|Title||Deputy Chief Medical Examiner|
|Affiliation|| Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department (20??-2014)|
NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner (2014-2015)
|Pathology|| Serial/spree killer|
|Family|| Charles Rudnick (father; deceased)|
Madeline Morrison-Rudnick (mother; deceased)
Philip Rudnick (grandfather; deceased)
Allison Rudnick (grandmother; deceased)
Manon Rudnick-Favreau (great-aunt)
Gustavo Favreau (great-uncle by marriage)
Igor Rudnick (great-grandfather; deceased)
Rachel Rudnick (great-grandmother; deceased)
|First Appearance||"Spousal Privilege"|
|Last Appearance||"Nationwide Manhunt"|
Dr. Carl Rudnick was the deputy chief medical examiner of Manhattan and Melinda Warner's boss. He was also a cross-dressing serial killer (later spree killer) and rapist.
Rudnick came from a wealthy family and attended medical school at Duke University alongside serial killer and rapist Greg Yates, who was a friend of his. In 2002, he dated a Swiss exchange student named Lena Grunwald, and eventually got engaged to her, but she ultimately broke up with him. Enraged, Rudnick raped and strangled her, then cut her body to pieces and entombed them in the wall of his great-aunt's house. Rudnick later called Yates to help treat the wounds he sustained during the attack, and Yates gave him tips on how to kill his next victim: by keeping her alive for as long as possible and to fracture her skull to incapacitate her. Rudnick then disguised himself as Lena and used her passport to travel to Switzerland to cover up her death. He then returned to the U.S. using his own passport after the deed was done.
Rudnick became a renowned medical examiner with the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department. In his spare time, he set up and maintained several fake identities. In 2014, Rudnick was transferred to the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner as the deputy chief, becoming Melinda Warner's direct superior. He stole the identity of a 50-year-old homeless woman named Teresa Fish, who died on the E-Train of natural causes, and set up an apartment in her name. His job as a medical examiner caused him to develop a compulsion to talk to himself out loud.
As SVU's Medical Examiner
Rudnick is first seen testifying at A.J. Martin's trial, describing how the force of his punch nearly killed his future wife Paula. When cross-examined, Rita Calhoun mentions how Rudnick never examined Paula and that he is merely speculating. She then mentions that Paula appears to have no signs of neurological damage. (SVU: "Spousal Privilege")
Rudnick later performs Walter Riggs' autopsy after he dies and rules his cause of death as a heart attack. Rudnick mentions that being moved from the hospital against medical advice after having another heart attack didn't help his condition. He also reveals to Detectives Amanda Rollins and Sonny Carisi that Walter's wife made him ejaculate right before or after he died through a rectal electoral probe. (SVU: "December Solstice")
Rudnick later testifies about the dangers of measles in the trial of Trudy Malko after she led a campaign to not get children vaccinated and forged documents to that effect. Rudnick also mentions the path the virus took based on those children not being vaccinated. Under cross-examination, Trudy's attorney brings up children killed by vaccines to inflame the jury. Rudnick tries to say that the side-effects are mild, but then admits under oath that there are serious side-effects. Rudnick then states they are statistically insignificant, but the attorney dares him to tell that to the families. (SVU: "Granting Immunity")
When Arthur Jones, aka Timmer, is killed by Selena Cruz, Rudnick is seen doing the autopsy and tells the detectives and A.D.A. Rafael Barba about his findings. He concludes from Timmer's injuries that Selena surprised him and slit his throat. However, due to video evidence, the results are unconfirmed. After the detectives leave, Rudnick asks Barba how Johnny Drake's trial is going, and Barba mentions how losing his witnesses will not help. Rudnick then asks Barba if the jury understands that when Johnny raped his victims he would break the girls' left ribs 8, 9, and 10. He then mentions what a monster Johnny is and expresses doubts as to whether he will be convicted. (SVU: "Surrendering Noah")
Crimes and Imprisonment
In May 2015, Rudnick raped and killed another woman named Rachel Groves, using the apartment he set up under Teresa's name to dismember her alive with a cleaver. He replicated aspects of Yates' M.O. to set him up for Rachel's death. After her body washes ashore in June, he personally performs the autopsy and, to cover for himself, states that blunt-force trauma was the cause of death when Rollins and Sonny arrive. He theorizes that the body either washed up as the water got warmer or was missed by CSU in April, implicating Yates. He points to several factors, the binding pattern, vaginal and anal trauma, and her fractured skull that points to Yates. While Rollins points out that dismemberment is not Yates' M.O., Rudnick states that the killer most likely had medical training and the killer applied green nail polish after he was done.
