by River Park, NJ police on suspicion of rape. Porter wanted to arrest Benson for helping Marsden, so he offered her a deal, no jail time if she helped Porter catch him. Marsden flees after a meet with Olivia when he felt something was wrong and Porter let Olivia go as he had no direct evidence of her helping Simon. After they finally find Marsden holding the River Park Police Captain hostage, it is discovered that the Captain is setting Marsden up, and Porter decides to drop charges the FBI had against Marsden. Porter returns a few episodes later in the episode "Screwed", when the SVU squad is under fire due to Fin's stepson Darius (Ludacris) being on trial for murder. Porter is trying not to be subpoenaed by the defense to avoid having to give dirt on Detective Benson. At the end of the episode as everything is unraveling for the SVU squad, Benson convinces Porter to tell IAB about his involvement with her and her brother.
Porter returns in the season 9 episode "Savant" when SVU is working on a case where a girl with Williams syndrome heard her mother being beaten and raped. Her father Ben Nicholson (Aidan Quinn) is being eyed by the FBI for extortion and other federal crimes and Porter is upset with SVU for running interference with the FBI's case against Nicholson. Porter returned in season 11's "Spooked" to work a case with SVU where two people were killed, their killer leaving a rape tree. Benson and Stabler believed the case was a drug-deal gone bad with involvement from a Mexican drug cartel. It is revealed Porter knew who the killer was all along as the victim's roommate Terri Baines (Paola Mendoza) was working with the FBI as undercover intelligence agent. Porter tried to take over the investigation several times, going so far as having the Special Victims Unit's telephones tapped to keep tabs on the case. Porter has not been seen since.
- Portrayed by Michael Weston.
- Episodes: "Philadelphia", "Florida", "Screwed", "Child's Welfare", "Murdered at a Bad Address"
Simon Marsden is Detective Benson's half-brother whom she discovers through a DNA kinship analysis. He caused extensive trouble throughout season 8 for Olivia and the entire squad after Olivia seeks him out at his New Jersey home. She discovers he is being investigated by police for stalking, but in the season 8 episode "Florida", it is revealed he is being set up by the police captain after Simon holds her hostage. Because of Benson's involvement with a "fugitive", she is suspended for some time, which is made known in the season 9 premiere "Alternate." Simon makes his return in season 13, when he pleads with Detective Benson to help him after his children are removed by the city (Benson is visibly shaken when Simon says that their father was a better parent to him, than he was to his own kids). Benson enlists attorney Bayard Ellis to act as Simon's lawyer, but she is shocked when Captain Cragen alerts her that Simon has kidnapped the children from foster care. Simon reappears once again in Season 21, where he attempts to patch things up with Benson and meet her adoptive son Noah. She invites him to lunch with Noah, but is enraged when he does not show up and leaves him an enraged voice mail. Benson later learns he had died of a drug overdose.
- Portrayed by Andre Braugher
- Episodes: "True Believers", "Spiraling Down", "Child's Welfare", "Justice Denied", "Monster's Legacy", "Perverted Justice"
Defense Attorney Bayard Ellis is introduced in season 13's "True Believers." He is said to be a high-powered defense attorney who has turned his attention to the underprivileged and minorities, which in turn makes him a civil rights champion. In "True Believers", he defends a black man who is on trial for attacking a girl in her apartment, and cites poor police procedure and the victim's creditably to get a not guilty verdict. At the close of this episode, he has a discussion with Detective Benson on the steps of the courthouse. After Benson blasts him for shaming the young girl on the stand, he tells her that she needs an escape and gives her his card, telling her to come by one of his daughter's softball games. In the episode "Spiraling Down", Benson gives Ellis' card to the defendant's wife, whose husband is a former football star who suffers from diminished capacity. He defends the former football star and receives a not guilty verdict. Benson also calls on Ellis when her half-brother is in need of legal help after his kids have been removed by the city. Benson and Ellis have become close, which creates conflict in the episode "Justice Denied", as Ellis defends a man who Benson coerced a confession out of eight years earlier. Executive ADA David Haden, the prosecutor who is re-investigating the case and Benson's love interest, is confronted by Ellis about their relationship and threatens to expose them if they didn't do the right thing. Benson asks Ellis to give her some time to find the real rapist, which she does, or she will tell the District Attorney about her relationship with EADA Haden. Ellis returns in the season 14 episode, "Monster's Legacy", when Detective Benson asks him to look into the case of Reggie Rhodes (Mike Tyson), who is scheduled to be executed after being convicted of murder in Ohio. Benson is able to get Rhodes to admit that he was abused when he was a child by the head of a camp in New York, which allows Ellis to argue that Rhodes' original defense attorney never presented that during the trial. Ellis uncovers a massive cover up by the lead prosecutor in the original case, who withheld photographic evidence of Rhodes being sexually assaulted by the man he murdered. Ellis subsequently convinces the judge to spare Rhodes from execution. Ellis is next seen in the season 16 episode, "Perverted Justice", when he comes to Benson and SVU asking them to reinvestigate a case he is working for Project Innocence. With the help of the now-retired Captain Cragen, Ellis is able to vacate the original charge against his client for raping his daughter decades earlier.
