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"Repression"
SVU, Episode 3.01
Production number: E2310
First aired: 28 September 2001
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 released in all  
Cragen Ramsey Repression
Written By
Marilyn Osborn

Directed By
Henry Bronchtein

Summary

The false memories of a girl's childhood molestation by her father lead to a tragedy.

Plot

Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson investigate the allegations of a young woman who claims to have been sexually abused as a child by her father.

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.

Cast

Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast

References

References

Quotes

  • 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

World Trade Center

The two towers in the Special Victims Unit opening credits

  • After the September 11 attacks, NBC ordered that the opening credits be changed for the season so that the Twin Towers 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

1 2

Whole Life Recovery Center
92 West 78th Street
Tuesday, February 13

Arraignment
Part 44
Thursday, February 15

3 4 5

Police Crime Lab
1 Centre Street
Thursday, February 15

Motion Hearing
Part 65
Tuesday, February 20

Grand Jury
Room 12
Friday, February 23


Previous episode:
"Scourge"
"Repression"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 3
Next episode:
"Wrath"
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