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"Totem"
SVU, Episode 12.20
Production number: 12020
First aired: 30 March 2011
  {{{nNthProducedInSeries}}}th of 295 produced in SVU  
{{{nNthReleasedInSeries}}}th of 295 released in SVU
  {{{nNthReleasedInAll}}}th of 1021 released in all  
Cap Jackson and June Fyre
Written By
Jonathan Greene

Directed By
Jonathan Kaplan

A young girl's body is found with a doll left as a totem, so SVU retraces her last steps, which included a lesson with her piano teacher (Elizabeth Mitchell). Then they seek help from psychologist, Dr. Cap Jackson (Jeremy Irons) who decodes the meaning of the totem.

Plot Edit

Episode plot

Summary Edit

The body of missing girl Marnie Foster is found outside a church in a duffel bag. The autopsy shows that Marnie was sexually assaulted with a foreign object and suffocated to death with a pillow. There was a doll placed with Marnie in the bag and Marnie was given sleeping pills. With Dr. Huang out of town, psychologist Dr. Cap Jackson helps the SVU squad with the case. Dr. Jackson believes that the killer didn't mean to murder Marnie.

The detectives later discover that the doll found with Marnie doesn't belong to Marnie, and was made 20 years ago. When Fin and Olivia go to talk to Marnie's mother, Susan, they witness Susan arguing with a man and getting pushed by him. The man turns out to be Chet Hadler, who had an affair with Susan. It turns out that Chet has a record of sexually abusing his previous girlfriend's daughter. Susan and Chet's alibi checks out. They were at a hotel together the day Marnie was murdered.

Dr. Jackson believes that Marnie's killer is a woman, but Olivia and Elliot don't think so because female rapists are rare, especially those who kill their victims. Dr. Jackson tells Olivia that his daughter, Ann passed away and he is not re-opening his clinic because he lost creditability with his colleagues for breaking doctor-patient confidentiality by cooperating with the police. Dr. Jackson believes not only is Marnie's killer a woman, but she was possibly sexually abused herself. The doll is a totem for the killer's loss of innocence.

The detectives focus on the female adults in Marnie's life which includes Marnie's piano teacher, June Frye. June is shaken up over Marnie’s death and tells Olivia that she was a talented student. June tells Olivia that her parents died in a car accident a long time ago. Meanwhile, the other detectives question Marnie’s teachers who all have alibis. They decide to check out Marnie’s funeral to see if her killer might be there.

At Marnie’s funeral, Elliot, Dr. Jackson, Olivia, and Fin keep an eye out for anyone suspicious. Olivia notices a woman running through the crowd which turns out to be June Frye. Back at the precinct, it’s discovered that June has no criminal record and teaches piano lessons at the brownstone that she inherited from her parents which is right around the corner from the church where Marnie’s body was found.

Dr. Jackson says that June claims that Susan Foster called to cancel Marnie’s piano lesson, but it turns out not to be true. June actually called Susan to cancel the lesson and canceled her other students’ lessons as well. Unfortunately, Marnie didn’t get the message that her piano lesson was canceled. Elliot believes that June’s brownstone is the crime scene and wants to get a warrant, but Dr. Jackson wants to talk to June first.

Dr. Jackson, Olivia, and Elliot go to June’s brownstone to talk to her. While there, Elliot and Dr. Jackson search around the brownstone and Dr. Jackson discovers a doll’s hair on a pile of piano sheet music. Olivia finds pillows which matches the one found in the duffel bag where Marnie’s body was. The detectives also discover luggage in the garbage that matches the duffel bag that Marnie’s body was placed in. While Elliot and Dr. Jackson were outside, a muffled thud is heard from the house and Olivia calls for an ambulance. When they get inside, June is found unconscious on the ground from taking sleeping pills and Dr. Jackson tries to revive her by giving her CPR.

June awakes in the hospital, but she refuses to talk about what happened to Marnie. Fin tells the detectives that June used bleach on the wooden spoon and the luggage which destroyed the DNA. Marnie’s fingerprints were found at June’s house along with her other piano students.

