The creep of the week – played convincingly by Pablo Schreiber – managed to avoid prosecution for previous crimes based on a litany of errors. It was a drama filled episode and the intensity level was high. At times, though, it was hard to believe that one man could benefit from so many mistakes by law enforcement. Sometimes I wonder how real police, detectives, and lawyers feel when they see a fictional story such as this; do they encounter such repeated incompetence in real life?
There were a few situations that were just a little too convenient. Example 1: Rollins just happening to be in the park when a sexual predator runs by, and those girls yelling (what seemed like) to Rollins to stop him. Example 2: Fin and Rollins apparently not having to stake out the store for too long before Lewis arrives. Example 3: Cragen telling Benson to take two days off and if she comes to work during that time he will arrest her. If fans didn’t already know that somewhere in this episode Benson would be put in danger in her own home, this made it very clear that no one would be alarmed if she dropped off the face of the SVU earth for a few days. The only wild card is Cassidy. Does Benson’s bad mood toward the end of the episode signal there is trouble in paradise and would Cassidy also not be dropping in on her for a few days as well? One can only hope he will stop by and save the day. (Even better, let's have Stabler make a surprise visit. OK, I know I shouldn't have suggested that.)
While we’re on the subject of Benson at her apartment, I also took issue with Benson’s handling of hearing an odd noise. Instead of just calling out “Hello?” why didn’t she call out “Bri” thinking it was Cassidy? When there was no response to her hello, why didn’t she pull out her gun before she made a move? (I assume she always has her gun with her.) Benson’s detective senses seemed off here.
I was also perplexed at the references to Alice, the 60 year old woman, as being “elegant” and “cultured.” Those descriptive terms seemed…awkward. Does that make her any more credible as a witness or any more of a victim?
Raúl Esparza’s ADA Rafael Barba is probably the most colorful ADA in SVU history, not because of his snappy wardrobe, but for his lively, energetic exchanges with the SVU team and with his opponents in court. (Speaking of wardrobe, please give the wardrobe staff a round of applause for selecting such a spiffy yachting outfit.) Barba did have, in my opinion, the line of the episode when he said “Look, this case was a dog from the start…it just got fleas.” That line was even more amusing to me when considering Rollins started the apprehension of the perp by sending her own dog off to catch him. By the way, in the category of “life is not fair,” I take exception that a dog gets to have a role on SVU before I do – and a speaking role at that (wink). The dog gets a 5 biscuit out of 5 acting rating. (In fact, everyone in this episode did a wonderful job - treats for everyone!)
If I had a crystal ball, I would say that I see a drug dependency problem for Rollins down the road. I know she took what seemed like only one pain pill while on the stakeout but we all know how taking pain meds usually goes for TV characters.
This episode should give fans plenty to talk about before season 15 begins. I know there are some fans out there who are simply rabid with worry about Benson/Mariska returning for another season, and I feel I should remind everyone that this is just a TV show and fans should keep this in perspective. I recall years ago when Star Trek’s William Shatner told fans to “get a life,” and while I won’t tell SVU fans to do exactly that, I feel I should reinforce that there are many more important things in life than television. The stars of SVU and the producers of the show will make the best decisions possible based on their own needs. It doesn’t pay to fret endlessly over what will happen down the road. Just like the characters in the beginning of “Her Negotiation,” one has to keep one's life and priorities in balance, and have some fun sometimes. So everyone take a chill pill and enjoy the SVU summer reruns!
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Richard Belzer – Sergeant John Munch
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Dean Winters – Brian Cassidy
Tamara Tunie – Dr. Melinda Warner
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Pablo Schreiber – William Lewis
Lauren Ambrose – Counselor Vanessa Mayer
Judith Ivey – Alice Parker
Andrea Navedo – Cynthia Mancheno
Michael Mastro – Judge Serani
Robin de Jesus – Jose Silva
Ami Brabson – Judge Karen Blake
Lucy Martin – Bitsy Rabler
Tyler Bunch – Bert Swanson
Logan Rose Nelms - Astrid
Katja Gerz – Tilde
Syphen Gradbury – Judge McNamera
Alison Fernandez – Zara Amaro
Jaden Matthew Rodriguez – Gil Macheno
Harry Chambarry – Doctor
Angel Rosa – Uni
Frannie The Dog – The Dog
Alice Parker is in Central Park taking pictures. Benson is at home and asks “Bri” (Cassidy) if he wants to go to an exhibit at the Plein Air Painters at the Whitney, and suggests they head uptown and grab some brunch. He asks if she is talking to him, and Benson replies she will take that as a no, saying it’s another Sunday watching rollerbladers in the park and she thought they might change it up, and as he kisses her, he says they will – next Sunday.
