Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Season 4, Episode 18

Desperate (14 Mar. 2003)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 164 users  
Reviews: 3 user

After a young boy witnesses the brutal sexual assault and murder of his stepmother, his father blocks the efforts of the detectives to question him.



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Airs Thu. Nov. 26, 5:00 AM on USA

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola (credit only)
Dr. George Huang (as B.D. Wong)
Dan Hoffman
Signy Coleman ...
Kim Hoffman
Max Jansen Weinstein ...
Tommy Hoffman
Dawn Trent


A boy is found with a dead woman who is assumed to be his mother. Later it is learned that the woman is not his mother, but she is married to the boy's father. They learn that the man is rumored to be abusive towards his wife and was also the same with his first wife, the boy's mother, who vanished a few years ago. But it seems like the man is friends with the police where he lives so they didn't really pursue the allegations. Stabler later learns that the boy's mother was taken away by an underground who helps abused women escape their abusers. Stabler finds the woman and tells her about her son, so she decides to return and face her husband. Written by

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Release Date:

14 March 2003 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


During questioning, Dan Hoffman tells detectives he was at a Realtor's Association dinner. He incorrectly pronounces the word realtor as ,'re-la-tor,' something no self-respecting member of the profession would do. See more »


Olivia Benson: You've got an answer for everything, don't you. I'm not buying your "loving father" act. Tommy's terrified of you.
Dan Hoffman: My son is everything to me, I would die for my son.
Olivia Benson: Tommy almost died for you. You killed Jill and then you left him alone in that apartment. And had firefighters not responded so fast, you'd be burying him along with your dead wife.
Dan Hoffman: You wouldn't dare talk to me like that if you didn't have that badge and gun.
See more »


References Columbo (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Traumatized kid
7 February 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One of SVU's best episode occurs here with the squad investigating the homicide of a woman that was truly brutal and one that her little boy watched. Later on it develops that the little boy was not her biological son. She was in fact his stepmother and they were fleeing a brutal and abusive husband and father.

Which the squad zeroes in on. Rob Estes is by all accounts a nice guy, popular and in good standing with the Rotary and Chamber Of Commerce in Rye, New York. No one up there believes him capable of such barbarity. But he is being tried in New York City.

Young Max Weinstein is truly outstanding as the traumatized kid who has to testify against his father. He's the whole case for Stephanie March. To save said case Christopher Meloni finds him the best possible support.

A real good one, not to be missed.

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