SVU, Episode 11.03
Production number:
First aired: 7 October 2009
  th of 432 produced in SVU  
th of 432 released in SVU
  th of 1185 released in all  
Stabler Solitary
Written By
Amanda Green

Directed By
Helen Shaver


When Lily Milton is reported missing, her boyfriend, Parker Hubbard, points Detectives Benson and Stabler in the direction of Callum Donovan, Lily's downstairs neighbor and convicted bank robber who spent nineteen years in prison. Stabler is convinced that Donovan was the perp and vigorously pursues him.

Later, Lily turns up alive, having gone into hiding in shame after a failed attempt to score drugs. Trying to be the bigger man, Stabler goes to apologize to Donovan, but finds him on the roof of the apartment building. Donovan panics and pushes Stabler off the roof.

Stabler survives, and initially intends to help A.D.A. Paxton throw the book at Donovan, but after Donovan testifies that he was afraid of going back to prison because of the time he spent in solitary, Stabler resolves to enter the Hole himself to see if it can really make someone crazy.

When three days inside passes like a week for him he finds himself agreeing with Donovan. However Paxton refuses to sympathise with the perp and not only continues with the case but pushes to have him sent directly to solitary. Later while Stabler is in a bar feeling sory for the man, A.D.A Paxton comes in and offers to by him a drink in congratulations for sending Donovan back where he belongs, only for Stabler to give her the cold shoulder in disgust.

Later on while visiting Donovan Elliot finds that Donovan had injured himself in his cell while attempting suicide. He will be in the prison hospital until he recovers, and thanks to some calls from Paxton he will be released back into the prison population. Donovan thanks Stabler for that, but Elliot replies it wasn't him.


Episode summary


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


Paxton: Where the hell you been?
Stabler: At the hole. [pause] I want to drop the charges.
Paxton: [laughs] don't be a wuss Stabler. You took a bad trip in your own head, and now what? you feel sorry for Donovan? Well that's your problem. Mine is convicting a would-be cop killer, who thinks doing a little time gives him the right to whack the first cop who looks at him cross-eyed.
Stabler: It's not that simple.
Paxton: Actually it is. If Donovan walks it's open season on law enforcement, for any perp that did a day in the hall.
Stabler: Look, you don't have to set him a precedent, just cut him a deal.
Paxton: If I plea-bargain Donovan, he's out in 5 years, and then what? Does he run down the cop who pulls him over for speeding? I won't take that chance.
Stabler: I'll report you for assault. The DA will suspend you.
Paxton: Go ahead. [pauses and then smiles] Thought so. You may of lost your balls in lock-up but, I still got mine.
Stabler (to Paxton): You act like the law's holy scripture. You don't give a damn about the law. You want control. You don't know me. You know me? I know you. I see perps like you walking here everyday of the week. They got to have control; the whole world falls apart, but inside they're scared, weak, damage... [is slapped by Paxton]


Episode references


  • Paramedic: Another miracle on the Hudson.

    On January 15 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 took off from La Guardia airport and lost thrust in both engines after colliding with a flock of geese. After realizing that there was not enough time to reach an airport, pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger managed to bring the plane to a safe landing in the Hudson River. All 155 people on board survived. New York Governor David Paterson described this as, "A miracle on the Hudson," during a news conference and this phrase was frequently repeated in media reports about the accident.

Background information and notes

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Pier 19
Bayonne, New Jersey
Thursday, July 23

396 Eighth Avenue
Thursday, July 23

Residence of
Callum Donovan
68 Grand Street
Thursday, July 23

Residence of
Veronique St. John
107 Dubois Avenue
Staten Island, New York
Friday, July 24

5 6 7

Arraignment Court
Part 46
Friday, July 24

Supreme Court
Trial Part 46
Wednesday, August 12

Sing Sing Prison
Isolation Unit
Ossining, New York
Thursday, August 13

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Season 11
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