Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 8 Episode 1


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Sep 19, 2006 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
196 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Benson is called in after a young woman shows up at the hospital, raped and beaten with her head shaved. Haley Kerns refuses to submit to a rape kit, but Benson steals her underwear before leaving the apartment and gives it to Warner to check out. When Benson returns to her apartment she encounters Star Morrison, who admits that Haley is a federal informant working with them on eco-terrorism. After Stabler is wounded while out on a search with Morrison, Benson and she work to get information from Haley before the eco-terrorists can strike.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • loved it love all of the episodes

    well the episode and the series is great. now dot get me wrong not all of the episodes are what i want to see but thats ok cause i know if i am not happy with the result of a episode then something better or more excited will be on next episode. now i have started watching other "cop" show and i really cant find another show that comes anywhere close to this great show. Mariska Hargitay and Chris Malonie(sp?) make this show...the show would not be as good if you take them away and try to replace them.

  • Definitely one of my favorite episodes from season 8!

    'Informed' made an awesome season premiere. It had action, drama, and dare I type it, humor. Star Morrison (Marcia Gay Harden) made a brilliant appearance once again to help Detective Olivia Benson solve her case involving a woman who gets raped and her head shaven. Benson ends up getting herself in a bind when she steals evidence to help catch the perp. Perhaps my favorite scene is where Morrison and Stabler are running from the house that's about to explode. Morrison's line, "Ladies first!" was good, but "Now what kind of idiot would put dynamite in a freezer, I know it was only a couple of sticks-" (Dynamite explodes) was hilarious! During the conclusion of the episode we find out that Detective Benson is going to be going undercover as Persephone James as she successfully infiltrated EDG, the eco-terrorist group. But Haley, the rape victim who turned out to also be an FBI informant had double crossed Benson and Morrison and ended up getting shot when she threatened to blow up a building. This, again, was an awesome episode beginning to end!moreless
  • Great Way to Kick Off a Season!

    There are plenty of words to describe this episode, but I prefer one certain word: BRILLIANT! This episode was brilliant. Not just because it was an Olivia-centric episode, but because it had a hidden plot (the blowing up the building dealio). The only bummer was that Elliot wasn't in it nearly enough and this episode meant that Olivia would be leaving on maturnity leave as soon as this episode was over. I'm glad they brought Star back. I really enjoyed her role in RAW and this episode was even better.

    This is a great episode. It is definatly in my top 13 (random number).moreless
  • An reported rape with a sub plot of radical environmentalists.

    This episode was an reported rape with a sub plot of radical environmentalists. Though I care about the environment and believe everybody should consider exercising reasonable care I am not in total agreement with some of the radical stuff. I also find radical environmentalism uninteresting. I also can't stand bad accents which was the case with Star, a federal agent. If the producers can't find an actor with the appropriate accent, then change the script because a bad accent ruins it for me. Also didn't like the last scene. DId they run out of time or something? It was as if they didn't use writers to write an appropriate ending.moreless
  • For the case that was presented, the episode was very strong. There were some great Elliot and Star moments, along with some Olivia and Star moments. Excellent performance by Marcia Gay Harden! (Very long review alert!)moreless

    The victim’s particular way of refusing to press charges or be examined clues us into her predicament. With the info released prior to the episode by NBC, it is obvious that the girl is involved with some kind of activity that prohibits her from reporting her rape and consenting to a rape kit. This is a classic case of too much information being released by NBC syndrome; I would have been much happier not knowing the details of the case before they were revealed through the show. I knew that the victim was a federal informant before Olivia did. She’s the one that is supposed to be the detective and investigate! We finally learn that the victim’s name is Haley when Olivia follows—yes, basically stalks—the girl back to her apartment. First clue that once again, our detectives will be involved in some heavy duty no-no’s tonight. When Haley refuses yet again to answer any questions, she locks herself in the bathroom. For anyone else that would be a hint to leave, but Olivia takes it as a signal to have a look-see around the girl’s apartment, as any fine detective would. While we are seeing extensive bruises on the victim’s body while she’s washing away the evidence, Olivia is snooping through her room and “collecting evidence”. AKA, she steals the girl’s underwear. And people wonder where they got the name “Panty Police”. First file!ornament sighting of the new season! Mariska Hargitay would have been starting her ninth month of pregnancy, since this episode was probably shot in June. The file!ornament just barely covered the baby bump, but it at least wasn’t as idiotic as all of the ornaments of last year’s misplaced Christmas tree collection. And now it’s time with “Weird Facts” with Melinda Warner. Did you know? The French Resistance shaved the heads of some of its female collaborators. *The More You Know*