Meanwhile, a man is in the kitchen of a halfway house and he taunts another man, Jose, who works there, first causing Jose to almost scald his hands on hot water, and Jose complains the water is too hot, asking if it doesn’t bother him. Then, the man says that is not hot, and turns up the heat on the burners and places his fingertips on the cooking surface, saying this is hot, and that it is mind over matter as his fingers burn. He laughs and pulls his fingers away, asking Jose to smell his fingertips and the burned flesh. When Jose complains that the other guy is leaving because they have to finish kitchen cleanup, he pulls Jose over to the hot cooking surface and slams Jose’s hand down on it, Jose screaming as his hand burns. The guy tells Jose that he can’t leave, unless he has a problem with that. He takes Jose’ hand off the hot surface and then leaves.
Elsewhere, Fin meets up with Cragen to take Munch’s place at a ball game, saying Munch’s date went a little over last night.
Amaro is in the park playing catch with his daughter Zara and son Gil, and Gil’s mother Cynthia. He hits a ball too far for Zara to catch and two young woman walk by, one of them catching it and throwing it to Zara, who is thrilled she “catched” the ball. When Amaro corrects her to “caught”, Cynthia encourages Amaro to let her be.
Rollins is also in the park playing with her dog. As a man – the same creepy guy in the halfway house - runs out of the trees, the same two women that walked past Zara run out, one of them yelling to stop that man. She tells her dog to go get him as she calls out that she is police. The dog chases after him and rounds a corner. Rollins catches up and finds the man sitting on some steps, petting the dog as the dog licks his face. Rollins shows her badge and tells her dog to come. He asks if there is a problem.
At SVU, Rollins has a uni take the man to holding as she brings the 2 women into the interview room and puts another woman – the woman taking pictures in the park – in Cragen’s office. The man claims it is a misunderstanding. The girls, Astrid and Tilde, ask about how long they may have to be there, but the older woman, Miss Parker, encourages the girls to tell the police what happened so the man can be prosecuted. The uni tells Rollins they may have a problem.
The man is in the holding cell and shows Rollins his burned fingertips, and she asks if he burned off his fingerprints. He insists it was an accident, he did it on a hot griddle. He also has no ID on him, he left it at the halfway house. She asks that he has nobody who can verify who he says he is, and he explains that he rides alone. She looks at him suspiciously and as she walks off, he asks how about if they call this disorderly conduct and everybody goes home. She looks back at him and then walks off.
Later, Benson and Amaro arrive at the precinct and Benson asks if Rollins does know it’s the weekend. Amaro asks if she tied Cassidy to a no parking sign, saying he could come in. Benson explains she thinks he is happy, she left him at a sports bar watching the Mets game with Matt Harvey working on a perfect game. Cragen and Fin get out of a cab and Fin comments to Benson and Amaro that Rollins called them in too, adding the Rollins is out of control. Amaro reminds Fin that Rollins is his partner and Cragen sarcastically says it is OK, they were just 6 innings into a perfect game. Benson says it is 8, and Cragen replies “even better.”
In the squad room, Rollins explains she called them in because the perp – William Lewis, IF that is his real name – has no ID, is unemployed, and says he works in a halfway house in Brooklyn. Benson asks that he has a record, and Rollins says he should but she can’t find anything because he just burned off his fingerprints. When Amaro questions that he burned off his prints and then just went into the park to flash, Rollins thinks he was just getting started. Rollins thinks he would have assaulted the girls had her dog, who is now laying on the squad room floor, cornered him. Cragen asks who that is in his office, and Rollins explains it is Alice Parker, who caught Lewis on camera and she says she has seen him there before. When Rollins wants them to start questioning them right now and she wants to take the perp, Cragen tells her to slow down. She says he has a feeling about this guy, and Cragen replies that he gets that. He tells Benson and Amaro to do it to get fresh eyes, and instructs Rollins and Fin to talk to the girls. Cragen says he will take Alice as she is in his office.
