Alex Cabot/Olivia Benson (Law and Order:SVU)
Personal website: Teh Hott Lesbian Love
Spoilers: Loaded with spoilers from Seasons One through Five
Notes: This essay has been a labor of love. I will miss having a valid excuse for sitting around watching re-runs, reading fan fiction, and drinking wine. This has been a huge undertaking and I would be sleazy bastard if I didn't thank those who gave their feedback, information and time so freely. So, a big-assed thanks to: heathers, lonejaguar, wingsfan, say_revolution, aqua_blurr, speshulduck,mikee_pm, angharad_gov, learned_hand, and theholyinnocent I would also like to thank LEBWC98 and everyone else at TWoP and everyone at SVUFiction Forum.
A HUGE thank you to theholyinnocent for beta-ing this piece. Without her guidance, it would have been a pile of shit. A bottle of your favorite hooch is on me!
Another HUGE thank you to angharad_gov for allowing me to pilfer her SVU screencaps archive. Thanks girl!
Screencaps courtesy of and aleatory_6
Additional screencaps from Fascination Street
The Case of The Butch and The Blonde
All Rise for the Honorable Cabenson
My introduction into the Law and Order: SVU universe was a moment of true serendipity. In fact, I had never watched the show regularly until after I fell into the fandom via the fan-fiction rabbit hole. Stuck at home for almost six months while recuperating from surgery, I found myself ignoring the summer rerun schedule in favor of my shiny new cable modem. I decided to search the internet for my old stand-bys: Xena fiction and Scully Slash. I was directed to THE PINK RABBIT CONSORTIUM and was duly surprised at the bounty of femslash pairings. I perused the site and had a brief “WTF?” moment when I saw a story pairing Alex Cabot and Olivia Benson (A/O). One devoted butch cop and smart sexy lawyer pairing later, I was intrigued. A random search for A/O fiction led me to WOMEN OF LAW AND ORDER ARCHIVE. I began reading everything SVU-related that I could get my hands on. I stumbled on to TELEVISION WITHOUT PITY (TWoP) , a fan forum that has a considerably large SVU thread. I saw the references to Homoeroticism Yay! (HoYay!), the subtext of a new millennium, and knew I had found a home. I followed TWoP’s discussions of each episode and became addicted. When USA Network began airing nightly episodes of SVU, I watched religiously. I became attracted to the chemistry between Olivia Benson, the strong, yet sensitive detective and Alex Cabot, the smart, sexy, and snarky Assistant District Attorney. Then NBC aired “Loss” the final episode for the character Alex Cabot, and all hope for wisely spending my free time vanished.
Law and Order: SVU is the first spin-off of Dick Wolf’s popular crime show, Law and Order. SVU (Special Victims Unit) is a squad of detectives who have been reassigned to work the crimes involving rape, child molestation, and abuse of children and the elderly. Unlike their counterparts in Homicide, the SVU detectives frequently work with living victims, and often struggle with the psychological ramifications of seeing such horror on a daily basis. Detectives Olivia Benson and her partner Elliot Stabler are the featured investigators on SVU, along with John Munch, Odafin Tutuola, and Captain Don Cragen. Alexandra (Alex) Cabot is the Assistant District Attorney assigned to SVU at the beginning of the second season to prosecute their cases.
The Law and Order franchise is long known to concentrate on plot-driven episodes rather than character-driven. A few concrete facts are given about each character, but never enough to develop a complete analysis. This has lead to a great deal of speculation in fanfic and discussions involving Law and Order characters.
Presentation of the Defendants
Detective Olivia Benson is currently assigned to the SVU squad of Manhattan’s 16th Precinct. Olivia knows the consequence of rape on a personal level. As a coed, Olivia’s mother was raped. She became pregnant and gave birth to Olivia. Knowing the circumstances surrounding her conception has not left Olivia unaffected. She is able to form a deep empathy toward the victims which allows her to connect with them, gaining their trust. As a strong, intelligent woman, Olivia does not need a man to validate her existence. She is open-minded and intolerant of prejudicial comments, especially from her partner. She is tough, beautiful, and at times androgynous in appearance. While she often takes the cases to heart, Olivia is usually able to hide her personal feelings while maintaining her passion for her job. Olivia has been known to go above and beyond the call of duty while solving a case. In turn, this diligence has, on occasion, led to career ramifications. In the episode “Abuse,” Olivia is restricted to desk duty while investigating the possible abuse of a rock star’s daughter. She is given a ten-day reduction in pay in “Rotten” after defying orders and exposing two dirty cops, leaving the city open to costly lawsuits from wrongly incarcerated prisoners.
Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Alexandra (Alex) Cabot was assigned to SVU at the beginning of Season 2. A tall, lean legal machine with an icy veneer, Alex is loaded with sophistication, intelligence, and ambition. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed WASP, Alex carries herself as one who may come from old money. She appears to have many political connections and little problem with using them. Alex is extremely focused in her quest for justice but as she spends time in SVU, she finds it easier to bend the law and manipulate the courtroom to her advantage. Alex begins her tenure with SVU filled with political aspirations that begin to fade midway though Season 3. She often finds herself in conflict between conscience and duty which in turn leads to confrontation with her bosses and some members of the judiciary. As the seasons progress, we begin to see that Alex is struggling with the appeal of her position. Had she not left in the manner she did, I believe that Alex would have eventually quit, or more likely, been fired. Alex is currently presumed dead by everyone except Olivia, Elliot, and a few members of the DEA. She is safely tucked away in the Witness Protection Program.
Defense of a Relationship
The wonderful thing about shipping a pairing on any show in the Law and Order franchise is that the episodes usually focus on the case file and not on the recurring characters. Scenes allowing glimpses into the personal lives of our favorite cops and lawyers are few and far between. We are basically given a blank slate to fill with ANY interpretation of personal relationships that we desire.
The idea of following canon</i> also</i> allows for individual analysis of character involvement. Canon does show that during Season 1, Olivia either became, or almost became, involved with several men, including co-worker Brian Cassidy (“Closure,” part 1). Thankfully, none of these incidences led to a committed relationship.
After Alex arrived in Season 2, Olivia’s personal life was relegated to the “cancelled and/or interrupted” dates (“Counterfeit,” “Countdown”). There is no additional mention of men in her life until after Alex has left in Season 5, and even these refer to past experiences (“Escape,” “Lowdown”). Following canon, there is a scene that implies a past relationship between Alex Cabot and a New Jersey ADA (“Execution”).The only other evidence of Alex dating men is when she is interrupted during dinner with Trevor Langan by Olivia and Elliot (“Angels”) one episode after a serious argument with Olivia (“Disappearing Acts”).
There have been several episodes that have given loyal A/O shippers the “hope” of a romance (“Baby Killer,” “Guilt,” and “Fallacy”). The cornerstone of the A/O fan base, the “episode that launched a thousand fanfics”, was “Loss,” the final episode featuring Alex Cabot. “Loss” set HoYaydars on full ping and all previous episodes were scrutinized for evidence of cop/lawyer love. And plenty was found .While there is nothing in canon that states outright that Alex and Olivia were anything more than friendly co-workers, there is nothing in canon that proves they were not involved in a romantic relationship. This is the beauty of subtext: fans can interpret relationships in whatever fashion they desire. I choose to see Alex and Olivia as admiring co-workers whose friendship develops into an intensely passionate affair. After all, if it looks like HoYay! and plays like HoYay!, then in my mind, it IS HoYay!
Evidence for the Defense
Defense Exhibit Season One
Season One offers little in the HoYay! department as Alex Cabot doesn’t join the squad until Season Two. Olivia has shoulder-length hair and often wears the same ill-fitting suit. There are, however, a few tidbits. In the first episode “Payback,” Olivia and Elliot question a gay art dealer. He takes an appreciative look at Olivia as he explains the open marriage he shares with his wife:
“My wife is bisexual but she prefers women,” he says as he writes on a large card. “Her name is Clarissa and YOU should give her a call,” he continues before handing Olivia the telephone number.
One surprisingly wonderful HoYay! moment is a second scene in “Payback” between Olivia and ADA Abbie Carmichael. (During Season One, SVU had a rotating cast of ADAs. Abbie Carmichael was the ADA for Homicide and was a featured player on the original Law and Order while taking the occasional case in the SVU.) Marta,who is the suspect in a cab driver’s death, Abbie, and Olivia are in an interrogation room. Olivia looks toward Abbie as Marta finishes recounting how she killed the man, a Serbian war criminal who had kidnapped and raped her in her home country. Abbie, a victim of rape herself, appears as though she might breakdown and looks to Olivia for strength in an attempt to maintain her composure. Was Olivia involved with Abbie B.C. (Before Cabot)?
In part 1 of “Closure,” Olivia seems to have developed a bond with rape victim Harper Anderson that will grow stronger in the second part of the episode, which is shown in Season Two. There still seems to be a significant connection between Olivia and Abbie. Exactly who was Olivia all dolled up for when she received information linking another case to Harper’s? When Harper declines to take part in a line-up, Olivia meets with Abbie in Cragen’s office. The detective is desperate and asks if there is any legal way to compel Harper to participate. The looks between Olivia and Abbie in Cragen’s office are smoldering as Abbie reacts to Olivia’s suggestion. “I won’t rape her a second time, Detective”. The barely audible “I’m sorry” that Abbie whispers to Olivia as she leaves the office is left open to interpretation. Is she sorry for refusing Olivia’s request, or is she sorry about something more personal?
