Law and Order
Law and Order
SVU, Episode 3.08
Production number: E2311
First aired: 16 November 2001
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 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 with one of his rape victims.


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?----
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.

–Margo Nielson'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.

–Alexandra Cabot's closing statement

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

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Season 3
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