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SVU, Episode 2.21
Production number: E1432
First aired: 11 May 2001
  th of 366 produced in SVU  
th of 366 released in SVU
  th of 1106 released in all  
Stabler New York Ledger Scourge
Teleplay By
Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene

Story By
Neal Baer

Directed By
Alex Zakrzewski

What at first looks like a Jack-the-Ripper copycat, takes bizarre turn after bizarre turn as more bodies are found, and the only suspect gives them trouble.

Plot Edit

When a spree killer commits four brutal murders in 24 hours, the Detectives canvass the streets searching for signs of a madman who exclaims paranoid schizophrenic and twisted religious rhetoric while committing his crimes. Things are made worse when no one can find any connections or pattern to the four murders. As the public cries out for justice, a suspect (Daniel Varney) is caught, and with the help of his wife, the detectives wade through the religious trout. As the case is finally looking like it is going somewhere, they learn a shocking truth which would likely change the course of a now, much too public trial.

Summary Edit

The detectives are on the search for a spree killer who is responsible for the death of a prostitute, a promising young woman, and a husband and son. They soon discover that a man named Daniel Varney is responsible for the murders after he turns in a bloody check, but it is soon discovered that he is mentally unstable, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, because of a severe case of syphilis that had damaged his brain.

Benson told his wife that Daniel has syphilis that eradicated his entire mind. His case was so advance that he probably might have picked it up long before he met Paula. Daniel's wife didn't know that he had syphilis because the life insurance company (which he applied for coverage during a medical exam) didn't inform him about it. His syphilis is so advanced that it's incurable and has destroyed the moral center of his brain. Paula Varney got an answer from the company, confirming that they knew that Daniel had long-period syphilis.

The CEO of the life insurance company is arrested for reckless endangerment as he didn't inform the health department about Daniel Varney's communicable disease, both of which would have led to his treatment and cure before it was too late and prevented the carnage he caused (which, at the time the disease was originally caught, would have taken no more than one dose of penicillin). A deal is made by A.D.A. Cabot forcing the company to report any and all communicable diseases to both the health department and the families concerned; as well as settle with the Varneys and families of Daniel's victims, even though it will cost them millions of dollars.

Daniel is found not competent to stand trial, because of the irreversible disease and he is placed under custody of the office of mental health, to be committed to a secured mental health facility until he is competent to stand trial, which will likely not happen before his death due to the advanced state of the disease, as well as the irreparable damage that it has already done.

Cast Edit

Main cast Edit

Recurring cast Edit

Guest cast Edit

References Edit

New York Ledger; Cote D'Ivoire; Jack the Ripper

Quotes Edit

Daniel: I have to ask you something.
Benson: What?
Daniel: Why didn't you shoot me?
Benson: Because I didn't want to hurt you.
Daniel: But you must.
Benson: I must what, Daniel? I don't understand.
Daniel: Kill me. Please. Please. I can't take any more pain.

"Ah, 500 calls since 11:00 and more sightings than Elvis. Wanna trade places?"

Stabler: It's four o'clock in the morning. Why don't you guys get some shut eye?
Fin: You don't have to ask me twice.
Stabler: Not at home. In the crib.

Fin: These people have a serious problem.
Munch: Yeah, they're scared.

"Special Victims, Detective ... Oh, Kathy. Nah, it's just good to hear your voice."

Stabler: You know, it's the middle of the night, and I'm sitting here realizing I spend more time with you than I do with my own family. (Benson looks up to him) No offense.
Benson: We both need a vacation.
Stabler: You got that right.

"He's impulsive, disorganized, unpredictable, and he's not gonna stop until you catch him."
Dr. Huang

"His brain is Swiss cheese."
Dr. Huang

Daniel: Are you God?
Judge Petrovsky: Just an overworked judge, Mr. Varney. And I ask the questions. Not you.

Background information and notes Edit

Scourge Deleted Scene

Stabler and Benson in a deleted scene.

  • Deleted scenes from this episode included a scene in which Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson receive a promotion. Stabler goes up from Detective 2nd grade to Detective 1st grade, and Benson goes up from Detective 3rd grade to Detective 2nd grade.
  • Scourge is the last episode before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the attempted attack on either the White House or Capitol Building.

Episode scene cards Edit

1 2 3

Apartment of
Sekou Obeng
1815 Amsterdam Avenue
Wednesday, May 2

Apartment of
Paula Varney
70 Washington Place
Thursday, May 3

Arraignment Court
Trial Part 43
Friday, May 4

4 5 6

Bellevue Hospital Center
Prison Unit
Monday, May 7

Office of
Malcolm Hunt, CEO
All-Atlantic Life
Insurance Company
Tuesday, May 8

Sentencing Hearing
Trial Part 74
Tuesday, May 8

Previous episode:
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 2
Next episode:
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