Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 3 Episode 8

Inheritance

0
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Nov 16, 2001 on NBC
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
104 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The search for a serial rapist leads to a suspect who was himself a product of rape, and whose father was convicted of that crime. The young man's attorney blames his genetics as the reason for his actions.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This episode was a compelling look at the 'nature vs. nurture' debate. Are we the product of our genes or the product of our experiences? Do we really have a choice? Or as Olivia says, are some of us just lucky?moreless

    10
    Do we do things because we're genetically disposed toward them? Or do we do them because that's what we've been taught to do, that's what we know? Olivia has to wrestle with this question as she faces Darryl in this episode, so much like her in background and yet is on the opposite side of the law. If we're to go by her genetics, she's predisposed to violence by sheer virtue of the fact that her unknown father was; if we're to go by nurture, then she should be violent and unpredictable, like her mother. But, despite her own self-doubt, she isn't. By choice.

    If I'm to go by my own genetics, my mother was a callous, cold-hearted woman who carried her child for 9 months, gave birth, then for whatever reason dumped me in an orphanage and never looked back. My genetic father is a complete mystery, and my adoptive parents were liars (I never knew I was adopted until the INS tried to deport me when I was 22) and violent (my adoptive mother was abusive.) If I were to go by both nature and nurture, I should be a violent bully with few intimate ties and a lot of anger. Yet, I'm 27, married, with two toddlers, and everyone who knows me tell me I'm a good person.

    Do I wory? yes. I was terrified when I got pregnant; how did I know what genetics I was passing on? What if I carried something that would screw them up? I still worry. And I worry about me; what if i can't handle being a mom, what if I suddenly turn into my mother? I never thoght I would have kids; I never wanted them, probably for the same reason Olivia would probably not want them; we're afraid of turning into our mothers. And yet, seeing Mariska's character on the show choose to do good gives me hope that maybe I do have a choice too. That my children can grow up happy and well-adjusted, and not screwed up like I am. Maybe I can choose not to become like my mother(s). Maybe Nature isn't the written-in-stone book some theorists believe it is. Maybe I, too, like Olivia, will be 'lucky'.

    Episodes like this one are the reason I watch SVU, and why I write SVU fanfic. The cases present complex questions like this one in a tasteful, thought-provoking way that somehow represents both sides of the equation in a delicate balance of facts and feelings. My respects to Dick Wolf for this episode, and to the cast for playing out such a complex issue so compassionately.moreless
  • While hunting the rapist of Asian women, Olivia is reminded of her own family history.

    9.7
    Like all the best SVU stories, this one starts with a seemingly straightforward crime, but ends up adressing much more complex issues.



    This episode deals with a rapist, and the possibility that he is the product of his genetics - his Chinese mother was raped by an African American male. Is he genetically predisposed to be a rapist? Of course, as a child of rape herself, Olivia cannot help but be affected, despite her denials to Elliot.



    While the episode raises issues, legally it's not too hard for the ever-lovely Alex Cabot to demolish the case. The main point of interest is Olivia's reaction, and Mariska does a nice job of holding in Olivia's emotions until a final chat with Huang. I was a little disappointed she bared her soul to him rather than Elliot or Alex. Guess they have to keep BD Wong working. I think it would have had more impact if her confessor had been someone she actually interacts with on a regular basis.

    Another little thing I liked was watching Mariska belting down the street and slamming the perp into a wall. She looked like she really enjoyed that. Not a bad runner either! This is a fab episode for Mariska, great acting and she looks gorgeous too. (Shallow I know!)moreless
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit!

    9.0
    Asian gangs become the focus after a young asian woman is found raped, beaten and left for dead. Things start to look grim when a second victim is found murdered in the same fashion. The Detectives of the Special Victims Unit's first assumption is that these crimes were motivated by hate. With the help of DNA evidence that was found on the second victim, they find a match in the system named Harold Starnes. But when they find that Starnes is confinded to a wheelchair, they start looking for the possibility that he has a son who is following in his father's footsteps.



    This is a really interesting episode. You could tell that this case really hit home for Detective Olivia Benson. She herself is a child of rape, and while listening to the testimony that violence could possibly be inherited, she began to question her own genes.moreless
Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

Det. Olivia Benson

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Det. John Munch

Stephanie March

Stephanie March

ADA Alexandra Cabot

Ice-T

Ice-T

Det. Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola

Dann Florek

Dann Florek

Capt. Donald Cragen

Christopher Meloni

Christopher Meloni

Det. Elliot Stabler

Diane Baker

Diane Baker

Margot Nelson

Guest Star

Nelson Lee

Nelson Lee

Johnny Chen

Guest Star

Billy Chang

Billy Chang

Detective Matt Tsu

Guest Star

Harvey Atkin

Harvey Atkin

Judge Alan Ridenour

Recurring Role

BD Wong

BD Wong

Dr. George Huang

Recurring Role

Lance Reddick

Lance Reddick

Dr. Taylor

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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