    Why the writers chose to include this, I have no idea. It makes sense for a second when Olivia researches, but makes none later. At this point they interrogate a particularly obnoxious book store owner, who babbles on and on about how cops and the government are violating people’s rights and conspiracies and theories and—hey! Friend for Munch! If we could only find him…

    Notice that Olivia mentions, when she is talking to Cragen, that she is working on a case, but neglects to mention any details at all. Shouldn’t this tip off Cragen, just a little bit? Since he is the captain, he should know when his detectives have a case, and what they’re working on. Maybe a bit about a lack of a complaining witness, or fraudulent evidence collection. But that is just a suggestion. And hey… where is everybody! During that scene, with Olivia’s baby bump hidden very nicely by a desk!ornament might I add, the squad room is completely empty! Go team!...

    And now to the main action of the story and the obligatory empty/trashed apartment scene. When Olivia goes back to question the super, being the persistent detective that she is, she finds out that Haley has given all her dogs away. So, Olivia goes right in through the open door, gun drawn, and finds a bunch of pictures on the ground that look a lot like tortured animals. So the fun begins! Star Morrison/Dana Lewis on scene at 10:16, gun drawn and conveniently pointed at Olivia’s head. The fed and the detective realize something is up when they realize that they’re… standing there and Star/Dana’s gun is pointed at Olivia’s head. Silly question, but why does Olivia call her “Star” (her undercover name) then ask why the FBI is present? If star was undercover, then her cover was just blown. And obviously, Olivia knows her real name, so what’s with the inconsistency?

    It’s now time for “Weird Facts” with Star Morrison/Dana Lewis! Did you know? Eco-terrorists are the number one most sought after terrorists? *The More You Know*

    The second session of our new squad trivia show is accompanied by a media presentation! *Claps* Fortunately, this one is actually related to the case, since the eco-terrorist group known as EDG plays a major role in the rest of the story. It’s also a very mildly set transition scene, because from here on out, Star takes the control in the investigation. Next scene is one of the rare times we actually get to witness the detectives consume an actual meal. A squad urban legend says that they are machines and never actually eat or sleep, but this seems to have finally proven that myth wrong. (And no, if you’re wondering, squad coffee does not count as nourishment.) Star obviously has an insane love for tobacco sauce and ketchup, because she absolutely smothers her food in them. The scenes actual significance, however, is to establish that Star is very much attached to her informant, and is very distressed that she has been hurt. This will come into play later in the story. Casey Novak sighting at 10:23! My ADA is alive and well, and even more blonde than before. Unfortunately, Casey is not there on pleasant terms, since she only appears after an angry Melinda Warner. Remember those illegally obtained panties? Well turns out that illegally obtained panties result in illegally obtained DNA, which leads to illegal DNA testing, which leads to illegal DNA testing results. Melinda is pretty mad that Olivia declined to share the “illegal” part of her collection method.

    Casey, it turns out, advised Melinda to not share the results of a report, because they received a call from Haley (who is still missing to Olivia and Star, but for some reason the phone call raises no reaction on that front from Star or Olivia) complaining that Olivia was harassing her and stole her panties. She threatened legal action, and he orders Olivia to stay off the case. Star, through some brilliance in maneuvering, makes sure the suspect that was brought in very awkwardly by Olivia and a semi-undercover Star, thinks she is an SVU detective, and Star continues on the case.

    She resurfaces sometime later, and since Elliot (being the ever concerned and level-headed detective that he is) has sent Olivia home, he accompanies Star to serve a warrant on a suspect’s home. They search the house and find some suspicious materials, namely some tofu patties and a stick of dynamite in a freezer. “What kind of idiot puts dynamite in a freezer?” –Star

    Erm… the kind that wants you to take it out and blow up his house? Or maybe it’s just the kind that failed high school chemistry. Those are my guesses. Star is an agent that knows what she is doing. She hits Persephone at home with her tomato plants, and gets some valuable information. With none other than Olivia Benson by her side, who is miraculously back on the case. The epitome of brilliance and wit: Star grabs a sign and jumps right into the protest. Ad-libs some lines that happen to coincide perfectly with the picketers’ beliefs, and then Olivia goes in for the kill, with the aid of a few federal agents. Possibly the funniest scene of the entire series. Another file!ornament sighting!