Cragen speaks with Alice who explains she’s watched Lewis before and he is as much a predator as any animal in the park and she knew something like this would happen. She heard the girls scream and he had his privates out. She heard the girls scream and she took a picture before he took off. She shows Cragen the photo. She also heard what he said and when she is not comfortable in telling Cragen he gives her a pen and paper and asks her to write it down.
Meanwhile, Benson and Amaro are in interrogation with Lewis who thinks the old lady has a problem with him but has no idea why. He says he runs along the pond and is always running past her, wondering if he ran into one of her photos. Amaro asks if he ran through the photo with his fly open, and reminds Lewis there are kids in the park. Lewis thinks this is a misunderstanding. He was out running, and he got chafed so he stopped to make an adjustment. Amaro asks if he’s tried powder, adding that the girls says he approached them, exposed himself, and made sexually suggestive comments. Lewis asks if they even speak English, adding they are young and from Finland and thinks this is bad timing, suggesting he apologize to them and they all go home. Benson asks if he always goes running in jeans and work boots, and Lewis says he is between jobs and he does not have a lot of money to spend on running gear. He tells Benson he does not think he deserves this kind of attitude, and she smirks and gets up and turns away.
Rollins and Fin are observing and Cragen walks in. Rollins explains the halfway house, Brooklyn Beginnings, is a shady operation, They faxed her his New York State ID, and Fin says he has been there 3 months and they said he come from an in-patient addiction facility on Long Island. Cragen asks where he was before that.
Back in interrogation, Benson comments that Lewis is staying in a halfway house, and he says he is trying to turn things around, having a problem with pills after a work accident. His record was clean and the judge said if he did rehab and went to the halfway house the charges would be expunged. Lewis says he feels awful about what the girls think happened, but Benson is skeptical, saying Lewis is just worried it will screw up his parole. Lewis says this is his point, why would he risk his recovery just to spook some tourists and his mother raised him to respect women. Amaro asks about his fingers, and Lewis says they hurt from KP duty and it was a hot stove. Benson comments that with his fingers burned like that, they are having a rough time checking his prints, so she asks if he minds telling them where he is from. He states he is from all over – Texas, Florida, Delaware – a military family, but he has been in New York for the last couple years. Amaro asks if before the halfway house he lived alone or with roommates. Lewis says it was with a girlfriend, but they did not part on the best terms. Benson questions how exactly did they part, and he replies that he’s not getting a real sense of benefit of the doubt here. He asks if he is entitled to an attorney if he asks for one, and Amaro looks at Benson who clicks her pen and then, with a thin smile, drops her hand to the table.
Benson and Amaro exit the room where Cragen, Rollins, and Fin are still watching from the hall. Benson comments the guy is a piece of work, and Amaro tells Rollins it was a good call. ADA Barba walks in, wearing some snappy boating attire, and he asks Rollins where is the fire. Benson asks is Barba was on his yacht, and he says not on HIS yacht. Cragen explains the situation about Lewis. Barba smirks, asking if they called him in for a class B misdemeanor because she wanted to use up all her favors in one fell swoop.
Rollins explains it is not like that, the guy is hard core. Barba asks how bad is his record and Rollins says they do not know, they can’t run his prints because his fingers are burned and she thinks that was deliberate. Barba asks what is his story, and Benson replies that everything happens TO him - his fingers were burned in a kitchen accident, he wasn’t flashing he was chafed. Rollins adds they have two teenage tourists, and Barba asks if they know he wasn’t chafed. Cragen replies they have an elegant witness who heard him verbally attack the girls. He shows Barba what Alice wrote down, and Barba reads out loud “get down on your knees, open your mouth and take communion.” Barba cracks that he supposes Lewis thinks that is spiritual. Rollins thinks it is probative of lewdness. Barba explains even so, you get Lewis in front of a judge he will get time served. Rollins replies she just wants him to take the plea so they can get his DNA, he’s hiding something and she wants to know what.
