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One move, lights out.
~ Lewis, threatening Benson.

William Lewis (born Lewis Williams) is a serial rapist, kidnapper, and sadist appearing in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”. He is the main antagonist in the episodes Her Negotiation, Surrender BensonPsycho/Therapist, and Beast's Obsession. He was famous on SVU for being the archenemy of then-Sergeant Olivia Benson.

He was portrayed by Pablo Schreiber.


Not much of his early life is unknown. However, after an extensive search using alternate names, the SVU was able to get a basic picture of his past. He was apparently born in Kentucky (under the original name "Lewis Williams"). He claims that, when he was eight years old, his father's girlfriend performed oral sex on him, and when his father caught her he raped her right in front of his son. He would later describe the incident as the best day of his life, and the moment that he knew what he had been put on Earth to do: to rape, terrorize and kill as many people as possible.

In 2000, he abducted and raped the mother of his girlfriend when she tried to break them up. He offered her a ride in the Circle K parking lot, stopped at a hardware store, purchased duct tape, rope and a soldering iron, and finally stopped at a liquor store to pick up some alcohol. After that he tied her up and force fed her alcohol and drugs and then found an abandoned mobile home in the woods where he raped her and left her. A hunter found her days later. However he got lucky, because the mother was also a junkie and thus the DA was unwilling to put her on the stand to testify, so the charges were dropped.

Lewis mockingly told SVU that he was from "all over", listing off Texas, Florida, and Delaware before he came to New York, using the thin explanation that he was from a military family. While this was primarily a lie to hide his past (while taunting the SVU about his lack of past ID or records), there is apparently a kernel of truth that after his initial sexual assault in Kentucky, he proceeded to travel from state to state committing various acts of rape and sexual torture, then moving again to stay one step ahead of the police.

After Kentucky, Williams next appeared in records from Alabama, where he was the suspect in a kidnap/rape/torture of a pair of roommates. Williams broke into their apartment, put them in the truck of their own car, drove them to a fishing cabin and raped and tortured them for three straight days and leaves them there tied up and they eventually escape. Again, Williams managed to slip through the system, because both victims were too traumatized to testify in open court, so the lawyer got him off. Worse, his name was misspelled on the paperwork as "Louis Williams", so the record didn't follow him. Moreover, this gave Williams the idea of using aliases which were intentionally similar-sounding, to confuse police records which mistook it for simple spelling mistakes.

From facing repeated court appearances for rape charges, Williams became increasingly adept at manipulating points of court procedure - i.e. even while bragging to the SVU about how he raped, branded, and tortured an elderly woman for eighteen hours, he was still clever enough to phrase his entire boast as a hypothetical statement ("if I were to have raped her, I'd have branded her with a coat hanger" etc.) meaning it wasn't admissible in court as an actual confession.

Indeed, Williams seemed to actually be gloating not so much about the rape he had committed, but about the fact that he could describe the entire rape but get away with it so long as he used the hypothetical word "if". If Williams spots a break, he catches it, and slips around the police and courts. Moreover, Williams managed to get the charges dropped in Alabama because he charmed and ultimately seduced his own female defense attorney, who even went so far as to post his bail and even support him financially (because he was unemployed).

After Alabama, Williams next appeared three years later in Maryland, where his name was further misspelled as "William Lucas", and he went to trial for the murder/rape of his then girlfriend - his own former defense attorney from Alabama. She may have been attempting to break off their relationship, which is why he raped and killed her. He took her to a foreclosed house where he rapes her for two days and leaves her to die. The police had him dead to rights – DNA, witnesses. His new lawyer gets them to offer a plea of second degree murder and he turns it down and as a result the new attorney does her due diligence and finds another boyfriend of the victim and creates reasonable doubt. Lewis walks and the DNA is expunged again.

Arrival in New York and Acquittal

In New York, Lewis Williams began his attacks by flashing women in the park. He managed to slip away from these charges with various lies (given that the charge of indecent exposure is only a misdemeanor anyway), only to later rape a 60-year-old woman who had filed the complaint for eighteen hours straight.

