"Russian Brides"
SVU, Episode 13.07
Production number: 13007
First aired: 9 November 2011
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Written By
Bryan Goluboff

Directed By
Alex Chapple

Captain Cragen goes undercover when a murder in Brighton Beach reveals a thriving but deadly foreign bride business.


When a young woman is found brutally murdered, the SVU detectives use her distinctive tattoos to identify her as a recently engaged Russian mail-order bride. Upon questioning her distraught fiancé, they learn that she was kidnapped and held for ransom the night of their engagement party. While the detectives follow the money to a deadly blackmail scam run by the Russian Mafia, Captain Cragen goes undercover as a sad and lonely suitor to lure out a killer.


The SVU detectives are called to investigate the rape & murder of a young woman, but they have a hard time identifying her body because her face, fingertips, and teeth are removed. Eventually, they use the victim's tattoos to track down her fiance, Daniel. Daniel admits that he met her on a Russian bride website & that she was kidnapped after their engagement party. He paid the ransom that was demanded, but he now believes that she's dead.

Later on in the investigation, the detectives and Daniel discover the entire situation is an elaborate scam by a Russian mobster named Liev, who uses the same woman, Lena, to extort money out of men and then murders one of his prostitutes to make it look like that Lena was killed.

The detectives set up an undercover operation to track Lena and Liev using Cragen as the mark. They get Lena in custody, & Lena claims that Liev is holding her daughter hostage. They try to capture Liev, but he's killed by Amanda. Then, they find one of his safe-houses where Lena's daughter is supposedly held, but the child is nowhere to be seen. During a failed escape attempt, Lena kills an officer, but she is captured by the NYPD.

In the end, it is revealed that Lena really did have a daughter, but she was killed in St. Petersburg; Lena and Liev tracked down the killers, but since then, she was in his debt, becoming his partner-in-crime as a result.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast


Episode references


ADA Alexandra Cabot: No offense, Captain, but when was the last time you went undercover?
Captain Donald Cragen: Probably before either of you were born.

Spit that lollipop out; you ain't a 5-year old. Listen: you're going to go to jail. Hear me; jail. Where you'll be sucking on something else if you don't help us.

–Odafin Tutuola

Background information and notes

  • It is revealed that Cragen's wife, Marge Cragen, had a miscarriage.
  • Benson said there was a murder a few months back on the carousel. It is most likely from "Pop"

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Apartment of
Daniel Carter
466 2nd Avenue
Thursday, November 3

Offices of
503 West 51st Street
Thursday, November 3

The Duchess Hotel
117 West 56th Street
Saturday, November 5

Frying Pan Restaurant
205 12th Avenue
Pier 66
Sunday, November 6

Previous episode:
"True Believers"
"Russian Brides"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 13
Next episode:
"Educated Guess"
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