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I've been cutting meat all my life. I'm a butcher's daughter. I do what I gotta do to protect what's mine!
~ Rosa Doletti rationalizing the murder she committed.

Rosa Doletti is the main antagonist of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Beef". She is the owner of a meat packing plant who murders a journalist to keep her from exposing the plant's unethical business practices.

She was portrayed by the late Lynn Cohen.

Biography

Early life

Born Rosa Reilly, she inherited a meat-packing business, Donna Rosa Meats, from her father and changed her last name to Doletti because she believed that people were more likely to buy food they thought came from Italian family recipes. She gave birth to a son, John, but had no interest in being a mother, and so gave him to her sister to raise using the original family name. She reluctantly gave John a job at her plant as the plant's general manager, but had little to do with him, not even publicly claiming him as her child.

Doletti was a shrewd, greedy businesswoman, and cut corners to save money. As a result, sanitary conditions at the plant were appalling, with contaminated meat, filthy work stations, and inhumane feeding and killing practices. Investigative journalist Laura Santiago went undercover as a new employee to write an exposé article on the plant's conditions. When John discovered who she really was, he told his mother, who attacked Santiago in her apartment. Doletti ordered her son to kill her, but when he couldn't bring himself to do it, Doletti committed the murder herself, slitting Santiago's throat with a meat cleaver.

Doletti then planted the semen of one of her workers, Jose Vargas, on Santiago's body to make it look like he raped and murdered her. She had obtained the semen from Vargas' wife Vanessa by writing her a letter claiming to be his lover and wanting to frame him as revenge for cheating on her.

"Beef"

Upon discovering Santiago's true identity, Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler of the NYPD's Special Victims Unit start investigating the meat processing plant, eventually interrogating Vargas after finding out he was fired for sexually harassing female coworkers. Vanessa tells them she saw blood on his pants the night of the murder, and about giving his semen to the woman she believed to be his lover. They arrest her for obstruction of justice, and let Vargas go.

Benson goes undercover as a Russian immigrant at the meat packing plant to flush out the killer. After witnessing the plant's working conditions. she searches John's office for more evidence. John catches her, however, and attacks her; Benson and Stabler then arrest him. John pleads his innocence at first, but when Doletti shows up at the SVU precinct, he abruptly confesses to killing Santiago. Convinced that there is something else going on, Benson goes over the video footage that Santiago had recorded of the plant, and sees John hitting her with his left hand. This means he could not have killed her, as forensic evidence proves that the murderer was right-handed. After discovering John's relationship to Doletti, Benson realizes that Doletti committed the murder, and that John made his false confession to protect her.

Benson and Sergeant John Munch go to Doletti's house, where she is cooking dinner for a family get-together. Benson accuses her of murdering Santiago because athe article would have ruined her business. Doletti blames her son for being "too weak" to kill Santiago himself, and claims that she was merely doing what she had to do to protect her business. She then grabs a butcher knife and menaces Benson and Munch with it, but they warn her she will be taking her life in her hands if she attacks them. Defeated, she puts the knife down, and Benson and Munch arrest her for murder.

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