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Payback (SVU)

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"Payback"
  SVU, Episode 1.01
Production number: E0901
First aired: 18 October 1999
  {{{nNthProducedInSeries}}}th of 295 produced in SVU  
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries}}}th of 295 released in SVU
  {{{nNthReleasedInAll}}}th of 1021 released in all  
PaybackStablerBenson
Written By
Dick Wolf

Directed By
Jean de Segonzac

Detectives Benson and Stabler investigate the stabbing and genital-mutilation of a cab driver.

Plot Edit

The grisly murder and dismemberment of a New York cabbie draws the elite Special Victims Unit of the NYPD, including veteran Detective Elliot Stabler and his partner, Olivia Benson, who soon discover that the victim had assumed the identity of another man, mainly because he himself was a wanted war criminal.

Detailed Summary Edit

On a rainy New York night, a cab driver is found stabbed and dismembered in his cab. Benson and Stabler wonder where they come into the picture in this case until a fellow officer tells them the victim's "cigar" was cut off and taken.

Cassidy is sent to investigate a man molesting a dead body. Cragen assigns Munch to help Olivia because Stabler's needed in court. Stabler testifies to arresting a flasher in the park. The defense lawyer asks why Stabler volunteered for the sex crimes unit. Stabler thinks sex should be one of the best parts of life, not the worst. He also doesn't want any of his 4 children exposed to the likes of the defendant's "shortcomings". His pride injured, the defendant lashes out and whips out his manhood for the court to see, proving that indeed, he had most likely flashed women in the park.

Olivia informs Elliot that the dead cabbie had a false cabbie license under the name of Victor Spicer. The real Spicer is at Rikers serving 11 months in prison for assault.

Benson and Stabler question Spicer at Rikers. Spicer admits he sold his cabbie license to a man with a young boy, the deal being set up by "foreign gentleman" he knew at a coffee shop but doesn't know the man's name. Next, they question a waitress at the coffee shop, that Spicer told them about, but doesn't know too much. Another cabbie listening in tells the detectives that the victim's real name is Steven and that Steven has a son and pregnant wife. The cabbie claims he saw Steven leave the coffee shop as he was arriving, picking up two women as cab fares.

Munch informs Benson, Stabler and Cragen, in Cragen's office, that the cab company Victor Spicer worked for received a call asking for the work times of Spicer but were unable to distinguish whether it was a man or woman who called. Cragen gets a call and receives the address for the victim's home. His full name is Steven Panachek.

At Panachek's residence, the detectives inform the wife that Steven has been murdered. Mrs. Panachek informs them that they married five years ago and that Steven was from Czechoslovakia.

Munch and Cassidy question two men who had been previously caught in incriminating positions with Spicer. The detectives suspect that the wives may be behind Panachek's murder. One man's wife = turns out to be a paraplegic, and the other's wife is aware and accepting of her husband's sexual preferences, as is he of hers.

It's discovered that Steven Panachek's real name is Stefan Tanzic, and that he is actually a Serb under indictment for war crimes, specifically ethnic cleansing and raping 67 women, only 15 of whom are still alive, 5 residing in New York. The results of the autopsy tell Benson and Stabler that there are two killers, not just one.

Benson and Stabler have a small argument after visiting the widow Panachek/Tanzic a second time. Olivia laid it on thick to the widow that her dead husband was a rapist before the widow told them to get out and leave. Olivia believes that the widow is useless and guilty of obstruction while Elliot thought she went too far and tells her that she's on thin ice with Cragen.

Benson and Stabler track down the women in the New York area who were victims of Tanzic. The first woman has long since been blinded by Tanzic. The second woman they visit, Marta Stevens, isn't at home but her husband is. Benson immediately notices that her son resembles Tanzic and must be a result of her rape by him.

Benson goes to check on Marta Stevens at her work without Elliot. She questions her whereabouts on the night of the murder. However, it's obvious the woman is nervous and hiding something. She eventually recounts how Tanzic killed all the men in the village she was in and raped her and admits she isn't sorry Tanzic is dead.

Stabler is called by Benson at a parent teacher conference and becomes upset when he learns that she questioned Marta Stevens on her own. Benson has dinner with her mother and talks about her feelings on the case.

Eventually, Benson and Stabler seek out the third woman, Anya Rugova. They note that only is she a bad liar but has a hand wound, which she claims is from a kitchen accident.

Marta is arrested and is standing outside Anya's restaurant as Anya is about to be arrested. Anya sees Marta in handcuffs and asks to call her lawyer before Stabler can take her in. She heads to the phone but hesitates before grabbing a knife off a nearby table and stabbing herself. Anya whispers something to Stabler as she lays dying, having stabbed her own femoral artery.

