Law and Order

Donald Cragen

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Donald Cragen
Cragen Trials
Name Donald Cragen
Affiliation United States Army (formerly)
New York City Police Department (formerly)
Division Homicide Department (formerly)
Special Victims Unit (formerly)
Occupation Commanding Officer SVU (formerly)
Family Marge Cragen (wife; deceased)
Unnamed son
Unnamed daughter
Unnamed sister
Unnamed nephews
Unnamed nieces
Unnamed brother-in-law
Status Alive (retired)
Actor Dann Florek
First Appearance L&O: Prescription for Death
Last Appearance SVU: Amaro's One-Eighty

Captain Donald "Don" Cragen (born April 1 1947)  was assigned to the New York City Police Department Special Victims Unit. Previously, he was a homicide detective partnered with Max Greevey, and made a captain in 1989, where he worked with Greevey, Mike Logan, Phil Cerreta, and Lennie Briscoe before transferring. Cragen has identified himself as a recovering alcoholic. Cragen originally talked about drinking when discussing his time as Max Greevy's partner. This began the constant theme of detectives and addictions. Captain Cragen officially retired from the Special Victims Unit in 2014, during the season 15 episode "Amaro's One-Eighty." He left to go on a cruise around the world with his current girlfriend, Eileen Switzer, leaving Olivia Benson in charge of the Special Victims Unit.

His wife, Marge, was a flight attendant until she was killed in an airplane accident. She and Donald have one son, who may have been adopted, and one daughter.


  • Cragen was in the army
  • It was revealed in the episode Hammered that he is a recovering alcoholic for more twenty years. This is already hinted in Slaves when a shrink asks if he thinks about talking a drink and he says that he thinks about his alcoholism everyday.
  • It is odd he is still a Captain after more than 20 years. He should have been promoted to Deputy Inspector. However, in the 2001 SVU episode Paranoia, while discussing NYPD/IAB politics impeding the episode's investigation, he comments to the Chief of Detectives, "12 years as Captain, I can't get promoted" implying that NYPD/IAB politics impeded his own career.
  • After his partner Max Greevey was killed, the case of Steven Talmadge went cold, but Cragen still visited the family every year. With the help of his detectives, he finally solved the case and found Steven, renamed Tyler Blake, but was sympathetic to the family that had raised him for his whole life and that he wanted to stay with. As a result of his sympathies, Cabot became the family's lawyer for the custody battle. ("Stolen")
  • At the time of his retirement, Cragen was one of the longest running Law and Order Characters, appearring in both Law and Order and SVU's entire run.
  • Cragen had been suspended three times from the SVU. The first was in Season Nine's premeire, after the events of the season 8 finale "Screwed.", where it was revealed the many illegal actions of his detectives. The second time was in Season 11, during the Nikki Sherman investigation, as a result of Stabler's actions. The third time was in Season 14, when he was being tried for the death of a prostitiute, when it was revealed that he was framed, he was temporarily placed until he returned several episodes later.
  • Cragen is the first of 4 Law and Order characters to be moved from the show to another spinoff. The others are Lennie Briscoe, Mike Logan, and Connie Rubirosa. For Cragen, he was moved from Law and Order to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Icon L&O Law & Order - Main Characters

Senior Detectives: Max GreeveyPhil CerretaLennie BriscoeJoe FontanaEd GreenKevin Bernard

Junior Detectives: Mike LoganRey CurtisEd GreenNick FalcoKevin BernardCyrus LupoNina Cassady

Commanding Officers: Captain Donald Cragen • Lieutenant Anita Van Buren


Executive Assistant District Attorneys: Benjamin StoneJack McCoyMichael Cutter

Assistant District Attorneys: Paul RobinetteClaire KincaidJamie RossAbbie CarmichaelSerena SoutherlynAlexandra BorgiaConnie Rubirosa

District Attorneys: Adam SchiffNora LewinArthur BranchJack McCoy


Elizabeth OlivetAlfred Wentworth

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