    There was definitely a *squee* moment when Casey asked Cragen about the DNA report. He of course replies with the diplomatic “well you told me not to look at the report, so I didn’t” but we all know they are dying to read that report and see if they are on the right track. Olivia and Star have the same idea, and they’re finally fed up enough to go back to the squad room, only to discover that Casey and Cragen had left earlier. That’s what we like to see, the SVU and the FBI working together as one corrupted unit. It turns out that they have the wrong man anyway, because the rapist turns up on Melinda Warner’s morgue slab.

    Time check: 10:41. When is Olivia going undercover? For five minutes at the end of the show?

    Loving the scene at the FBI offices, especially the mocking of the lack of communication within the government. Because that doesn’t happen anywhere else, ever. Right in the middle of said scene, Star gets a phone call from Haley, and rushes to meet her. By this time, they’ve figured out the Star killed her rapist and had refused to be processed because she wanted revenge. Rape case is forgotten, and Haley is arrested for murder. Star’s affection for her shows in this scene. Viewers can tell that she is visibly shaken up by having to arrest her young informant.

    I know I snark about the file!ornaments, but I snark because I care, really. At this point, the writers just try Olivia out with no Christmas ornaments at all, and it’s painfully obvious that Mariska is pregnant. Give me my ornaments back, please. In a whirlwind of haze and confusion, Star promises Casey that Haley will be well looked after… then she apparently volunteers Olivia to do the looking, since the next scene opens with Olivia and Haley making their way to the EDG target. (Also, at this point, the writers aren’t even attempting to hide the baby bulge anymore, not even with black clothing. Yay for laziness.)

    Who didn’t see this coming? Haley and Olivia infiltrate the target, they get up to the room where the bomb is going to be made, and Olivia draws her gun. Then, Haley proceeds to ambush Olivia by hitting her over the head, and all is doomed. Or so it seems, until Olivia Benson makes a spectacular recovery and promptly gets up and enters the room. With a bomb being assembled in it. Without a gun. *Obligatory fan ::headdesk::*

    The standoff between the three (Olivia and Haley being joined by Star) could have lasted forever, but Star saves everyone the misery and messy clean-up of a bomb explosion by shooting and killing Haley. Olivia is mortified, yelling that they could have helped Haley, but Star monotonously replies that you always shoot to kill. She’s visibly shaken by Haley’s death, and from her moment of disbelief that she has on camera, regret can be seen for just a second in her eyes. Keeping with the fast pace of the case, however, she quickly turns around and reminds Olivia that there is more to be done. Olivia is “detained” and put in the back of a police truck and taken to the station, where she is ‘questioned’ by Star. We find out that Olivia has successfully infiltrated the group, and Star makes a sudden proposition: stay undercover and work within the EDG group. Olivia refuses at first, insisting that she already has a job, but Star pulls the still fresh ‘Haley’ card, and we’re transported back to the squad room and a very empty desk opposite Elliot’s. It is the second time the writers have pulled the empty desk trick on us. How many times are we going to channel Jefferies and Alex? It’s not like Olivia died, her desk is just unusually clean. Overall: The premier was very strong case wise, but it strayed too much from the SVU theme. The writers need to get back to the SVU cases. We can related to the terrorist and government ties SVU has addressed recently, dues to world events that have made them relevant. But, we don’t necessarily want relevance and relation. A little is ok within any given episode, but the far-fetched, strange, and even gruesome cases are what we came for, and what we want to see. A true SVU case, centered around the victim and their tragedy.

    Also, unit… unity is still an issue. The point is to be a Special Victims Unit, not a Special Victims person. Each detective, and an ADA, a captain, and a medical examiner, have their strengths- play to them! Munch has been a detective for so many years since “Homicide”. Fin would be great for an episode centered around “the hood”, so why not use it? Get back to the season one unity and cases. Casey had a very petty appearance. Her character lately has been reduced to a shadow of her former self, and she seems more like an Arthur Branch talking doll than the fiery ADA we know and I love. Her purpose the last few episodes has been to tell the detectives that they are overstepping their legal boundaries. Basically, she was telling the detectives that they couldn’t do what they were doing. I want to see her as an ADA prosecuting.