At arraignment court, Judge McNamera comments to Barba he is surprised to see him slumming, and Barba replies it keeps him humble, The judge quips that he doubts that. When the judge asks Lewis how he pleads, Barba says they would like to make him an offer; if the defendant pleads guilty the people will agree to time served and two days community service. Lewis’ lawyer, Vanessa Mayer, says she can live with that and wants to confer with her client. Lewis shakes his head and then puts his hands on her arms, Barba is watching this and then turning to Benson and Rollins who are sitting in the gallery. Mayer says her client declines the offer, and Barba says that is the best he will get, but suggests they could waive community service. Lewis says he can’t plead guilty to something he did not do, he is not guilty. The judge sets the case over for trial pending a motion, and Mayer says they waive the motions, they are ready to proceed to trial. Barba stares at them suspiciously and when the judge asks about bail, Barba suggests remand, saying Lewis has no ties to the community, no job, and is a flight risk. But Mayer reminds him that two minutes ago he was willing to let him walk out of there. The judge agrees, and releases Lewis on his own recognizance and sets the case over for trial. Barba, Benson and Rollins look stunned.
Later, as Benson, Rollins, and Barba walk outside, Rollins comments he won’t take time served as he does not want them to find out who he is and get his DNA in CODIS. Barba suggests maybe he is innocent. Benson says they have 3 reliable witnesses, but Barba reminds her two of them are tourists, adding that his attorney may be legal aid but she is smart and knows if they leave the country the judge will throw out the case. Benson reminds him about Alice Parker and her photo, and Barba says she came on the scene after the fact and the photo is not definitive. He says this case was a dog from the start and it just got fleas. He them if they thinks Lewis is dirty, and Benson nods her head. Barba instructs them to keep digging.
At the apartment of Alice Parker, Cragen rings the buzzer and Alice is slow to answer. When she does, she is dressed in a robe and he apologizes for bothering her, saying she did not answer her phone. He explains he is there to return her camera, and that TARU downloaded the photos. She thanks him and Cragen mentions that the case is going to trial and she will need to testify. She seems rattled but then asks if he will excuse her and Cragen tells her good night and as she closes the door, he tells her to take care. He gets a quizzical look on his face and he walks away. But inside Alice’s apartment, Lewis has a gun to her head, and he tells her she did very well, then tells her to take off that robe and get back into bed.
Later, a woman tells Amaro when Alice didn’t show up for a lecture series she knew something was wrong. She had a key and found Alice tied up, naked and bleeding. As Alice is being led off by EMTs, she tells Benson it was Lewis, she came home last night at 6 and he was in her apartment and he had a gun and tied her up and burned her, and he did things. Benson asks what time he left, but she does not know, but she heard the church bell.
At the hospital, Cragen races to meet Benson and Alice as they arrive and Benson explains Lewis raped and tortured Alice for 18 hours at gunpoint. Cragen apologizes to Alice but she tells him to just get him. Benson says she will go with her to get her statement.
Later, Cragen arrives at Alice’s apartment and Amaro explains the scene, Cragen tells him to bag everything. Cragen asks if Lewis burned her with cigarette butts, and Amaro explains they found pans on the stove with keys and hangers – he branded her. Cragen comments she went through hell. Cragen tells them to get the mattress and Amaro notices Alice is on a lot of meds, but says she is tough and she survived this and she will be OK. Cragen tells Amaro to find Lewis.
At Brooklyn Beginnings, Rollins and Fin arrive with police and hear Lewis has been gone for 2 two days. They get to Lewis’s room and hear moaning, and open the door and find Jose rubbing himself against a fur coat. They pull him off the coats and Jose says he has not seen Lewis since Sunday morning and that he took his bike. He says Lewis has no friends, nobody likes him. Rollins finds drugs and Fin asks if Lewis has a habit and Jose says besides hurting people, and shows his bandaged burned hand. Rollins finds a can of “Five Crazy” and Fin comments they don’t sell that in New York anymore and Jose says yeah they do.