The Myth of Closure
Olivia seems to have a penchant for ADAs, both male and female. There is Abbie Carmichael, Alex Cabot, Jeff York (who is murdered by a man named Andy Abbot in Season Five’s “Lowdown,”) and Karen Fitzgerald, an ADA Olivia knew, who becomes the victim of rape/homicide in the episode “Stalked.” When asked how she knew her, Olivia responds:
Olivia: We were acquaintances. I wanted to become friends.
Just how friendly, we’ll never know.
Defense Exhibit Season Two
Season 2 brings HoYay! to the forefront with the advent of Alex Cabot and the butchification of Olivia Benson. As soon as I saw the shorn locks and tight neon colored t-shirts on my favorite detective, I knew the gay was in the house. The Alex/Olivia HoYay! can be easily detected by searching for the following either by themselves or in combinations: lingering looks both on and off screen; the complete absence of personal space; and the occasional heated argument.
“Legacy” shows the first potential touching between the two women. When Alex goes to the precinct, she walks down the hallway with Olivia. There is virtually no personal space between the two women which allows for the appearance of multiple hand brushes as they do the walk-and-talk, aka Hallway HoYay!
A hint of affection between Olivia and Alex occurs during “Baby Killer.” In this episode, Alex has been assigned to prosecute a seven-year old Latino boy for the playground shooting death of a classmate. She is struggling to maintain a balance between charging him as an adult and soothing racial tension between the victim’s African American community and the Latino community. Olivia shows her concern for the blonde, who has been thrown to the wolves during a press conference. “Isn’t there anything we can do for Cabot?” After a second press conference appearance to avert potential rioting appears to be a success, Alex walks into the squad room. Here is where we see the first “true” moment of touching between the two women. Olivia pats Alex on the back and smiles as she says, “Congratulations!” Elliot invites Alex to go out for a drink with them to celebrate, but Alex turns 180 degrees to look at Olivia, who smiles as she nods her head in the affirmative, before a smiling Alex accepts.
Chasing the Demons
Towards the middle of the second season, we can see that there is a comfortable ease between the two women. “Consent” shows the beginning of the change in their friendship. Olivia can be seen pouring Alex’s tea in the squad room as they stand close to each other. In Cragen’s office, while Alex is sitting in a chair listening to the evidence, Olivia stands next to her and leans against the back of Alex’s chair. When Olivia visits Alex’s office, she leans across the desk and offers a quick eye shag. Outside of the Grand Jury room, Alex and Olivia can be seen sharing a small bench. Although their knees are pointed in different directions, they are sitting as close to each other as possible and the bench is not that small. Alex looks intently at Olivia as Olivia reads the indictment.
Things get even better in “Paranoia.” Olivia has had a “previous professional” relationship with the victim, Karen Smythe, a police sergeant has been raped and almost murdered. Uh huh, sure. When cops suspected of running drugs are linked to Karen’s rape, Alex visits Karen at her home and tries to convince her to press charges. When she fails, Alex threatens her with obstruction charges. Jealous much? Near the end of the episode, Olivia attempts to convince Alex to drop the rape charges. It has been revealed that Karen is an Internal Affairs informant and prosecuting her rapist would expose her. They are walking outside, very close together. Olivia reminds Alex that the dirty cops will serve more time on drug running charges than the rape. Alex is bundled up in coat and scarf, while our brunette detective has her jacket open…wide:
Alex: Don’t ask me to let them walk on a rape.
Olivia: Do you think I want to? [Opens coat a little wider]
This exchange is followed by a definite lingering look as Alex decides what is more important to her…a rape conviction or a date with Olivia that weekend. Alex promises to discuss it with her bosses. “I’ll just have them do the math”. I tell you, love, or hot sex, wins out every time.
The subtext between our favorite ADA and detective continues in small doses through Season Two as the relationship builds. We see lingering gazes in “Secrets,” “Countdown,” and “Folly.” Personal space is invaded in “Folly” and “Scourge.” A furious Olivia demands that Alex go after an unscrupulous insurance company in “Scourge”. “I want their asses!” And Alex wants yours, Olivia, so she goes after the corporate criminals and wins, in more ways than one.
