Law and Order

Detective Chester Lake was a detective in Manhattan's Special Victims Unit and formerly of Brooklyn's SVU unit. He was partnered with Odafin Tutuola.


Lake is of Native American ancestry, Mohawk nation as revealed in "Impulsive". He speaks proudly of his ancestors who helped build the city (many ironworkers in early New York were indeed Native Americans). Every male member of his family for the preceding three generations, was an ironworker. In the season 9 episode "Avatar" he says he is a collector of rare books. In that same episode it is revealed that the bookstore owner Gregory Searle was a kidnapper and rapist. He often suffers from insomnia, which can sometimes be beneficial in solving a case, as it did in locating informants in the episode "Harm". In the episode "Svengali", he suffered a concussion when Benson's stalker put a bomb in a pizza box. Although he did not want to, Cragen forced him to go to the hospital. He was able to identify a tattoo on the bomber while working surveillance and get Benson back up and when she was attacked.

Lake used to compete as an amateur mixed martial artist with the fight name "Naptime" (due to his right hook) and had plans to turn pro, but quit after suffering a torn ACL. In the episode "Fight" in season nine, he reveals that he had a tough childhood, and grew up in the foster care system. As soon as he was old enough, he took the police exam, and entered the academy. His background causes him to be sympathetic to two boys from a bad neighborhood who were murder suspects. He realizes one was pleading guilty to protect his brother and used his own story to persuade him to tell the truth: while in the Academy he got involved in an altercation and was facing an assault charge and a cousin of his took it to protect him. In the end Lake proves the two's innocence and gets them back into a college that they had been kicked out of and planned to reunite them with their mother. She had plans to surprise her sons by taking them out to Red Lobster, but when Lake heard that she died of a heroin overdose, he took them out to dinner himself, delaying the bad news for their sake.


After shooting and killing fellow police officer Edward Kralik, Lake was revealed to be a part of the VDOQ Society based in Philadelphia. Once a month, the group met to hear presentations from law enforcement and redirected attention on unsolved homicides. The group worked without politics or bosses to get justice for the victims of cold cases. Lake was revealed to have been obsessed with solving the rape and murder of Alisa Hernandez ten years before, which was his first case. Lake later apparently kidnapped the only witness, Cecelia Cruz, but a reconstruction of Kralik's shooting exonerated Lake of murder and revealed the existence of a third shooter who Lake was trying to protect Cecelia from. Lake was eventually found in an abandoned building, where Fin talked him into surrendering for Cecelia's sake. The third shooter, Officer Thomas Crane of the Fugitive Apprehension Team, then attempted to murder Lake as he surrendered. However, the SVU had managed to tie Kralik and Crane together, and Benson and Stabler arrested Crane in time to save Lake's life.

Lake later testified at Crane's rape and murder trial, where he explained that he had met with Kralik and attempted to collect a DNA sample before he was ambushed. However, Lake perjured himself on the stand, claiming that he had no knowledge that Alisa's rape kit was too damaged to be useful. The case ultimately ended in a mistrial, with the jury deadlocked in favor of exoneration, while Cecelia was deported. Realizing that they couldn't win the case, Lake murdered Crane that night and was arrested and imprisoned for the crime. As he was taken into custody, he solemnly looked at the other detectives and ADA Casey Novak without saying a word. He was last seen being loaded up in a car that drove off. (SVU: "Cold")

Known Victims

Officer-involved shootings



  • Lake is the only main character in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to have been imprisoned and presumably convicted for a crime. Other main characters, such as Olivia Benson, Donald Cragen, Amanda Rollins, Rafael Barba and Nick Amaro were indicted of crimes but ultimately the charges were dropped and all were acquitted.
  • The reason Lake was written off was due to his poor reception among fans who felt there were already too many detectives.
  • Lake has the third lowest episode count out of any main character on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with Christian Garland taking second place and Kim Greylek taking first place.