“Undercover Mother” is a perfect example of how an episode can be so much more compelling when the whole cast is in on the action. It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve had all the detectives and Barba in the same episode. This A+ story provided something for everybody: action, drama, a solid guest cast and some surprises.
The SVU team, while working a stakeout at a brothel, arrest who they think is the madam, Martha Thornhill (played perfectly by Lili Taylor). But Martha explains she is working undercover - on her own - to find her daughter who was kidnapped 3 years ago. Barba has enough to charge Martha but Benson’s soft heart gets the SVU team involved in a sting to help locate Martha’s daughter Ariel. And then the surprises begin.
This episode brings back characters from previous cases. The first is Selena Cruz from the SVU episode “Girls Disappeared” from earlier this season. More notable and far more enjoyable was the return of Lieutenant Declan Murphy, who again is working undercover. His work, and the SVU case, cross paths in an unexpected way. Lucky for Murphy, the SVU team keeps his cover intact, but he is less than thrilled in what he perceives as Benson’s inability to think big picture. While I do understand Benson’s desire to reunite Martha with her daughter, I do question her judgment in going all in so quickly for an undercover operation AND for bringing Martha along, despite Barba’s prior instruction not to do so. I am sure Benson wanted to show that she can be assertive and decisive, but Barba clearly was displeased and disappointed in her actions.
This isn’t the first time SVU worked a sting and almost blew someone else’s investigation. I can’t recall the episode name, but Cragen once ordered a sting operation and later found the Feds had already infiltrated their targets. Cragen was rightfully pissed that he wasn’t informed of a Fed sting going on in his area, and maybe Benson should have been alerted by Murphy or by whomever Murphy is getting is orders. Rollins did check with Vice who said Martha was not working for them undercover, so I assume that if Murphy was working for Vice, Vice should have alerted them to their own operation at that time. If I recall correctly, SVU also stumbled on Brian Cassidy working undercover, so maybe it’s standard procedure for the NYPD not to share any undercover operations with other divisions. I’m not clear on exactly which NYPD organization Murphy is working for and I don’t know why, but something bugs me about his undercover work here.
Murphy shouldn't be putting all the blame on Benson for intruding on his operation. He's worked SVU and he knows the issues they face. He is engaging in illegal operations under the guise of gaining the trust of the people running them and in the process, he allowed girls to remain in danger. It seems he’s done little if anything to help those victims in order to preserve his cover. I understand he needs to behave a certain way to get himself further into the organization, but at what expense? In his defense, if there was a concern that the brothel was operating while someone at the NYPD was allowing them to do so, maybe Murphy did not know whom to trust. It’s a touchy situation for everyone involved, especially for the victims who continue to be held against their will and abused while Murphy infiltrates.
One question remains: will Barba charge Martha? She admitted she engaged in illegal behavior to find her daughter, but the fact remains she was party to the illegal operation, regardless of her motives. I’m curious: if this were a real case, what would a real DA do?
Regarding SVU staking out the house where Tracy and the girls were working, could they be any more obvious by sitting right in front of the driveway with the camera directly facing out the window? It’s no shock they may have been spotted. Likewise, Amaro and Rollins were parked in the same direction as Fin and Carisi, so when their mark made a u-turn, there was no way any of them could make a move without it looking obvious. Next time, park on opposite sides of the street with one car pointed in each direction.
The ending provided the biggest shocker to Benson: Johnny D, the leader of the pack, is Noah’s father. Things could get messy.
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay – Sergeant Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick Carisi, Jr.
Tamara Tunie – M.E. Melinda Warner
Donal Logue - Lt. Declan Murphy
Lili Taylor – Martha Thornhill
Danielle Burgess - Nina Soren
Amanda Warren - Tracy
Justin McCarthy - Tommy Strickland
Charles Halford - Johnny D
Nikki M. James – Detective Gail Dunbar
Laura Gomez - Selena Cruz
Jas Anderson - Timmer
Jay Patterson - Judge Evans
Bronwyn Reed - Lucy Huston
Justin McCarthy – Officer
Derrick Baskin – Det. Cash Gillette
Jamila Velasquez – Pilar Morenas
Emily Althaus - Jessie
Danika Yarosh - Ariel Thornhill
Josh Saviano – Counselor Don Taft
Danielle Burgess – Nina Soren
Candace Gordon – Federal Prosecutor
DK Bowser – Frank
Shannon Garland – Officer Denice Legrange
The SVU team is working a stake out, Benson and Rollins are in a van and Fin and Amaro are in a car. Carisi is undercover inside. A camera is in his eyeglasses so Benson and Rollins can see what is going on inside. He approaches the house madam, acting impatient about his wait and she tells him it is worth the wait, the girls are young and fresh. Fin radioed that a minivan with blacked out windows has arrived. Benson and Rollins watch as young girls exit the van and Benson recognizes the female handler as Selena Cruz, someone they’ve picked up once before and whose son they got out of Mexico. Rollins comments Selena is doing what she knows. Benson radios to Fin and Amaro and all the other units that the female handler is known to them and they will have to secure her before she gets upstairs. All the others copy Benson’s information.
