Olivia Benson was sitting at her desk working on one of the interminable reports that are a necessary part of detective work. She looked over at her partner, Elliot Stabler, who was apparently reading the sports section of the Times. "I miss Alex," she said for no particular reason.

Elliot looked at her over his paper. "Why?" he asked.

Olivia stared at him. "Why? You've dealt with Miz broomstick-up-her-butt Novak and you want to know why I miss Alex? Don't you remember how she always went to bat for us with her superiors? Why, she even got thrown in jail on a case for us!"

"I remember you didn't like her at first," Elliot answered.

"I always liked her."

"No, you didn't."

Olivia sniffed. "You lie."

"Hey, were you and Alex, you know, together?" Elliot asked suddenly.

"Together? What do you mean, together?" Olivia asked.

"Were you sleeping with her?"

Olivia feigned ignorance. "What would give you an idea like that?"

"Oh, maybe the fact that you drooled every time she walked in the room."

"I do not drool."

"Yes, you do."

"We are not having this conversation, Elliot."

Elliot shrugged. "If you weren't, you should have been."


"Because you need someone."

"What do I need someone for?" Olivia wanted to know.

"Well, when I go home at night I want someone there to bring me my bunny slippers. Don't you?"

"I don't have bunny slippers."

"Metaphorically speaking, then."

"I'm fine the way I am."

Just then ADA Casey Novak walked in. As usual, she was wearing a shade of lipstick that clashed horribly with her red hair.

"She needs to be taught about colours," Olivia muttered to no one.

"Hi Olivia, Elliot!" Casey said cheerfully.

Elliot smiled and waved a hand at her, then went back to his newspaper. Olivia ignored her, trying to concentrate on her report.

"I said hi, Olivia."

Olivia looked up and accidentally-on-purpose knocked over her cup of coffee. Some of the coffee spilled on to Casey's trousers. "Hey!" she exclaimed.

"Oh, sorry," Olivia said insincerely.

"That coffee could have burned me, you know," Casey told Olivia.

"Don't get your panties in a twist. It was cold. By the way, has anyone ever told you that shade of lipstick looks terrible on you?"

"Yeah, well, so what if it does?" Casey sputtered.

Olivia rolled her eyes. "Lady, someone needs to teach you a few things. First of all, no one is going to take you seriously if you don't even know how to wear makeup. Secondly, answering someone with 'yeah, well, so what' isn't going to win you any court cases. I wish you had known Alex. You could have learned a lot from her."

Casey leaned on Olivia's desk and stared directly into her eyes. "I want you to get something straight, here. Both of you. I am not Alex. I will never be Alex. Alex is gone. Alex is not coming back. You're stuck with me. Get used to it."

Olivia jumped up. "No, you're not Alex," she said. "Alex was ten times the ADA that you are or ever will be."

Dr. Huang had come in while this confrontation was going on. He stared at the two women engaging in a classic cat fight. "Anyone ever told you two you have aggression issues?" he asked.

Olivia and Casey both turned to him and said at the same time, "Butt out."

Huang retreated to the safety of Munch's desk. "Hey John, how are you?" he asked.

"Don't ask me that," Munch answered.

"Why not?"

"Because you're a shrink. Anything I say, you'll interpret to mean something dark and twisted."

Fin interrupted. "You are dark and twisted. Anyone can see that. No interpretation required."

Huang laughed nervously. "John, you're so cynical. How did you get that way?"

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it," Munch quoted.

"Who said that?" Huang asked.

"I did," Munch answered.

"I mean, who are you quoting?" Huang corrected.

"George Bernard Shaw. A great man."

Fin interrupted again. "John, I think we should step in over there," he said, indicating Olivia and Casey.

"Oh, but they're so much fun to watch! Better than mud wrestling on the Playboy channel!"

Huang and Fin both stared at him. "You watch the Playboy channel?" Fin asked.

"Is there anything wrong with that?"

"Not if it doesn't get in the way of a healthy sex life," Huang responded.

"Nothing this man does could be considered healthy," Fin told the psychologist.

"Does your partner always talk about you this way?" Huang asked Munch.

"Sure he does. It's his way of showing how much he loves me."

Huang was beginning to wonder if he'd stepped into the Twilight Zone.

Finally, Cragen stepped out of his office and saw the two women fighting. He got between them and pushed them apart. "This stops now," he said. "Apologize to each other. That's an order."

"I don't take orders from you," Casey protested.

Cragen gave her one of his patented stares, guaranteed to reduce a perp to a quivering mass of Jell-o in seconds flat. "Apologize. That means both of you."

"I'm sorry, Olivia," Casey answered meekly.

"I'm sorry too," Olivia said.

Seeing that Huang was there, Cragen had an idea. He pulled the doctor over. "I want you two" —  he indicated Olivia and Casey — "to sit down with Huang, here, and air out your differences."

The two women reluctantly accompanied Huang to an interrogation room.

"Now, how did this start?" he asked.

"She attacked me," Casey said.

"Olivia, is that true?"


"You threw your cup of coffee at me!"

"That was an accident!"

"Please, Detective Benson, Ms. Novak, don't start fighting again. Detective Benson, did you or did you not throw your coffee at Ms. Novak?"

"I spilled it. By accident."

"Could you have been subconsciously trying to show your hostilities toward Ms. Novak by 'accidentally' spilling the coffee on her?"

"Maybe," Olivia admitted. "But she's the one with the ugly lipstick."

"All I did was say hi to Olivia," Casey protested.

"You got in my face. You don't belong in my face," Olivia snarled.

"Ms. Novak, why did you get in Detective Benson's face?"

"Because I said hi to her, and she ignored me."

"Is that true, detective?"

"Yes," Olivia admitted.

"Why didn't you answer Ms. Novak when she said hi to you?"

"Because I was trying to pretend she wasn't there."

"Why were you doing that?"

"Because she's not Alex, and I want Alex back. So I pretend that Alex isn't gone."

"You're referring to ADA Alex Cabot?" Huang asked.


"And she died most tragically in a mob hit," Huang stated. "That must have been traumatic for you and Detective Stabler."

"Yes," Olivia said, though she knew Alex was not actually dead, but was in witness protection.

"And you are taking out your feelings about her death on ADA Novak."

"I'm just calling things the way I see them," Olivia told him. "She's not nearly as good as Alex was."

Casey turned to look directly at Olivia. "Could you tell me what made her so good?" she asked. "Maybe I could learn from you, since I can't from her, how to be better at my job." She smiled slightly. "Maybe then I won't annoy you so much."

"Is that all right with you, Detective Benson?" Huang asked.

"I guess," Olivia said grudgingly.

"Good," Huang said with a smile. "Then we're done here." He left the interrogation room.

"You really want me to tell you about Alex?" Olivia asked Casey.

"Yes. I want to be good at this job, and from what you and the other SVU detectives have said, Alex was the best. Teach me how to be more like her."

"You'll never replace her, you know."

Casey sighed. "Maybe not. But I can still be good, can't I?"

"I guess," Olivia said with reluctance. "But first, you have to do something about that lipstick."