Marta confesses they knew it was Tanzic once they heard his voice in the cab. The detectives and ADA Abbie Carmichael discuss how Marta will most likely only get 18 months at a psychiatric ward if she's sentenced by a good judge.

Cragen is pissed that Marta will basically walk and that Anya wasn't punished. He says that Olivia's used her get out of free jail card.

Back at their desks, Olivia wonders what Anya whispered to Stabler. He tells her that Anya said that she just wanted to be with her family.

Cast Edit

Main cast Edit

Recurring cast Edit

Guest cast Edit

References Edit

Quotes Edit

  • Gallery Owner: Victor's a nasty little piece of street meat, but he happens to have an extremely gifted orifice in the middle of his face.

  • (Gallery Owner has given Benson and Stabler his wife's number)
  • Gallery Owner: Her name is Clarissa. (looks Olivia over) You should give her a call.

  • Captain Cragen: You just used your Get Out of Jail Free card, Olivia. There's only one in the pack.

  • [After Elliot testified in court, the defendant flashed the jury and was forcibly removed]
  • Olivia Benson: Hey. How'd it go?
  • Elliot Stabler: He's in Bellevue.
  • Olivia Benson: Jury came back that fast?
  • Elliot Stabler: He waved his flag at them before they had a chance. Nobody saluted.

  • Brian Cassidy: Sir, if the body's dead, is that considered a sex crime?
  • Captain Cragen: Just go. Investigate, interrogate, write up a DD5.

  • Elliot Stabler: I think sex should be one of the best parts of life, not the worst.

  • [About a murdered taxi driver]
  • Elliot Stabler: Okay, so it's not a robbery, but stabbings aren't necessarily sexual. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Is there a specific reason you called us out?
  • Detective Frank Bremmer: Whoever did this sliced off his "cigar" and took it with him. Is that specific enough?
  • [Olivia and Elliot look at the victim and then look at each other.]
  • Olivia Benson: Works for me.

  • Captain Cragen and Elliot Stabler [to Munch]: Shut up, John.

  • Olivia Benson: Question. Who'd want to cut your penis off?
  • Victor Spicer: Take a number.

  • Victor Spicer: Hey, you doing anything Saturday night? (blows Elliot a kiss)
  • Elliot Stabler: (smiles) Oh, I'd hurt you.

  • Olivia Benson: Our dead guy, Victor Spicer, had his hack license revoked when he got assault and 11 months in Rikers.
  • Elliot Stabler: Okay, what's the problem?
  • Olivia Benson: He's still in Rikers.
  • Captain Cragen: You can't trust the computers, they get backed up and don't input the releases.
  • Olivia Benson: That's why I spoke to the watch captain and had him check personally. Spicer's still there.
  • Don Cragen: Why is this ours?
  • Elliot Stabler: Doer sliced off the vic's unit.
  • (Captain Cragen spits out part of the lollipop he just took)

  • (Munch is talking to Cragen and Cassidy while they eat and Jeffries walks in.)
  • Monique Jeffries: Ooh! Hey, you gonna eat all this? (takes some food)
  • John Munch: Suppose we say yes.
  • Monique Jeffries: Suppose I'm just being polite.
  • John Munch: That would be a first.
  • Brian Cassidy: That's cool, John doesn't eat vegetables.
  • Monique Jeffries: Yeah? I way I heard that's not the only thing John never gets to uh… eat.

  • John Munch: A military plane drops JFK's coffin into 9,000 feet of water three years after the assassination. You don't find that suggestive, perhaps even a tad disquieting?
  • Brian Cassidy: No.
  • John Munch: No? The Justice Department waits 33 years before they impart this tidbit on the American people, and then they say they did it because it wasn't evidence? What are you, sheep? Will you believe anything?
  • Brian Cassidy: [in a sheep-like tone] Naaaah.

  • John Munch: I'm never setting foot in the city of Baltimore again, as long as I'm on this mortal sphere.
  • Brian Cassidy: Why? You're rich. Did your 20, got your pension, and you're on the job here.
  • John Munch: I earned that pension with the sweat of my mind, while surrounded by intellectual insects. Not to mention the fact that I lost a wife after less than one night of connubial bliss to someone who was not only another detective, but a member of my own squad.

  • Elliot Stabler: See, being in Europe? That's an alibi.

Background information and notes Edit

Episode scene cards Edit

1 2 3

Supreme Court
Part 72
Wednesday, September, 15

Rikers Island
Correctional Facility
Wednesday, September, 15

Dupree Investment Group
72 Cedar Street
Thursday, September, 16

4 5 6

Office of Medical Examiner
Thursday, September, 16

Fellowes & Kinsolving
712 East 56th Street
Friday, September, 17

Sarajevo Restaurant
1250 East 72nd Street
Monday, September, 20


Previous episode:
"None"
"Payback"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 1
Next episode:
"Sophomore Jinx"
Seasons 12345678910111213141516

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