Williams was able to worm out of his most recent charges by yet again adeptly manipulating the legal system. First, and more by blind luck, the DNA evidence from his assault in New York was mishandled when it was tested in improperly cleaned equipment, which Williams and his attorney seized upon as reason to deem it unacceptable in court. Next, his attorney pointed out that the elderly woman he raped and tortured was so traumatized that she might not accurately remember the face of her attacker, creating plausible deniability.

Arguably, William's initial flashing incident may have been a calculated, pre-planned tactic. Williams is very capable of manipulating the legal system, particularly points of plausible deniability, and his greatest pleasure isn't simply to commit acts of sexual torture, but to get away with it. One of the defenses Williams used at his trial was that his rape victim was obsessed with him, and thus was either targeting false charges against him, or was so traumatized that she became honestly confused and mixed up her attackers face with his own in her memories.

This created enough of a "plausible deniability" scenario that Williams was able to go free - but it never would have worked if he had simply raped a random stranger he had never met. Thus the full pattern of Williams' attacks is actually pre-planned, well thought out, and ruthlessly calculating: every time he moves to a new state he harasses women with sexually provocative but relatively minor offenses (exposing himself is a misdemeanor at worst), then subsequently kidnaps them, sexually assaults and tortures them - to such an extent that he can claim that a severely traumatized victim might plausibly blame him simply because they were the target of his "allegedly unrelated" previous harassment.

New York Rampage

Lewis' vicious attacks would come to a head when he breaks into Detective Olivia Benson's apartment, holds her at gunpoint when she arrives home, and has her bound and gagged. For the next several hours, Lewis would torture and humiliate Benson, forcing her to inject sleeping pills and vodka while burning her with cigarettes and heated keys.

Lewis then returns to his halfway house, intimidates his old roommate into handing over his car keys, and steals his car, picking up his most recent defense attorney to have dinner at her parents', the Mayers, house while Benson is still bound and gagged in the trunk. Afterwards, Lewis drops off his lawyer at the train station and returns to her parents' home, where he viciously attacks her father, binds and gags him with duct tape and leaves him to die of a heart attack in cold blood and rapes and tortures her mother with Benson being forced to watch, escalating her torture if she ever shut her eyes from the carnage.

Leaving Mrs. Mayer bound in her closet, Lewis steals her credit card and car and drives around the coast with Benson still captive, looking for a suitable house to slowly rape, torture, and murder her. While in route, Lewis stops by a hardware store and, using the Mayers' stolen credit card, buys rope, duck-tape, wire, and a handheld blowtorch for his impending torture of Benson. Killing a police officer who pulled him over for running a blinking red light, Lewis takes his gun and badge and steals his patrol car, using it to pull over a young woman and her infant child, pistol-whipping her and locking them both in the trunk of the police vehicle, taking their minivan with Olivia in tow.

Finally finding a seemingly vacant house that Lewis deems perfect for his sick plans and intentions, he violently throws Benson on the bed and chains her up with handcuffs after "helping" her go to the bathroom. Ditching the stolen minivan in front of another house to throw off any potential suspicions, Lewis returns and prepares to cut Benson's clothes off until the maid of the family who live in the house arrives with her young daughter.

While initially eager to chase the maid away, Lewis changes his mind when he looks at her five year old daughter and abducts them, preparing to rape, torture, and murder both as well. While preparing to do so, Benson taunts Lewis with how pathetic he must be to prey on old women and children, believing that he isn't "man enough to get it up" for a real woman. As Lewis is enraged at the detective's claims, Benson adds insult to injury by telling the sadist that she thinks he's afraid of her.

Intent to prove her wrong, Lewis unbuckles his pants, but at that moment, Benson breaks off the iron post of the bed that she was cuffed to, and smashes it into Lewis' face with all her might, breaking his nose and violently pushing him against the wall. Immediately, Lewis attempts to grab his gun from the adjacent night table, but Benson smashes his arm with the post and kicks him in the groan. As Lewis whimpers in pain, Benson grabs the gun and holds it to his face, using the same threat he previously gave her if he tries to attack her and uses it to knock him out.

