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Russian Love Poem 

Benson and Stabler investigate the murder of multi-millionaire Andrew Harlin. They begin with Harlin's long list of male and female lovers and continue to a pair of Russian escorts, one of ... See full summary »


Rick Rosenthal


Dick Wolf (created by), Eva Nagorski


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Meloni ... Detective Elliot Stabler (as Chris Meloni)
Mariska Hargitay ... Detective Olivia Benson
Richard Belzer ... Detective John Munch
Dann Florek ... Captain Donald Cragen
Olek Krupa ... Alex Strizkopf
Nadine Stenovitch Nadine Stenovitch ... Katya Ivanova
Dean Winters ... Detective Brian Cassidy
Michelle Hurd ... Detective Monique Jeffries
Melissa Sagemiller ... Becky Sorenson
Allison Munn ... Emily Harlin
Zhana Londoner ... Sonya Petrovich (as Zhana Kushnir)
Spiro Malas Spiro Malas ... Russian Businessman
Michael Aronov ... Igor
Russ Anderson Russ Anderson ... Charlie Poe
Jonathan Sharp Jonathan Sharp ... Bull Dozer


Benson and Stabler investigate the murder of multi-millionaire Andrew Harlin. They begin with Harlin's long list of male and female lovers and continue to a pair of Russian escorts, one of whom turns up dead, and the other's boyfriend confesses to the murder. Written by Jim Lankin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Actress Melissa Sagemiller who plays ADA Gillian Hartwicke in season 12 appeared on an episode in the first season entitled Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Russian Love Poem (2000). See more »


Alex Strizkopf: No one hurts me - not even this gun. See how lucky I am?
[pulls trigger, shooting and killing himself]
See more »

User Reviews

Poetic betrayal
25 September 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Am always impressed when a show starts off more than promisingly and settle quickly, though the latter doesn't happen an awful lot even with personal favourites. That is the case with 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit', while Season 1 may not be the best of the show it does show why there is a personal general preference for the earlier seasons than the more frequently aired later seasons. The odd disappointment aside, most of the season's episodes are very good to outstanding.

"Russian Love Poem" is for me though one of the weaker episodes of the first season up to this point of it. Of the previous episodes, the only episodes lower rated by me are "Wanderlust" and "Stocks and Bondage" both of which still above average. That is not meaning that "Russian Love Poem" is bad, for me it was still decent. But compared to the previous episodes of the season, decent is a little disappointing considering the very high standard of most of them.

Will start with what could have been better. Other episodes do better at making me care for the case and characters, though "Russian Love Poem" doesn't do too badly generally on them. The pace could have been tighter in spots though especially to begin with.

There could have been more twists and when a victim is one that is reprehensible and not worth rooting for it makes it harder to care properly for getting the crime solved.

It is to "Russian Love Poem's" credit that it does become more interesting and twisty after the second death. The ending is a tense one. There are some nice character moments, standouts being a funny line from Olivia regarding a banana and what it had been used for, a nice scene between her and a suspect, Munch speaking Russian, one of the most entertaining portrayals of drunk people on television in a while and Elliot being hit upon.

As for the production values, "Russian Love Poem" looks suitably slick and doesn't look too drab, suiting the gritty tone more than convincingly. The taut and intelligent dialogue is allowed to do all the talking and is not drowned out by constant and over-obvious music, which is used sparingly and generally low-key apart from in major revelations. The main theme is not hard to forget. The dialogue entertains and provokes thought mostly and the story does get better. The acting from the leads is very good and good enough from supporting.

Overall, decent but not great. 7/10

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Release Date:

21 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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