    On the other hand, why is SVU suddenly so bent on breaking the rules? These problems wouldn’t come up if they played by the book. I’d like to see at least one case in the near future that doesn’t involve the detectives breaking any laws to solve it. Fin’s appearance: Busy work again, as is the norm. Olivia pretty much ordering him to find an available interview room was not a pretty sight. I did, however, like the quick improvisation between him and Star. Quick and smart on both their parts. Tonight the humor was excellent. I almost thought I was in a season one episode for a minute.

    For the case that was presented, the episode was very strong. Viewers were left unsure. Unsure where Haley stood, or even where Star stood. Lines between supposed good and evil, protest and destruction were blurred, and those concepts are great ones to explore. There were some great Elliot and Star moments, along with some Olivia and Star moments. Since they work so well with others, it brings up the question whether the partner dynamic should be shaken up a little bit. We know, by Cragen’s remark, that at least Elliot is going to get to try something new. Excellent performance by Marcia Gay Harden! She took the story and just ran with it all the way, so kudos and congratulations to her.moreless
Christopher Meloni

Christopher Meloni

Det. Elliot Stabler

Dann Florek

Dann Florek

Capt. Donald Cragen

Diane Neal

Diane Neal

ADA Casey Novak



Det. Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola

Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

Det. Olivia Benson

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Det. John Munch

Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Ebon Moss-Bachrach


Guest Star

Kristen Bush

Kristen Bush

Haley Kerns

Guest Star

Joanna P. Adler

Joanna P. Adler

Persephone Free James

Guest Star

Marcia Gay Harden

Marcia Gay Harden

Star Morrison

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: Due to the advanced stage of Hargitay's pregnancy, there are numerous methods used throughout this episode to hide her stomach. In some shots, however, she is quite noticeably pregnant.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • (Star and Stabler quickly exit the suspect's house after finding sticks of dynamite in a freezer.)
      Stabler: That was some kind of adrenaline rush.
      Star/Agent Lewis: What kinda idiot would put dynamite in a freezer? I know it's just a couple sticks,--
      (Suddenly, the house explodes, knocking the duo backwards.)

    • Star Morrison: You know what happens when you mix fertilizer and diesel fuel? Oklahoma City.

    • John Munch: She wouldn't leave without saying anything.
      Fin Tutuola: That's something my partner would do, not yours.
      (Elliot calls Olivia's phone.)
      Elliot Stabler: What is this, a joke?
      John Munch: What?
      (Elliot puts the phone on speaker.)
      Operator: We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.

    • Elliot Stabler: What's with Liv's desk?
      John Munch: Little early for spring cleaning.
      Elliot Stabler: (to Cragen) Where's Liv?
      Captain Cragen: Temporary reassignment.
      Elliot Stabler: Where?
      Captain Cragen: I can't say.
      Elliot Stabler: She still workin' with the Feds on that eco-terror case?
      Captain Cragen: Can't say.
      Elliot Stabler: How long is she gone for?
      Captain Cragen: Real estate is at a premium around here. We need the desk for your new partner.
      Elliot Stabler: My temporary new partner.
      Captain Cragen: Okay.

    • Star Morrison: Andy thinks you're a bona fide member of EDG. You have successfully infiltrated. Do you know how impossible that is?
      Olivia Benson: Andy Dell is going back to Oregon.
      Star Morrison: Yeah, I know.
      Olivia Benson: Thank you very much, but I already have a job.
      Star Morrison: (pleading) For Haley?

    • Star Morrison: Did ya gather any intel on Andy?
      Olivia Benson: Well, Andy's probably headed back to Oregon.
      Star Morrison: I've got Mitchell and Persephone on solitary lockdown. No communication with other prisoners, no mail, no phone calls.
      Olivia Benson: Why?
      Star Morrison: 'Cause we want you to make bail and jump as Persephone.
      Olivia Benson: Star, I can't do that.

    • Haley Kerns: I can't bear to see animals in cages. I won't die in one!
      Olivia Benson: What'ya gonna do? You gonna kill yourself? It's not worth it.
      Haley Kerns: I don't wanna hurt either of you, but I'm not letting you take me.
      Star Morrison: I'm not lettin' you set that bomb off, Haley, you know I can't do that. Come on, I know you understand. Haley, it's not worth it!
      Haley Kerns: Leave!
      Star Morrison: Haley, come on, we can work something out.
      Haley Kerns: I meant it!
      (Star shoots and kills Haley before she sets off the bomb)

    • (After Haley stole Olivia's gun and is assembling a bomb in the Gen-Eng office)
      Star Morrison: Hey, Liv, what caliber gun you use at NYPD?
      Olivia Benson: 38.
      Star Morrison: Oh, mine's 40.
      Olivia Benson: But that gun there, that's a nine mil.
      Star Morrison: Ah, mine's 10.
      Haley Kerns: Don't come any closer.
      Star Morrison: And you know what they say, size does matter.