Taking the key to the cuffs that bound her, Benson frees herself and cuffs Lewis to the bed, the tables finally turned on the sadist, and releases the maid and her daughter afterwards. Returning to Lewis, who is still seemingly knocked out, Benson voices her disgust and hatred towards him and her desire to torture and kill him, before admitting that he might enjoy that too much. She then mentions her old partner, Elliot Stabler, and how she knew that he would break every bone in his body if he knew what Lewis had done to her and so many others.

Revealing himself to still be conscious, Lewis attempts to goad Benson into killing him, picking apart her life and relationship with her old partner. Disturbingly reading Benson's entire life and motivation like an open book, Lewis reveals the reason he rapes and tortures. His father would often bring him over to his babysitter's house to watch cartoons while he went into the back and had sex with her. One night, he passed out drunk and the babysitter began to have intercourse with Lewis, in which his father woke up, punched her hard in the face, and violently raped her with Lewis watching.

While Benson is disgusted as she initially believes that Lewis was trying to obtain some sympathy from her, Lewis reveals the contrary and that his father took him out for ice cream afterwards and that it was one of the best nights of his life; the night where he believed he learned the reason for why he was born. Realizing that Lewis doesn't have an ounce of remorse, redemption, or humanity within him, Benson points her gun at his face, barely resisting the temptation to kill him as Lewis encourages her to do so.

Refusing to kill even such a sick-minded individual, Benson tries to calm herself until Lewis comments "I knew it. You don't have the balls". Finally reaching her breaking point, Benson takes the bed post again firmly in her hands as Lewis looks on, visibly shaken. Benson then hits Lewis over and over again as he screams in agony, eventually beating him within an inch of his life. She finally calls the police and her squad, who arrive and take Lewis away, as Fin reveals to a shocked Benson that the rapist managed to survive his extensive wounds.

Over the following months, Detective Benson mentions that, though she is still shaken and angry, Lewis is locked up and can no longer hurt her.


In "Psycho/Therapist", Lewis goes on trial for Benson's attempted murder, kidnapping, rape, and assault. The jury acquits him on the attempted murder and rape charges but convicts on the kidnap and assault of a police officer charges. Four months later, he faked a seizure in prison. It is implied he is in a relationship with his DOC doctor after she holds his hand while he is on the stretcher, where he is shown smiling.

Beast's Obsession

William Lewis appears once again in "Beast's Obsession", having escaped from prison after having what appeared to be convulsions and a myocardial infarction. The cause of these afflictions were spiked pastries given to him by one of the jurors in Lewis' original trial. The juror, who delivered the jury's verdict of not guilty on the charges of murder and rape and guilty for kidnapping and assault of a police officer, had frequented Lewis' prison, believing Lewis to have been wrongly convicted. During one of her (the juror) visits to Lewis, she prepared an assortment of pastries, which, unbeknownst to Lewis, contained anxiety relieving prescription drugs used by her to quell her angst during her onstage mandolin performances.

Lewis was later discovered by his cellmate convulsing violently after falling from his bed. He was subsequently rushed to a nearby hospital where Janice Cole, one of the doctors employed there, attempted to stabilize him. However, doctors later pronounced him dead when attempts to resuscitate him failed. Soon after, he spontaneously "auto-resuscitated" in one of the doctors described as "The Lazarus Effect". It was at this time that, amidst the Monday morning mayhem, he managed to change into the attire of a hospital employee. Under the guise of a doctor, he absconded the hospital and began, or rather resumed, his manic killing spree. Also, before departing from the hospital he also raped one of the nurses, and hung her unconcious body in a storage closet. He also murdered a cop by snapping his neck and purloining his gun.

Once he evacuated the hospital, he continued his brutal mindgames with Sergeant Olivia Benson by calling her, saying: "I missed you, sunshine" before hanging up. Benson and the SVU, along with other law enforcement personnel, gathered at the police headquarters to discuss a prudent and appropriate course of action. However, their meeting was interrupted by Lieutenant Declan Murphy who forced Benson to (likely temporarily) cede her leadership position, much to her outspoken chagrin, to him for the remainder of the investigation, due to conflict of interest and bias. Lieutenant Murphy believed that due to her previous encounter with Lewis (when he assaulted and attempted to rape her), it would be impossible for her to conduct an impartial investigation. Lieutenant murphy designates agents Delano and Carlson to Benson as her security and protection personnel.