Later, Fin and Rollins wait in the car outside the store and Rollins says the bodega owner ID’d Lewis who comes in to try to steal his Five Crazy but hasn’t seen him since Sunday. Fin says Cragen wants them to stay there even if it takes all night. Rollins takes a pain pill for her shoulder, telling Fin it gets worse at night. They see Lewis arrive at the store on a bike, and quickly move in and arrest him. He sees Rollins and asks if she is back for more, she can’t get enough of him. As she roughly walks him off in cuffs she asks him to let her know if that is too tight. He laughs.
Back in SVU interrogation, Lewis laughs at what the “old lady” said he did, saying he told them she was crazy the first time. Benson asks if he is saying she made it up, and he says he knows enough to stay away from her. Amaro asks where he was yesterday and he says not at the halfway house, all they do is steal the taxpayers’ money. There are no services or security and the whole thing is a face. Benson asks where he was, and Lewis says thanks for the sympathy. Benson says, “Sympathy?” and she smiles and nods her head, looking at Amaro. Benson then leans in and whispers what he did to her, he’s lucky she didn’t kick his teeth in. He replies that she should be so lucky someone does that to her. Amaro pulls back the table and tells Lewis to shut the hell up, or he’ll take him out right here, adding to wipe that stupid smile off his face. Benson tells Amaro it’s OK, she wants to hear this. Benson taunts Lewis, repeating his words that she should be so lucky, as she sits on the table. She asks him how, tell her. Lewis replies sure sweetheart, asking what does she want to hear. Benson says whatever he’s got. He asks if she means like how disturbing it would be, to make a fine, educated, cultured woman like that disrobe, how humiliating it would be, how she’d might try to cover herself with her hands. He asks if she wants to hear how he tied her to the bed, it was not too tight, he wanted to watch her struggle. He asks what about if he made her go down on her knees and force himself inside her. Or, doe she want to hear about the pyrotechnics and how he put out his cigarettes on her, and when Benson’s expression changes slightly, he says yeah, he got her. He goes on to say how he branded her private parts with keys and hot hangers. Amaro stops him, saying he knows Lewis is getting off on this, and Amaro wants to know how he got in the apartment. Lewis said that is by the numbers, telling Benson that men are from Mars – Amaro wants the logistics but she wants the emotion. Benson says he does, and asks him to tell her more. Lewis goes on to add if she wants to hear how Alice was alone with him all night – a 60 year old woman – and she did things she never expected to do, she never imaged it possible with her fingers and her mouth. He asks Benson if she wants to hear how at the beginning she said she would do anything, she begged him for her life and by morning she was begging him to take her out of her misery. He asks which one does Benson think he enjoyed more? There is a knock on the door and Cragen arrives with Vanessa Mayer who says they can’t talk to her client. Lewis said he told them they weren’t allowed to do this and then said it’s just hypothetical. Mayer says they know better, he had invoked. Benson gets up, disgusted, and says good, and as she walks out of the room, she adds she needs a shower.
Outside the interrogation room, standing in the hallway, Benson says he should have held the lawyer off, she was so close. Cragen thinks Lewis was playing her, but Benson says she had him he was getting off on telling her the details. Barba says Lewis wasn’t confessing, every phase was couched and hypothetical. Amaro thinks it doesn’t matter, asking don’t they have him? Rollins advises that the rape kit came back and his DNA was all over her, the bed, the stove knobs. Benson comments about the stove knobs, and Amaro explains that he branded her. Fin adds they also found her camera and jewelry at a pawn shop, and the owner ID’d Lewis. Barba comments that whoever he is and whatever he had done before, he’s going away for life now. He asks if the victim is up to a grand jury. Cragen replies the hospital releases her tonight, but wonders if they can spare her that. Barba says he will take a lineup tomorrow. As Cragen, Amaro, and Barba walk off, Rollins tells Benson she put him into ViCAP and she’s searched the databases; she knows he has a record, she just can’t find it. Benson asks Rollins if she tried inverting his name, use different spellings. Rollins says yes, in all the states he’s lived in. Benson clarifies in the states he SAID he lived in, and suggests they try the neighboring states.
