Law and Order
"The Burden Of Our Choices"
SVU, Episode 21.04
Production number: 21004
First aired (US): 17 October 2019
First aired (UK): 24 December 2019
First aired (CAN): 17 October 2019
First aired (AUS): 13 February 2020
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Teleplay By
Julie Martin & Micharne Cloughley

Story By
Warren Leight & Julie Martin

Directed By
Martha Mitchell


Rollins clashes with the parents of a teenaged runaway. Meanwhile, the squad comes together for a special event.


In family court, James and Tammy try to prevent her from having an abortion, though Evangeline refuses to go back home and have the baby. Tammy tries to plead with her daughter but Evangeline angrily refuses and exposes her stepfather as the one who raped and impregnated her, much to the shock of those present.

Carisi leaves the court room, Graham sarcastically congratulates him on allowing Evangeline to have an abortion. Carisi then told Graham about how his own mother had to get an abortion, due to the baby suffering from an illness that would have killed it just after being born and how distraught both he and his mother had been as Catholics. Graham questions the relevance of the story, as Carisi admonished Graham for letting his anti-abortion crusade make him speak in favor of a pedophile who raped his own stepdaughter. He proceeds to storm off while leaving Graham contemplating his actions.

Benson is in her office before Rollins appears and tells her that the Ohio DA has charged James Miller with rape of a minor after the baby was confirmed to be his. Benson notes that was something Carisi was not let going to let go.

Rollins then asked to punch out early and Benson allows it. Sometime later, Rollins meets Evangeline and tells her that she is going to be there for her while the girl gets her abortion.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Tammy: Evangeline!
Evangeline: I can't! Because he put this baby inside me!

Graham: Why are you telling me this counselor?
Sonny: Because we're not so different, you and me. And I can’t imagine that you think it's right that a man who has so lost his way, has so abandon God, that he would rape his own stepdaughter should get away with that.

Background Information and Notes

  • The song that plays in the open is "Trying" by Rachael Bawn.
Previous episode:
"Down Low In Hell's Kitchen"
"The Burden Of Our Choices"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 21
Next episode:
"At Midnight In Manhattan"
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