Law & Order

How Alex Cabot Seemingly Died and Then Came Back to Life on SVU

In the early seasons of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, there was no prosecutor more tenacious and passionate than ADA Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March).

While ADA Abbie Carmichael (Angie Harmon) was fierce but careful not to get the squad in trouble with higher-ups, Cabot was always looking for ways to push the boundaries in order to make her case. Just like Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), she took a personal interest in seeing justice served, and the two women became fast friends.

However, in their lines of work things get very dangerous, very quickly. Here’s what happened to Alex.

The series of twists that lead to Cabot’s “death” on SVU

Season 5, Episode 4, “Loss,” is full of twists, even by SVU standards. Benson and Stabler (Chris Meloni) investigate the rape and murder of a woman who at first glance seems to be a sex worker or drug dealer. However, they find that she was an officer with the DEA and was working undercover at the time of her death. DEA agents warn Benson and Stabler not to pursue the case, as the victim was likely murdered by a very powerful and dangerous Colombian drug cartel. But with the help of Det. Tutuola (Ice T), they find enough evidence to charge the leader of the cartel, Rafael Zapata (Jacinto Taras Riddick).

Knowing that the murdered cop was likely killed because she talked about Zapata’s poor sexual performance, Cabot baits the criminal to his face, hoping a potential bruise to his reputation might make him think about taking a plea deal. But her gambit backfires, and she is squarely in Zapata’s crosshairs. Thanks to his high-priced lawyer and his influence, Zapata is able to silence witnesses and dismiss evidence, and Cabot asks the judge to dismiss the charges against him, hoping the DEA will still be able to make a case. Before that can happen, the DEA receives a tip that Cabot’s life, and her mother’s, may be in danger, as the cartel has both of their addresses.


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Exiting the precinct, Cabot agrees to get a ride home with Olivia, rather than getting into the squad car that was supposed to keep her safe. When that car explodes, it kills a DEA agent, and Cabot knows she’s been marked for death as well.

Later in the episode, Cabot, Stabler and Benson commiserate about their job over drinks. On the sidewalk outside the bar, an unknown assailant in a black car shoots Cabot, seemingly hitting her in the shoulder, and she appears to die of her injuries while Benson tries to stop the bleeding. Her death makes the paper and rattles the squad.

The final twist: Cabot is alive

Alexandra Cabot on Law And Order Svu Episode 504


At the end of the episode, U.S. Marshals summon Benson and Stabler to an empty, out-of-the-way field where they see Cabot, harmed but alive.

She tells a tearful Olivia that she is going into witness protection until Zapata is no longer a threat, and the two women hug knowing it could be years before they see one another again. It’s not clear whether Cabot staged the shooting as a pretense for her death, or whether it was a real attack that she used as an opportunity to set the witness protection plan into motion. Either way, fans were sorry to see her go… though she did return in later seasons! It’s almost as if the twists never end.


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