Defense Exhibit Season Three
At the beginning of Season Three, we are introduced to a new aspect of the Alex/Olivia pairing: the arguments. Heated words spoken/cried/shouted in a moment of passion accompanied by angry glares have never seemed so damn sexy. Season Three can also be referred to as the Season of the Butch. Olivia’s hair has been cut even shorter and has given up the neon shirts and turtlenecks in favor of the tight-fitting, layered look. It is my opinion that a certain ADA with better fashion sense has been selecting Olivia’s duds. Her Hot Cop swagger seems more pronounced, and she is a little more aggressive with the perps “Inheritance.”
“Wrath” is a great episode filled with character insight and HoYay! An even more butchified Olivia is concerned when bodies associated with some of her past cases start turning up. Feelings of guilt ensue when she determines the culprit to be a parolee wrongly convicted, in part, on her testimony. Convinced that this man is now stalking her after seeing him outside of a bar, Olivia goes to Alex in search of assistance. When Alex is unable to help her, Olivia becomes irate. Olivia paces madly around Alex’s office while Alex sits calmly at her desk, her blouse casually unbuttoned, and explains her reasoning to the brunette:
Alex: How many drinks did you have? Olivia, the system made a mistake before, now everything we do is under a microscope.
Olivia: [glaring at the blonde in disbelief] I wasn’t drunk.
Alex looks up in a “Shit! I bet I just screwed up anything we might have had” look as Olivia storms out of the office. Making up after this would be something to see. If they aren’t sleeping together yet, it is obvious that they soon will be.
After the Rain
“Protection” not only offers us another heated (and by heated I mean HOTT!) argument between Olivia and Alex, but also a touch of foreshadowing into what lies ahead for Alex. When trying to decide whether or not to pick up a suspect, there is an intense gaze between the detective and the ADA. Maria is a witness on the run. She saw her boyfriend, Fredo, murder a drug seller and then her youngest son. The SVU squad tries to keep Maria and her surviving son protected. After eluding her protectors, Maria is found standing over a wounded Fredo, gun in hand. When Alex and Olivia meet outside of the interrogation room with Cragen, they begin discussing whether Maria should be charged with shooting Fredo. Whatever personal space that previously existed between the two disappears as they get into each other’s face and begin to raise their voices:
Olivia: This isn’t about revenge, Alex. It was self-defense.
Alex: No, Olivia! Fredo’s gun was two rooms away.
The added emphasis on each woman’s name shows an emotional element added to the argument. The look Olivia gives Alex after Cragen ends the fight is along the lines of “Don’t bother with dinner tonight, I won’t be there.” They make up long enough to see Maria and her son put into Witness Protection.
Love is in the air in “Prodigy,” especially when Alex plops a file onto Olivia’s desk and says, “You owe me.” Olivia looks like she is ready to pay up right then and there. Overtly checking Alex out, Olivia asks for more information on a suspect. A few bats of her eyelashes later, Olivia watches as Alex heads out to track down a Juvenile Crimes Prosecutor. Yep, I think they have made up from their fight in the previous episode. And just what was the nature of that lunch Alex cancelled a year before with the lovely ADA Shaheen? More importantly, does Olivia know about it? Outside of the interrogation room, Olivia looks directly at Alex while she asks FBI Psychologist George Huang how to handle the suspect. Alex returns Olivia’s attention with an adoring gaze of her own. When it appears that Joe, the victim’s co-worker, is responsible, Alex gets the appropriate warrants and his apartment is searched. As the detectives are going over a small chest filled with illicit material, Alex seems to take an interest in Joe’s porn collection. Olivia is a VERY lucky woman. Alex plays off this interest in an attempt to charge Joe with disseminating pornographic material to fellow sex-offenders. When Alex gets the guilty verdict, she meets Olivia and Elliot at the railing. As Olivia and Alex approach each other, they both reach out their fingers as if they were about to hold hands before remembering where they are standing. There is an overt display of eye-shagging as they stand there discussing the case. When Alex turns to leave, Olivia gives Elliot a “Later, dude!” glance and then follows Alex out of the courtroom. Yep, a victory in court means loving over lunch!
“Guilt” is on my short list of HoYaytastic episodes. Alex, working diligently to prosecute a child molester, finally persuades the victim to testify before the Grand Jury. In the middle of the night, Alex receives a phone call telling her that Sam, the teenaged victim, has attempted suicide, leaving him in a vegetative state. Throwing on whatever clothes appear to be handy, an obviously distraught Alex arrives at the hospital only to be verbally, and almost physically, attacked by Sam’s mother. As Elliot restrains Linda Cavanaugh, Sam’s mother, Olivia wraps her arms around Alex, shielding her protectively and then guiding her out of the hospital.