Maria Grazie Amaro
- Portrayed by Laura Benanti
- Episodes: "Spiraling Down" – "Above Suspicion", "Military Justice", "Thought Criminal"
Detective Amaro's wife, Maria, is introduced in the season 13 episode "Spiraling Down". She is serving in the armed forces and stationed in Iraq. In "Spiraling Down", Amaro video chats with her about the father of a victim in one of his cases, who served overseas with her. They have somewhat of a tense conversation, as she does not like the tone he is using with her, after he asked why he has never heard of this man. After returning to New York City in the episode "Official Story", she heads back overseas on a new assignment. In the episode "Valentine's Day", she is once again back in New York and shows up in the squad room after Amaro was late for their Valentine's Day dinner. At the end of this episode, Amaro watches his wife enter an unknown brownstone, and he has the increased suspicion that she is having an affair. In the following episode, "Street Revenge", Amaro sees her meet for lunch with the same military friend who appeared in "Spiraling Down". Amaro drives to Philadelphia, where her friend lives, punches him, and tells him to stay away from his wife. Maria discovers this and comes into the squad room in a rage, knocking folders off his desk. They begin to argue in front of the squad, until Cragen tells Amaro, "not here", and they go into the bunk room. Amaro reveals his suspicion and she says that she is not having an affair and that the brownstone he saw her enter was her psychiatrist, before she storms out of the room. In the season 14 premiere, after Amaro delays talking to her about their issues, he finally begins to apologize when she tells him that she has taken a job in Los Angeles, California. and she is taking their daughter with her.
- Portrayed by Pablo Schreiber
- Episodes: "Her Negotiation" – "American Tragedy", "Psycho/Therapist", "Beast's Obsession", "Post-Mortem Blues"
William Lewis is a serial rapist and murderer who had gotten away with numerous counts of rape and murder because of mistakes in the system made by different police jurisdictions. In the season 14 finale, Benson and ADA Barba pursue justice for Lewis' victims and attempt to get him locked up for good; but again, Lewis walks on a technicality. He later breaks into Detective Benson's apartment and tortures her before later abducting her and bringing her to at an isolated location, killing a traffic cop and his own defense attorney's parents on the way. Benson breaks free of her restraints and beats him within an inch of his life. Lewis is shipped off to a hospital and is later charged and brought to trial (SVU: "Psycho/Therapist") for his assault and abduction of Benson. Lewis represents himself and maneuvers to force Benson to take the stand and tell everyone what he did to her and what she did to him; crippling him in one leg, damaging numerous internal organs, and even deafening him in one ear. Benson lies and denies that she had him restrained, that he had broken free and she had to harm him to subdue him; this drives Lewis into a rage during his cross testimony with her. Lewis is found not guilty on the rape charge but guilty on the kidnapping charge, as well as assault of a police officer. He goes away to prison but before the trial ends, he bribes a juror to use drugged baked goods for them to make him sick and have a way to make a jailbreak. Lewis then pursues Benson again, killing and raping people in his path and abducting a little girl, Amelia Cole (Lily Pilblad) to make Benson come to him at an abandoned quarry where he abducts her again. He is about to attempt to rape Benson again, but when Benson refuses to show him fear, he decides to force her to play a game of Russian roulette with him. It winds up where Olivia has to take the last bullet, thinking he is about to kill her; he stands beside her and quickly shoots himself in the head with his left hand, making it seem as if she shot him; this is his final revenge. The charges against Benson are later dropped, however. The last thing Lewis tells Benson is that his death will be the last thing she will see before she dies. At the Kings County morgue, Benson asks if she can take one last look at Lewis' dead body in order to achieve closure.
In subsequent seasons, Lewis' name becomes a kind of code for an intensely dangerous situation and Benson reveals that her trauma and ordeal with him will always be a part of her. During a heated exchange with Amaro, he pointedly asks her whether she can ever forgive Lewis; she does not answer and he apologizes.
