An alcoholic who fell off the wagon is charged in the brutal rape and murder of an abortion doctor. His defense argues that alcoholism is a disease, but why is ADA Paxton so bitterly opposed to the claim?


Peter Leto


Dick Wolf (created by), Dawn DeNoon


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Meloni ... Elliot Stabler
Mariska Hargitay ... Olivia Benson
Richard Belzer ... John Munch
Ice-T ... Odafin Tutuola
BD Wong ... Dr. George Huang (as B.D. Wong) (credit only)
Tamara Tunie ... Dr. Melinda Warner
Dann Florek ... Donald Cragen
Christine Lahti ... Executive A.D.A. Sonya Paxton
Scott Foley ... Dalton Rindell
Linda Emond ... Dr. Emily Sopher
Ned Eisenberg ... Roger Kressler
Georgia Lyman ... Officer Whitney Bowman
Amir Arison ... Dr. Manning
Chris McKinney ... Mr. Hale
Tibor Feldman ... Dr. Kittle


After a night of heavy drinking, Dalton Rindell wakes up to a bloody apartment, a terrible cut on his head and a dead woman in his bed. Unable to recall the night before, Rindell immediately calls the police. Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler suspect the crime is the result of a deadly love triangle; however Rindell does not recognize the victim. After questioning Rindell and the victim's family and friends, Benson and Stabler are provided with leads in several different directions. Unsure which lead to follow, the two detectives decide to return to the bar where the night began in order to piece together the gruesome truth. Written by NBC Publicity

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode marks the first time that Olivia is shown visiting her mother's grave on-screen after learning of her mother's death back in season two's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Taken (2000). See more »


Executive A.D.A. Sonya Paxton: [about Dalton's alcoholism] What a load of crap. It's not that he couldn't stop. He just didn't want to.
Captain Donald Cragen: It's not that cut and dry, Sonya. Alcoholism is a recognized addiction.
Executive A.D.A. Sonya Paxton: That millions of people have successfully overcome.
Captain Donald Cragen: I've been sober over 20 years, but I struggle with it every day. It's not something you ever overcome.
Executive A.D.A. Sonya Paxton: But you're not drinking, are you? Proving my point. Alcohol is just a crutch for weak-willed, pathetic losers.
Captain Donald Cragen: How many coffees and cigarettes you have today, Sonya?
Executive A.D.A. Sonya Paxton: [...]
See more »


References Days of Wine and Roses (1962) See more »


Under Investigation
Written by Johan van der Voet
Performed by Johan van der Voet
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User Reviews

Lahti melts down
13 December 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Christine Lahti made several appearances on SVU as ADA Sonya Paxton. To say that she doesn't have people skills is putting it mildly. She did nothing to foster a good working relationship with the squad, most especially Christopher Meloni. In this one she irritates Mariska Hargitay as well going into the forbidden subject of her parentage and her late mother.

It all reaches a climax when the squad catches the case of a dead girl found in Scott Foley's apartment and Foley says he doesn't know her and doesn't know how she got there. She was beaten pretty badly though.

Foley is an alcoholic and subject to blackouts so he says. In the end he's arrested for the crime, but that's far from the end of the story.

Let's just say that I'm sure Detective Elliott Stabler gets some grim satisfaction in the end.

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