This case marks a change in ADA Cabot. Her pleas for a continuance fall on deaf ears as her love/hate relationship with Judge Petrovsky tilts once again toward hate. When a disheveled Alex is refused a search warrant from Petrovsky, she returns to the squad room filled with desperation which evolves into full-blown anger. Her furious “Make her care!” comment is directed solely toward Olivia, who returns a “What the fuck did you just say to me?” look. Alex has failed in her attempts to protect Sam and she takes her pain out on the one she loves. She continues her tirade, berating the entire squad:
Alex: I am NOT out of line and I DON’T work for you! You work for me, at MY
discretion. Your sole purpose in the process is to bring me a case I can prosecute,not one I have to FIX!
When Alex realizes that she has lost control with the squad and tells Cragen that his squad has done everything they can, she leaves the department. Olivia, with a look of concern on her face, watches as Alex walks out. Alex later calls Olivia and asks the detectives to meet her at Sam’s apartment to perform a search. Believing that their ADA had secured a valid warrant, the two detectives meet Alex and wait as she speaks to Linda Cavanaugh. When Alex is standing in the doorway of Sam’s apartment and stops Linda from slamming the door shut, notice the red mouth-shaped markings at the base of her throat. How on earth did those get there? Did Olivia offer some personal consolation at lunch? Alex takes one side of the doorway and Olivia takes the other leaving mere inches between the two of them. When Olivia asks Alex about restrictions on the warrant, she looks the blonde up and down. Alex repeats the gesture when she answers that there are no limits on the search. I screamed, “KISS HER, DAMMIT!!” when it looked like they were close to locking lips-but no. Alex gets the perp as well as an ass-chewing from a disgruntled Petrovsky. At the end of the episode, when Alex is faux-apologizing to the detectives and walks away, Olivia’s eyes make a beeline for Alex’s ass. And who wants to guess that as soon as Liv finds out that Alex has been suspended for a month she rushes to Cragen with immediate vacation requests?
Something obviously happened to advance the relationship during Alex’s month-long suspension, and it appears that Captain Cragen has caught on. In “Justice,” all of the detectives are sitting in the squad room trying to come up with potential suspects in a teenaged girl’s murder. When Olivia offers to “go and have Cabot check with the DA’s list,” Cragen immediately says he will handle it himself. Someone must have filled him in with the lunch-time loving between his detective and the ADA. (My bet is a still pissed-off Petrovsky.) Later they are all gathered around the desks. Alex is again violating all personal space laws as she sits on a desk right next to a standing Olivia. When she decides to get Olivia’s opinion on whether Judge Thornburg molested his step daughter (the teen victim), Alex slips and call her “Liv.” This shows me that the two women have grown closer since very few people, with the exception of Elliot, call Olivia “Liv.” This is the one and only time that this has happened although I believe it was originally scripted in Season Two’s “Abuse.”
Defense Exhibit Season Four
Season Four offers a softer appearance to our favorite detective and the beginning of the end for a certain ADA. Both women begin to wear specific pieces of jewelry. Alex wears a necklace, Olivia sports a ring on her right hand and a similar necklace off and on. These pieces of jewelry have become a topic of debate on several fan forums. Do these pieces signify a commitment between the two or are the appearances simply coincidence? We also see Alex and Olivia engaging in more arguments. There is a three-episode arc early in the season that can be interpreted as a rift in the lovers’ relationship: “Disappearing Acts,” “Angels,” and “Dolls.”
Olivia shows her affection for skanky blondes when she is seen actually licking her lips over a stripper ho in the teaser of “Chameleon.” Is there trouble in paradise or does Olivia just like to engage in window shopping? Olivia is seen wearing The Ring for the first time. A gift from Alex? And how HoYaytastic is Olivia’s table slam of the female perp? When Sunday morning casual Alex shows up at Rikers, it looks as if she is wearing Olivia’s belt. I had to double check to make sure there wasn’t a gun and some cuffs attached.
“Disappearing Acts” marks the beginning of what I call The-Temporary-Split rift. I envision Alex and Olivia, both intensely passionate women, to be entangled in a break-up to make-up cycle. Episodes with heated arguments are usually followed with episodes that show them standing in close proximity and/or wearing each other’s accessories. This particular argument is different. After Elliot and Olivia are released from Federal Custody, Alex refuses to defend their actions. She goes so far as to claim that their zeal to catch a rapist cost a protected witness his life. The heated exchange continues between Olivia and Alex with Olivia giving the ADA a “Fuck you, bitch. We are done!” look. Additionally, we see more foreshadowing into Alex’s fate with the appearance of U.S. Attorney Claudia Williams and The Witness Protection Program.