Deputy Chief William Dodds
- Portrayed by Peter Gallagher
- Episodes: "Holden's Manifesto", "Pornstar's Requiem", "Pattern Seventeen", "Forgiving Rollins", "Institutional Fail", "Maternal Instincts"
The former Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Units in all five boroughs, Dodds is Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Benson's politically-savvy commanding officer. A former homicide detective, he is often hard on Benson and her squad, most notably during their early interactions, but ultimately respects the work that they do and frequently backs them up to the NYPD brass. He assisted the squad during their investigation into Atlanta PD Deputy Chief Charles Patton (Harry Hamlin), who was accused of assaulting one of his own detectives in a New York City hotel, by personally interviewing Patton in the interrogation room. In season 17, he names his son, Mike (Andy Karl), Manhattan SVU's new sergeant, and is devastated by his death in a domestic violence dispute between a corrupt corrections officer (Brad Garrett) and his wife.
As seen in "Heartfelt Passages", Dep. Chf. Dodds is a recipient of the US Flag Bar.
Dodds is currently the first major character in any Law & Order series to portray an NYPD officer holding the rank of Deputy Chief. Almost every prior portrayal of NYPD senior officers above the rank of Captain has been that of three-star Bureau Chiefs, the four-star Chief of Department or First Deputy Commissioner, or the Commissioner of the NYPD.
In the season 21 premiere he resigned, but not before insisting that Benson be promoted to the rank of Captain.
Other minor characters
- Detective Kenneth "Ken" Briscoe, portrayed by Chris Orbach (season 1) is the nephew of 27th Homicide Precinct detective, Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach, Chris is his son). Ken Briscoe was more of an extra detective in the SVU precinct, consulting on cases with Detectives Benson, Stabler, Munch, and Jefferies. He was in the episode "Entitled" with his uncle, Lennie. It's been unknown what happened to Ken Briscoe as his last on-screen episode was "Contact". The character was set to return after more than twelve years in the season 14 episode "Manhattan Vigil" in flashback scenes. However, during final editing of the episode, Dick Wolf reported the character's scenes had been removed.
- Bureau Chief Muldrew, portrayed by John Schuck (episodes: "Outcry", "Haunted", "Storm", "Screwed", "Signature", "Inconceivable", "Anchor", "Shadow") is the NYPD Chief of Detectives who served as Captain Cragen's commanding officer.
- Christine Danielson, portrayed by Gloria Reuben (episodes: "Snitch", "Merchandise" & "Dirty") is the Homicide Bureau Chief ADA (a role Cabot had a year prior, in Conviction) prosecuting a case in which a Nigerian polygamist's wife is killed, and the husband fears that his testifying in a crime may have led to his wife's demise. Danielson returns in the twelfth season, this time as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. To assist in the first conviction of a child trafficking case in the New York area, she deputizes Benson and Stabler as U.S. marshals. Danielson returns again in the season, to help Benson investigate the murder of a corrupt Brooklyn ADA.
- Captain Steven Harris, portrayed by Adam Baldwin (episodes: "Lost Reputation", "Above Suspicion", "Twenty-Five Acts") is the Special Victims Unit interim captain who is installed by the Public Integrity Bureau Chief ADA Paula Foster for the first three episodes of the 14th season while Cragen is suspended. A by-the-book commanding officer, Harris warns the SVU detectives not to investigate Cragen's murder case, which they ignore, and criticizes the way Detective Tutuola dresses, citing the business attire dress code. When Detective Cassidy is shot while undercover in a hit arranged by his own boss, Harris backs Olivia during the Internal Affairs investigation. In "Twenty-Five Acts", Harris gives a nod to Amaro's request to work a case solo, pairing Benson with Rollins. He departs at the end of the episode, as Captain Cragen returns from suspension.
- NYPD Lab Tech Colin Bennett, portrayed by Max Baker (episodes: "Justice Denied," "Brief Interlude," "Criminal Pathology," "Know It All") is an NYPD Crime Lab technician known as Fin's "rope guy," Bennett specifically specializes in types of rope found at crime scenes. He is first introduced in "Justice Denied" where a rapist strikes during Fleet Week and uses an M.O. specific to a perpetrator that Benson had arrested in 2004. Bennett helped analyze the knots that were tied in the differing crime scenes. In the season eighteen episode "Know It All", Bennett and ADA Barba are blackmailed by a rapist to make his case and the evidence disappear. Bennett makes an attempt to lead the SVU detectives astray with his "findings" during the investigation until Detectives Tutuola and Rollins discover the truth, as Bennett attempts suicide due to the guilt of tampering with the case.