Later on during the investigation, Lewis, having fugitive status, invaded the Cole household, residence of one of the nurses who tried to resuscitate him after he began seizing. While there, he murdered Janice Cole, the mother, by shooting her in the face, molested the eldest daughter lauren and bound and gagged her in a closet, and abducted the youngest daughter Amelia. The detectives, an unfortunate step behind Lewis' heinous plots, arrive at the scene too late. They arrive and see the house has been ravaged, with torn upholstery and upturned furniture everywhere, and upon entering the kitchen, they see Janice Cole's remains. During the team's further search of the house, they uncover Janice's daughter, Lauren, in a closet, and rescue her. However, Lauren reveals to the detectives that he Lewis entrusted her with a message meant solely for Benson, and that Lewis abducted Amelia from the house. She requests to speak to Benson alone, for Lewis otherwise vowed to murder Amelia Cole.

At the hospital, Lauren is granted her wish of solitude with Benson when she confides in Benson the horrid details of her rape. In addition, she also delivers the message from Lewis to Benson: "Tell the truth, or the girl dies". While Lauren is perplexed by this, Benson understands what this means. When asked by lieutenant Murphy of the cryptic demand's meaning, she explains that she perjured herself during his trial. In court, she testified (under oath) that when she bludgeoned William Lewis with a steel rod, it was necessary to restrain him, as he had managed to get free from his handcuffs, and that such battery was necessary for self-defense. However, the bludgeoning actually occurred while William was still handcuffed and defenseless, and was therefore not necessary to subdue him. Lieutenant Murphy adamantly instructs Benson not to make the confession, under the impression that "it will feed the beast" and that he may still kill or molest Amelia. Soon after, at police headquarters, William Lewis calls them on the landline, and insists that he speak to Benson.

On the phone, he again asserts that she must make the confession soon or else he will kill Amelia, but now also adds that his previous defense attorney will also perish if his demands aren't met. Benson ruefully agrees to make the confession on public television under the condition that Amelia and the attorney remain alive. He agrees, but then violently shoves the attorney down a flight of stairs and beats him. His fate is unclear, but it is likely he survived due to the superficiality of his injuries. Meanwhile, the remainder of the SVU and law enforcement triangulate the location from where the call was made. They deduce the location to be Roosevelt island, which only has one exit route, and the detectives believe that by blocking the exits, they can corner him with no route of escape. However, they are again outfoxed by him when they evacuate a tram and find that the phone is there, but William Lewis has made off with Amelia, and left her backpack behind. This prompts Benson to make a televised confession where she describes her perjury. She declares that she assaulted William Lewis out of rage, rather than necessity, and states that her admission has been made without "coercion" and "by her own volition", despite the fact that neither statement is true.

She is later seen at Magna's bar drinking and wracked with angst about her admission, and accompanied by her two-person security convoy, Delano and Carlson. She confirms that she feels remorseful, and is dubious about William Lewis' vow to release Amelia as he had said and woefully expresses this while Delano and Carlson make small talk. Benson requests to go to the bathroom, and Delano escorts her to make sure the bathroom is "safe". Upon deeming it so, she gives Benson her requested privacy, but Benson uses it as an opportunity to contact Lewis who says that she can come rescue the girl. Her security personnel, distracted and taken with the bar's vigor, are unwitting of Benson as she flees the bar unnoticed. Outside, she uses her authority as a cop to "borrow" a civilian's car, much to his dismay. She then drives off to Lewis' presumed location.

She arrives in what appears to be a dusky junkyard, and demands that Lewis confront her. Lewis does so, surprising her from behind at a distance. He quickly draws his gun, and approaches Benson, disarming, removing her cell phone, and unstrapping her police vest. At gunpoint she is force into the car as Lewis drives the two of them off to Amelia's location.

Back at the police headquarters, Lt. Murphy is livid when he discovers that Delano and Carlson's laxity at the bar afforded Benson an opportunity to escape, and dismisses the two of them after a caustic spiel. He then asks Nick Amaro, Benson's partner, about what Benson is most likely doing. He responds by saying she has gone to confront Lewis. When the scene switches once more, we see Lewis directing Benson aggressively towards a deserted and decrepit factory, which is also the site used by him to hold Amelia hostage.

