Law and Order
"Melancholy Pursuit"
SVU, Episode 17.08
Production number: 17008
First aired (US): 11 November 2015
First aired (UK): 6 December 2015
First aired (CAN): 11 November 2015
First aired (AUS): 31 March 2016
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Teleplay By
Warren Leight & Julie Martin

Story By
Brianna Yellen & Samantha Corbin-Miller

Directed By
Michael Pressman

SVU's search for a missing teen leads to a DNA-matching hunt with surprising results.


The hunt for a missing teenage girl takes an emotional toll on Sgt. Dodds, and DNA evidence becomes a crucial lead in finding the girl's abductor.


SVU investigates the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl named Lily. At first, Dodds believes that Lily simply ran away from home, but when they track her debit card, Lily's body is discovered.

When the DNA on Lily is tested, the detectives learn that Lily's murderer was likely a relative. SVU interviews a man named Brendan (a relative whose DNA is in the system) and they ask him for a list of male family members, but they learn that Brendan is adopted and his birth father, Ray Marino, died five years ago.

Carisi and Dodds interrogate Ray's two sons from a previous relationship, but their DNA doesn't match despite the fact that the killer is related to them. After exhuming Ray's body and his DNA is tested, the detectives learn that Ray has multiple children from affairs that his widow was unaware of.

SVU change their strategy by having most of Ray's possible children do a breathalyzer test and match the DNA. This proves successful and it is revealed his son Gary works as a delivery driver.

In the end, it's revealed that Gary is responsible for murdering Lily but he confessed to it being an accident and has shown great guilt. Once the case is solved, Dodds can't help but feel guilt over what happened.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

  • Ali Wentworth as Shari Parker
  • Angelica Page as Mrs. Evans
  • Ross Gibby as Patrick Evans
  • Brian Avers as George Marino
  • Nick Cordero as Robby Marino
  • Jonathan Judge-Russo as Gary Ryan
  • Joanna Bonaro as Camille Marino
  • Carolee Carmello as Jeannie Miller
  • Alice Barrett Mitchell as Stella Blanchard
  • Pilar Witherspoon as Helen Ryan
  • David Dean Bottrell as Stan the Homeless Man
  • Lorenzo Pisoni as Brendan Cahill
  • Alexandra Wentworth as Lady in Park
  • Pedro Morillo as Diego
  • Matthew Schechter as Peter Best
  • Tony White as Cleon Johnson
  • Sam Gedymin as Kyle


Episode references


Olivia (to Dodds): Go home, talk to somebody you love and don’t make this job your whole life.

Olivia: We got the guy, Dodds. In cases like this, that's as good as it ever gets.

Background information and notes

  • This episode appears to have been ripped from the headline of the kidnapping and murder of Yara Gambirasio. On November 26, 2010, thirteen-year-old Yara Gambirasio disappeared on her way home from the gym in Brembate di Sopra, Bergamo, Italy. Three months later, Yara's lifeless body was found in a field several miles away from Brembate, she had been bludgeoned, stabbed repeatedly, and left to die from hypothermia. DNA found on the body led authorities to bus driver Giuseppe Guerinoni, who had died in 1999. It was eventually discovered that Guerinoni had an extramarital affair that resulted in an out-of-wedlock child: Massimo Giuseppe Bossetti. Bossetti's DNA was obtained from a breathalyzer test, and was matched to the one that was retrieved from the body. Bossetti was arrested in 2014, and convicted in 2016. His conviction was confirmed by the court of appeal and court of cassation.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Tau Omega Fraternity House
39 Stuyvesant Street
Tuesday, October 6

2347 12th Avenue
Tuesday, October 6

791 West 135th Street
Wednesday, October 7

4 5 6

Lobster Box Restaurant
34 City Island Avenue
City Island, New York
Wednesday, October 7

Holy Trinity Cemetery
City Island, New York
Friday, October 9

15 Eastchester Street
City Island, New York
Saturday, October 10

7 8 9

Adrien & Beau Boutique
422 West 14th Street
Saturday, October 10

NYPD Checkpoint
City Island Avenue
and Bridge Street
City Island, New York
Sunday, October 11

Hudson Beverages
Distribution Center
842 Washington Street
Monday, October 12

Previous episode:
"Patrimonial Burden"
"Melancholy Pursuit"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 17
Next episode:
"Depravity Standard"
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