“The Betrayal” is the eighth episode of the ninth and final season of Seinfeld, and the 164th episode overall. This episode first aired on November 20, 1997. It was written by Peter Mehlman and David Mandel and was directed by Andy Ackerman. "The Betrayal" is unique in that all events play out in reverse-chronological order.


Note: The following summary is listed in chronological order, which is the opposite of the way it is presented in the episode.

Jerry and George are walking down the street and they run into Nina (Justine Miceli), an old girlfriend of Jerry's with whom he never slept. Elaine receives a last-minute invitation to Sue Ellen Mischke's wedding in India. Given the late arrival of the invite, Elaine assumes that this is an "unvitation" and that Sue Ellen doesn't actually want her to come. Sue Ellen will be marrying Pinter Ranawat, whose name seems familiar to Elaine.

George asks Jerry to call Nina about setting them up on a date and realizes he must wear his Timberlands every time he sees her. Jerry and Nina suffer an awkward pause in their conversation, causing them to have sex on Jerry's counter. Elaine meets Pinter's parents, Usha and Zubin Ranawat, who try to convince her not to go to India for the wedding; they aren't going themselves and dislike India. While at Jerry's to talk about the incident, Elaine discovers that he and Nina have just slept together. She and Jerry agree that they must keep this from George, as he will take it personally.

Elaine buys tickets for herself, Jerry, George, and Kramer to India to spite Sue Ellen by showing up at her wedding. When she returns to Jerry's to give everyone their surprise tickets, Kramer refuses because he must resolve the curse put upon him by FDR. George promptly takes the ticket for Nina, and Elaine and Jerry immediately become awkward, afraid that their secret will get out. Jerry temporarily escapes talking with George by going with Kramer to Newman's. Noticing Elaine's odd behavior, George goes with her to Monk's and gets her drunk on Peach Schnapps. While under the influence Elaine reveals Jerry and Nina's encounter to George.

Elaine, Jerry, George and Nina arrive in India, where Elaine discovers that Pinter is a man whom she has slept with and that they are the only people from the United States who are attending the ceremony. Jerry "schnapps" Elaine to find out why George is acting bitter towards him. George finds out that Jerry slept with Nina and that Elaine had slept with the groom. Sue Ellen calls her wedding off when she finds out, and Nina hates George but isn't interested in Jerry. Jerry, George, and Elaine return from their disastrous trip to India that they don't want to talk about to Kramer. It was revealed that, two years ago, Elaine indeed dated Pinter (whom Elaine calls "Peter") and Jerry tells George and Susan that Nina might be the one. He is very impressed when she mentions something he's never heard of, called "E-mail".

Meanwhile, Kramer attends FDR (Franklin Delano Romanowski)'s birthday and FDR gives him the evil eye right before blowing out the candles on his cake. Kramer confronts FDR about his birthday wish, which is for him to "drop dead". Kramer tries to get Newman to use his birthday wish to protect Kramer from dropping dead. When he found out Newman didn't use his birthday wish to save Kramer from FDR, Kramer scolds him, while Jerry sits by him, explaining he only came "because of George". Kramer tries to out-wish FDR by a shooting star, throwing coins in the fountain, pulling out eyelashes, and even pulling the wishbone. In the end, Kramer and FDR settle their scores with a snowball. It is revealed that Kramer nailed FDR in the back of the head with a snowball two years ago. At the end of the show, a flashback, taking place eleven years ago, shows how Jerry met Kramer (whom Jerry calls Kessler, the name on the buzzer) and tells him, "What's mine is yours." This gives the reason as to why Kramer will frequently go uninvited into Jerry's apartment later on.

Notes About Nothing

  • Although this is commonly referred to as “The Backwards Episode”, there is an feature to watch the events in normal chronological order on the Season Nine DVD set.
  • This episode is based on a Harold Pinter play, "Betrayal", which uses the same gimmick. The fiancé is named Pinter in tribute to the playwright.
  • In the pilot ("The Seinfeld Chronicles"), Jerry calls Kramer "Kessler". The character's name was subsequently changed to Kramer. This inconsistency is retconned at the end of this episode.
    • Oops! This plot patch did not take into account the preexisting timeline for the show: in the first season of Mad About You, which takes place in 1992, it's established that Kramer is subletting his apartment from Paul Buchman, who was living in that apartment until he moved in with Jamie. Considering that Jerry moves into his apartment in 1986, his new neighbor should have been Paul, not Kramer.
  • The production forgot which dress Nina was wearing at the wedding: it changes length from long to short when she sits down.
  • This is the 28th and final appearance of Susan (in flashback).
  • The expression "You can stuff your sorries in a sack, mister" is used throughout this episode and is a reference to an Odd Couple episode entitled "Strike Up the Band or Else."
  • This is the only episode in which the Castle Rock Entertainment logo is shown twice: once at the beginning, as the episode goes backwards, and once at the end, closing the episode.


George: Elaine, you have to sleep with me.
Elaine: I'm not going to sleep with you.
George: Reparations!
Elaine: Would you grow up, George? What is the difference? Nina slept with him, he slept with me, I slept with Pinter. Nobody cares. It's all ancient history.
George: You slept with the groom?!
Season Nine Episodes
The Butter Shave | The Voice | The Serenity Now | The Blood | The Junk Mail | The Merv Griffin Show | The Slicer | The Betrayal | The Apology | The Strike | The Dealership | The Reverse Peephole | The Cartoon | The Strong Box | The Wizard | The Burning | The Bookstore | The Frogger | The Maid | The Puerto Rican Day | The Chronicle | The Finale, Part 1 | The Finale, Part 2