SVU, Episode 3.06
Production number: E2319
First aired: 2 November 2001
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 released in all  
Stabler John Hawkins Redemption
Written By
Jeff Eckerle

Directed By
Ted Kotcheff

Detective Stabler is paired with John "Hawk" Hawkins, a rough opinionated cop, who damages both his job and his personal life.


Detective Stabler is reunited with an old partner, a gung-ho cop (David Keith) who long ago put a serial rapist/murderer in prison who's now on parole, just in time for another series of attacks on women. But when it becomes clear that the prime suspect is not only innocent but incapable of such crimes, his old partner regrets his previously celebrated arrest and teams up with Stabler to find the real killer.


Detective Elliot Stabler testifies at the trial of Frederick Bello on behalf of his eight-year-old granddaughter Leslie, who Frederick was sexually molesting and infected with gonorrhea. After his testimony, Stabler reassures Leslie that once she goes on the stand to testify herself, her grandfather would be put away for life. Unfortunately, he returns to the precinct infuriated that the jury had set him free. To make matters worse, he and the rest of the team arrive to examine a particularly brutal rape and murder scene, which includes among other items a white rose given to the victim by the killer.

The detectives' first suspect is David Steadman, a shoe salesman at Wheaton's Department Store with a bad habit of making passes at every woman in sight, despite the fact that he's a married man. Benson and Stabler arrest him on suspicion of the murder especially since he has a hand injury, which the medical examiner believed the killer received while trying to kill the woman. Steadman insists that he broke his hand on some glass and was at the hospital at the time he was suspected of killing the woman. The nurse in the admission room confirms his presence, and also claims that he tried to hit on her as well. On their way out of the hospital, another woman in a similar condition is rushed in, and Benson receives a phone call from Munch which reveals that the person being wheeled in happens to be another victim.

During their discussion over the profile of the killer, Stabler's former academy trainer and partner John "Hawk" Hawkins strolls in and claims that the types of murders that were taking place are reminiscent of a series of murders from 20 years earlier committed by the "SoHo Strangler," and is automatically convinced that Roger Berry is responsible, since he was recently paroled before this wave of killings started. Cragin reveals that Hawk knows of his Berry's killing spree, and reassigns Stabler with Hawk, despite his objections. Hawk breaks into Berry's apartment without a warrant, expecting his parole officer to arrive eventually. The parole officer arrives just as the two officers are getting ready to leave, citing his inability to get to the apartment on standard NYC traffic problems. Finding nothing, they visit his mother in an undetermined residential neighborhood in Queens. Despite her failing health, his mother adamantly refuses to reveal his whereabouts. Failing to get any answers from her, Hawk decides to take Stabler to a local bar & grille where he knows Berry hangs out at. The owner of the greasy spoon tells the detectives that Berry always orders the same food and insists on eating at a specific table by the window. While waiting for their suspect to arrive, Hawk reveals that he's familiar with Stabler's failed attempt to convict Leslie Bello's grandfather, and urges him to continue the fight against the murderers and perverts of the city regardless of how futile the fight may be. He further emphasizes this with the quote "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Surprised that Berry hasn't arrived, the restaurant owner reveals that Berry often goes out to Pier 41 to watch the boats and ships pass by. Hawk and Stabler storm out of the restaurant and later spot him on the pier with his bike on its kickstand and ready to commit suicide by tying a boulder to his neck before jumping into the East River.

Hawk is particularly rough with Berry during his interrogation, despite the fact that he has a relatively tight alibi. With no DNA evidence to make a case against him, they decide to set him free, which infuriates Hawkins. Additionally, the rest of the detectives realize Berry is mildly retarded, and incapable of the murders he was accused of. Benson and Stabler try to find the records related to the case, but instead find they were already removed by Hawkins, who they originally think is trying to conceal evidence that would work in Berry's favor. Stabler breaks into Hawk's house and finds him drinking himself into a stupor with the evidence spilled all around him and the realization that he made a serious mistake all those years. Stabler looks at the evidence and begins to suspect that the real suspect might be an accountant named Arthur Blessard, who previously fingered Roger Berry for the crimes, and Hawk realizes he may be right. Blessard's work history just happened to coincide with a series of other murders taking place in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, as well as other cities. To make matters worse, Blessard is now an IRS employee, and had already worked on the tax returns of both recent victims. Blessard seems like he's ready to kill another one of his clients, when the detectives and storm in. Both the suspect and the potential victim are questioned, and the client originally makes Blessard's actions seem innocent, then admits beginning to feel uncomfortable around him. Blessard decides not to say anything further until his lawyer arrives. Unfortunately, they still can't make enough of a case against him without evidence from both him and the original victims. Hawk and Stabler arrive at the home of the parents of one of them urging them to allow the NYPD to reopen her grave and examine the body for new evidence, and originally they refuse.... until they explain that the examination is the only way to convict Blessard and exonerate Berry.

