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"Charisma"
SVU, Episode 6.07
Production number: E5206
First aired: 16 November 2004
  th of 366 produced in SVU  
th of 366 released in SVU
  th of 1106 released in all  
Benson Charisma
Written By
Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas

Directed By
Arthur W. Forney

The investigation of an impregnated 12-year-old girl leads to a religious cult led by a con-artist.

Plot Edit

Melanie Cramer, a 12-year-old pregnant girl who is weeks if not days away from going into labor, is reported to SVU by the hospital she is staying in, and Detective Benson is called in to interview the girl, who claims to have a husband. Upon investigating the home of her alleged husband, she and the rest of the NYPD find that he is the leader of a Branch Davidian-type religious cult called the Church of Wisdom and Sight. The leader later turns out to be a career con-artist named Eugene Hoff, who is using her pregnancy to inherit a vast fortune from her mother, one of his mostly female followers.

Summary Edit

Episode summary

Cast Edit

Main cast Edit

Recurring castEdit

Guest cast Edit

References Edit

Quotes Edit

  • Dr. Huang: Well, what do you want to talk about?
    Munch: Well, it doesn't really matter. We could all talk till we're blue in the face. It's not gonna change the fact that the human race is ever-evolving and will always come up with elaborate, repulsive, and depraved ways to kill each other.
    Dr. Huang: And that's what really bothers you, isn't it? That you can still feel disgusted.


  • Dr. Huang: What's the first thing you remember seeing after entering the building?
    Stabler: Dead bodies.
    Dr. Huang: Can you be more specific?
    Stabler: A bunch of dead bodies.

Benson: Now, those women out there might be brainwashed, but you're not. You know exactly what he is: A murderer and a child rapist.
Sarah/Cindy: That's not true!
Benson: You knew who he was and you let this happen! You let all those children die!
Sarah/Cindy: It was God's will!
Benson: No, Sarah! It was your will! You can blame God, and you can blame Abraham, but we all know the truth! You did this! You sat there, and you watched as a man raped one of your children and then murdered the other! You might has well have killed him YOURSELF!!
Captain Cragen: Olivia!
Benson: [calmly] He has one of your children and he has your unborn grandchild.
Sarah/Cindy: This is a test. I won't be tempted.
[Benson leaves the room in disgust]

  • Munch [talking Reggie through a sting with Abraham]: Take a few deep breaths, relax, and just pretend you're embezzling thousands of dollars like it's any other day.



Eugene: All these men have come to kill me!
Benson: Shut your mouth, Eugene!
Eugene: Why?! Because they know! They know that I am greater than man! I am greater than God! And they're afraid of what I can do!
[a gunshot is heard and Eugene hits the ground dead; Melanie is holding the gun and she starts sobbing; Benson rushes over, takes the gun away, and comforts her]
Benson: It's okay. It's okay. Put the gun down. It's okay.
Melanie: That was a lie.
Benson: What was?
Melanie: He said he was greater than God. But nobody is.

  • Reggie: Oh my God.
    Munch: God's not gonna help you, Reg. He doesn't like fraud committed in His name.


  • Munch [tries to talk to one of Eugene's followers]: I'm gonna try this one more time. May I have your name, please, as well as any aliases? [the woman is silent and stares straight ahead] I hereby christen you "Jane Doe #3."


  • Eugene: How can you stand it? How can you invite this depravity into your mind, your body, your soul? It will kill you. Every horror, every torment afflicts your body. Like a cancer. It's devouring you, and you can't see it. Open your eyes.
    Benson: You know, I just thought that you were just another con artist. Seeking out people who were starved for anything that would give them meaning in their life. They're easy marks. You talk about God, the apocalypse and they give you all their money. But you are much more pathetic than that. You actually believe your own hype. You've conned yourself.

Background information and notes Edit

  • George Huang uses his FBI badge number to acquire a phone tab. The number is 2317616; the same number as Special Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files.
  • The episode is dedicated in the memory of Emmy Ann Wooding (1947 - October 24, 2004), who died in a car accident. She worked at Universal Studios Television for thirty-seven years and was a longtime assistant at Wolf Films.
  • The episode seems to be based on the Marcus Wesson case. He sexually abused one of his stepdaughters, fathering children with her, the daughters of whom he also sexually abused and impregnated. He also sexually abused and impregnated the daughters left by one of his other stepdaughters. Wesson later developed a religious cult with his children. A standoff between Wesson and police began when members of his extended family tried to take the children away from him. The standoff ended after Wesson convinced one of his daughters to commit a mass murder-suicide, which left her and eight other children dead. He was convicted of nine counts of first-degree murder and fourteen sex crimes and subsequently sentenced to death.

Episode scene cards Edit

1 2 3 4

Special Victims Unit
Squad Room
Wednesday, October 27

Apartment of
Carl and Simone Buchman
Queens, New York
Wednesday, October 27

New York Savings Bank
609 West 112th Street
Thursday, October 28

Church of
Wisdom and Sight
104 West 120th Street
Friday, October 29


Previous episode:
"Conscience"
"Charisma"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 6
Next episode:
"Doubt"
Seasons 123456789101112131415161718

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