In “Angels,” we see that The Break-Up continues when Alex, wearing a come-fuck-me red dress, is interrupted at dinner by Olivia and Elliot. The detectives are there to convince the ADA to help them obtain an Order of Removal for a suspect’s children. As she is showing Alex the evidence they have uncovered, Olivia is stunned to see defense attorney Trevor Langan appear at the table. It would seem that he is Alex’s date for the evening:
Olivia: Looks like Alex is dining with the enemy.
There is no denying the pissed-off glare Olivia shoots Alex as she takes back her documentation.
Following the argument in “Disappearing Acts” and the discovery of Alex dining with Trevor in “Angels,” we see that Alex and Olivia are much warmer toward each other. A beautiful cop in dress blues should be enough to soothe any falling-out. And in “Dolls,” where Olivia briefly appears decked out in full uniform, it appears to have worked. After they bring in the suspect, Alex and Olivia engage in a little eye-shagging. If they haven’t already made up, they are well on their way.
“Waste” gives us the first appearance of The Necklace on Alex. Olivia can be seen wearing a similar necklace in early Season Five. Much has been made about the necklace in online discussions. Is this a make-up gift from Olivia? Is it a coincidence that Alex begins wearing it after the difficulties in their relationship? I don’t think so. Alex and Olivia are standing in the hallway outside of the courtroom when Trevor, who is the opposing counsel in the ADA’s current case, approaches and hands Alex a witness notification. It would appear that a wealthy witness, who had claimed to be too ill to testify for the prosecution, has suddenly become well enough to testify for the defense. Olivia reads the information over Alex’s shoulder, then turns directly toward the blonde and gives her an amused look. In the interrogation room, Alex sits at the table while Olivia stands right next to her, again invading her personal space. At the very end of the episode, Alex, Olivia and Elliot are discussing the importance of umbilical cord blood in stem cell therapy. Alex and Olivia engage in a subtle exchange of eye shags and then Alex actually turns toward Olivia making this a very obvious display of affection.
In “Rotten,” Olivia catches a case that leads to the discovery of cops killing drug dealers. After being officially ordered to drop the case, but unofficially instructed by Cragen to continue the investigation under wraps, Olivia calls Alex to the squad room in the middle of the night:
Alex: What could not wait until tomorrow morning?
Olivia: I need a wire tap. [And a late night booty call- tm TWoP]
When Olivia steers Alex to a secluded corner to discuss the case privately, they are positioned mere inches apart. Alex continues to look at the detective intensely.
Alex: Why are you still working this?
Olivia: YOU are the one who told me to come to you if I had anything new.
[Smirk followed by eye shag]
When Olivia and Fin follow Alex into her office, Olivia leans across Alex’s desk-no doubt wanting to make sure she has the ADA’s full attention. And how cute is it to see Alex and Olivia on one side of a large conference table with Trevor and Bad Cop Cooper on the other? Alex actually smirks at Trevor, as if to say “She is SOOO much better in bed than you could ever hope to be.” It is nice to see our girls happy together after Alex’s date with Trevor.
“Fallacy” is also at the top of my HoYaytastic episodes list. Alex stands close to Olivia when discussing whether to press charges against their suspect, Cheryl Avery. Cheryl is a pre-operative transsexual who killed her boyfriend’s brother when she feared he would disclose her secret to a party crowd. The case of Cheryl Avery has been a bonding experience for the women. When Olivia makes her first visit to Alex’s office, Alex stretches her back and neck in a very sensual way. There is an obvious level of comfort between the two women. Alex is even more conflicted between conscience and duty, even going so far as to try and drop the case. She wants justice for the murder victim, but admits to having more than an appropriate amount of sympathy toward the defendant. The ADA even goes so far as to meet Cheryl without defense counsel to persuade her to take a previously offered deal. When Cheryl accepts the deal, she is horrified to find out that she will be housed in a male facility. After the plea agreement is vacated, with assistance from the ADA, Cheryl is found guilty and returned to the male prison. Alex is unhappy with the verdict and a concerned Olivia watches as Alex dodges out of court. Olivia drops by Alex’s office later that night.
Olivia: Hey. I'm headin' out. You wanna grab a drink?
Alex: Thank you. But you know, I am just not in the mood.
Olivia: Well, neither am I, but I don't feel much like goin' home.
Alex: Do you think I pushed Cheryl too hard?
Olivia: You did your job.
Alex: Then why do I feel so lousy?
Olivia: Because you look at Cheryl, and you can't imagine what it's like to feel that your own body is a mistake.