- Kim Rollins, portrayed by Lindsay Pulsipher (episodes: "Friending Emily", "Deadly Ambition", "Maternal Instincts", "Heightened Emotions") is Detective Amanda Rollins' sister, who comes to New York in the season 14 episode, "Friending Emily". She frequently interrupts Amanda while she is working an abduction case, and at the end of the episode, Amanda draws her gun on Kim's ex-boyfriend, who is in her apartment with Kim, telling him to get out. Later in the episode "Deadly Ambition", Kim returns to New York, beaten and pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's baby. When Amanda hears screams from inside her apartment, she finds Kim's ex-boyfriend attacking Kim, and Amanda shoots the man as he pulls a gun on her. After her initial interview with IAB Lt. Tucker, Kim changes her story to further implicate Amanda, including revealing a life insurance policy on the ex-boyfriend with Amanda's name on it. Kim says she did it to make it look like an accident, but it leads to Amanda's arrest. When Detective Amaro records Kim admitting to him that she set Amanda up, IAB drops the charges against Amanda and pursues Kim for the murder, only to find she has skipped town. Kim returns in season 17, as a suspect in an assault and robbery of a musician. Her criminal involvement coincides with their mother being in New York to throw Amanda a baby shower. Their mother sides with Kim, as they blame Amanda for her getting arrested and charged.
- Detective Frank Bucci, portrayed by Nicholas Turturro (episodes: "Part 33", "Can't Be Held Accountable", "Must Be Held Accountable"), is a detective who has crossed paths with the SVU in many of their investigations. He is also the father of two girls, Ivy and Milly. He first appears in "Part 33" testifying during the trial of Annabeth Pearl. He reappears in "Can't Be Held Accountable" asking the Special Victims Unit for help when Steve Getz grooms his daughters. Bucci is shocked and horrified when his daughters defend Getz, and he is later assaulted by two men hired by Getz to deliver Bucci a warning. When Getz is let go by Judge Joe Ellery, Detective Bucci snaps and barges into Amanda Rollins’s therapy session, taking both her and her therapist Dr. Alexis Hanover hostage, demanding Getz be charged.
Crossover characters within the Law & Order universe
|Name||Portrayed by||Year||# Eps||Original series|
|Captain Donald Cragen||Dann Florek||1999–2015||331||Law & Order|
|Detective/Sergeant John Munch||Richard Belzer||1999–2016||324||Homicide: Life on the Street|
|Medical Examiner Elizabeth Rodgers||Leslie Hendrix||1999–2000||9||Law & Order|
|Detective Lennie Briscoe||Jerry Orbach||1999–2000||3|
|Detective Ed Green||Jesse L. Martin||1999–2000||2|
|Dr. Elizabeth Olivet||Carolyn McCormick||1999–2001,
|ADA Abbie Carmichael||Angie Harmon||1999–2000||6|
|District Attorney Adam Schiff||Steven Hill||2000||1|
|Dr. Emil Skoda||J.K. Simmons||2000–2001||6|
|District Attorney Nora Lewin||Dianne Wiest||2000–2002||2|
|Executive ADA / District Attorney Jack McCoy||Sam Waterston||2000–2010, 2018||4|
|Orderly Eddie||Spencer Ebba||2014||1|
|Judge Barry Abrams||Patrick Tovatt||2000||1|
|Judge Walter Schreiber||John Ramsay||2000||1|
|Judge Margaret Barry||Doris Belack||2000–2001||2|
|District Attorney Arthur Branch||Fred Dalton Thompson||2003–2006||11|
|Judge Walter Bradley||Peter McRobbie||2003–2012||18|
|Defense Attorney Dave Seaver||Michael Boatman||2003–2011||7|
|Judge Rebecca Steinman||Susan Blommaert||2004||1|
|Bureau Chief ADA Tracey Kibre||Bebe Neuwirth||2005||1||Law & Order: Trial By Jury|
|District Attorney Investigator Hector Salazar||Kirk Acevedo||2005||1|
|Gwen Munch||Carol Kane||2009,
|2||Homicide: Life on the Street|
|Detective Rex Winters||Skeet Ulrich||2010||1||Law & Order: LA|
|DDA Jonah Dekker||Terrence Howard||2011||1|
|Bureau Chief ADA Michael Cutter||Linus Roache||2011–2012||4||Law & Order|
|Lieutenant Alexandra Eames||Kathryn Erbe||2012–2013||2||Law & Order: Criminal Intent|
|Father Shea||Denis O'Hare||2013||1|
|Detective Meldrick Lewis||Clark Johnson||2013||1||Homicide: Life on the Street|
|Billie Lou Hatfield||Ellen McElduff||2013||1|
|Assistant US Attorney Connie Rubirosa||Alana de la Garza||2014||1||Law & Order|
Law & Order: LA
|Detective Erin Lindsay||Sophia Bush||2014–2016||4||Chicago PD|
|Sergeant Hank Voight||Jason Beghe||2014–2016||3|
|Detective Jay Halstead||Jesse Lee Soffer||2014–2015||2|
|Officer Kim Burgess||Marina Squerciati||2015||1|
|Officer Sean Roman||Brian Geraghty||2015||1|
|Nadia Decotis||Stella Maeve||2015||1|
|Detective Antonio Dawson||Jon Seda||2016||1|
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