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"Limitations"
SVU, Episode 1.14
Production number: E0919
First aired: 11 February 2000
  th of 432 produced in SVU  
th of 432 released in SVU
  th of 1185 released in all  
MunchJefferiesLimitations
Written By
Michael R. Perry

Directed By
Constantine Makris

The detectives try to solve the open rape-cases of three women before the statute of limitations expires.

Summary

At a victim's request, the police commissioner tries to convince Cragen to close a rape case whose statute of limitations is about to expire. Benson and Stabler finally realize that one of the victims knows the rapist, but she's not willing to talk.

Plot

The episode begins with Captain Cragen being criticized by a judge for his lack of work on "cold case" files, particularly those from before he took over the SVU office. Cragen then launches an extensive investigation into a case set to expire in only a few days; the statute of limitations on rape cases is 5 years.

Detectives Benson and Stabler track down a rape victim who is infuriated at the historical lack of interest in her case. Her memory of the case is getting hazy, but she still remembers key details, such as the rapist following her on a green bike in the weeks leading up to the case.

At the same time, the detectives track down the previous investigators on the case. They find a general sense of apathy and "rough handling" emotionally of the victim and the case, through all the investigators they speak to. This validates the victim's anger at all those who have worked on her case before. The victim had hired private investigators in the past, but they lack the resources available to the police, leading them to dead ends as well.

Benson and Stabler track down the other victims, particularly Jennifer Neal, who claims to know who the rapist is. However, as a devout Quaker, she has forgiven him and refuses to give him up. She states that he has paid for his crimes and does not deserve more punishment. The detectives are forced to subpoena her, and a judge puts her in jail for contempt. All the detectives express disgust at trying to force a victim to testify, but Cragen insists that they need to get the dangerous rapist off the street. The detectives then are forced to invade a quaker office with warrant in hand, as the rest of the Quakers refuse to give up critical case information.

With the information from the Quakers, the detectives track down the rapist, Harvey Denis, to where he works. They tell him to put his hands up and pull their guns on him when he reaches towards his desk. Denis presses the button on his desk, buzzing them in. It is revealed that he is in a wheelchair from a serious car accident, in addition to having been brutally raped in jail. The episode ends with Stabler picking him up from his wheelchair to place him in the back of the police car.

Cast

Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast

References

Quotes

"You prayed with your rapist?"
Elliot Stabler


Elliot Stabler: Alright, we're going to talk to some of the detectives who originally investigated.
Donald Cragen: Munch, that okay with you?
John Munch: Sure, it'd be like visiting the Special Victims Unit alumni association. All the people that used to sit at these desks. Where are they now?


Background information and notes

  • The statute of limitations is a legislative act restricting the time within which legal proceedings may be brought, usually to a fixed period after the occurrence of the events that gave rise to the cause of action. Such statutes are enacted to protect persons against claims made after evidence has been lost, memories have faded, or witnesses have disappeared. The periods prescribed for different actions in different jurisdictions vary considerably. (source = Britannica)
  • The opening credits for this episode have been changed to include Michelle Hurd.
  • This is the first appearance of Peter Francis James as Judge Kevin Beck. He would play this role for a total of five episodes in the first and second seasons. James also appeared in episodes from Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
  • This is also the first appearance of Harvey Atkin as Judge Alan Ridenour. Atkin appeared as the same character in two episodes from Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
  • Actress Leslie Ayvazian appears for the first time as Judge Susan Valdera. Ayvazian played the same character on Law & Order, and appeared throughout the Law & Order franchise in different roles.
  • Goof: Michael Marisi Ornstein is credited as "Charles Denis" but is first name is given as Harvey in the episode.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Apartment of
Lois Creen
124 East 26th Street
Monday, February 7

Eastern Health Services
79 West 55th Street
Monday, February 7

Kraft International
Electronics
299 East 65th Street
Monday, February 7

Supreme Court
Trial Part 55
Monday, February 7

5 6 7 8

31st Precinct
Robbery Unit
Tuesday, February 8

The Ten Thirteen
Elmhurst, Queens
Tuesday, February 8

Appellate Division
First Department
Wednesday, February 9

Millennial Investigations
49 East 28th Street
Wednesday, February 9

9 10 11

Clean Machine
Laundromat
432 West 48th Street
Wednesday, February 9

Supreme Court
Trial Part 41
Thursday, February 10

71st Street Meeting House
43 West 71st Street
Friday, February 11


Previous episode:
"Disrobed"
"Limitations"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 1
Next episode:
"Entitled"
Seasons 12345678910111213141516171819

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