SVU, Episode 5.19
Production number: E4423
First aired: 30 March 2004
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Stabler Novak Sick
Written By
Dawn DeNoon

Directed By
David Platt


The episode begins with two girls bickering, where they are in a slasher-film fan chatroom on the internet. One user, known as "PsychoKiller", is found posting disturbing messages about murdering a five-year old girl, which scares the girls into calling the police. The screen name is traced to a Jeremy Ostilow, a husband and father of two. The police then break into the Ostilow family's home. The poster is revealed to be the son, Jeremy Ostilow Jr., aka J.J., who is taken into police custody for questioning. Following this and arguments with the father, J.J. is put into the adolescent ward of Bellevue.

The detectives visit J.J.'s former school, where the principal says that J.J. had failing grades and once got into a fight with a school bully. When the school bully is questioned by the detectives, he claims that when J.J. and he fought, J.J. repeatedly screamed "rape", leading detectives to believe that J.J. was the victim of molestation. Dr. Huang visits J.J. in his facility and J.J. says that he was molested by billionaire Billy Tripley, who owned a toy store where Jeremy Ostilow Sr. worked. J.J. described the room as a magic kingdom. After describing the incident, J.J. said that after telling his parents, who went to Billy, they were paid off in exchange for their silence.

Billy is arrested and taken into police custody for questioning. He denies them. Before a trial can come up, a video is released of J.J. recanting the allegations, saying that Billy did nothing, and he concocted the whole story. Immediately following this video, J.J. disappears. His father claims he is protecting him by keeping him away from the case and the press. The judge declares that Jeremy must produce his son as a material witness, but he refuses and is held in contempt of the court. With Jeremy refusing to do so, the case against Billy is dismissed with prejudice. Eventually J.J. is located at an uncle's house in Maine, but the two flee to Canada before they can be brought back to New York.

However, during one of Billy's sleepovers, young April is shown to be a cancer patient who had been one of Billy's friends. Suddenly, it emerges from her family that Billy had sexually molested her. But, following a shoplifting incident conducted by her grandmother, Nora Hodges, it is revealed that that April never had cancer and Nora had used mercury poisoning on her for attention. The case against Billy is once again shown to be a fraud, with Nora being the mastermind of all this, creating false allegations against Billy. Nora is sentenced to life in prison for the cancer fraud and attempted murder in the first degree.

The episode ends with Billy having a victory party, where he invites the media over. Stabler does not appear to be worried, insisting that they will get Billy.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Novak: Let's talk about the Tripley scam.
Nora: Well, that was April's lie. And I believed it.
Novak: We have the scrapbook.
[Nora looks on at Conrad, then turns to the ADA]
Nora: Well, it's not as though he's an innocent victim, is it? He's a pedophile. He deserved it!
Novak: I'd just as soon clear this one off the books, so fill in the blanks and I won't charge you with the fraud counts related to it.
[Conrad whispers into her client's ear, then turns to Novak]
Conrad: It sounds like you know everything already.
Novak: Crime lab found a hair in April's underwear.
Nora: During the party, I snuck into his room, and I took it from his hairbrush. When they asked me for the clothes she'd been wearing, I'd already planted it.
Novak: Do you have any idea how much damage you've caused?
Nora: But you agree with me! He deserved it!
Novak: He deserves to go to jail! Thanks to you, he can claim he's the victim of a false allegation every time a legitimate one comes up in the future!
Nora: Sorry.
Novak: I don't believe you. But you'll have a good long time to pay for it in prison.
Conrad: We just made a deal.
Novak: I'm not charging her with fraud on Tripley. I'm charging her with fraud on the cancer scam.
Conrad: Münchausen.
Novak: Bull! She's been working this for a year. Totaling all the bake sales, canister donations, and Internet solicitations, she's bilked people out of 60 grand!
Conrad: What are you offering?
Novak: Not a thing. I'm taking you to trial.
Nora: Please! Please! Think of April! There is no one else to look after her!
Novak: You've gotta be kidding me! What you were doing nearly killed her! I'm charging you with fraud and attempted murder.
Nora: But you heard what she said! I'm sick!
Novak: No jury's that stupid. They'll see it wasn't Münchausen. Just pure unadulterated greed.

Munch: Dodge ball?! Haven't they outlawed this barbaric practice yet?
Fin: I loved this game.
Munch: Yeah, well, you were a sadist. You know, I literally weighed 98 pounds. I can still hear them, "Break the pencil!" I was a walking bruise.

Benson: Tripley, got a call from one of your neighbors who found it very unsettling to see so many kids come through your door.
Stabler: What's the special occasion, Billy? They lower the age of consent?

Pervert ahoy. Pedophilic pirate motif.

–John Munch entering Billy Tripley's pirate-themed bedroom

Fin: Oh, this is just wrong. Little jammies, each one a different theme. What's this about?
Munch: Tripley's idea of lingerie.

Edison: He might have gotten snapped by a wet towel or two. All in good fun, you know?
Munch: Yeah. Getting pelted by Neanderthals in the privates sounds like a blast.

Dr. Warner: Please lower your pants and underwear.
Billy: Why?
Dr. Warner: Pubic hair sample. I'll need ten of those as well.
Billy: I don't have any.
Stabler: Any what?
Billy: Hair, down there.
Stabler: Stand up and strip. [Billy pulls down his pants]
Dr. Warner: Hmm. Guess we can wait till they grow back.
Billy: It's permanent. I had laser hair removal.

Give it up, Detective. My parents would die before they'd let anything bad happen to me.

–J.J. Ostilow

Stabler: "Screw her innocence and then slice her up." Is this about your sister Lisette?
J.J.: No.
Stabler: You're telling me there's another five-year-old out there who pisses you off that much? Believe me, I know what a pain little sisters can be. Just tell me what she did.
J.J.: She melted my favorite CD in her Easy-Bake Oven.
Stabler: That sucks. What did you do?
J.J.: Nothing. I never do anything. When someone makes me mad, I just imagine hurting them. That makes me feel better.
Stabler: So it's like a release valve? You think about it, but don't actually do it?
J.J.: That's what I said, moron.

Stabler: You really want to grow up to be like one of those perverts, huh?
J.J.: Why wait?

Nora: It's all my fault. I don't know how I could have been so stupid!
Stabler: You got me. [Benson glares at Stabler.]

Novak: Billy Tripley's guilty of witness tampering.
Judge Clark: Can you prove it?
Novak: Not yet, but I know Tripley got to the parents, threatened to enforce the non-disclosure agreement.
Judge Clark: Are you absolutely sure that J.J. recanted under duress?
Novak: I know that boy was molested. J.J. told Huang he can identify a birthmark on Billy's penis! [The surrounding customers in the restaurant look at Novak.]
Judge Clark: She doesn't get out much.

Background information and notes

  • This episode appears to be based on the charges of pedophilia levelled against late pop star Michael Jackson and many traits of the character Billy Tripley are similar to that of Jackson's. Jackson had never been convicted of the allegations. JJ's case seems to be based off the first of the allegations and April's case seems to be based on the last that would lead to a trial where Jackson was acquitted.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Preparatory School
771 Madison Avenue
Tuesday, March 2

Bellevue Hospital
Psychiatric Ward
Tuesday, March 2

Residence of
Billy Tripley
4 Sutton Place
Wednesday, March 3

Chambers of
Judge Terhune
Wednesday, March 3

5 6 7 8

Trial Part 38
Tuesday, March 9

Apartment of
Nora Hodges
164 West 29th Street
Tuesday, March 9

Office of
The Medical Examiner
Tuesday, March 9

Rikers Island
Thursday, March 11

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