Deceptive therapist Dr. Wharton

Dr. Wharton (Shirley Knight) is the hidden villainess of "Repression", episode 3.01 of Law & Order: SVU (airdate September 28, 2001). She was the psychiatrist of troubled teen Meghan Ramsey, who came to her with bulimia and depression.

The evil doctor used her treatments to manipulate Meghan, using a combination of badgering and psychiatric drugs to convince her that she had repressed memories of her father Evan molesting her. She also inserted herself into the investigation when Meghan went to the SVU detectives after a confrontation with her father, even conducting therapy sessions with Megan's younger sisters Jody and Lily to manipulate them against their father as well. Meghan was even driven to plant evidence to make it appear that her father was molesting Lily. Evan was arrested, but soon after acquitted when the evidence was proven to be doctored.

Dr. Wharton's villainous reveal came soon after it was revealed she used a truth serum drug during her sessions with Meghan, which FBI psychiatrist Doctor Huang revealed was regarded as faulty by most of the psychiatric community due to it leaving patients in a highly suggestible state (even outright saying it can be used to "create memories"). After Jody killed her father when he was confronting her and Meghan about the accusations, their mother Rebecca insisted that Dr. Wharton be held accountable for her role in their family being destroyed. DA Alexandra Cabot barged into Dr. Wharton's office with a search warrant for the records of the Ramsey sisters. Detectives Benson and Stabler soon come in to reveal she was being arrested for reckless endangerment and the death of Evan, as well as the fact that she was being sued by the Ramsey family for malpractice and having her license revoked.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Interestingly, Shirley Knight also portrayed the evil Rose Granville in SVU's Season 5 premiere "Tragedy".
  • Shirley Knight also appeared in Crossing Jordan as greedy villainess Frances Littleton, as well as vengeful madwoman Jane Redding in Elevator.
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