When Rachel's body is formally identified, Rudnick shows her twin sister Brooke in and tells her to brace herself for the ID process. After Brooke says it is Rachel, she breaks down into tears and Rudnick comforts her. When Lena's body is found, Rudnick personally autopsies her too, and concludes she was attacked by someone with medical training. When Sergeant Benson and A.D.A. Barba arrive, Rudnick informs them the body was broken, cut, and tied with an electrical cord to fit in a briefcase. Rudnick gives them basic information on her age and race, but makes intentional mistakes to keep her identity from being discovered. He states that while her skull was fractured, the cause of death was strangulation and she was buried for nearly a decade. Rudnick asks how they found her and they say Yates tipped them off to her location. Barba asks if Yates was the murderer, and Rudnick subtly implies he is.
After Lena's identity is discovered, the police start to suspect he is the killer, and Barba invites him to a meeting with him and Benson while SVU searches his house. Barba warns him that the conversation will be recorded and Rudnick understands. When Benson hands him Lena's autopsy file and points out the address where her body was found, he confesses that it is his great-aunt's house. He feigns shock as they reveal the body's identity as Lena. Rudnick then tries to steer them back to Yates and even reveals that they were in med school together. However, he soon realizes they suspect him, invokes his right to counsel, and calls his attorney, Rita Calhoun.
After making the call to Rita, he talks to himself about how he will need to kill Yates's fiancée Susie Frain, forgetting that he is being recorded. He is later arrested for Lena and Rachel's murders and pleads not guilty at his arraignment. The judge orders Rudnick to surrender his passport and orders a $2 million bail, which Rudnick personally pays. Susie then calls Rudnick to try and blackmail him with a photo of him impersonating Lena to get Greg out of prison, and he goes to her house. Rudnick stabs her in the thigh and takes all of the evidence implicating him, then transports her body in his car. He cuts her body apart and dumps it in the river, then drives to the Canadian border dressed in women's clothing. (SVU: "Devil's Dissections")
Rudnick makes a stop in Syracuse, where he intentionally gets caught shoplifting a box of coffee nips and is held by the local cops. He informs them his name was Ellie Howard, another of his aliases, and eventually manages to persuade them to release him by saying he was on his way to see his dying mother in Canada. He then abandons his car at a train station near JFK International Airport to make them think he is boarding a plane before the hit on his prints came back. He then heads up to Rochester, where he boards a bus headed to Buffalo. However, when Rudnick gets off the bus in Buffalo, the local police arrest him with Sonny and Rollins backing them, the SVU having discovered his ploy.
He is held in Buffalo P.D. custody until Rollins and Sonny fill out the paperwork to have him transferred back to New York. On the drive back, Rudnick complains about the drive and blames his attempt to flee on being arrested for two murders. When Rollins tells him that they found his car, he sarcastically tells them they deserve a gold star. When they stop at a diner, he gives a speech about how death is the ultimate closure and then criticizes Rollins and Sonny's choice of food based on the cholesterol amount. Rudnick then asks to use the bathroom. There, he uses the time to talk to himself about the case and reassure himself, unaware that Sonny is eavesdropping. When he is done, he calls Rita to let her know what has happened.
At his second arraignment, Rudnick surprises everyone, including Rita, by hiring another attorney, John Buchanan, and pleads not guilty to Susie's murder. On the issues of bail, his attorneys try to argue that Rudnick didn't violate its terms because he never left the state, but the judge doesn't believe them and has Rudnick remanded. Before he is taken away, both of his attorneys file a motion to separate the charges and Rudnick is taken away. The judge eventually grants the motion, feeling that trying all the charges together would be more prejudicial than probational, and Barba goes for Susie's trial first. Rudnick listens to Benson, Warner, and Rollins testify. During cross-examinations, his attorneys blame Yates and Susie of framing him for the crimes to bolster Yates' chances of an appeal, also arguing that Susie attacked him and he killed her in self-defense. When Rudnick takes the stand, he reenacts his version of what happened, with Rita portraying Susie. He testifies that Susie came to blackmail him, he laughed, she grabbed a knife and tried to kill him, and he killed her in self-defense. He then panicked, chopped up the body, and fled.
