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What Happened to Emily VanCamp on Law & Order: SVU as Charlotte Truex?

Emily VanCamp in SVU Season 8, Episode 14 is a must-watch, featuring fellow guest star Cary Elwes. 

By Jessica White

Over two decades of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has led to countless captivating guest appearances, and few could forget Emily VanCamp's role in 2007.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursday, October 3 at 9/8c on NBC.

Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) have worked on dozens of cases during their esteemed tenure, but what they thought was just gruesome murder evolved into a dramatic family affair in this episode.

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Best known for her roles in Everwood, Revenge, and the Captain America films, here's what you need to know about VanCamp's SVU appearance. 

Emily VanCamp poses for promotional images for the television show "Brothers and Sisters" in 2007.

Who was Emily VanCamp in SVU?

VanCamp guest starred in Law & Order: SVU Season 8, Episode 14 ("Dependent") as the rebellious teen Charlotte Truex, who played a significant role in Benson and Stabler's not-what-it-seems case.

It all began as Sidney Truex, played by Cary Elwes, walked his young son, Tommy (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), home from a play date from which his estranged wife, Maura, had failed to pick the boy up.

The couple had recently separated, leading Tommy to beg Sidney to stay at the house. But as they arrived home, Sidney was struck over the head by an unknown assailant. Then a frightened Tommy discovered Maura unresponsive in bed and pushed the family's panic button.

When the police — and, soon after, Benson and Stabler — arrived on the scene, Sidney was rushed to the hospital and it turned out that Maura had been brutally assaulted and murdered. The soon-to-be-ex husband was a defense attorney for the mob, leading the squad to believe Maura might have been killed by a dissatisfied client. They also learned that the couple had a teenage daughter, Charlotte (VanCamp), who was staying with a friend the night of the murder.

Benson and Stabler visited the friend to notify Charlotte of her parents' status, only to discover that Charlotte lied and was actually with her older boyfriend, Ryan (Justin Klosky).

After arriving at Ryan's apartment to inform Charlotte of her mother's death and father's hospitalization, Benson and Stabler learned from him the victims opposed the relationship because Ryan was 19 and Charlotte was still 16. Both believed that Maura had called the cops to scare them, but Stabler gently explained to Charlotte that her mother had died, her father was in the hospital, and they needed to bring her to the station.

Actress Emily VanCamp arrives at MOTO 9, Motorola's 9th Anniversary party in 2007

How did Emily VanCamp's character become the lead suspect Law & Order: SVU Season 8, Episode 14?

Detectives first looked askance at Charlotte when her brother Tommy (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) ran away from her at the police station.

Under questioning, Charlotte explained to the detectives that her family had a history of being harassed due to her father's career, and that her parent's separation was partially caused by an uptick in the incidents — for which her father hired a private investigator. That pointed detectives at a former client's son, but he was cleared by Sidney when he woke up.

Instead, Sidney recalled seeing Charlotte at the home, after he was hit on the head but before he lost consciousness. Charlotte denied being at home, claiming she'd gotten wasted at a party with friends and then gone to Ryan's place to sleep it off.

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The friends ultimately admitted the group had attended a "pharma party," where they dumped whatever pharmaceuticals they had into a bowl and consumed them at random. However, Charlotte and Ryan left before the party ended, leaving a gap in her timeline; Benson and Stabler suspected they two had gone to the Truex home to get more drugs from Charlotte's mom, who worked as a pharmaceutical rep.

The squad then searched the family home again and found that Maura's pharmaceutical samples had been raided and one of Charlotte's sneakers had her mother's blood on the sole. An unflushed basement toilet indicated that Ryan had been also there — and that he had been taking hallucinogens.  ​​​​​​

After bringing Charlotte back in for questioning, she maintained her innocence but, after seeing her bloody sneaker, she was distraught, realizing that she might have "actually killed her" mother and have no memory of the events. She then punched a mirror and slashed her wrists.

After being rushed to the hospital, Charlotte also admitted that her mother had been physically abusive. She was arrested and charged with Maura's murder.

Connie Nielsen as Detective Dani Beck, B.D. Wong as Doctor George Huang, and Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 8 Episode 3.

How did Emily VanCamp's Law & Order: SVU episode end?

Though Charlotte had no memory of the evening her mother died, the squad still had to account for Ryan's presence in the home that night.

Then Tommy correctly identified Ryan as the monster who'd hurt his father, and detectives went to question him. Ryan ran off.

After a pursuit, however, he collapsed and lost consciousness as soon as Stabler held him down to handcuff him. A confused Stabler performed CPR to revive him, but it was no use: Ryan was dead. After the autopsy revealed internal bleeding, Stabler was suspended, leaving Benson to uncover the whole truth alone.

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Benson and Sidney — who had recanted his statement that he saw his daughter at the home that night and was planning to defend her at trial — decided to give Charlotte a sodium amytol under the supervision of forensic psychiatrist George Huang (BD Wong) to trigger memories from the night of the murder.

While under the influence of the medication, Charlotte revealed that she and Ryan had gone to the home to get drugs and, high, she'd laid down in her bed. Ryan, she said, had then gotten into a fight with Maura and attacked her. Charlotte heard Maura screaming and eventually caught Ryan in the middle of the heinous act. But when Sidney and Tommy got home, Ryan attacked the father and the couple fled in a panic.

Though the story was not admissible in court, the D.A.'s office dropped the charges against Charlotte.

Stabler's innocence was also established after the medical examiner, Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) discovered that Stabler had given Ryan CPR, which had not been reported to her. She then learned that Ryan had a heart condition and was able to prove that he died from an arrhythmia due to the stress of the pursuit combined with his lack of treatment; the internal bleeding had been caused by the CPR.

Watch this (and any) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode on Peacock.