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Villains Wiki
Villains Wiki

There's beauty in everyone. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find it.
~ Robert Morten rationalizing his crimes.

Robert Morten is the main antagonist of the Law & Order SVU episode "Svengali". He is a celebrity serial killer responsible for the murders of eight women.

He was portrayed by Jared Harris, who also played Professor James Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mac McGrath in Mr. Deeds, David Robert Jones in Fringe and Axel Bellman in The Shadow in the North.


Morten was a psychopath who abducted, tortured, mutilated and killed eight women, believing that he was revealing their inner beauty and his actions were a form of art. When he was eventually caught, he didn't even bother denying his guilt, and was sentenced to life without parole. However, to the dismay of his prosecutors, Morten developed a large fanbase, which only grew when the comic Le Morte was published, portraying a scenario where Morten was never caught but instead carried on killing.

After several years, during which Morten spent his time reading waves of fan mail, he was contacted by Cecelia Strayer, the daughter of a former cellmate, who wanted to know more about her father, who had died in jail when she was a child. Morten convinced her to get an internship at the law firm which defended him, allowing her unrestricted access to him. During her visits, Morten seduced Cecelia, and they had sex in his cell on at least one occasion. However, Morten eventually broke up with her, claiming she didn't give him enough "blood and spatter", and telling her he would take her back if she killed someone, leading Cecelia to kill and mutilate her friend Tina Snow in order to impress Morten.

After realizing that her actions meant that Morten could get into further trouble for arranging Tina Snow's death, Cecelia arranged suicide, but was found and saved by the Special Victims Unit, who later discovered her connection to Morten and charged her with murder. Morten agreed to testify against Cecelia in return for immunity from prosecution for his involvement. In court, Morten admitted that he had ordered the death and provoking her by claiming that she was a poor artist. This caused Cecelia to break down and attempt to charge him, leading to a mistrial and Cecelia being ruled legally insane and institutionalized.

Following the trial, Morten was visited by ADA Casey Novak, and taunted her that she couldn't charge him due to the deal. Novak responded that Morten was "going where [he] deserved", revealing that she had arranged for him to be transferred to ADX Florence, where he would be unable to communicate with his fans ever again and would only be able to leave his cell for an hour every day. She then told him that it was her "masterpiece", echoing Morten's insistence that his murders were works of art, before leaving Morten to process the news of his defeat.


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