|←||SVU, Episode 3.01||→|
|Production number: E2310|
First aired: 28 September 2001
| Written By|
The false memories of a girl's childhood molestation by her father lead to a tragedy.
The allegations of the victim, Megan Ramsey, have come as a result of repressed memories retrieved during sessions with her therapist, a Dr. Wharton. The detectives's concerns quickly turn to the minor daughters remaining under the care of their father, Evan Ramsey, despite the objections of their mother, Rebecca Ramsey, and her father, Charles Sutherland, who had resented Evan's take-over of the business he had built personally but proves to be innocent of any wrongdoing. Ultimately, Dr. Wharton comes under suspicion herself. In the meantime, Evan is killed.
Eventually, it is revealed that Evan was innocent all along, and that Megan's "repressed memories" were really nothing more than a combination of the power of suggestion and the drugs that had been used to bring the "memories" forward. This is proven when Dr. Melinda Warner, of the Medical Examiner's office, discovers that the supposed "rape victim" was actually a virgin, and thus could never have been raped. Megan is brought to the grand jury to be tried for her father's murder, but to the surprise of Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot, her younger sister Jodie confesses, claiming it was an accident.
Jodie had accompanied Megan to go talk to their father. They had both gone to his office together. The father had taken Megan and shaken her, and though she told him to stop, he simply screamed at her while she had been crying. Megan had dropped her purse, and Jodie had seen the gun and grabbed it. She yelled at their father to stop and let Megan go, but he had not listened and kept holding her. Then, the gun had gone off because Evan had reached for it, therefore shooting himself.
Dr. Wharton acknowledges that she has been making extensive usage of sodium amytal. Dr. George Huang describes this as a drug that he says actually creates memories, which has caused it to fall from favor aside from a handful of die-hard advocates; presumably, Dr. Wharton is one of those die-hard advocates. He mentions "false memory syndrome," which he calls "the power of suggestion run amok." After hearing Huang's explanation, Stabler, Benson, Cragen, and Cabot all decide that, as this tragedy is more Dr. Wharton's fault than that of anyone else, they should go after her, which they do: Cabot subpoenas Megan's medical records; these will be reviewed by her new therapist, who will testify that the sessions led to the false memory. Megan Ramsey has also recanted her allegations against her father. The Ramsey family files suit against Dr. Wharton, whose license is suspended pending investigation into whether her offenses constitute grounds for it to be revoked, and Stabler arrests her on charges of reckless endangerment in the death of Evan Ramsey.
- Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler
- Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson
- Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
- Stephanie March as A.D.A. Alexandra Cabot
- Ice-T as Detective Odafin Tutuola
- Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen
- Tamara Tunie as M.E. Melinda Warner
- José Zúñiga as Forensic Technician Miguel Cruz
- Joanna Merlin as Judge Lena Petrovsky
- Tom O'Rourke as Judge Mark Seligman
- Ron Leibman as Executive A.D.A. Stan Villani
- B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang
- Steven Mark Friedman as Defense Attorney Wilmington
- Lou Carbonneau as CSU Technician Harry Martin
- Amy Irving as Rebecca Ramsey
- Brian Kerwin as Evan Ramsey
- Shirley Knight as Dr. Wharton
- Kelly Hutchinson as Megan Ramsey
- Blythe Auffarth as Jodie Ramsey
- Sarah Hyland as Lily Ramsey
- Cheryl Alexander as Social Worker
- George Hearn as Charles Sutherland
- Jim Fragione as Richard Weiss
- Opal Alladin as Marina
- Tom Verri as Uniformed Policeman
- Brian Connors as Executive/Actuary (uncredited)
- Olivia Benson, to Dr. Wharton after they have basically ruined her life: "All around, I'd say that this is a day YOU’LL never forget."
- Olivia Benson, about Megan Ramsey: "And if she is telling the truth, that means he got away with it all over again."
- Elliot Stabler: "Not quite. That was the captain. Evan Ramsey was murdered."
- Dr. George Huang, about sodium amytal: "It's called False Memory Syndrome. I think of it as the power of suggestion run amok."
- Charles Southerland: "If you're asking me if I'm glad he's dead, the answer is 'Yes.' If you're asking me if I killed him, the answer is 'No.' Although I would like to buy the fellow who did it a drink."
Background information and notes
- This is the first episode to air after the September 11 attacks, which saw the complete destruction of the World Trade Center, which had been shown in the opening credits the first two seasons. As a result of the attacks, NBC ordered that the opening credits be changed for the season so that the World Trade Center would not be shown. This episode was originally scheduled to air on September 21, 2001, but it was postponed for a week while the credits were redesigned.
- Also, the opening was changed from the normal L&O intro in honor of the victims. Steven Zirnkilton recited it as follows: "On September 11th, 2001, New York City was ruthlessly and criminally attacked. While no tribute can heal the pain of that day, the producers of Law & Order dedicate this season to the victims and their families and to the firefighters and police officers who remind us everyday with their lives and courage what it truly means to be an American." The narration is replaced with the usual "In the criminal justice system..." opening for syndication.
- Goof: When looking at the photo found under a bed, the date shows October 8, 2001, but the detectives says, "Look at the date: February 13th."
Episode scene cards
Whole Life Recovery Center
Police Crime Lab
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit