SVU, Episode 5.16
Production number: E4420
First aired: 17 February 2004
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
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Adam Nesbit Home
Written By
Amanda Green

Directed By
Rick Wallace


SVU investigates the death of a boy previously found eating from the trash, but was returned to his paranoid mother.


Jacob Nesbit is found eating out of the garbage. He explains to Detective Stabler that most food is forbidden by his mother. Benson and Stabler investigate the unusual parenting of Marilyn Nesbit. After Marilyn's husband was killed in a holdup, she kept her sons very close. According to Marilyn, processed food causes cancer, school is a place where children are shot and bullied, the city streets harbor killers around every corner, and foster homes lead children into lives of abuse and misery.

When she learns ACS is coming to check on Jacob and his older brother Adam, Marilyn is sure her children will be removed. That night, Jacob calls Stabler for help. Stabler rushes to the apartment to find Jacob dead, with Marilyn and Adam missing. With the help of Autopilot (a system like OnStar), detectives track her car. They remove her and Adam from the home of a friend and fellow home-schooler.

Marilyn explains that she kept a pistol for protection, and Jacob must have accidentally shot himself. Forensics rules this out. Marilyn tells detectives that she couldn't have shot him; she was careful to be seen shopping at the time of the shooting.

Adam confesses to shooting Jacob, but insists that he was saving his brother from the hell of children's services. Adam repeats the same paranoid views of his mother. Novak talks to the Kester family--the only friends of the Nesbits. The daughter, Polly Kester, gives Novak emails implying that Marilyn convinced Adam to shoot Jacob and himself.

Novak decides to charge Marilyn too. At the grand jury, Marilyn says that the system is persecuting her, including the police, lawyers, and DYFS. Novak realizes that Marilyn means the Division of Youth and Family Services, which is an agency in New Jersey similar to ACS. Benson and Stabler find she lived in New Jersey several years ago, with her sons Adam and Daniel. Daniel was her first child. She beat him after her husband died (he was at the store buying milk for Daniel when he was killed), and he was placed in foster care. She told Adam that Daniel died in a foster home and she moved to New York.

Novak brings Daniel to see Adam. Adam initially denies Daniel's existence, but when Daniel takes out a photo of the two of them together and recalls how he taught Adam how to ride a bicycle, Adam realizes that his mother had lied to him. Novak asks Adam to tell her what happened the night Jacob died, and Adam tearfully reveals that after the police brought Jacob home, Marilyn was so angry that she gave the gun to Adam and ordered him to kill Jacob and then commit suicide, while she would conveniently be at the grocery store so as to have an alibi, but after killing Jacob, Adam had failed to kill himself because the gun got jammed.

Marilyn is arrested for first-degree murder and facilitation and is shown in Novak's office with her attorney. Adam arrives and angrily berates his mother for lying to him about Daniel and for making him shoot Jacob. Daniel enters the office and sarcastically greets Marilyn much to her shock. Realizing that she has lost control of her son, Marilyn accuses the police of destroying her family. Stabler and Benson begin dragging Marilyn out of the office, and she begs Adam for help, saying that she's the only one he can trust, but Adam doesn't even look at her.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



  • Olivia Benson: [to Elliot] The cops tell me that my kid is down at the station, I'd be there right away.

  • Judge Mary Conway Clark [to Casey]: You should ask yourself why this kid isn't rebelling against his mother like a normal 13-year-old boy.

  • Casey Novak: That bitch is responsible, but I can't touch her.

  • Casey Novak: Bringing up Adam with paranoid fears isn't against the law. I mean, you can raise your kid to be a racist so long as it doesn't cause harm.
  • Elliot Stabler: Well, there's your difference, right there. This is like vehicular homicide: Adam is the car, Marilyn's behind that wheel - her paranoia drove his actions.

  • Marilyn Nesbit: You're trying to take my children away from me...I know how you people are: Police...district destroy families!...Be careful. If you don't live your lives by their rules, they'll come after your kids, too.

  • Marilyn Nesbit: [to Dr. Huang] You see, for me, you're just a short little man with a nasty little mind, and you're trying to twist my words and get me to say things. You think I'm stupid. And you're right, I am, for sitting here and listening to you.

  • Elliot Stabler: You ever try to contact your mother?
  • Daniel Nesbit: I thought about it...I was mad at her for a long time...but things got better, once I was away from her...I thought I was just better off.
  • Olivia Benson: What about Adam?
  • Daniel Nesbit: She never hit him, and I thought he would be fine!...I...I should've gone back! I could've stopped it!
  • Olivia Benson: You didn't know...
  • Daniel Nesbit: I left him there with her!
  • Elliot Stabler: Look, he needs you now.

  • Adam Nesbit: Why did you tell me all those lies, Mom?...Why did you tell me to shoot Jacob?!
  • Marilyn Nesbit: What have you done to my son?!
  • Daniel Nesbit: They told him the truth...Hello, Mom.

Background information and notes

  • Mrs. Kester told Casey that Marilyn Nesbit was too protective and isolated the two boys, but yet she did not question why Mrs. Nesbit only had Adam with her when she picked them up at the mall.
  • Trivia: Mrs. Nesbit is a reference to Toy Story, when Buzz Lightyear goes slightly insane and believes he is Mrs. Nesbit, a tea party socialite.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Apartment of
Marilyn Nesbit
252 West 97th Street
Tuesday, January 6

Office of Iris Jordan
Department of Education
Homeschool Liaison
Tuesday, January 6

GPS Navigation Systems
320 West 52nd Street
Wednesday, January 7

Bellevue Hospital
Prison Ward
Thursday, January 8

5 6 7 8

Kester Residence
The Bronx, New York
Friday, January 9

New York State
Supreme Court
Grand Jury
Monday, January 13

Division of
Youth & Family Services
North Bergen, New Jersey
Monday, January 13

Office of
Assistant District Attorney
Casey Novak
Tuesday, January 14

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Season 5
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