The next day, Cragen walks to his office and finds Alice Parker standing outside, and he suggests they wait in his office for the lineup. She says she is fine. He apologizes for what happened and asks if she is holding up. She replies that physically she will live but emotionally, she was up all night. Cragen is surprised she went back to her apartment, and Alice states that is her home, and he is not taking that away from her. Amaro knocks on the door and asks Cragen if he has a minute. Cragen excuses himself to Alice and leaves the room.
Later, with Rollins and Fin there, Cragen asks Amaro what does he mean they can’t do a line up? Amaro explains they were getting Lewis ready for transport and he choked himself with t he daisy chain and they had to tase him to get him to stop. Fin says Lewis is now on suicide watch at Bellevue. Rollins says this guy knows every trick. Cragen says that is OK, so does Barba.
In motions court, Judge Serani asks, on the charge of rape in the first degree, how does Lewis plead? Lewis, via video feed from his hospital bed, says not guilty. Mayer, calling him Billy. cautions Lewis, and then she states not guilty. Barba suggests remand, adding that Lewis raped and tortured a 60 year old woman at gunpoint for 18 hours. Mayer requests for Lewis to have a psychiatric evaluation, and that her client is severely depressed and attempted suicide this morning. Barba comments it is worth noting that Lewis sustained no injuries and this suicide attempt was judiciously timed to avoid a lineup. The judge asks if Mayer is raising a question as to whether her client is competent to stand trial or is she pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Mayer replies possibly both, to which Barba, incredulous, asks, “Are you kidding me?” Barba states Lewis is competent enough to hide his identity and to frame his confession as a hypothetical, and thinks he is more than competent enough to stand trial. The judge tells Barba that is for the court to decide, not him. The judge orders them to proceed with a pysch evaluation and then he will make his ruling. As Mayer leaves the courtroom, Benson approaches Barba and asks him if there is any way he can get away with this. Barba questions if she is asking if Lewis can fake incompetency, sure, this is his M.O., another delaying tactic. Rollins has a message on her phone and tells Benson and Barba it’s not Lewis’ first time, it finally caught up with him.
Back at SVU, Rollins goes though Lewis’s criminal history, starting under the name of Lewis Williams, born in Kentucky and 15 years ago he abducted and raped the mother of his girlfriend when she tried to break them up. Benson said he got lucky, the mother of the vic was also a junkie so the DA did not want to put her on the stand, no charges. Rollins confirms he did leave the state and moved around quite a bit. Benson said it gets worse, in Alabama he was the suspect in a kidnap/rape/torture of a pair of roommates. Rollins says he was charged but the victims were too traumatized to testify and the lawyer got him off. His name was misspelled on the paperwork as LOUIS Williams so it didn’t hit before. Barba says if there is a break, he catches it. Rollins goes on to say in Maryland, 3 years ago, his name is completely misspelled as Williams Lucas goes to trial for the murder/rape of his then girlfriend who was his former defense attorney from Alabama. Benson adds that she defends him, she sleeps with him and when she tries to break it off he kills her. Rollins says they 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 Benson goes on to say the new attorney does her due diligence and finds another boyfriend of the victims and creates reasonable doubt. Lewis walks and the DNA is expunged again. Cragen states not this time, the buck stops here.
In Motions Court, Barba explains the various identities and tells the judge Lewis is not crazy, he is crazy like a fox. Mayer says Lewis has never been convicted but he has been maligned, targeted, and falsely accused. Barba adds 5 times, and the judge reminds Barba that prior accusations are inadmissible. While Cragen and Benson watch from the gallery, Barba says yes but they speak to Lewis’ ability to do and say anything to avoid conviction. Mayer says it speaks to his innocence. Barba asks then why did he burn his fingertips and use an alias? Barba thinks Lewis understands the parameters of the judicial system. Mayer counters that the state’s relentless harassment has taken a toll on his client and he has had a complete psychotic break. The judge states if Lewis is not competent to stand trial, he will remain incarcerated in Bellevue on medication until he is competent. Mayer replies she understands, and the judge asks if she also understands if he if found not guilty by reason of insanity he will be sentence to a criminal psychiatric facility indefinitely. Lewis speaks up and says he has been through a very dark time since his arrest and subsequent prosecution but thinks there is light at the end of the tunnel. Mayer tries to stop him but he says it is OK, he has faith in the jury’s ability to see the truth. The judge says the defendant is competent and is remanded to stand trial. He bangs his gavel and Barba quickly walks to Benson and Cragen, and Benson asks if this is a win. Barba says for now, but that have to start prepping Alice Parker for trial ASAP. Cragen says they will let her know.