The defense is working until Sonny finds the recording of him concluding out loud that he will need to kill Susie like he killed the others and presents it as evidence. Rudnick's attorneys try to have the recording thrown out based on the fact that Rudnick was represented by counsel and is Brady material that should have been turned over. Barba manages to convince the judge that the evidence is admissible because Rudnick's statements were spontaneous and unprovoked, and that the video was sent to the defense team, but they didn't see it. Rudnick is furious at this and seeks to fire both his attorneys, but the judge reminds him that the recording is still admissible no matter who represents him. As a result, Rudnick changes his plea to guilty for the murders of Rachel and Susie while Barba withdraws the charges for Lena's murder. He is serving a minimum of 25 years in Green Haven Correctional Facility, where Greg Yates is imprisoned. Rudnick is last seen sitting down with Yates at the Green Haven mess hall for lunch as the two doctors catch up on their lives. (SVU: "Criminal Pathology")
Escape and Recapture
Soon after his imprisonment, Rudnick was placed in the prison's honor block and became a member of Bronwyn Freed-Wilkins' group therapy sessions. He was secretly delivered tools by Freed, who he befriended. He used those tools to create a hole in the wall of his cell, which he covered up with a poster of Switzerland over a span of a few months. Rudnick intended to flee the country and start a new life in Canada. The escape plan was learned by Rudnick's cellmate Jose Silva, but Rudnick forced him to stay silent about it, promising to take him along if he cooperated.
During one such group therapy session by Freed, Yates walks in, partners up with Rudnick, and talks to him about the trays of lasagna Freed brought in, implying that he knows about the tools Freed had been smuggling to him. Rudnick tries to divert the topic of the conversation away from it, but Yates presses on about it. Later on, he learns from Sonny that Yates intends to be transferred to the honor block as part of a deal to reveal details about his victims. However, he doesn't express any worry about it and says he could handle himself like he always did. Rudnick then strikes up a friendly conversation with Sonny, warning him to stay away from bacon due to its recently discovered issues towards health before Sonny leaves. Soon afterward, Rudnick sees Yates being transferred into the honor block. Yates spots his tray of lasagna and briefly touches upon their previous conversation again, unsettling Rudnick.
The next day, Rudnick finishes creating the hole and escapes his cell, bringing Yates with him. They both escape the prison by traveling through a pipe leading outside and Yates kills two electrical workers who assisted Rudnick in orchestrating the escape. They meet back up with Freed, who provides them with weapons and supplies before Rudnick attacks and gags her, and stuffs her into the trunk of her car. He is then instructed by Yates to kill her, but he does not go along with it and fakes her death.
The two make their way to Gloversville, New York, where they hide out in a house abandoned for the winter. They are found by a state trooper, but Yates manages to rape and kill her. Afterwards, Yates attacks Rudnick and leaves him to die. Badly wounded, he hides in a boat, where he is cornered by Sonny, Rollins, and a SWAT team. Sonny approaches the boat with his gun drawn, urges Rudnick to surrender, and finds him bloodied but alive. He is taken to Caroga Lake Hospital for treatment. There, he confesses to Sonny about his intentions and how he never intended for anyone to get hurt. He then adds that Yates only wants one thing, revenge. He is currently awaiting trial for the escape and murders. (SVU: "Nationwide Manhunt")
- February 2002, New York County, New York: Lena Grunwald (his ex-girlfriend; raped and strangled; skull was fractured post-mortem)
- 2015, New York County, New York:
- May: Rachel Groves (raped, fractured her skull, and dismembered alive; painted green nail polish on her fingernails post-mortem)
- June 5: Susie Frain (stabbed once in the thigh and dismembered post-mortem; was pregnant at the time of her death)
- February 6, 2016:
- New York City, New York: Two unnamed electrical workers (killed together with Yates; necks snapped)
- Stormville, New York: Bronwyn Freed-Wilkins (gagged, kidnapped, and left to die; was rescued)