Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 5 Episode 5

Serendipity

3
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 21, 2003 on NBC
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
124 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
A dead baby is found in a gutter, sending the detectives on a hunt for its mother. She too turns up dead, and the clues point to a dermatologist whose DNA happens to match the evidence in a cold case of child molestation. Casey Novak, the ADA newly assigned to prosecute SVU cases, butts heads with Benson and Stabler over their handling of these murders. Though she has the blessing of DA Arthur Branch, she is still unsure of whether or not she is the right person to take Cabot's place.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Hello A.D.A. Casey Novak..

    9.1
    Before I became addicted to L&O SVU I had no idea that Casey Novak was...1) a brunette in the beginning, 2) wasn't the only A.D.A. to work with the detectives. I didn't know that their relationship was so sandpaper quality in the beginning either. I like how they squabble together. I'm glad I finally got to see this episode. Plus...its Mariska's husband and Chris Meloni in the same episode (for the obsessive who pit them against each other even though one is real life and the other is SVU-fantasy life). I see why she married him. Great episode for character development.moreless
  • An ultimate example of how cop shows should be made.

    10
    POTENTIAL SPOILERS below



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    An seemingly convential investigation opens with the apparent double killing of a mother for hire and her defenceless unborn baby. An unwanted pregnancy for a woman with a wrecked life. A couple desperate for children, with a friend who acts as an unregistered intermediary, offering a solution to both parties. Altogether spells tragedy when the prospective father learns that the mother has changed her mind. Was it a tragic suicide, by a mother who couldn't code. Or could it have been a murder by a man who wanted a child for himself and his wife.



    The screenplay is driven by this excellent fast-paced plot that twists and turns from a mystery, into a quest to find the father of the dead child. Can he be the killer given he was facing a paternity suit. Is he the father or isn't he? Then episode them morphs into a dramatic chase for a paedophile rapist who is about to commit his next horrific crime. Will Elliot and Olivia save the young victim in time?



    Overall, the levels of tension and stakes build up superbly gradually over the course of episode. You won't even know it, so engrossed will you be in what is being played out. Add to this the introduction of the new ADA to replace Alex March, which add a new dynmaic of conflict between her and the team and you wont want to turn away for a second. Whats more, we get to see a personal edge to Novak and what it must be like to have to face this kind of horror each day.



    A superb episode, with one of the most heart-wrenching, intensity rising stories across the L&O franchise that kept my attention from start to finish. A classic in every way and one to watch.moreless
  • One of the best SVU episodes I have ever seen. Still makes me cry.

    10
    This was a big tear-jerker for me. Of course, the highlight is the debut of Diane Neal as ADA Casey Novak, but the rest of the script is very well-written. It is so sad to see Brianna Morris and her baby killed, especially when the Wolcotts were trying to provide a better life for her. Dr. Newlands proved to be a conniving, two-timing evil man who cheated on his wife, then went out of his way to lie about it. And then how sick is Peter Nessler, the sicko who puts honey on his Johnson and tells little girls to lick it. The ending when Casey finds Courtney Jones in the cooler is sad, but it shows that Ms. Novak is the right fit as the SVU's ADA.moreless
  • That Novak looks very familiar..

    8.9
    The episode itself is very well written. SVU is always full of twists and turns and things you just never see coming. This episode is no exception. The discovery of a fake vein with another man's blood put into a perps arm to cheat a faternity test is absoloute genious. It is very incredible the legnths that some people will go to to retain their innocence.

    To be honest I like Novak more than I did Cabot. After watching her throughout the seaons I have just really grown to like her personality. However, when she first came on the screen I couldn't help but feel that I had seen her before. Then I realized she was in another episode of Law In Order. Only in that episode she was charged with raping a man along with her friends. I'm not sure if they just didn't think devotee's would notice, or if they were so amazed at her performance in the earlier episode they decided to keep her on full time. Either way she's a wonderful addition to the cast.moreless
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit!

    9.0
    A baby is found dead when two members of the Center of Disease Control are testing sewers for mosquitos. The Detectives of the Special Victims Unit immediately suspect the mother. They then find the mother, named Brianna Morris, they realizes that she was unable to have committed the murder, because she was a victim herself. Someone forced her into labor and took the baby from her. Throughout the investigation, they find that a man named, is paying for Brianna's OBGYN. First they suspect that he was a victim of identity theft, but quickly realize that Brianna was going to be giving her baby to him and his wife once it was born. But what the Detectives can't understand is how a couple so desperate to have a child would endanger their soon to be offspring. They find that Brianna was in the process of finding the baby's biological father. When Benson and Stabler find him, and he offers a DNA sample, they open up a cold case that they thought they would have never solved.



