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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 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"

Donald "Don" Cragen (born April 1, 1947) was a captain in the NYPD who, over the span of 25 years, served as commanding officer of the 27th Precinct and the Special Victims Unit.

HistoryEdit

Cragen served as a Green Beret during the Vietnam War. After the war, he was a homicide detective partnered with Max Greevey, and made the captain of the 27th precinct in 1989. There, he worked with Greevey, Mike Logan, Phil Cerreta, and Lennie Briscoe. He was investigated for being part of money laundering scheme within the department, but was exonerated after he discovered that his mentor, Peter O'Farrell, was the real culprit. (L&O: "The Blue Wall") This incident made him many enemies within the NYPD's bureaucracy, who prevented him from being promoted above the rank of Captain.

He transferred to the Anti-Corruption Task Force in 1993.

His wife, Marge, was a flight attendant. In 1999, she was killed in a plane crash. (SVU: "A Single Life") Shortly afterward, Cragen became the commanding officer of the Special Victims Unit. Over the next 15 years, he worked with Detectives Olivia Benson, Elliot Stabler, John Munch, Odafin Tutuola, Brian Cassidy, Amanda Rollins, and Nick Amaro.

In 2012, he was falsely accused of murdering a prostitute; he was being set up by Delia Wilson, a sex trafficker whom SVU had been investigating. (SVU: "Rhodium Nights") He was eventually exonerated, however, and once again took command of SVU. (SVU: "Above Suspicion")

Cragen was a recovering alcoholic. He quit drinking in the early 1980s after pulling a gun on a cab driver in a drunken rage, and has been sober ever since. (L&O: "Prescription for Death") He once admitted to a department psychiatrist that he was daily tempted to drink to escape the horrors he witnessed in his job. (SVU: "Slaves")

His experiences with addiction led him to have a more understanding attitude when his subordinates made mistakes; when Rollins' gambling addiction began interfering with her work, for example, he got her into a rehab program rather than firing her. (SVU: "Home Invasions")

Captain Cragen officially retired from the Special Victims Unit in 2014, leaving Benson in charge. (SVU: "Amaro's One-Eighty") Shortly before retiring, he began dating a woman named Eileen Switzer. The two of them took a trip around the world together.

Cragen reappeared later to help Benson and Rollins' reinvestigation into a rape that occurred around the time that Cragen ran the 27th precinct. (SVU: "Perverted Justice")

Officer-involved shootingsEdit

  • Bulgarian mobster (SVU: "Ace")

AppearancesEdit

TriviaEdit

  • 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.
  • The Law & Order universe is inconsistent on the issue of whether Cragen had any children. He made references to having a son in Law & Order, but in Special Victims Unit he stated that he had no children.
  • Cragen was suspended three times from 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. Cragen was moved from Law & Order to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • Upon being cast in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dann Florek and the show's producers created a backstory for Cragen in which he began drinking again and frequenting prostitutes to numb the pain of Marge's death, and decided to join the Special Victims Unit as a way to escape that downward spiral. This backstory is never explicitly stated in SVU, but Florek used it as subtext for his portrayal of the character.


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
Law

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

Order

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

Others

Elizabeth OlivetAlfred Wentworth

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