SVU, Episode 7.19
Production number: 07018
First aired: 4 April 2006
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
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Benson Fault
Written By
Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters

Directed By
Paul McCrane


A manhunt ensues when Victor Paul Gitano, a recently released sex offender, kidnaps two children after killing the rest of their family. Benson and Stabler pursue Gitano to a train station only to find their own relationship challenged. Olivia arrives to see Gitano holding the boy hostage with a knife but the gravity of the situation causes her to panic. Exploiting this, Gitano slashes Olivia's throat and runs away before she can react. Instead of pursuing his target, Elliot rushes to Olivia's aid only to find out that the injury isn't serious. This delay costs the child his life as Elliot finds out when he climbs the stairs and sees him lying in a puddle of blood.

Benson and Stabler are distraught with grief as they track Gitano to an abandoned warehouse using information from one of Munch's conspiracy theories. It ends in a hostage situation with Stabler as the hostage and Benson refusing to jeopardize his life by pulling the trigger. Ultimately a police sharpshooter kills Gitano while he's distracted and the little girl is found before her captor had time to cause her any physical harm. Elliot and Olivia confess to each other that they put their personal relationship ahead of their jobs. Benson requests a new partner when she hears what Stabler has to say about her being the only thing he has left.


Episode summary


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



  • Mrs. Oliver [handing sketch to Olivia]: The police said that I probably scared them off and he wouldn't try again. But I drew this just in case.
  • Mrs. Oliver [responding to Olivia's look of surprise]: I'm the art teacher.
  • Olivia Benson [to Cragen back at precinct]: We should hire this woman. That's the best sketch i've ever seen.

  • Olivia Benson [to Elliot]: Is there something you want to say to me? Because if you do, then let's hear it.
  • Elliot Stabler: Why didn't you shoot Gitano?
  • Olivia Benson: He was using the child as a shield.
  • Elliot Stabler: How could you let him get so close to you?
  • Olivia Benson: There were innocent civilians around. I couldn't get a shot.
  • Elliot Stabler: Well, you got close, and Ryan's dead.
  • Olivia Benson: So this is my fault?
  • Elliot Stabler: I can't do this anymore. I can't be looking over my shoulder making sure you're okay!
  • Olivia Benson: You son-of-a-bitch, you know that's not true!
  • Elliot Stabler: I need to know you can do your job and not wait for me to come to the rescue!

  • M.E. Melinda Warner: When you find this monster, give him a special kick in the nuts for me, will you?

  • Dr. George Huang: I used to treat sex offenders early in my career. But after awhile, it just wasn't enough to get a guy to admit his fantasies about his two-month-old daughter. So why do you think I try to catch them now?

  • Dr. Paula Greenfield: Men like Gitano were the reason I left the prisons.
  • Dr. George Huang: These kinds of sex offenders have the worst kind of pathology, because they make you believe that you can help them.
  • Dr. Paula Greenfield: You can't help a sociopath. This whole debate about whether or not sex offenders can be cured... Can I cure you of needing oxygen?

  • Elliot Stabler [to Olivia]: You and this job are about the only things I've got anymore. I don't want to wreck that.

  • Don Cragen: Olivia, what's up?
  • Olivia Benson: I want a new partner.

  • Dr. George Huang [to Elliot]: You had to choose between saving the little boy or saving Olivia.
  • Elliot Stabler: Yeah, but she didn't need me.
  • Dr. George Huang: You didn't know that.
  • Elliot Stabler: (long pause)I wish I didn't…
  • Dr. George Huang: Didn't what? (pause) Didn't care so much? Elliot, that's what makes you a good partner.
  • Elliot Stabler: She made me turn away.
  • Dr. George Huang: How? How did she make you do anything?
  • Elliot Stabler: (long pause) She didn't. It was my choice. Nobody else was responsible for it but me. (pause) Thanks. (leaves the room)

  • M.E. Melinda Warner [about Elliot]: Sometimes all that brooding intensity is just annoying.

  • Elliot Stabler: If that sniper hadn't beaten you to it... I know you would have taken the shot, Olivia.
  • Olivia Benson: No, I wouldn't have. Did you really expect me to? Did you really expect me to cause your death, Elliot? What about your kids?
  • Elliot Stabler: I don't know. I just couldn't get that boy out of my head.
  • [Both of them are silent for a moment]
  • Olivia Benson: What about me?

Background information and notes

  • Goof: The title card for Sing Sing Prison locates it in "Ossing, New York." It should read "Ossining, New York."
  • Tutuola advised Stabler that he was going to go up top to look for the children and Gitano, but there is no indication that Tutuola was involved in trying to stop Gitano or stop him from escaping, even though he should have been right there.
  • On the computer screen, the rapist's name was Vincent Carl Gitano while the mug shot had the name Victor Paul Gitano.
  • This episode was based on a "ripped from the headlines" case where Joseph Edward Duncan killed a mother, older brother, and fiancée while he kidnapped their children Dylan and Shasta Groene, later killing Dylan. Duncan, like Gitano, was a convicted sex offender.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Sing Sing Prison
Interview Room
Ossing, New York
Tuesday, March 28

Outdoor Adventures
116 West 30th Street
Wednesday, March 29

Office of
Dr. Paula Greenfield
Yardley, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, March 29

J & R Industrial Site
Bayonne, New Jersey
Thursday, March 30

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 7
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