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Girls are lucky. They can play with dolls. Boys aren't supposed to.
~ Terry Jessup while being interrogated.

Terry Jessup is the main antagonist of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Dolls". He is a serial killer who rapes and murders little girls who resemble the dolls left to him by his late, abusive mother.

He is portrayed by David Harbour, who also portrayed District Attorney Frank Scanlon in The Green Hornet and Gregg Beam in Quantum of Solace.

Biography

Early life

Jessup was raised by his mentally ill mother, who frequently beat him and threatened to castrate him because he was not born a girl. She was also often inappropriately sexual with him. She had a collection of dolls that she would sometimes let him play with, beating and burning him when she thought he failed at caring for them. Her abuse prevented him from growing up, resulting in him becoming a rage-filled pedophile who molested little girls who resembled his mother's dolls to relive the fantasy of caring for them.

As an adult, he got a job as a social worker so he could spend time with little girls from dysfunctional homes like the one he had grown up in. Whenever he encountered a child that reminded him of his mother's dolls, he would use his job as an excuse to take them away from their mothers and "play" with them by dressing them up as dolls to relive his childhood fantasy. Whenever the girls resisted, he would fly into a rage and rape and strangle them. By the time of the episode, he had murdered one little girl, Susie Marshall, and kidnapped another, Nina Tremaine.

"Dolls"

After Susie's body was found, the NYPD's Special Victims Unit began looking for her killer, assisted by Nina's mother, Violet. Eventually, they got a clue from one of Violet's fellow Narcotics Anonymous members, who gave them a police sketch of the man who had taken Nina.

SVU Detectives Olivia Benson and Fin Tutuola take the sketch to the social workers who had interacted with Violet, who say that it reminds them of Jessup, whom they had dealt with after he had been taken away from his mother. They then follow him to the seller that he buys his dolls from, and arrest him.

During their interrogation, Benson and Tutuola empathize with Jessup in order to get him to tell them where he hid Nina, but he refuses. It is only when Violet talks with him directly about how much she loves Nina that Jessup finally reveals her location, allowing the SVU detectives to rescue her. Jessup is then imprisoned for murder, kidnapping, and child sexual abuse.

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