Law & Order: SVU has delivered no shortage of surprises throughout its 23 seasons. But some are more memorable than others, and not necessarily for the best reasons. Fans were beyond shocked at a Season 14 moment that revealed a popular character to be a murderer.
Remember FBI Agent Dana Lewis? It’s crazy to think that the last we saw of the Marcia Gay Harden character was all the way back in 2013. It’s even harder to believe that Lewis only popped up in four episodes of Law & Order: SVU from 2005 to 2013. Harden made the most of her brief time on the show, leaving a strong impression on fans.
Perhaps fans responded so well to the Dana Lewis character because of her relationship with Benson (Mariska Hargitay). The two got along famously, and Lewis offset Chris Meloni’s Elliot Stabler quite nicely (yes, he was still on the show for three of her four episodes).
The one episode Stabler wasn’t present for, though? It was quite a doozy. In 2013, Law & Order: SVU aired an episode titled “Secrets Exhumed.” And as the title suggests, our good friend FBI Agent Dana Lewis had been keeping a few secrets. By the end of the episode, she was our good friend no more.
Deep, Dark Secrets Exhumed on ‘Law & Order: SVU’
In the longstanding tradition of Law & Order: SVU, the Dana Lewis plot twist was based on an actual murder from 1986. A detective murdered her ex-boyfriend’s wife, playing the crime off like a burglary gone wrong. It wasn’t until years later that anyone had a clue. Such was the case with FBI Agent Dana Lewis.
The Marcia Gay Harden character slips up when she denies a connection to a murder victim that didn’t need to be covered up unless she was hiding something. Amaro (Danny Pino), ever the capable detective, picks up on Lewis’ withholding and presses her further.
Unfortunately for Pino, and thankfully for Lewis, Benson doesn’t buy that the FBI agent is guilty. But as the episode progresses, it gradually becomes clear that Lewis had to be guilty. Finally, she admits to the murder from the beginning of her career, leaving fans stunned.
Some who recently undertook the monumental task of watching back through Law & Order: SVU shared their disappointment on Reddit.
“I just watched Secrets Exhumed, and that was NOT okay to ruin Dana Lewis that way. She was a great character, and I always enjoyed her stints on the show. I am so disappointed right now…,” Str8_OuttaThemyscira wrote.
Others added that the show didn’t give any indication that the Dana Lewis character could have been a murderer. Though, it seems the twist being based on an actual crime justified it in the eyes of some.