Dr. Jackson talks to June about the doll. She talks about her mother, but refuses to talk about her father. When June says that maybe she needs a lawyer, the detectives stop Dr. Jackson from talking to June since she asked for a lawyer. When Dr. Jackson explains he has to leave because June asked for a lawyer, June becomes upset and changes her mind. She explains to Dr. Jackson that her father gave the doll and sexually abused her. She confesses to murdering Marnie.

Before June is arrested, the detectives see June kneeling and praying for forgiveness which leads the detectives to believe that there are other victims. The detectives question June’s students who say that she’s a good teacher. One of her students tells Elliot that June was seen arguing with an older woman the day Marnie was killed. It is later discovered that the lady is June’s mother, Elaine Frye Cavanaugh. Dr. Jackson wonders why June said that her mother was dead. Elliot wonders if Elaine abused Marnie and believes that Elaine was over at June’s house the day Marnie was killed. Olivia believes that Elaine killed Marnie.

Elliot and Olivia talk to Elaine, who denies murdering Marnie and orders them to leave. Elaine’s daughter from her second marriage, Katie asks what’s wrong and Elaine asks her to tell the detectives where she was the day Marnie died. Katie says that she dropped off Elaine at a bridge tournament. She starts getting upset and says that she didn’t do anything. Elaine tells her to shut up, but then Katie runs off to her room and hides in her closet. Elliot is able to coax Katie out of the closet. Olivia asks Katie if it’s her room which Katie says it is, but when Elaine comes in, she tells them to get out of her room which is assumed that Elaine and Katie share the same room which disgust Olivia. 

At Rikers, Dr. Jackson and Elliot tell June that she doesn’t belong in prison and that they know that June put Marnie in the duffel bag after Katie killed Marnie. Olivia walks in with Katie and the two sisters hug each other while in tears. Dr. Jackson assures June that what happened to her wasn’t her fault. Which is known that their mother, Elaine have been abusing them; leaving them physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred which destroys their innocence as children completely; Katie is the one affected the most, because she has been traumatized ongoing from childhood to adulthood; which left her in a mental fragile state. 

Katie confesses to molesting & murder Marnie, June came home and helped get rid of Marnie’s body. On the other side, June said, that she heard enough and Olivia told her that she had to testify against Katie about the abuse she endured and also share the her own abuse. June ask if that will be enough of keep her for going to prison. Olivia tells June that Katie will be sent to psychiatric facility; also, Dr. Jackson stated that they will do everything they can to help Katie; but she will never be free again, because of the murder she committed as a result of the loss of her innocences. June ask her about what will happen to her mother. Olivia also told June that there is one apartment bedroom that Katie shared with Elaine; so, she will be charged and sent to prison for the ongoing abuse that lasted throughout Katie's life. Soon, Katie voice call out to June from the otherside tells her that she still loves her and still always be her little sister despite what fate she had due to her fragile state she in. June can’t help but feel guilty for what happened believing she let her family be destroyed wondering how can she forigive herself; But, Dr. Jackson assures her that he will help her and will find a way out from her depressionable state to an heathier person. Olivia looks on in hope; believing that it will help June regain her sense of innocence.

CastEdit

Main CastEdit

Recurring castEdit

Guest castEdit

References Edit

Episode references

This episode is based on the Melissa Huckabee case. Melissa Huckabee was a Sunday school teacher who raped and murdered a little girl by the name of Sandra Cantu, put her body in a suitcase, and dumped her in a lake.

Quotes Edit

Episode quotes

Background information and notes Edit

  • Dr. Jackson's daughter who was attacked in Mask has died.

Episode scene cards Edit

1 2 3 4 5

Foster Residence
202 East 19th Street
Wednesday, March 23

Foster Residence
202 East 19th Street
Thursday, March 24

Brownstone of
June Frye
393 East 18th Street
Saturday, March 26

Residence of
Elaine Frye Cavanaugh
182 Hicks Street
Brooklyn Heights, New York Sunday, March 27

Rikers Island
Interview Room
Sunday, March 27


Previous episode:
"Bombshell"
"Totem"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 12
Next episode:
"Reparations"
Seasons 12345678910111213141516

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