As they travel to the top, Lewis taunts her cruelly as they approach the uppermost floor. Lewis forces her to choose between letting herself be raped or having Amelia, who was bound by her wrists, be raped. Nobly, Benson volunteers, and Lewis begins to fondle and caress her, causing her great repulsion. When Benson repeatedly and understandingly refuses to submit to his sexual desires, he forces her to partake in a savage game of Russian Roulette with her. He loads a six-chambered revolver, puts the muzzle to his head, and fires, only to reveal a blank. He slides the gun to Olivia, forcing her to fire the gun at her head (five chambers remaining), with the threat that he will shoot her if she doesn't do it. Reluctantly, with an 80% chance of survival, she holds the gun, and fortunately reveals another blank. Lewis, becoming excited, puts the gun to his head, now with a 75% chance of survival (four chambers remaining), and fires, firing yet another blank.

Right before Benson takes her turn however, Lewis hears helicopters and realizes the police have located him, Amelia, and Benson. Remaining composed, he taunts the detectives, who are floors below them through his walkie-talkie and informs the SVU of their "game" and tells them they are half-way finished with three chambers left. Benson, uneasily takes the revolver once more (with a 66.6666% chance of not being killed) and fires, as another blank is used. Lewis then then informs the authorities that two chambers remain and remarks "You know how lucky I am". Without hesitation, and with a 50% chance of killing himself, he essentially flips a coin when pulls the trigger once more. Benson appears devastated when she sees that it was a blank. Both having realized that the only chamber remaining is the loaded one, Lewis tells Benson "Game over". Suddenly, after intimidating and psychologically tormenting her with the prospect of her death, he raises the gun to his head using his left hand and fired, killing himself in an attempt to frame Benson for his death. However, at Benson's grand jury hearing, Murphy reveals that he ordered Benson to admit perjury to lure Lewis out then delivers a stirring speech about Lewis' psychotic past. This affects the grand jury and they refuse to indict Benson, causing Lewis' actions to be in vain.

Known Victims

  • Possibly raped numerous unnamed women and children without being suspected by the authorities
  • 1998, Lexington, Kentucky: May Stu (abducted and raped)
  • 2003, Montgomery, Alabama: Unnamed pair of roommates (kidnapped, raped, and tortured)
  • 2010, Maryland: Unnamed Alabama lawyer/girlfriend (raped and murdered)
  • 2013: New York City, New York:
    • Astrid and Tilde (flashed only)
    • Alice Parker (raped and tortured at gunpoint; later dies of a heart attack due to the trauma)
    • Olivia Benson (kidnapped, tortured and attempted to rape)
    • Herb Mayer (bound and gagged; dies of a heart attack due to the trauma)
    • Liz Mayer (raped and tortured)
    • Jimmy Hamilton (shot once in the head)
    • Viva Nunez (abducted only)
    • Luisa Nunez (abducted only)
  • 2014: New York City, New York:
    • Unnamed police officer (snapped his neck and filched his firearm)
    • Unnamed nurse (raped and mutilated; she was discovered hung in a storage closet)
    • Home invasion at the Cole household:
      • Janice Cole (shot once in the head)
      • Amelia Cole (abducted, forced to drink alcohol, and bound in a factory) 
      • Lauren Cole (raped, assaulted, tortured, bound and gagged, was later found and rescued in a closet at their home)
    • Unnamed store clerk (bound, gagged, and pistol whipped in his store for supplies and alcoholic drinks)
    • Danny Weston (killed and dumped in the river)
    • Martha Marron (attempted)
    • Unnamed clerk (bound, gagged, and shot while Amelia was still hostage)
  • Standoff at the deserted factory in New York City
    • Olivia Benson (taken hostage, groped, assaulted, tortured, and forced to partake in Russian Roulette with Lewis due to her unwillingness to comply with his sexual demands, was ultimately rescued)



  • He is described as one of the most heinous rapists that SVU has ever encountered (Which is saying something).
  • William Lewis may actually not be his real name.
  • Some serial rapists try to maintain the outward appearance of a normal lifestyle and occupation, however for Lewis, he does it for a living.