SVU, Episode 3.21
Production number: E2334
First aired: 3 May 2002
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 released in all  
Cabot Denial
Written By
Judith McCreary

Directed By
Steve Shill

A drug addict is sexually assaulted, but she is in trouble when a finger is found in her purse.


Heroin junkie Claire Rinato is found raped at a party, her rapist is quickly found and sent to jail, but a 13 year old mystery soon emerges when a severely decomposed finger is found in her purse.

Fin takes a special interest in the case because he senses that Claire has more demons then most and seems to connect with her. At first Claire tries to claim that she had found the finger on the street but this is proven to be a lie because it shows absolutely no signs of being left in the open, Claire then states that the finger had actually come from her two year old sister Lisa and that her mother, Grace had killed her because of the mothers anger over her consistent crying and stashed her body in a suit case within a cupboard.

The detectives approach Grace who denies the story and states that Claire has a history of lying, and detectives Benson and Stabler ask if they can search her home in order to find out whether or not it is really true and Grace quickly denies, when the detectives are back at the precinct however Cragen soon informs them that the mother has declared that she will allow the detectives to search but only the next day when she is home from work, the detectives stake out her house and catch her in the act of dumping the bones of Lisa.

The blame is tossed between whether or not Claire had actually murdered her sister or if Grace had, because Claire had a history of violence against other children when she was a minor. But eventually it is called upon Rose, Graces mother, to speak out about how Grace had murdered her first born child, by smothering him to death, and therefore revealed that Grace was also very violent with Lisa. At the end of the episode, Graces Lawyer asks what deals Cabot is offering and Cabot quickly declines saying that no deals shall be made.

Rose, who had opposed Claire being the culprit, finally gave in to reveal the truth. She was found in contempt of justice and arrested for not reported the murder. She wanted to protect Grace up until she couldn't take anymore guilt on the matter.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



It's official: the finger's dead.

–Melinda Warner

Claire Rinato: You're gonna tell me you know how I feel, right?
Odafin Tutuola: Well, I never saw my dead sister stuffed in the back of a closet like an old pair of shoes.

Alexandra Cabot: Your Honor, the defendant murdered a child. She violently beat a two-year-old child to death and shows no remorse.
Lena Petrovsky: Are you proposing to try your case right here, Ms. Cabot?
Alexandra Cabot: No, I'm simply using rhetoric in order to make my point.
Lena Petrovsky: One of your more endearing qualities.

Claire Rinato: What kind of a name is Fin?
Odafin Tutuola: It's mine.

Odafin Tutuola: Trying to take the easy way out?
Claire Renato: And if I was?
Odafin Tutuola: Then it's too bad I got there in time.

Claire Rinato: I really didn't mean to overdo it. Really.
Odafin Tutuola: That's what all Junkies say.
Claire Rinato: You've done your good deed, now you can go.

Odafin Tutuola: Maybe you don't get it! You're in serious trouble. If you don't pay attention, you're going to prison.
Claire Rinato: Are you still here?
Odafin Tutuola: I really can't believe--you know, I almost bought you took care of your sister and loved her--damn, girl, you're better than the soaps!

Claire Rinato: You have no idea what it feels like to have a mother that doesn't give a damn about you.
Odafin Tutuola: Violins gonna start any minute.
Claire Rinato: Screw you. Lisa was all I had. She was actually happy to see me come through the door. Unconditional love is a rush.

(Fin leans in towards Claire)

Odafin Tutuola: Give it to me straight. You kill her?
Claire Rinato: No, but I couldn't protect her. Grace was too strong. She told me that if I didn't keep my mouth shut, I was next.

Odafin Tutuola: You tell anybody?
Claire Rinato: I called my grandmother the first time I was alone, but she was recovering from another stroke and I guess she didn't believe me.

Odafin Tutuola: If that's how it went down, then it wasn't your fault.
Claire Rinato: That little girl trusted me to keep her safe. How is it not my fault?

Claire Rinato: How's my grandmother?
Odafin Tutuola: She's holding her own. Won't be able to see her till tomorrow.

(Fin hands Claire a package)

Claire Rinato: What's that?
Odafin Tutuola: Your last excuse not to go to rehab. No more lame-ass whining about how you gotta get high to remember what your sister looked like.

(Claire takes the package and unwraps it to find a portrait of Lisa.)

Claire Rinato: I would hug you, but I can tell you don't like to be touched.
Odafin Tutuola: (handing her a card) This is a good place to go to start getting clean. A friend of mine runs it and I told him to expect you.

Claire Rinato: Okay.
Odafin Tutuola: Don't make me have to come run your ass down, Claire.
Claire Rinato: (hugs Fin) Thanks.

Background information and notes

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Home of Rose Rinato
North Bergen, New Jersey
Sunday, April 21

Apartment of Grace Rinato
157 East 4th Street
Sunday, April 21

Pete's Diner
1098 Broadway
Sunday, April 21

Part 44
Wednesday, April 24

5 6 7

Chambers of
Judge Seligman
Friday, April 26

Office of the
Medical Examiner
Monday, April 29

Rikers Island
Tuesday, April 30

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Season 3
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