Later, Benson and Cragen arrive at Alice’s apartment with the neighbor; Alice has not been answering her phone. They enter the apartment and find Alice laying on the sofa, dead.
Later, at the morgue, ME Warner tells Benson and Rollins she is ruling straight out myocardial infarction - she had a heart attack. Benson thinks it is stress related and Warner said it could have been. Rollins reminds Warner that Alice was raped and tortured. Warner states that was 3 days prior. Barba arrives and tells the detectives to let it go. Warner says the best she can give them is undetermined. As Warner walks off, Benson tells Barba if he laid out the timeline in front of a jury – and Barba asks if she wants to add a murder charge, adding it will be hard enough to prove rape. Rollins says she used to like him. Barba reminds her that Alice was their lead witness and she never made a line up ID. Benson states that she took the disclosure and she ID’s him, he wasn’t a stranger, she knew him. Barba counters they would argue immediate outcry and excited utterance but the defense would argue he was denied the right to question his accuser. Benson yells that Lewis killed her, and Rollins jumps in and says Barba is not pleading him down from rape 1, not after what he’s done to Alice and the others. Barba reminds her Lewis hasn’t been convicted, if they can put him away for 4-7 years that is a start.
In the prison conference room, Lewis scoffs at the suggestion of 4-7 years and Mayer suggests they hear Barba out. Barba offers Lewis to plead guilty to 3rd degree sexual assault and grand larceny. Lewis asks if that is robbery, and then says Alice gave him the cameras. Benson, standing, tells Lewis to shut up and to just stop, and Mayer asks Barba if Benson needs to be here. Lewis says it is alright, Barba says if this goes to trial, they will charge him with multiple counts of first degree rape and sodomy, false imprisonment and homicide. Mayer laughs, saying Alice had a heart attack and Lewis had nothing to do with that. Lewis says he had nothing to do with her being raped, but Benson says no, his DNA was all over her body and given her injuries, she dares his defense attorney to argue that is was consensual. Lewis states Alice was obsessed with him, and Mayer says no deal. Barba counters that Lewis raped and tortured a cultured, 60 year old woman, and Benson adds that a jury will get one look at this scumbag and Mayer is insane if she thinks they will let him go. Lewis asks Mayer if she sees this, and Mayer says they are right, Lewis believes that Benson and SVU has a vendetta against him. Benson says he is unbelievable, and Lewis says Benson has had it out for him from the get. Mayer tells him not to engage. Mayer tells Benson that Benson has been doing sex crimes for a long time and now Benson is projecting her anger on others, onto an innocent man. Benson asks Mayer if she has seen the morgue photos of his last defense attorney, and Barba tries to stop her. Benson adds it was the one he raped and tortured for 19 hours, and she was also convinced of her lover’s – Benson corrects herself to say her client’s – innocence. Mayer says “excuse me?” while Lewis looks on somewhat gleefully. Barba says they will see them in court. As he and Benson leave the cell, Barba comments to Benson about the lover/client comment and says it was a nice Freudian slip. Benson says it wasn’t, and Barba replies he got that, it will now mean Mayer will fight like hell for him.
