Law and Order

Donald Cragen

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Donald Cragen
Donald Cragen, Perverted Justice
Name Donald Cragen
Title Captain (1989-2015)
Detective (196?-19??)
Affiliation United States Army Green Beret (former)
NYPD (196?-2014; retired)
Division Manhattan Special Victims Unit (1999-2014)
Anti-Corruption Task Force (1993-1999)
Homicide Unit (196?-1993)
Precinct 16th Precinct (1999-2014)
27th Precinct (196?-1993)
Occupation Police officer (196?-2014)
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: "Perverted Justice"

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 Greevey's partner. This began the constant theme of detectives and addictions. Captain Cragen officially retired from the Special Victims Unit in 2014. (SVU: "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.

Cragen reappeared later to help their reinvestigation into a rape that happened years ago back when Cragen ran the 2-7. (SVU: "Perverted Justice")

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.

Officer-involved shootingsEdit

  • Bulgarian mobster (SVU: "Ace")



  • 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 twenty 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, "Twelve 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. (SVU: "Stolen")
  • At the time of his retirement, Cragen was one of the longest running Law & Order characters, appearing in both Law and Order and SVU's entire run.
  • Cragen had been suspended three times from the SVU. The first was in Season 9's premiere, 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 prostitute, when it was revealed that he was framed, he was temporarily placed until he returned several episodes later.
  • Cragen is the first of four Law & 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 & Order to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Icon SVU Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Main Characters

Senior Detectives: Elliot StablerJohn MunchOdafin TutuolaOlivia Benson

Junior Detectives: Olivia BensonMonique JeffriesOdafin TutuolaChester LakeAmanda RollinsNick AmaroDominick Carisi, Jr.

Squad Supervisors: John MunchOlivia Benson

Commanding Officers: Donald CragenOlivia Benson

Assistant District Attorneys: Alexandra CabotCasey NovakKim GreylekRafael Barba

Others: Melinda WarnerGeorge Huang

Icon L&O Law & Order - Main Characters

Senior Detectives: Max GreeveyPhil CerretaLennie BriscoeJoe FontanaEd GreenCyrus Lupo

Junior Detectives: Mike LoganRey CurtisEd GreenNick FalcoNina CassadyCyrus LupoKevin Bernard

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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