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"Alternate"
SVU, Episode 9.01
Production number: 9003
First aired: 25 September 2007
  th of 348 produced in SVU  
th of 348 released in SVU
  th of 1088 released in all  
Benson Janis Donovan Alternate
Written By
Neal Baer & Dawn DeNoon

Directed By
David Platt

Plot Edit

In the ninth season premiere, Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler suspect that Janis Donovan (played by Cynthia Nixon), a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder, may have harmed her own daughter. Their investigation is met with initial resistance from Dr. Henry Carlisle (played by Bronson Pinchot). Captain Don Cragen is temporarily re-assigned due to problems with his detectives last season. The detectives end up discovering that Janis has 4 other alternate personalities. As the episode progresses, the detectives witness these personalities, culminating when one of Janis's personalities throws a chair across the room. Later in the episode, Janis and her sister are re-united after serving time in jail. The day after Janis and her sister go home together, their parents are found murdered in their beds. Janis's fingerprints are found on the gun. When Janis goes to trial, she displays one of her alternate personalities, choking ADA Novak. Janis is then found not guilty by reason of mental defect.

In the end of the episode, it is discovered that everything was an act cooked up by Janis' sister in order to fake a motive to kill their parents in revenge for being abused by them. When Detective Stabler and Benson go to visit Janis in the psychiatric hospital, Janis confesses to everything assuming she got away with it, but then the detectives arrest her sister in front of Janis, who was also visiting with her sister, for being a co-conspirator and is taken away in cuffs, while Janis has to look in horror.

Summary Edit

Episode summary

Cast Edit

Main cast Edit

Recurring cast Edit

Guest cast Edit

References Edit

Dissociative Identity Disorder, Spiders; Anna Young; Dori Johnson; Francis Donovan; Molly Donovan; Grellman Psychiatric Hospital; Prince of Peace Church; Queens; Troy; Bedford Hills Correctional Facility For Women; Westchester County

QuotesEdit

Chester Lake: It was an honor serving under you, sir.
Don Cragen: I'm not dead yet, Detective Lake.


Psychiatrist: That's not violent. [In response to Benson & Stabler's remarks about his patient]
Elliot Stabler: How about calling her baby a dirty slut and scrubbing her raw?
Psychiatrist: [pause] That's not good.

Olivia Benson: Tammy told us that Burt took her. She was about to tell me where when Petra showed up and bitch-slapped Elliot.


Lawyer: I still say you're making a big mistake. Call on me if you change one of your minds.

Fin Tutuola: Special Victims Unit. I think you need to adjust your TV. The baby we're looking for is Caucasian
Casey Novak: And the circus begins.


Dr. George Huang: From what you're telling me, she has Dissociative Identity Disorder, or what we used to call multiple personalities.
Elliot Stabler: Right, and I call it a crock.



(after Cragen relieves him of command of the SVU)

John Munch: I don't know how you do it. This job sucks!


Background information and notes Edit

  • "Janis" is almost certainly a deliberate pun on "Janus", the name of the two-faced Roman god of doors and gates.
  • This is the first episode Richard Belzar's credited as Sargeant John Munch.
  • Its revealed that Olivia was temporarily suspended as a result of her actions, but Cragen was able to save her job by pulling some strings.

Episode scene cards Edit

1 2 3

Office of
Doctor Henry Carlisle
14 East 72nd Street
Wednesday, August 8

Prince of Peace Church
1689 Bleecker Street
Wednesday, August 8

Donovan Residence
276 Fieldston Road
Riverdale, New York
Thursday, August 9

4 5 6

Grellman
Psychiatric Hospital
Troy, New York
Thursday, August 9

Trial Part 38
Tuesday, September 18

Bedford Hills
Correctional Facility For Women
Westchester County, NY
Wednesday, September 19


Previous episode:
"Screwed"
"Alternate"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 9
Next episode:
"Avatar"
Seasons 12345678910111213141516
Anigif enhanced-buzz-31014-1377027289-5

Elliot Stabler interrogating Janis Donovan

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