[Alex nods, Olivia's cell phone rings]
Olivia: [on phone] Benson. We'll be right there.
Alex: What's up?
Olivia: I gotta go to Bellevue. You should come with me.
Olivia: Special Victims Unit, you called about a rape victim?
Nurse: They're taking him up to surgery now.
Alex: [looking at Cheryl on the gurney] What happened?
Nurse: Cheryl Avery was gang raped at Rikers.
Alex watches Cheryl being wheeled to surgery with a look of guilt and despair similar to Season Three’s “Guilt.” Olivia, standing behind the ADA, watches her reactions with concern. I am sure that there was some intense hurt/comfort loving happening that night.
“Futility” begins with the SVU detectives arresting Michael Gardner for a series of rapes. Struggling to avoid being cuffed, Gardner hits Olivia in the face. Once back in the interrogation room, Alex does not appear happy when she sees that the perp has slugged her beloved while being arrested. When the defense attorney starts making noise about her client being roughed up, Alex makes a little noise herself.
Alex: The only injuries I see are Mr. Gardner's torn knuckles from punching Detective Benson in the face, so unless you want to add the assault of a police officer to the list of charges, I suggest you move on. [Before I kick his balls in MYSELF!!]
After Olivia admits in court that she and a victim’s rape counselor had seen Gardner in handcuffs prior to a line-up, Alex catches her in the hall. Her case is screwed if the line-up is tossed out. At this point, Alex has become extremely frustrated with arguing against a defendant who is acting as his own counsel. Frustration + Bad Olivia testimony = Pissed off Cabot.
Alex: I wish you would have TOLD me about this, Olivia!
We can see the emotion involved as they yell each other’s names. I think someone is definitely sleeping on the couch tonight.
Defense Exhibit Season Five
Alex and Olivia continue their loving relationship into Season Five. They can both be seen wearing The Necklaces and this can be seen as a deepening of their commitment to each other.
In “Manic” we see how the stress of the job has begun to wear on Alex. A young boy, medicated with anti-depressants by his desperate mother, suffers a psychotic episode and shoots two classmates. Olivia watches intently as Alex rips into Dr. Huang for referring the boy’s case to a high profile defense attorney. Olivia appears to have difficulty maintaining eye contact as she not only glances toward Alex’s ass, but keeps fixing her gaze on the blonde’s chest. Both women are now sporting nearly identical necklaces. Fan forums suggest that they purchased identical necklaces to signify a more permanent relationship. Alex continues her struggle with duty versus conscience. She believes she will win the case against Joe, the young shooter, but she doesn’t know if she wants to. After she is convinced by Huang to forge a plea agreement with Joe, she is strongly persuaded by her boss to go after the pharmaceutical company that mailed the un-prescribed drugs to Joe’s mother. One of the hottest scenes in Season Five is when Alex repeatedly asks the pharmaceutical CEO “Is THAT your signature?” while Olivia watches proudly.
“Mother” offers very little Alex/Olivia interaction as Alex is not prominent in the episode. However, we are treated to a very unbuttoned Alex copping a rack check when Olivia turns toward her. Both women are seen wearing The Necklaces. And was the Civil ADA that Alex recommended hitting on Olivia when she told the detective to “spruce up for court?” Just what was Alex recommending?
There is HoYay! in SVU episodes and then there is HOYAY! “Loss” is the episode that turned subtext into main text and cemented the belief that a relationship between Alex and Olivia existed. All of the wonderful elements that make up the Alex/Olivia ship can be found in this episode. There are lingering looks and arguments and,in my opinion, overt declarations of affection.
“Loss” begins with the identification of rape/homicide victim Livia Sandoval, a NYPD detective working undercover for the DEA. A DEA agent acting as a confidential informant (CI) directs the detectives to Rafael Zapata, a Columbian national linked to drug lord Cesar Velez. When the case is threatened due to concern over the CI’s identity, Alex visits the squad room. She stares intently at Olivia as she heatedly tells the detectives that she needs the CI’s real name. During an interview with Zapata and his attorney, Alex lets it slip that she knows he killed Livia Sandoval because she mocked his performance in bed. Zapata jumps from the table and attempts to attack Alex as his attorney tries to hold him back.
This flippant remark sets in motion the demise of Alex Cabot. Elliot, Olivia, and Alex are met at the courthouse by DEA Agent Tim Donovan, the detectives’ CI. When he reveals that a credible threat has been made against Alex he and the detectives sit down with the ADA. As a recorded voice gives the location of Alex’s home, she immediately looks at Olivia (who is looking at her as well) before saying “That’s my address.” When leaving the courthouse, Olivia asks the question we have all been waiting for:
Olivia: Alex, why don’t you stay with me tonight? Until we figure this whole thing out.
