It’s no secret that after horror, an extremely close second in terms of my favorite movie genres goes to film noir. It should therefore come as no shock whatsoever that I can also binge me a big ol’ heapin’ heppin’ of police procedurals.
In particular, all the iterations of Law & Order tick off lotsa boxes on the noir list. That especially includes the detectives’ and attorneys’ moral ambiguity as well as the horribleness of most of the characters from The Big Bads, to the uncooperative witnesses, all the way to the people around the crime scene area who ” don’t know nuttin’ di-int see nuttin’.”
But of the three, I gotta go with Special Victims Unit as the most noir-like of ’em all. Take the stuff mentioned already and add both the gut-wrenching nature of the crimes involved and some truly bleak existential/ethical/psychological darkness. So, here are 5 Creepy Scenes Not From Horror Movies Part IV–SVU Edition. Also, since there’s no way to talk about these without spoilers, consider yourself warned.
#5 Conscience S6 E6
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Kids. Are. Creepy. And not just the ones that can explode your brain like Village Of The Damned. No, I’m talking about run-of-the-mill chilluns like in The Bad Seed, The Good Son, The Children, and Orphan (well, kinda). This episode is no exception. Jordan Garrett plays Jake O’Hara. He’s accused, tried, and acquitted for the murder of a 5-year-old neighbor boy. This is one of those cases where, once you know where it’s going, you go back and rewatch so you can see how sinister the character really is all the way through. The smug look on his face at the very end is infuriating which is probably a secondary reason why his own father (Kyle MacLachlan) shoots him.
#4 Stalked S1 E8
This is the first but definitely not the last episode in which Benson is/has been stalked. I tried and failed to find an actual hard number. Depending on what you call stalked, it’s anywhere from 6 to 9. Anyhows, the first one is Richard White who has done a disturbing amount of homework regarding Benson. But it’s White’s monologue in the station that caps it all off. First he tells Benson “I’m fixin’ on you, and ’til I’m dead, I’ll always be in your head. Just like your mother has somebody in her head. We’re joined at the hip, aren’t we?” And sure, that’ll frost up the ol’ vertebral column, but then comes the knife twist. White looks at the two-way and says, “Detective Stabler…how’re Kathy n’ the kids?” Kee-rist.
#3 Pure S6 E18
It’s a very interesting irony, but somehow not at all surprising, that comedians make great horror characters. The first example on this list is Martin Short. Short has always given me a creepy vibe even on SNL and before that, SCTV. As Sebastian Ballentine, however, he amps up the sliminess factor more than a few notches. Ballentine is a self-proclaimed psychic who shows up to “help” Benson and Stabler with a case. Except he’s not a psychic. He’s the killer. One line is particularly unnerving, when he says “Best sex I ever had” using a voice he used on the phone.
#2 Authority S9 E17
You knew this one was gonna make the list. Robin Williams plays Merritt Rook. Rook is so mild mannered, gracious, and charming that when he turns, it’s just that much more menacing. To those who may find this surprising, I direct you to One Hour Photo from 2002, 7 years prior to this SVU episode. Obviously jewel in the crown of this episode is Rook recreating The Milgram Experiment with Stabler at the button and Benson supposedly getting shocked.
#1 Quarry S6 E13
There’s precious little that can make me visibly physically uncomfortable to watch. Few special effects make me wince, cringe, or flinch. But every now and again, something comes along that makes me do all three. John Savage plays imprisoned child molester and killer Lucas Biggs. Turns out he has to help them with an investigation. To fast track things here, they find a storage unit where Biggs kept the baseball hats of all his victims. That’s bad enough. But they bring them to Biggs so he can tell them who all the victims were thus solving some open cases. In the process of doing this, he affectionately smells each hat. Just describing this is enough make me tense up. This is easily one of the most chilling things I’ve ever seen in or out of horror.
And how about you, Reader Dearest? Have you seen a particularly creepy episode of SVU or any other police procedural? Let me know in the Comments.