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Arthur Pruitt is a recurring antagonist in the Law & Order franchise; he is the unseen main antagonist of the 1994 Law & Order episode "Mayhem", and the main antagonist of the 2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit two-part episode "Entitled". He is a misogynist serial killer who murders couples in "lovers lanes" because he is jealous that they enjoy the sexual pleasure that he cannot have. He is loosely based upon the infamous serial killer David Berkowitz, also known as the the "Son of Sam".
He was portrayed by Sean Cullen.
In "Mayhem", police psychiatrist Elizabeth Olivet profiles the then-unidentified killer as a sexually frustrated loner with poor social skills who broods over a long list of slights and injustices he believes he has been subjected to. She theorizes that he targets couples because he envies and resents them for experiencing the pleasure and closeness denied him. She also believes that the female partners are his true targets; his female victims serve as surrogates for the women who have rejected him in the past.
In "Entitled", Pruitt says that he spared the woman in his first attack out of old-fashioned chivalry, as he considers himself a "gentleman of the old school".
In 1994 in Queens, New York City, Pruitt attacked a couple who were making out in their car, and shot and killed the man. He then moved to Manhattan, where he killed Ken Scofield, a fashion model, while he was about to have sex in his car with Jill Templeton, a magazine editor, who witnessed the murder and fled the scene. Detectives Lennie Briscoe and Mike Logan investigated the case and, based on Jill's description, they believed a florist employee named Scott Hexter was the culprit, consequently arresting him. Hexter was later cleared of the murders, but was killed in prison before he could be released. The police still didn't suspect Pruitt's involvement.
Pruitt later committed two more murders before turning to con schemes, being subsequently arrested inside an Indian bingo casino on charges of check kiting, forgery, mail and credit card fraud, and weapons possession. He was sent to Lompoc Prison, where he befriended mob hitman Cesar Ordoniez, to whom he confessed his murders. They were both eventually released.
When Stephanie Mulroney killed her former fiancée, Dean Woodruff, her wealthy mother Regina contacted Gus Iacone, a gangster and employer of Ordoniez, contracting him to help clean up the mess. On Iacone's orders, Cesar staged the crime scene to appear as if Pruitt killed Woodruff and Stephanie witnessed it. He later killed another man named Stanley Brecker, who owed the mob, with the help of a call-girl named Helen Katish, again mimicking Pruitt's modus operandi. Police eventually arrested Pruitt, who at the time resided in a Chinatown flophouse, and three witnesses (Jill Templeton, Stephanie Mulroney and Helen Katish) identified him as Woodruff and Brecker's murderer. He confessed to killing Woodruff but not the other victims, in an attempt to avoid the death penalty. He was then presumably imprisoned for life.