Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Season 1, Episode 1

Payback (20 Sep. 1999)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Stabler and Benson investigate the murder and castration of a New York cab driver. They discover that the victim had assumed the identity of another man because he himself was wanted by police.



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Title: Payback (20 Sep 1999)

Payback (20 Sep 1999) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Elliot Stabler (as Chris Meloni)
Gordana Rashovich ...
Anya Rugova
Isabel Gillies ...
Serena Benson
Mrs. Panacek
Gallery Owner
Mark Zimmerman ...
Mr. Dupree
Marta Stevens


Stabler and Benson investigate the murder and castration of a New York cab driver. They discover that the victim had assumed the identity of another man because he himself was wanted by police.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

detective john munch | See All (1) »





Release Date:

20 September 1999 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in September 1999. See more »


Marta Stevens: He raped me every night for 23 days. Sometimes he was too drunk to do it himself so he'd use whatever was around. A wrench, a pistol, a broom handle. Sometimes he'd say when he was tired of me, he'd kill me instead of keep using me.
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References A League of Their Own (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

"We don't pick the vic"
14 January 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The first episode of SVU got off to a great start as the team catches a case involving a cabby being murdered. Around this time in New York City there were a rash of cabdriver crimes. But SVU gets involved because the robbers and evidence shows there were two cut off the victim's private parts as well as robbing him of cash.

Captain Dann Florek originally with Law And Order prime returns to the franchise in charge of the squad. A little detective work on his part shows them that the victim was using another license with his photograph. That throws things off track, were the perpetrators after the man whom the license was registered to or the actual victim himself.

Christopher Meloni gets off to a great start interviewing the actual cab medallion owner Matt Skollar in Riker's Island. He's a flamboyant gay hustler who really doesn't have any behavioral boundaries even in jail. In fact jail can be kind of fun for him. It's the highlight of the show. Meloni's TV wife Isabel Gillies is also here and the Elliott Stabler family provide many a future plot.

It turns the perpetrators got the guy they were after. And he's a real piece of work. But as Florek reminds them 'we don't pick the vic'.

Mariska Hargitay who is now the only original cast member left is also introduced to us and we learn she was a product of a rape. Elizabeth Ashley is here as her mother. The character of the mother would die early on in the series, but the issues that Olivia Benson faced and her empathy for victims would remain through the series run.

An auspicious debut for SVU.

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Raúl Esparza mdbourke-282-899973
Olivia Benson It's time to leave SVU mdbourke-282-899973
Has this show ever had a lesbian rapist? Vallejo_Jr
don't hate me but... mdbourke-282-899973
Bottom line - Stabler was a Bully! mdbourke-282-899973
Highlights a real problem with cops like these PDX_Dave
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