A grisly murder scene at the bottom of an elevator shaft leads SVU detectives to a group of individuals who are under the spell of a charismatic, imprisoned serial killer.


David Platt


Dick Wolf (created by), Kam Miller


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Meloni ... Elliot Stabler
Mariska Hargitay ... Olivia Benson
Richard Belzer ... John Munch (credit only)
Diane Neal ... Casey Novak
Ice-T ... Odafin Tutuola
Adam Beach ... Chester Lake
BD Wong ... Dr. George Huang (as B.D. Wong) (credit only)
Tamara Tunie ... Dr. Melinda Warner (credit only)
Dann Florek ... Donald Cragen
Jared Harris ... Robert Morten
Shannon Woodward ... Cecilia Strayer
Gareth Saxe ... Harrison Thomas
Justin Blanchard ... Edgar Rabinowicz
Zulay Henao ... Forensics Tech Casanueva
Mike Doyle ... Forensics Tech Ryan O'Halloran


A grisly murder scene at the bottom of an elevator shaft leads SVU detectives to a group of individuals who are under the spell of a charismatic, imprisoned serial killer.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

svengali | See All (1) »


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 November 2007 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"Svengali" is derived from the 1894 novel "Trilby" by George L. Du Maurier; it refers to the character Svengali, a hypnotist who helps Trilby O'Ferrall, the title character, become a famous singer. As a metaphor, the word has since come to refer to one who has a hypnotic, manipulative control over another individual or a collective group of people. See more »


Detective Olivia Benson: Well, here's how she got in. The lock's been tampered with. Check out the scratches.
Elliot Stabler: No blood trail. He didn't cut her out here.
Detective Olivia Benson: So he kills her, he jimmies the lock, he drags the body to the elevator shaft, hacks her up.
Elliot Stabler: Place is filthy. Explains the dirt on her dress.
Forensics Tech Casanueva: No, it doesn't. The soil on her dress is clay-like and crystallized. Nothing like that in this place.
Elliot Stabler: So he killed her somewhere else and dumped her here.
Forensics Tech Casanueva: No. She let herself in.
Detective Olivia Benson: How do you figure?
Forensics Tech Casanueva: [opening the vic's purse] These...
See more »


Features Double Indemnity (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

Weird Right of Passage
7 January 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This SVU episode deals with the squad investigating the murder of a young woman found in an elevator shaft of a building with signs of sexual assault. Even if it's not sexual in nature the squad usually on this show sticks with the case. As it is it's sexual in nature only the broadest sense possible in this story.

The investigation leads to a cult following of an imprisoned serial killer played with menace by Jared Harris. In some weird rite of passage, young Shannon Woodward kills another of the cult members.

This comes down to a battle of wits between ADA Diane Neal and Harris whom she might have to call as a witness. Like Hannibal Lecter or the real life Charles Manson just how much room do you have to negotiate here with a man already serving several life sentences without possibility of parole?

All I can say is, you'd be surprised what can be negotiated in this situation.

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