[Alex looks at Olivia and they lock eyes before Alex answers]
Alex: No, it’ll be okay. But thanks.
As they start toward the car that Elliot is starting, a massive explosion throws them to the ground. Agent Donovan has been murdered by a car bomb. The next day, forensics link the bomb to Zapata. The squad gathers with Alex to discuss the challenges in continuing the investigation now that Agent Donovan is dead. Olivia pleads that the case is not worth the ADA losing her life:
Olivia: Alex! There’s no reason for you to die for this case!
Olivia sticks around after everyone agrees to move forward with the case against Zapata and watches Alex as the blonde enters Cragen’s office. After Alex is convinced by her boss that the Feds have a stronger case, Alex drops the state’s charges against Zapata. Federal marshals arrest Zapata for the murder of Agent Donovan and the squad celebrates in a bar after work. Alex and Olivia appear to be involved in a personal conversation as Cragen returns to the table. Slowly, Munch, Fin, and Cragen depart, leaving Elliot, Alex and Olivia to discuss the lack of justice for Livia Sandoval. As they walk up the steps to the sidewalk, Elliot asks Alex if she needs a ride. Just as she answers that she is close enough to walk, a black SUV rounds the corner and we hear three gun shots. Olivia and Elliot immediately hit the ground and when the shooting stops, Elliot takes off after the SUV. Olivia turns back to where Alex was standing and sees the blonde lying in a pool of blood. Crawling toward Alex, Olivia cries,“Alex! No no no no no nono!” Practically sitting atop an unresponsive Alex, Olivia tries with all her might to stop the flow of blood:
Olivia: Its okay, Alex. It’s okay. Stay with me. Look at me sweetheart. Stay with me,Alex. Alex. Alex.
The next scene shows the squad silent in their grief. Elliot holds a tabloid with the headline, “No Leads In Slain ADA” over a photo of Alex. Olivia looks like she hasn’t slept since the shooting. There is a haunted look in her eyes as she tries to remain stoic through her anguish. Cragen breaks the silence with news that Zapata was killed at Rikers. Olivia and Elliot have been asked to meet DEA Agent Jack Hammond, Donovan’s partner, to close out the case. Arriving at a secluded road, the detectives meet Hammond and a fleet of black vehicles. They are directed to an SUV and are shocked when an injured, but otherwise alive, Alex Cabot emerges. Alex apologizes as a stunned Olivia stares at her. Tears fill Olivia’s eyes and her voice breaks with emotion:
Olivia: Your funeral is tomorrow.
Hammond informs the detectives that Alex will be safer in the Witness Protection Program. Olivia steps closer and appears to reach her arm out to Alex who has begun to cry as well:
Olivia: How long?
Alex focuses on Olivia as they exchange an emotional gaze. Shrugging her shoulders in uncertainty, Alex remains silent. Every pained expression on Alex’s face is directed toward Olivia. This is not a couple of friendly co-workers saying goodbye. These women carry a deeply rooted love for each other. The final silent exchange between the two women is incredible. Olivia appears to be saying, “I love you and I’ll wait for you, no matter how long it takes,” while Alex responds with a teary nod, “I love you, too. I will come home again, I promise.” Alex is ushered back into the SUV and Olivia and Elliot watch as it drives off.
That is the last we see of Alex Cabot. No mention has been made of her since she left New York City. For the next few episodes, Olivia continues to appear worn and drawn, indicative of one suffering a personal loss. She tells the new ADA that she doesn’t have a boyfriend in “Serendipity,” and turns down an ex-boyfriend’s request for another try in “Escape.” In “Lowdown,” she deals with the murder of another ex-boyfriend, ADA Jeff York, and endures an HIV scare. Olivia has made no attempt to move on in her personal life. She is waiting for Alex to come home.
As an avid Alex/Olivia shipper, I have spent the last six weeks scouring episodes for moments of HoYay! between the two women, while drinking copiously and ignoring my lover. Incidences listed in the episodes above represent almost half of the total HoYay! moments I found. There is an undeniable connection between the two women that is not seen in any other SVU ship, except for possibly Fin and Munch. The strong, sensitive detective compliments the intelligent and snarky lawyer. Even the briefest interaction between the two characters can be seen as Hoyay! simply because of the chemistry they share. As I said at the beginning of this essay, if it looks like HoYay! and plays like HoYay!, then in my mind, it IS HoYay!
The law and Order:SVU Femslash Site Index
Between Bellvue and Rikers
The Crash Room
Cabenson's HoYay Hall of Fame
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