In Supreme Court, Rollins testifies about the 2 witnesses leaving the country and that Lewis new Alice was going to testify and he raped and tortured her in retaliation. Mayer moves to strike that comment as it speaks to the vendetta that Alice and SVU have against Lewis. Barba objects and the Judge Blake sustains both. She instructs the jury to disregard both the detective’s and the defense’s statements. Fin testifies about recovering Alice’s camera and bracelet and the pawn shop owner ID’d Lewis. Mayer reminds Fin that the pawn shop owner was in possession of stolen property, a punishable offense, and when Mayer asks if the pawn shop owner took that into consideration when Fin asked for the ID, Barba objects as she is asking the witness to speculate. Mayer withdraws the question. Amaro is on the stand describing the state of Alice’s apartment for Barba. Under cross, Mayer states that he could not find a single witness who put Lewis in the building, let alone the apartment. Amaro must admit this and that Lewis was also not on surveillance video but states they know Lewis was there. Mayer says they ASSUME he was there.
Benson is on the stand explaining that Alice had blurted out it was Lewis ho raped her, calling him “that beast.” Under cross, Mayer asks if Alice told her it was over 4 hours after her attacker left, and was it safe to say that Alice was in a state of shock, disoriented, or confused. Benson admits Alice was traumatized but her memory was perfectly clear. Mayer asks if Alice identified Lewis in a lineup, and Benson states Alice did not have a chance to because of Lewis faking suicide. Mayer objects and the judge tells Benson to just answer the questions. Mayer mentions that Alice suffered from cataracts and wears bifocal contact lenses and asks Benson if she knows if Alice was wearing those contacts at the time of the attack. Benson admits she does not know. Mayer says a 60 year old woman with degenerating vision made an accusation against a man whom she had a prior history of being obsessed with, a man she was long convinced was guilty of something. Mayer also accuses Benson of being obsessed with Lewis, and Barba leaps up and objects. Mayer withdraws the question. Mayer tells Benson she can step down, and Benson does so, looking both disgusted and pissed.
Later, ME Warner testifies about Alice’s assault and her injuries. As she testifies, someone hands Mayer a folder. Warner testifies that the odds of the DNA from the rape kit coming from someone other than Lewis is 100 billion to one. Under cross, Meyer brings up the fact that the DNA tests from Alice’s rape kit were fast tracked, and shows she has proof that testing procedures by the DNA lab were not followed which could indicate cross-contamination of the DNA. Barba asks to approach, and he tells the judge this is the first he has heard about this and also to examine the results. Mayer says she just got them, she hired an independent investigator to examine the lab’s processing of the case and believes under pressure the lab tech compromised the process by testing Lewis’ DNA sample on the same tray as the forensic sample and there is a change of cross-contamination. Barba states that he needs to authenticate these documents, and the Mayer replies yes of course, adding to the judge that when this report checks out, she is sure the judge will agree that it will be impossible to ask a jury to disregard such falsely damning testimony against her client. Barba asks if she allows the evidence to come in she would be deliberately trying to force a mistrial. Mayer says she is defending her client. Barba looks at Lewis who is grinning.
Back at SVU, Benson slams down the phone receiver, and Amaro asks her not to tell him the DNA is inadmissible. Benson informs them the judge declared a mistrial and Lewis is out on bail. Mayer had posted his bond. Rollins says Lewis is beyond lucky. Amaro says they will make a stronger case on retrial. Benson counters if they even let Barba retry it, there is no DNA and no victim. As they all seem stunned, Rollins asks who wants to come with her and shoot the son of a bitch. Cragen chides her, and Fin tells him not to worry, he will take her out and get her something to drink. He asks the others if they want to come along while is wallet is open. Amaro says he has plans and Rollins asks if it is with Gil and Cynthia. Amaro says yeah and Rollins replies “good for you.” Benson asks Fin for a rain check, saying she has barely been at home this week. Cragen tells her to go home and stay there for 2 days and when she starts to object, Cragen says that is an order and if she shows up for work he will have her arrested. As Cragen walks off, Amaro asks Benson if she is alright, and she smiles and says not really. He asks her if she wants to talk. Benson says not really. Amaro gets up to leave and tells her he will see her in a few and to keep her head up.
Benson enters her apartment and turns on the lights and places a bag of groceries on the counter. She hears a noise and stops, and hears a creak and then she calls out “Hello?” She walks toward another room and as she calls out “hello” again, Lewis steps out with a gun pointed at her head and he says “Welcome home, Detective Benson.” She looks at him and gasps with a look of panic. He moves the gun up to her neck and then grabs her and pulls her away as we cut to black.
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