Law and Order
SVU, Episode 3.08
Production number: E2311
First aired: 16 November 2001
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Benson Inheritance.jpg
Teleplay By
Kathy Ebel,
Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas

Story By
Kathy Ebel

Directed By
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.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



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

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Office of
Detective Matt Tsu
Major Gang Intelligence
Sunday, May 13

Home of Sonja Yung
112 Mott Street
Monday, May 14

St. Teresa's Halfway House
481 West 150th Street
Monday, May 14

4 5 6

Office of Martha Shelby
Bronxville College
Tuesday, May 15

Home of Pamela Tatum
204 West 135th Street
Tuesday, May 15

Apartment of Susan Guan
46 Prince Street
Wednesday, May 16

7 8 9

Sam Sing Drug Store
337 Canal Street
Wednesday, May 16

Precinct Interview Room
Thursday, May 17

Trial Part 78
Friday, May 18

Previous episode:
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 3
Next episode:
Seasons 123456789101112131415161718192021222324