Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Payback

Season 1, Ep 1, Aired 9/20/99
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  • Episode Description
  • The grisly murder and castration of a New York cabbie draws the elite Special Victims Unit of the NYPD, including veteran Detective Elliot Stabler and his partner, Olivia Benson, who soon discover that the victim had assumed the identity of another man, mainly because he himself was a wanted man.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Mariska Hargitay

    Det. Olivia Benson

  • Richard Belzer

    Det. John Munch

  • Dann Florek

    Capt. Donald Cragen

  • Christopher Meloni

    Det. Elliot Stabler

  • Dick Wolf

  • Fan Reviews (27)
  • Revenge is the start of a series.

    By BigB11, Dec 18, 2013

  • One of the best Series Openers EVER!

    By JazziLicious, Oct 29, 2013

  • Great Beginning to a Great Show

    By MissAuthoress, Dec 15, 2011

  • Powerhouse launch of the series

    By meebly, Mar 07, 2009

  • Good stuff.

    By flerlgirl, Jun 17, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (13)

    • Stabler: I think sex should be one of the best parts of life, not the worst. I do see myself as the father of four children, none of whom I'd like exposed to Mr. Kloster's… shortcomings.
      Kloster: Shortcomings? (laughs) Shortcomings?!
      (He stands up and pulls down his pants, much to the surprise of everyone else in the courtroom.)
      Kloster: "Shortcomings", my ass, you putzhead!

    • Olivia: Do you mean to say you wouldn't have done the same thing if you had a chance? Serena Benson: Is that what you wanted me to do? Olivia: Yes. Serena Benson: How old is this little boy? Olivia: Five. Serena Benson: Will he be better off with his mother in prison? Would you have been better off with me in prison when you were growing up? Olivia: I hate what he did to you. Serena Benson: So do I, and if he hadn't, I would never have had you.

    • Olivia Benson: Our dead guy, Victor Spicer, had his hack licence revoked when he got assault and 11 months in Rikers. Elliot Stabler: Okay, what's the problem? Olivia Benson: He's still in Rikers. (pause) Don Cragen: You can't trust the computers, they get backed up and don't imput the releases. Olivia Benson: That's why I spoke to the watch captain and had him check personally. Spicer's still there. Don Cragen: Why is this ours? Elliot Stabler: Doer sliced off the vic's unit. (Cragen spits out part of the lollipop he just took)

    • Victor Spicer: Hey, you doing anything Saturday night? (blows Stabler a kiss) Elliot Stabler: (smiles) Oh, I'd hurt you.

    • Olivia Benson: She said something to you, didn't she? Elliot Stabler: I just want to be with my family.

    Show More Quotes

    Notes (9)

    • Company Credits: Lynn Kressel Casting (Casting),¬†Grant Wilfley Casting (Extras Casting), Panavision (Panaflex Camera and Lenses)

    • Crew Additions and Clarifications: Steve Gamiello (Assistant Property)
      Jessica Burstein (Still Photographer)
      Fionnuala Lynch (Set Costumer)
      Leslie Saulter-Yacuk (Scenic Charge)
      Keith Gardner (Boom)
      Jim McCullaugh (Best Boy)

    • Special billing was given to Angie Harmon (With Special Guest Appearance by) and Mili Avital (and) in this episode.

    • Christopher Meloni was billed as "Chris Meloni" for the entire first season of the show. Dann Florek received special billing in the opening titles (and) throughout his run on the show.

    • The characters of Elliot and Olivia are named after the creator's children.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (5)

    • Don Cragen can be seen eating something in every one of his scenes in this episode.

    • Don Cragen: You just used your 'Get Out of Jail Free' card, Olivia. There's only one in the pack. This statement is incorrect. In Monopoly, the game Cragen is almost surely referring to, there are two 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards - one is a 'Chance' card and one is a 'Community Chest' card.

    • Although later episodes reveal that Benson's mother was an alcoholic and verbally abusive to her, Serena Benson is portrayed in this episode as caring and loving. She asks Benson whether or not she would have been better off without her, to which Benson lovingly holds her mother's hand.

    • While Olivia and Serena Benson are enjoying lunch, the waiter pours wine into both their glasses. This is somewhat strange since later episodes state that Serena has a serious drinking problem.

    • Goof: While Benson and Stabler question Spicer at Rikers Island, Benson writes notes using a ballpoint pen. In close shots, it's evident that the pen is not clicked "out", thereby making it impossible to write with it.

    Allusions (4)

    • John Munch: Not to mention the fact that I lost a wife after less than one night of connubial bliss to someone who was not only a detective but a member of my own squad. Munch is referring to the final episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, where his character married Billie Lou Hatfield. Billie Lou left her husband for a former detective on the force, Stuart Gharty. Munch's presence in New York is explained by saying that he retired from the Baltimore police force, and is reaping the benefits associated with collecting a pension in Baltimore and a salary in New York.

    • Elliot Stabler: Have you ever seen that Tom Hanks movie where he manages a baseball team?
      In the film A League of Their Own, Tom Hanks manages a women's baseball team.

    • Kloster's Lawyer: So you see yourself as the 'Ken Starr' of the N.Y.P.D.? Ken Starr was a special prosecutor appointed to preside over the Whitewater investigation in the mid-1990s. His role in the investigation into then-president Bill Clinton's involvement has been a topic of controversy for many years.

    • Elliot Stabler: Oh, I'd hurt you. Stabler makes this comment in response to being hit on by Spicer at Rikers Island. In the HBO series Oz, Chris Meloni (Stabler) played the character of Chris Keller from 1998 to 2003, who had a nasty habit of killing his male lovers. Meloni is not the only regular from Oz to show up on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit -- Dean Winters, Lance Reddick, B.D. Wong and J.K. Simmons also had regular roles on Oz.

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