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Stefan Tanzic, also known as Steven Panachek, is the unseen, posthumous antagonist of "Payback", the series premiere episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He is a Serbian war criminal, serial rapist, and mass murderer who is castrated and murdered by two of his former victims.

Biography

An officer in the Serbian Army during the Bosnian War, Tanzic commanded an ethnic cleansing unit in which he raped, tortured, and murdered hundreds of women. He was known for his sadism, even blinding one of his victims, Ileana Jashari, while raping her. He was especially brutal with his former neighbor Marta Stevens, raping her repeatedly over a period of weeks, at one point penetrating her with the firing end of his rifle and various other objects.

After the war, he was charged with crimes against humanity, and fled to the United States under another name, Stephen Green. He got a job as a cab driver, married, and fathered a son, with his family having no idea of the crimes he committed in Serbia.

One night, one of his victims, Anya Ragova, got in his cab by coincidence, and recognized him immediately as the man who raped her and killed her husband and grandson. Ragova told Stevens, an old friend of hers, and the two of them stalked Tanzic until they got into his cab, castrated him, and stabbed him to death.

While investigating the case, Special Victims Unit detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson learn about Tanzic's past, and interview Ragova and Stevens, who both deny knowing anything about his death. After investigating further, however, they discover conclusive evidence of their guilt. Ragova commits suicide when they arrive at her restaurant to arrest her, while Stevens confesses and is sentenced to eighteen months in a psychiatric facility.

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