Law and Order
SVU, Episode 3.11
Production number: E2323
First aired: 4 January 2002
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Cabot Langan Monogamy.jpg
Written By
Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas

Directed By
Constantine Makris


The case involves the beating of a seven-months-pregnant woman, whose unborn child has been torn from her body via a primitive cesarean section. Among the many witnesses questioned is the woman's husband, a psychiatrist with several devastating secrets who knows more about his wife's beating than he's willing to admit.


Cabot speaks to Manning and after confirming that he is capable of reproducing and he was also having sex with his wife while she was having her affair, they discuss the timing. Manning tells Cabot his wife told him of it and the baby was her lover's. Cabot then shows the paternity test, that reveals to the contrary that Novacek was not the father. This shocking news surprises Manning, Nicole, and Novacek while Cabot states if the lover wasn't the father, the logical deduction is that Manning himself was the father.

Stuttering at this possibility, Manning says he would have known but Cabot rebukes this by bringing up his firm belief that the child was not his. Cabot says Manning held his own child, his only living child in his arms and asks him did his infant son cry before Manning killed him. Suffering an emotional breakdown at killing his own child, Manning weakly confirms he only cried a little and sadly repeats his statement.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Benson: Nice place.
Erin Sena: I cleaned up especially for you.
Stabler: Your boyfriend doesn't mind the mess?
Sena: Who says I've got a boyfriend?
Stabler: Come on...a girl like you? I'm sure you have a few.
Sena: You coming on to me? I'm into that. Your friend can watch.

Donald Cragen: All because his wife was carrying another man's child.
George Huang: Well, you know, it could have been enough to push him over the edge. He was cuckolded. It's pretty common. You see it in nature. Female of the species seeks out the male who exhibits the most desirable traits. You know, most species aren't naturally monogamous.
John Munch: That explains my entire marital history.

Olivia Benson to Elliot Stabler: Hey, you know everyone in that room is on your side. But we're not mind-readers.

Stabler: Each case gets a little more horrific than the last. I go home to my wife, what am I supposed to do? Talk about my day? 'Honey, today, a guy cut a baby out of his wife's stomach. Pass the gravy, please.'
Benson: So, you just don't talk at all? That's no solution, Elliot.
Stabler: Well, one of us has to be able to sleep at night. She thinks I'm shutting her out.
Benson: You are. That's exactly what you do. You keep this up, you're gonna ruin the best thing you've ever had.

Donald Cragen to George Huang: Doc, I want you in on this search. You know how shrinks operate; time to give up your trade secrets.

Benson: His laundry is nicer than my entire wardrobe. Folds and labels them: whites, colored, dry cleaning.
Stabler: Anything marked 'bloody clothes'?

Richard Manning: She probably felt our relationship was lacking.
Elliot Stabler: "Lacking" is a real interesting word. What is it you were lacking, Dick?
Richard Manning: Challenging my masculinity. A little amateurish, don't you think?
George Huang: No. I think he's challenging your masculinity because it's such an obvious weakness.

Alexandra Cabot: You held your own child in your hands. Your own living child...Did he cry? Did your son cry before you killed him?
Richard Manning: He only cried a little. He only cried a little.

Background information and notes

  • The episode title "Monogamy" is a reference to the monogamous relationship Dr. Richard Manning demanded from his wife Nicole. After suspecting that his wife had cheated on him and got pregnant with her lover's child, he decided to kill the baby.
  • This is the last time actress Audrie J. Neenan appears as Judge Marilyn Haynes in the Law & Order franchise. In later episodes she returns as a recurring character named Judge Lois Preston.
  • Actor Peter Hermann appears for the first time as recurring character Defense Attorney Trevor Langan. During the taping of this episode, Hermann meets his future wife, Mariska Hargitay. Hermann previously appeared as Al Goran in the Law & Order tenth season episode "Mega".
  • In the remastered version of this season, this episode was the first to use the redesigned opening credits. Previous episodes still used the Season 2 opening credits. The opening credits were redesigned as a result of the 9/11 attacks.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Construction Site
321 West 92nd Street
Friday, December 7

Tenth Avenue
Methadone Clinic
Friday, December 7

Tri-State Atlantic Wireless
161 East 47th Street
Monday, December 10

4 5 6

Apartment of Dr. Manning
57 East 69th Street
Monday, December 10

Trial Part 74
Wednesday, December 12

Trial Part 74
Thursday, December 13

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Season 3
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