‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Did Not Like Stabler’s ‘Below the Belt’ Comment To Sonya

by Suzanne Halliburton
Bobby Bank/WireImage

Law & Order: SVU fans have very long memories, especially when episodes are so easy to watch these days.

And the most avid viewers are pointing out that Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) didn’t particularly like executive assistant district attorney Sonya Paxton, Jack McCoy’s chief deputy. Christine Lahti portrayed Sonya, the ADA assigned to the special victims unit, for seven episodes from 2009-11. She and Meloni both left Law & Order: SVU in 2011.

There’s a whole Reddit thread discussing Stabler’s behavior towards Sonya. Some of the language used can’t be repeated in polite company under the category “Stabler was being a d—.”

First, let’s provide a few Law & Order: SVU details for this Sonya-Stabler story. Sonya never liked Stabler, who can be very arrogant. (He still is, just check some of his current behavior on Law & Order: Organized Crime). But Sonya also was an alcoholic. She had a major screw-up in court, presenting a video that a judge ruled wasn’t allowed. So she headed to a bar to drink away her anxiety. At the same time, she wanted to prep the next day’s testimony with Stabler and Benson (Mariska Hargitay). But since she was drinking, both Stabler and Benson got up and left.

Christine Lahti (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

In Her Final Case with Law & Order: SVU, Sonya Busted the Killer with Her Bite

Sonya showed up late for court the next day and appeared drunk. The judge ordered Benson to give her a breathalyzer. And then she was ordered to go rehab to keep her job. After she got out of treatment, another judge accused her of being drunk after she tripped. All the while, Stabler made cracks about her drinking.

“I cringed when he got mad at Sonya and told her, “go have a drink,” a Law & Order: SVU fan wrote on Reddit. “She’s a recovering alcoholic. I get Sonya was yelling but Stabler didn’t have to say that. Below the belt much?”

Her final trial for Law & Order: SVU involved a cold case, one she worked on as a young ADA. It involved the sister of a noted TV journalist (played by Debra Messing). The sister was killed in the 1980s, but the cops never caught her killer. As Sonya restarts the investigation, someone began stalking her. Sonya felt so much stress that she wanted to drink again. Instead, she went to an AA meeting where she was assaulted by the killer. Sonya was a smart DA even as she was dying. She bit the killer in order to get his DNA on her body. She died in Benson’s arms. Her last words to Benson and Fin (Ice-T) were that she got the killer.

So, you can see why Law & Order: SVU fans viewed her as a sympathetic figure, especially when Stabler took his digs.

Lahti has stayed busy since leaving Law & Order: SVU. She had recurring roles on The Blacklist and Hawaii Five-O and now is in the cast of Evil on Paramount+. She often plays very smart women, from doctors to lawyers. On Evil, she plays a sexy older woman who may be having an affair with a demon. What would Stabler think?