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Sophomore Jinx 

Benson and Stabler suspect a pair of college basketball players of murdering a female student, but officials don't want to draw negative attention to the school.


Clark Johnson


Dick Wolf (created by), John Chambers | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Meloni ... Elliot Stabler (as Chris Meloni)
Mariska Hargitay ... Olivia Benson
Richard Belzer ... John Munch
Dann Florek ... Donald Cragen
Lothaire Bluteau ... James Henri Rousseau
Sean Squire Sean Squire ... Chuck Mosley
Dean Winters ... Brian Cassidy
Kohl Sudduth ... Riley Couger
Michelle Hurd ... Monique Jeffries
Isabel Gillies ... Kathy Stabler
Erin Broderick Erin Broderick ... Maureen Stabler
Holiday Segal Holiday Segal ... Kathleen Stabler
Patricia Cook Patricia Cook ... Elizabeth Stabler
Jeffrey Scaperrotta ... Dickie Stabler
Tom O'Rourke ... Anthony Schlasser


Benson and Stabler investigate a female student's murder at a local college. When they develop a suspect on the basketball team, they experience resistance from the college, which is trying to preserve its reputation and its chance at an upcoming championship. Written by Jim Lankin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Julian Gamble has played three different roles over the course of the series: See more »


When Benson and Stabler walk into the examination room, Rodgers is running a bone saw, then when she looks up, she turns the saw off. However, the blade on the saw is not moving at any time. See more »


[learning the victim's BAC was three times the legal limit]
Captain Donald Cragen: There was a time I yearned for a woman who could drink like that.
See more »


References Law & Order (1990) See more »

User Reviews

"If I go down on the spot I die, you better make sure this never happens to it or I'll haunt you the rest of your days"
4 August 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Despite only being Season 1, which usually for most shows tends to be "finding its feet"/"taking time to settle" period, 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit' has fared very well up to this point of it. Was disappointed personally in "Wanderlust" but the rest of the episodes were very good to wonderful, so mostly a consistently high quality that one doesn't always get with shows so early on in their run. Not everybody will agree with that and that's fine, just my thoughts.

"Sophomore Jinx" is another very good episode. Do prefer especially "Payback" (compared to a lot of first episodes this one compares very favourably) and "Hysteria", but it is a big improvement over the previous episode "Wanderlust". Which actually despite being disappointed by it had a lot of good qualities still. One might have noticed that with me when saying that something disappointed me, that doesn't mean that it's bad, merely saying that it didn't live up to higher expectations.

In my view, the victim could have had more development outside of what she was really like. The way she was written seemed on the one-dimensional side, meaning under-explored and unlikeable, which made anything to make one connect with her in any way emotionally very difficult.

There are a huge amount of good things, that far outweigh any reservations. The case is absorbing, with its fair share of twists and surprises that catch one off guard and being surprised when one thinks that something they thought they were certain about was not correct after all. It is disturbing at times, though not quite in an unpleasant aftertaste way. Did like Abbie Carmichael's appearances and yes Angie Harmon acts disgust more than adeptly. Stabler's personal life is touchingly done and doesn't feature too heavily or feel too irrelevant.

Script is thoughtful and sometimes hilarious, with Stabler having two of the best lines. One when at the memorial with Olivia and the other in response to a character's sperm sample refusal. The character writing for the regulars is not biased this time and Olivia is much more likeable here, having been put off by how she behaved in "Wanderlust". The gritty visual style is still here, as is the spare but not intrusive music. The acting is fine, with Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay being solid and a well matched pair. Richard Belzer is amusing.

All in all, very good. 8/10

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English | French

Release Date:

25 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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