Law and Order
SVU, Episode 5.10
Production number: E4414
First aired: 25 November 2003
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Cragen Stabler Shaken.jpg
Written By
Amanda Green

Directed By
Constantine Makris


Episode summary


It's Tuesday morning. People are at the playground, including Lucy and her nanny, Sarah. Lucy goes to play with the other kids as Sarah speaks to her friend Veronica, a fellow nanny. Sarah complains Lucy is unmanageable, and that Lucy’s mom, Evelyn, won't allow Sarah to use timeouts. Veronica offers to show her how to handle Lucy. When Sarah calls Lucy, Lucy doesn’t reply. Detective Stabler is called in to search, and is informed that Veronica saw a creepy guy hanging around the park on several occasions. After Cragen shows up, Stabler finds Lucy unconscious on the ground. Stabler rushes Lucy to the hospital.

Stabler speaks with Dr. Morella at the hospital, who reveals Lucy was rushed to surgery to try to relieve the pressure on her brain and a rape kit hasn't been taken yet, but there’s no evidence of semen and her clothing was intact.

Detectives inform Evelyn of her daughter's condition when she arrives, while Sarah and Cragen go to get coffee. Evelyn asks why God's punishing her, as she had just lost her husband a year ago and now her daughter is in the hospital. Stabler suggests that she see the hospital chaplain, and Cragen offers to stay with her while Stabler goes to get a description of the creepy guy.

The creepy guy’s described as white, mid-40s, short dark hair, and very stocky. He was taking photos when he was on the rocks. Stabler sends Veronica to a sketch artist, and examines the rocks, where he finds an empty film box. As it's very unusual for a pedophile to use film so as to avoid being reported when they send the film to be developed, it's believed that the perpetrator’s probably a risk-taker.

Fingerprints found on the empty box are linked to a man named Dennis, whose Probation Officer informs detectives that Dennis works at Sav-Mart Drug Store in Photo Finishing. Dennis was in the store working since 7 A.M., and his fingerprints were on the box because he sells film.

Creepy guy/photographer’s is a man named Ronny, who regularly comes in to buy film. During interrogation, Ronny becomes angry at the accusations and reveals he’s a Private Investigator hired to watch Veronica. Ronny doesn’t have his PI License yet, so when he saw the police, he left the playground because his client wouldn’t like it if he got involved. His client’s David, the father of the little boy Veronica was hired to watch, and David wanted to know how his son was treated when he wasn’t around.

When the police looks at the time stamps on the photos, they realize that there wasn’t enough time for an attack. The theory at first is that she fell and bumped her head, but if that had been the case she wouldn't need surgery.

Meanwhile, Lucy's out of surgery, but she's still unconscious. Morella says that SBS (Shaken Baby Syndrome) caused Lucy’s injuries and that it's hard to say what Lucy’s chances are. If she recovers, then she'll probably have permanent brain damage. Morella’s certain it was SBS, and whoever shook Lucy did it hard; s/he almost killed Lucy.

At the station, Melinda agrees to testify that the SBS could be the only cause for Lucy’s injuries, because Melinda read the reports. Lucy has rib fractures where the perpetrator grabbed her and after a child gets shaken, there are rib fractures where the perpetrator grabbed the child. Warner says that Lucy got shaken between 12 and 48 hours before she collapsed. Lucy would've been lethargic, sleepy, maybe even vomiting. Yesterday Lucy was fine.

Evelyn reveals that she hasn't had a boyfriend since her husband's death, and that she worked late on Monday as she needs all the overtime that she can get. Lucy was with Sarah on Monday and Tuesday and had already been asleep when Evelyn got home. Stabler asks if she is happy with, and Evelyn says she wanted someone with more experience, but can’t afford it. She caught Sarah yelling at Lucy once, and when Evelyn saw marks on Lucy, Sarah claimed that Lucy fell or another child hit her. Stabler asks if Evelyn thinks that Sarah hurt Lucy, and Evelyn says that if Sarah had ever hit Lucy, she would have fired her.

When Stabler talks to Sarah she reveals that a couple of months ago she spanked Lucy because she threw a toy at Sarah. She claims Lucy fell down a lot on Monday.

Sarah works so hard, but Evelyn pays her so little, so Sarah got angry and stole some of Evelyn’s money. Stabler’s gut tells him that Sarah’s innocent.

At the Tribune, Ian Felson has a witness who claims that Sarah abused Lucy. The witness turns out to be Veronica. Veronica didn't say that Sarah hit Lucy before because Stabler didn't ask. At the Children's Museum, Lucy was out of control and Sarah smacked Lucy across the face hard.

At the museum, Stabler finds out that it was Veronica who hit Lucy. When confronted, Veronica yells that Lucy “deserved a spanking" because her behavior was horrible. Veronica hasn't seen Lucy for days, until Tuesday morning at the playground and claims she didn’t shake Lucy.

Stabler talks to Evelyn at the hospital, and Evelyn reveals that there was someone else, but she thought he couldn't have done because she wasn't gone that long. She reveals that she has a lover named Drew Farmer, and she didn't mention him because he's married.

Drew's none other than Evelyn's boss, and this explains Evelyn's overtime. On Sunday night, Drew’s wife wasn’t in town so Evelyn gave Sarah the night off and invited Drew over for dinner.

Evelyn was gone for 20 minutes and the detectives believe that Drew - who doesn't have kids and doesn't want kids - might have shaken Lucy to stop her crying. Drew admits that he was at Evelyn's residence on Sunday night, but if his wife finds out, she’ll cut his balls off. Drew swears that he didn't hurt Lucy and doesn't know who did.

