SVU, Episode 3.01
Production number: E2310
First aired: 28 September 2001
  th of 432 produced in SVU  
th of 432 released in SVU
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Cragen Ramsey Repression
Written By
Marilyn Osborn

Directed By
Henry Bronchtein


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


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 (Kelly Hutchinson), have come as a result of repressed memories retrieved during sessions with her therapist, a Dr. Wharton (Shirley Knight). The detectives's concerns quickly turn to the minor daughters remaining under the care of their father, Evan Ramsey (Brian Kerwin), despite the objections of their mother, Rebecca Ramsey (Amy Irving) and her father, Charles Sutherland (George Hearn), 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, and the "repressed memory" was really just a combination of the power of suggestion and the drugs used to bring the "memory" forward. This is proven when Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie), of the Medical Examiner's office, discovers that the "rape victim" was 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 (Stephanie March), her younger sister Jodie (Blythe Auffarth) confesses, claiming it was an accident.

Jodie accompanied Megan to go talk to their father. They both went to his office together. The father took Megan and shook her and she told him to stop and he just screamed at her while she was crying. Megan dropped her purse and Jodie saw the gun and she grabbed it. She told her father to stop and let Megan go but he didn't listen and kept holding her. Then the gun went off because the father went to grab the gun and triggered the gun to go off, therefore shooting himself.

Dr. Wharton had been making extensive usage of sodium amytal. Dr. George Huang (B. D. Wong) describes this as a drug that actually creates memories, which has knocked it out of favor. He mentions "false memory syndrome," which he calls "the power of suggestion run amok." After hearing this, Stabler, Benson, and the others 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 revoked pending investigation into whether her offenses were grounds for its revocation, and Stabler arrests her on charges of reckless endangerment in Evan's death.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




  • 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 World Trade Center terrorist attacks in New York City, NBC ordered that the opening credits be changed for the season so that the Twin Towers were not shown. This episode was originally scheduled to air on Friday, September 21, 2001, but it was postponed for a week while the credits were re-designed.
  • Also, similar to above, after 9/11, the opening was changed from the normal SVU intro to a 9/11 victims dedicated one. It is recited 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." 
  • This episode shares similarities with the Cheryl Pierson case. Newfield High School junior Sean Pica was arrested for the shooting death of the father of his homeroom classmate Cheryl Pierson, which occurred on February 5, 1986. Pierson alleged that her father had committed incest, and Pica agreed to help by killing the father in return for $400. (Source: Newfield High School at Wikipedia)
  • Goofs: 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

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

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