|←||SVU, Episode 3.08||→|
|Production number: E2311|
First aired: 16 November 2001
| Teleplay By|
Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas
Juan J. Campanella
The detectives search for a rapist targeting Asian women. The case becomes particularly significant for Benson when the rapist's defense is that he inherited the "violence gene" from his father, also a rapist.
The detectives visit Harold Starnes who is now disabled and confined to a wheelchair. He denies being the rapist or having any living male relatives. This causes Benson to question him on having a child and Starnes denies it until Benson asked him if it is possible that he has one with one of his rape victims.
SVU detectives soon will look into Starnes past victims to see if any of them have a child born around the time of his rape spree. They reach a few dead ends with one woman being insistent that they not see her son who reveals that he is aware that he may potentially be the child of a rapist but he says his mother treated him with love. This causes the detectives to note that the rapist may be neglected and loved. They also note they may be looking in the wrong direction because he was targeting Asian women. They soon learn that there was an Asian victim of Starnes.
Her name is Susan and she confesses to being raped by Starnes. She also had a son Darrell Guan who was ostracized because of his mixed race heritage (Susan was Chinese, while Starnes was African-American). Susan also voices that a part of Susan was remorseful for how she treated her son because it was not his fault of how he was conceived and she also remembered the pain he endured because of her family members. The Detectives track down Darrell and arrest him as he is on the process of going through his latest victim. While going through his bags they discover that he had the necessary items that were using the other tortured and rape.
While Darrell is brought in, Huang brings up that because of the treatment and prejudice that he endured growing up, Darrell grew up to become a serial rapist, just like his father.
In court Darrell's lawyer attempted to make it seem that Darrell was not in charge of his actions because of what he endured and how he only sought to belong. At the end, the jury have made a decision and Darrell was found guilty of the rapes and murders of Lucy.
- Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler
- Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson
- Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
- Stephanie March as A.D.A. Alexandra Cabot
- Ice-T as Detective Odafin Tutuola
- Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen
- Lance Reddick as M.E. Taylor
- Harvey Atkin as Judge Alan Ridenour
- B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang
- Ron Leibman as Executive A.D.A. Stan Villani
- Brian Keane as Dr. Peters
- Fernando López as C.S.U. Technician Ramone Vargas
- Marcus Chong as Darrell Guan
- Diane Baker as Attorney Margo Nelson
- Nelson Lee as Johnny Chen
- Billy Chang as Detective Matt Tsu
- Wai Ching Ho as Susan Guan
- Sharrieff Pugh as Michael Tatum
- Kevin Louie as Dao Tran
- Saxon Palmer as Jogger
- Danny Maseng as Dr. Randall Coffey
- Ben Wang as Massage Parlor Owner
- Ron Nakahara as Sammy Sing
- Miou as Jiang Li
- La Donna Mabry as Martha Shelby
- David H. Kramer as Director of Halfway House
- Arthur French as Harold Starnes
- Mona Chiang as Sonja Yung
- Lynn Chen as Helen Chen
- Eliot Chang as Larry Tang
- Denise Burse as Pamela Tatum
- Young Kim as Hostess
- Bern, Switzerland
- Born to Kill
- Ghost Shadows
- Joseph Hollister
- Major Gang Intelligence
- Paris, France
- Daniel Shelby
- Serena Benson
- Vietnam War
- Washington, D.C.
- Lucy Zhang (victim)
- Olivia Benson: It could take hours to track down a translator.
- Elliot Stabler: Doc, can you translate?
- George Huang: What, you just assume I speak Chinese?
- Elliot Stabler: No. I heard you order take-out once.
- Dr. George Huang: I know that if my sister had dated a black man, our parents would've... strongly objected.
- Olivia Benson: So he sets himself up to be rejected not only as a man but as a non-Asian. It's like he's looking for a reason to be mad.
- George Huang: You know, some geneticists theorise that violence is inherited.
- Olivia Benson: Oh, that's right. "It's not my fault. I was just born to kill."
- George Huang: It's a theory.
- Olivia Benson: Do you have any kids?
- Harold Starnes: Haven't had the pleasure. You offering?
- Margo Nielson's closing statement: Complex scientific evidence aside, this case is about the choices we make and the choices that are made for us. Did Darrell Guan choose for his father to rape his mother? To be brought in a community, in a family, that every single day berated, belittled and stigmatized him? Did he choose to have a genetic defect? No. And now we're supposed to tell him "Well, too bad. You should've known better." Darrell was born and lived in hell. His grandmother called him the Devil. Well, of course he was. He was engineered by nature and by nurture to be exactly what he turned out to be. And that is not his fault.
- Alexandra Cabot's closing statement: Yes. Darrel Guan had a difficult life. He was raised knowing the only reason he exists because his mother was violently raped. One can understand. One can understand why he wouldn't grow up to be a well-adjusted adult. But that's not an excuse for murder. In a civilized society, we have to take responsibility for our actions. If we start to justify all antisocial behavior under the pretense 'it isn't our fault', then the entire structure of the law is meaningless. In the end, it comes down to what it is to be a human being. We're not just a product of our genetic programming. Nor are we solely molded and motivated by our childhood experiences. The defense would have you believe Darrell Guan's life was beyond his control. But the truth is, he was in complete control at the time he committed his crimes. He specifically chose his victims. Not because of some biological imperative but because of opportunity. He knew what he was doing was wrong and he did everything he could to get away with it. Darrell Guan chose the course of his life. Make him take responsibility for it.
- Olivia Benson: Well... look at Darrell Guan. I keep trying to convince myself that... that he had a choice. You know, "be a rapist, don't be a rapist. Be violent, don't be violent". But if he had this... aggression inside him even violence, then... does he have a choice? Does anyone?
- George Huang: You don't hurt people, Olivia. You protect them. You're proof that we do have a choice.
- Olivia Benson: Or... or maybe I'm just lucky.
Background information and notes
- The episode title "Inheritance" is a reference to the debate on the impact of genetic predisposition versus environmental upbringing on the nature of violence. In the episode the Detectives learn that Harold Starnes raped Susan Guan, and that Susan got pregnant with Darrell Guan. Darrell followed in his father's footsteps and started raping women as well. This episode primarily focuses on the reactions of Detective Olivia Benson, because she is the child of her mother's rape.
- Actor Lance Reddick makes his last appearance as Medical Examiner Taylor. Reddick remains active throughout the Law & Order franchise with appearances in Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
- The possibility that violence could be inherited was brought up again in the season 5 episode "Hate".
Episode scene cards
Home of Sonja Yung
St. Teresa's Halfway House
Office of Martha Shelby
Home of Pamela Tatum
Apartment of Susan Guan
Sam Sing Drug Store
Precinct Interview Room
Trial Part 78
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit