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They were all called "Mama".
~ Emma about her victims.

Emma Spevak is the main antagonist of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Bound". She is a serial killer of elderly women who remind her of her abusive mother.

She was portrayed by Jane Krakowski, who also voiced Helga Willoughbey in The Willoughbeys.

Biography

Past

Emma was born three minutes after her twin brother Matt, and "has been following in his footsteps ever since"; their mother, Margaret, openly favored Matt, while treating her like a servant. While Matt was studying to become a doctor, Emma was forced to stay behind and wait hand and foot on Margaret, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Margaret spent all her money paying for Matt's education, leaving Emma to put herself through nursing school. Emma hated her mother and her brother, but was bound to them emotionally, especially Matt, who made her work for him in his practice, which consisted mostly of elderly women.

In 1997, Emma murdered Margaret by injecting an air embolism into her neck, making her death look like a stroke. She then began compulsively murdering elderly women, believing she was "freeing" their adult children from having to care for them. By the time of "Bound", she had murdered dozens of old women.

"Bound"

Special Victims Unit detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler begin investigating Matt's practice when three of his patients are murdered, all of them strangled with a rope. They dig into his financial records and find he is drowning in gambling debts, and that all three victims had named him in their wills. They speculate that Matt killed them in order to inherit their money and pay off the loan sharks he is indebted to. When they respond to a 9-11 call from Matt's office, however, they find Matt dead, having apparently been shot by an intended victim who had then died of a panic-induced stroke; they also find Emma with rope burns on her neck, claiming that Matt had tried to kill her.

When medical examiner Melinda Warner performs an autopsy on Matt's supposed murderer, however, she finds that she had died of an air embolism in her brain. Since Matt died before the woman, he could not have done it, leaving Emma as the only person in the room with the medical training necessary to kill with an air embolism; the angle of the rope burns on the victims' necks, meanwhile, suggest that the killer was Emma's height. Benson and Stabler come to suspect that Emma killed all of the victims, and strangled herself to make it look like Matt had attacked her. FBI psychiatrist George Huang theorizes that Emma views her victims as surrogates for her mother, and advises Benson and Stabler to elicit a confession from her by re-enacting the sibling rivalry that she had with her brother.

Benson invites Emma to the squad room on the pretense of apologizing for getting her involved in the investigation. Stabler plays the part of a misogynist bully, calling Emma "pathetic" for working for her brother and belittling Benson, and all other women, as "weak and stupid". Benson pretends to be powerless in the face of his abuse, arousing Emma's sympathy; she tells Benson that her mother bullied her in a similar way while giving Matt whatever he wanted. Benson commiserates about her own abusive, deceased mother, and says that she felt free for the first time in her life after her mother died. Wanting a sympathetic ear above all else, Emma confesses to killing her mother, Matt, and dozens of elderly women. When Benson asks her if she remembers her victims' names, Emma replies, "They were all called "Mama"."

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