Lucy cried after Evelyn left, and Drew wanted Lucy to go back to sleep, but he didn’t shake her. He picked her up, but she puked on him. He didn't tell Evelyn because he didn't want to spoil the mood. Stabler's more frustrated because Lucy can't speak, but every suspect is lying their asses off.

Melinda explains different hands create different fracture patterns and demonstrates using her hands and Cragen's. After measuring Evelyn's hands, Melinda believes that Evelyn shook Lucy. Evelyn is arrested for assault and attempted murder. Evelyn says she didn't shake Lucy because she loves her.

Evelyn calls on Rebecca Balthus to defend her, and Rebecca maintains her client's innocence. In the courtroom, Rebecca asks Warner if Lucy's blood was tested for HLH, which causes bleeding from the brain and eyes. There was no blood test, but HLH couldn't have caused Lucy's injuries. Rebecca’s able to prove that the fractures could have been due to CPR performed during Stabler's grab and run. Melinda mentions that an autopsy distinguishes between HLH and SBS, but finally admits that HLH is a possibility.

When Evelyn testifies, she says her happiest day was when Lucy was born. She says that she never spanked or shook Lucy. She says that she knows what shaking can do to a baby. On cross - examination Novak confirms Sarah was the primary caregiver and that Lucy cried on Sunday night, but Evelyn didn't know how to comfort Lucy. Novak accuses Evelyn of shaking her because she was ruining her romantic date. Evelyn says that she could never hurt Lucy and asks, “Why don’t you believe me?”

Stabler and Novak are informed that Lucy just had a stroke and Morella doesn’t think that she'll live. A massive brain hemorrhage destroyed Lucy's cerebral cortex and she’s on life support. Morella says that all Lucy knows right now is pain.

That evening Stabler comes to Lucy’s hospital room to speak with Evelyn. Stabler wants Lucy’s pain to end, but Evelyn believes that it’s up to God. Stabler tells Evelyn that he's got children too, and that he loves them enough that if one of them were sick, he would want to do everything in his power to help them. He also says that if all hope was gone, he hoped that God would give him the strength to end their suffering. Evelyn states that if Lucy dies, she might as well be dead too. Stabler meets DA Arthur Branch, and tries to convince him to fight to turn off life support. Stabler doesn't know whether Evelyn’s truly a grieving mother or manipulating the situation to beat a murder rap, but he does know Lucy’s in constant pain and she’ll never get better. Branch agrees, but warns that they must tread lightly or police and DA's office will be painted as baby-killers. Novak’s not sure about how to proceed because she's not a mother.

Rebecca claims that the prosecution’s using the motion in order to beef up the charge against her client. The judge agrees that Evelyn's right to control her daughter's fate is compromised by the charges she's facing. Novak will still have to prove that Lucy’s better off dead before the judge grants the motion.

At the hearing, Morella says that Lucy can’t awaken as the defense implies. There’s no hope Lucy can recover. All of a sudden, Evelyn breaks down. Evelyn wants them to turn off the machines because she doesn’t want Lucy to suffer any more and she doesn’t care about facing a murder charge.

On Sunday night, Lucy wouldn't stop screaming and Evelyn was so angry. She shook her over and over and she stopped crying. She put her down and Lucy smiled. Lucy seemed to be okay. After the doctor said that somebody shook Lucy, Evelyn kept telling herself that it couldn't be her fault, because she never meant to hurt Lucy.

Cragen talks to a drunken Stabler at the bar. Lucy died 10 minutes after Life Support got turned off and Evelyn has been taken to the Bedford Hills Women's Correctional Facility. Elliot shows the baby picture of his daughter Maureen and tells Cragen about an incident when Maureen was a toddler. He'd just gotten out of the marines and Kathy was pregnant again. One night while Kathy was out, Maureen spilled juice on a brand new carpet they'd just bought and couldn't afford. Elliot hit Maureen for it, and felt bad for it afterward when she began crying. He picked her up and said sorry repeatedly, lamenting that he could've killed his kid over a lousy carpet. Cragen decides to drive Stabler home.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



  • Casey Novak: I can't believe the jury will feel sorry for a parent who scrambled her kid's brain.
  • Elliot Stabler: And I'm telling you: Every parent's been there. A baby's crying can make you lose your mind. You'll pick them up, you'll rock them, I mean, hell, you'll beg 'em and sometimes nothin' works.
  • Casey Novak: Sounds like you're speaking from personal experience.

  • Elliot Stabler [to Evelyn Pritchard]: I've seen lots of tragedies that I can't explain. There's a chapel in the hospital here. Sometimes going in can help.

  • Elliot Stabler [to Evelyn Pritchard]: I love my children. And if one of them was sick, I would do anything in the world to make them better. But I would also pray to God that if all hope were gone, he'd give me the strength just to end their suffering.

  • Elliot Stabler [talking to Cragen at a bar, crying]: I could have killed my kid over a lousy carpet.

Background information and notes

  • Elliot was once in the Marines.
  • The photo of Maureen that Elliot shows Cragen in the bar is actually a picture of Christopher Meloni's daughter, Sophia Eva Pietra Meloni. The same photo, enlarged and not cropped, appears on Elliot/Christopher's desk in the squad room tour hosted by Dann Florek in one of the bonuses on the season one DVD set.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Sav-Mart Drug Store
2283 Broadway
Tuesday, November 11

St. Mark's Hospital
263 West 78th Street
Tuesday, November 11

New York
Children's Museum
1061 Fifth Avenue
Wednesday, November 12

Office of
The Medical Examiner
Thursday, November 13

5 6 7 8

Trial Part 22
Friday, November 14

Courthouse Rotunda
Friday, November 14

Office of
District Attorney
Arthur Branch
Friday, November 14

Trial Part 22
Monday, November 17

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