    • Haley Kerns: (regarding her shaved head) This was for a protest.
      Star Morrison: Against hair?

    • Star Morrison: What kind of idiot puts dynamite in a freezer?

    • Elliot Stabler: (pulls something out of freezer) Oh, no.
      Star Morrison: What?
      Elliot Stabler: Tofu patties!

    • Donald Cragen: Nice outfit.
      Olivia Benson: Thanks.
      Donald Cragen: You were wearing it yesterday.

    • Olivia Benson: We could have stopped her. You could have wounded her; you didn't have to kill her.
      Star Morrison: You shoot to kill. You don't second guess with terrorists. That's how innocent lives get lost.

    • Elliot Stabler: You're a jinx.
      Star Morrison: Who me?
      Elliot Stabler: Last year at the courthouse, when I got shot, you were there. You're bad luck... Every time you show up, I nearly get killed.
      Star Morrison: You're still above ground, hon, maybe I'm your good luck charm.

    • John Munch: I thought you got blown up?
      Elliot Stabler: Yeah, well. Why put me out of my misery, you know?
      Fin Tutuola: (laughs) Welcome home.

    • (Stabler and Morrison run from the house, where dynamite is about to explode.)
      Star Morrison: Let's go, ladies first!

    • Elliot Stabler: Star!
      Star Morrison: Is that dynamite?
      Elliot Stabler: Yeah.
      Star Morrison: Do not drop it.
      Elliot Stabler: Wasn't planning on it.

    • Elliot Stabler: (to Star Morrison) You pick a mean lock.

    • (Star catches Stabler throwing a can in the trash.)
      Star Morrison: Don't recycle. You know you keep doing that and the eco-terrorists win.
      Elliot Stabler: I. Recycle. Sometimes.

    • Olivia Benson: Was she wearing a wire last night?
      Star Morrison: Of course.
      Olivia Benson: Star, they found out. You got her raped.

    • Star Morrison: She was facing serious time.
      Olivia Benson: Right. So you blackmailed her.

    • Olivia Benson: Would you submit a DNA swab?
      Justin: Never.
      Olivia Benson: Why not?
      Justin: It's the ultimate invasion of privacy.

    • Donald Cragen: Our rapist is getting his ideas from the History Channel?
      Olivia Benson: These are women who cooperated with the enemy or slept with them.

    • (Haley wants to take a bath after being raped.)
      Olivia Benson: Once the evidence is washed away, Haley, it's gone forever.

    • Haley Kerns: (to a patient in ER wearing fur) Go kill another coat, lady.

    • Olivia Benson: Elliot told me to tell you you're nuts.
      Star Morrison: Oh, that's just the concussion talking.

    • Star Morrison: (to Persephone) Prison is gonna be real hard on you, girl. They don't serve organic food there.

    • Mitchell Hissam: This is a peaceful demonstration!
      Olivia Benson: Yeah? You leave your dynamite at home?

    • Tonya Majeski: You're bloody and you're covered in bruises. Were you raped?
      Haley Kerns: No, I made a love connection.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Star Morrison: They put up a sign that said, 'If you build it, we will burn it.'
      This is a misquote of the famously spoken line from the 1989 Phil Alden Robinson film Field of Dreams in which Kevin Costner's character builds a baseball diamond in a field based on a voice whispering 'if you build it, he will come'.

    • Star Morrison: Do you know what you get when you mix fertilizer and diesel fuel? Oklahoma City.

      Star is referring to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that took place on April 19, 1995. 168 people were killed. Before 9/11, this was the worst terrorist attack that had ever taken place on US soil.

    • The Earth Defenders Group (EDG) in this episode is inspired by the real-life Earth Liberation Front, which has been linked to several bombings, arsons and other destruction of property. The FBI classifies the ELF as an eco-terrorist organization.

    • Dr. Melinda Warner: The French resistance used to shave the heads of female collaborators.

      The French resistance was an underground organization that fought the Nazis in occupied France during World War II. A collaborator, as Captain Cragen mentions, was someone who co-operated with the enemy or slept with them.