Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is one of my favorite shows. I’ve seen every episode multiple times. I’m literally rebinging the entire series right now. Seriously, I have it playing on my phone right next to my laptop right now. I’m on season 4 at the moment.
But the episode I want to discuss today is from season 6. The upcoming articles will likely not be in order either, as I’m going to pick episodes I know I really like from the start, or as I’m rewatching the series, I go “oh I forgot about this episode!”
Anyways, Season 6, Episode 4 “Scavenger” is the episode I want to discuss today. If you go to Hulu, click on SVU details and hit that handy ‘Ripped from the Headlines’ tab, you’ll find this episode. Remember, spoiler alerts.
That’s because it’s based on an actual serial killer. The episode focuses on the possible return of the notorious serial rapist and killer ‘RDK’ (Rape, Dismember, Kill). From the SVU Fandom wikia, “The detectives are in a time crunch when they try to solve clues left by a serial killer who is basically taunting them to find him before he gets another victim.” It’s seriously just a scavenger hunt.
The detectives are worried that the killer is the real RDK, who taunted the police in the 80s and was never caught. However, it’s revealed rather quickly that it’s just a copycat. A failed writer takes on the identity of a deranged serial killer, murdering two and kidnapping one. He targets mothers of young boys only, because he has mommy issues. The dude also fails to rape any of the victims.
This episode is based off the real life serial killer Dennis Rader, aka ‘BTK’ (Blind, Torture, Kill). So in January, 1974, four members of the Otero family were found murdered in their home in Wichita, Kansas. Later, in October of the same year, a letter was found stashed in an engineering book in the Wichita Public Library describing the grisly details of the Otero killings. This was the first of several killings in Wichita that lasted until 1991.
Rader, like other notable killers, sent letters to the police and media taunting them. So funnily enough, “when the episode aired in October 2004 – 13 years after the last killing and the trail seemingly long gone cold – police in Wichita, Kansas, having received a letter from BTK about a previously unknown murder, were busy making the case which would lead to Rader’s arrest four months later.”
I find that amusing as hell. But that’s not the only reason I like this episode. It’s based on a real killer – which as an avid fan of true crime – is always interesting to me. But I also like how old-fashioned this episode is. Yes, it came out in 2004, but there’s no political agenda. As much as I love current episodes of SVU, it just feels like there’s always something political to shove down your throat.
It’s just a serial killer that needs tracking down before more bodies pile up.
I am also a fan of the shots taken during this episode – namely when Humphrey is brought in and Stabler comes in to talk to him. From the minute he entered the squad room, to when he entered the interrogation room, it is one shot.
I. Love. Continuous. Shots. They’re just so pleasing to the eye.
So, “Scavenger” is one of my favorite episodes. It is by no means my favorite of all time episode, but it is a great episode nonetheless.