    This was a great episode. This is the first episode with the new ADA, Casey Novak. She begins her career in Special Victims by pushing the buttons of both Benson and Stabler, and then thinks that she might not be cut out to deal with the nature of the cases in the unit.moreless
Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

Det. Olivia Benson

Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer

Det. John Munch

Diane Neal

Diane Neal

A.D.A. Casey Novak

Ice-T

Ice-T

Det. Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola

BD Wong

BD Wong

Dr. George Huang

Dann Florek

Dann Florek

Capt. Donald Cragen

Jack Gilpin

Jack Gilpin

Ron Wolcott

Guest Star

Barbara Garrick

Barbara Garrick

Kelly Wolcott

Guest Star

Dan Ziskie

Dan Ziskie

Dr. Curtis

Guest Star

Fred Dalton Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson

D.A. Arthur Branch

Recurring Role

Tamara Tunie

Tamara Tunie

Dr. Melinda Warner

Recurring Role

Audrie Neenan

Audrie Neenan

Judge Preston

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (5)

    • When Munch and Fin are at the diner Munch says to Fin that he should buy a place like this and Fin says he knew about that dive that Munch had in Baltimore. This is a reference to Homicide: Life on the Street where Munch, Bayliss and Lewis owned a bar named the Waterfront.

    • Goof: During the scene at the docks, a clear "action" can be heard in the background.

    • Goof: When viewing the episode in HDTV, at the scene on the docks when the camera follows in front of Nestler, Benson and Stabler, you can clearly see the tracks the camera is wheeled on in the right side of the screen.

    • Goof: When Stabler is on the dock, fighting with the criminal in the water, water spots can be clearly seen on the camera lens.

    • Goof: When Warner first extracts the tube, the sutures are in the middle. When she holds it up for the detectives in the next frame, the sutures are at one end.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Casey Novak: Great. Tell you what, let me take a quick sweep, then we can go to the crime scene together.
      Olivia Benson: It's already been processed.
      Casey Novak: Not by me.

    • (Casey interupts Olivia and Elliot in the Interrogation room.)
      Elliot Stabler: Where's Cragen?
      Casey Novak: I don't know.
      Elliot Stabler: (raises his voice) Then you don't interrupt me when I'm in there with a perp. You stand here, watch through this one-way, and see where we are.

    • John Munch: Last call for bets on Dr. Newland's paternity test.
      Donald Cragen: Just give us the results, John.
      John Munch: What do you want, the good news or the bad news first?
      Donald Cragen: John.
      John Munch: He's not the father.
      Casey Novak: So what's the good news?
      John Munch: We cleared a cold case.

    • M.E. Warner: This woman was burked.
      Elliot Stabler: What the hell is that?
      M.E. Warner: An arcane method of suffocation, dating back to 19th century Scotland.

    • Fin Tutuola: A woman had her frigging baby and you didn't hear anything?

    • (Stabler discusses the previous victim with Dr. Newlands.)
      Elliot Stabler: You know what her biggest fear was before you? Starting the first grade.

    • Casey Novak: Got a minute?
      Arthur Branch: When you save a little girl's life, you get two. Have a seat.
      Casey Novak: I can't do this.
      Arthur Branch: Sure you can. Just bend your knees and let gravity take over.

    • (Casey shows up at a crime scene as Benson and Stabler are looking for evidence.)
      Olivia Benson: Who the hell are you?
      Elliot Stabler: That's our new ADA. Casey Novak, Olivia Benson; Olivia, this is Casey Novak.
      Casey Novak : Do I know you?
      Elliot Stabler: Yeah, shortstop, cop's team.
      Caey Novak: Oh yeah, I didn't recognize you when you weren't covered in my dust!

    • Olivia Benson: CH3, COO5H11...
      Elliot Stabler: He's a chemist, what are you cooking?
      Ron Wolcott: Not that it's any of your business, isobutyl acetate.
      Elliot Stabler: Oooh, sounds pretty hardcore.
      Ron Wolcott: It's the predominant component in banana flavoring. What the hell is this about?

    • Olivia Benson: Smart ones change M.O.s, but no one changes signature.

    • Judge Lois Preston: Where is your client, Mr. Langan?
      Trevor Langan: I've just put in a call to his wife, and my assistant is checking local hospitals.
      Casey Novak: Oh, please.

  • NOTES (5)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • This story appears to be ripped from the headlines of the case of Dr. John Schneeberger. The doctor inserted a tube into his arm filled with a patient's blood in an attempt to fool investigators in Kipling, Saskatchewan, into thinking that he was not responsible for the sexual assaults for which he was eventually found guilty.

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