Stabler and Hawk go to Arthur Blessard's apartment to arrest him but the room is empty. Hawk looks out the window and sees Blessard running up the fire escape. Hawk follows him up and chases him across the roof. Stabler soon follows both men. He chases after Hawk as Hawk is in pursuit of Arthur. Stabler loses both men and looks around as he hears a yell. He climbs up a ladder and sees Blessard hanging from the edge of the roof with Hawk standing over him. Hawk then steps on Blessard's hand, causing him to slip a little bit and nearly fall. Blessard keeps holding on as Stabler tries to convince Hawk not to stoop to the rapist's level by killing him. Stabler quotes Hawk from earlier saying "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Hawk then steps on Blessard's fingers as Blessard screams in pain but suddenly has a change of heart and asks Stabler to help pull him up. They bring Blessard back up and handcuff him and take him away.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




Oh God bless the Lawyers.

–Elliot Stabler

Nurse: He kept hitting on me.
Olivia Benson: Why was he here so long?
Nurse: He would have been out of here sooner, but I saw the wedding ring. Each time he made a move on me I moved his chart to the bottom of the pile.

John Hawkins: Your partner always so friendly?
Elliot Stabler: Well, she just doesn't like you.
John Hawkins: Wait 'til she gets to know me.

Odafin Tutuola: Look at this. (holds up a white rose)
John Munch: A romantic psycho.
Elliot Stabler: And I thought my day couldn't get any worse.

John Hawkins: I took 18 years from an innocent man. There's no way I can make that right.
Elliot Stabler: So what're you going to do, quit? What are you going to tell the parents of those girls? You made them a promise, and if you're the man I think you are, you'll keep it.

Olivia Benson: Juries screw up.
Elliot Stabler: The whole system's screwed up. It's a load of crap.

Elliot Stabler: Boy won't Blessard be surprised to see us!
John Hawkins: I can't wait to see that bastard's face!

Elliot Stabler: Don't do this Hawk. Don't let it end this way.
John Hawkins: Come on, we both know the system sucks.
Elliot Stabler: If you do this you're no better than he is.
John Hawkins: He's an evil man, Elliot.

Elliot Stabler: All it takes for Evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
(Hawk is silent for some time as he looks down at the man on the ledge. He suddenly bends down to help him.)
John Hawkins: (to Stabler) Come on, are you going to let an old drunk do all the work?

Background information and notes

  • This episode was based on the case of Albert DeSalvo, aka "The Boston Strangler". DeSalvo was a criminal in Boston, Massachusetts, United States who confessed to being the "Boston Strangler", the murderer of 13 women in the Boston area. His confession has been disputed, and debate continues regarding which crimes DeSalvo actually committed. (Source: Albert DeSalvo at Wikipedia) The predator in this episode is referred to as the "SoHo Strangler".
  • Unlike most episodes in which the investigating team is comprised of Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, this episode focuses on the partnership between Stabler and Manhattan South Homicide Detective John Hawkins.
  • Goof: After meeting with Berry's mother, while discussing where Roger likes to eat, the shadow of one of the production crew briefly appears on Stabler's shoulder.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Noho Apartments
235 West Houston Street
Monday, April 16

Wheaton's Department Store
115 West 52nd Street
Monday, April 16

Mercy General Hospital
365 West 32nd Street
Monday, April 16

4 5 6

Residence of Roger Berry
109 Avenue B
Tuesday, April 17

Charlie's Bar & Grill
602 West 30th Street
Tuesday, April 17

Hawkins Residence
31-04 Skillman Avenue, Queens
Wednesday, April 18

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