As the girls are being taken to the entrance, they are arrested as Selena opens the door. The other NYPD cars move in and the other detectives and police storm inside. Carisi continues to pretend he is a customer. Another detective corners the madam who says it is a private party and it is legal, claiming she is just a waitress. They arrest everyone, including Carisi,
Back at SVU, Benson tries to get the girls to talk but is unsuccessful. She tells Rollins to talk Selena – calling her a piece of crap – into holding. The guy Amaro is bringing in says the girls are all 18 and to check their IDs. Amaro states they did and they are all fake.
As Fin brings in the madam, she asks to speak to someone in charge, and Benson tells her it better be good. The woman claims she is undercover and has been tracking this ring for a years. When Benson asks for who, the woman says they have her daughter,
As the woman walks into Benson’s office, she looks to the interview room and tells Benson that she needs to talk to those girls SVU picked up. Rollins enters the office and states that vice doesn’t know her and she is not UC. The woman says she is not a cop, her name is Martha Thornhill and she is from Calgary and her daughter Ariel was kidnapped three years ago. Benson asks if Martha thinks that Ariel was taken by traffickers, and Martha says she knows she was’ she has been tracking her from Toronto to Minneapolis to Buffalo. She has seen her pictures in sex ads; if they took her to New York 6 months ago. Rollins asks Martha if she contacted NYPD, and Martha replies no. When Benson asks why not, Martha states Toronto police didn’t believe her. She explains Ariel was 13 and they were on vacation in Toronto, they were having lunch in a café and she went to pay at the register and she was gone two minutes tops. The Toronto police thought she and her boyfriend had something to do with the disappearance. Rollins bluntly asks if she did, and Martha replies no. The adds that the three days the police spend grilling them is when they lost her. Benson seems skeptical and asks Martha why should they believe her, they just caught her red handed trafficking, Martha asks them to let her show them.
At Martha’s apartment in Flushing Queens on Thursday, January 29, Benson and the detectives enter to find one of her walls covered with photos and information tracking her daughter. Benson seems to believe Martha now, and when Martha says she is not a criminal, Benson says they will have to speak with the DA. Martha says they have to let her go, but Fin reminds her she told their UC she had underage girls coming to the brothel. Martha explains that Ariel was to be there, she called her 6 days ago. Martha gave her number to a girl that knows her and Ariel didn’t know it was her. She was crying that they wouldn’t let her go. Benson presses for the name of the girl but Martha is reluctant to say because the girl thinks she is a madam. She is her only connection to Ariel and she is not giving up until she finds her daughter,
Back at SVU, Barba looks at the info on the board and says that the woman saying she is pretending to be a sex trafficker is a new defense. Rollins explains the Toronto police confirm Martha’s story. Fin explains the police suspected the boyfriend Brian Marks, a pot dealer. Amaro states Marks has since died from a heroin overdose, the police could not implicate and the trail went cold. Carisi adds how Martha kept searching and Benson explains local precincts blew Martha off so Martha went deeper into the life, putting herself at risk. Barba wisecracks “Touching story” and asks them to tell him how posing as a criminal and engaging in criminal activity doesn’t make you a criminal. Benson explains Martha has recorded every single job and every single pimp, and is better than any US they’ve seen. Barba counters it is because she IS a trafficker. Benson says Martha has been searching for her daughter, which Barba understands. He adds that, assuming Martha hands over all her records and turns state’s evidence, he MIGHT take that into consideration. Benson argues that it has taken Martha three years to get this far, she is not going to work with them unless they help her get her daughter back. Barba states firmly that Martha is not going back in. Benson pauses, then suggests maybe they go in for her.
In the interrogation room, Martha is shocked and questions that they are going to charge her. Barba reminds her she broke the law - kidnapping, sex trafficking – and she is looking at 20 years. Martha counters that her daughter has been passed from pimp to pimp for three years, she has been in New York for the past year and they have done nothing. She argues that she finally finds the pimp who has her and they decide to move in NOW? Barba reminds her she is running a brothel. Martha insists she is infiltrating to get to Ariel’s pimp. She adds that they scared him off and she may be lost forever. Benson informs her they are going to keep looking for Ariel, but Martha begs that they let her keep looking. Barba states Martha is out of this game and if she does not want to do time, they need her names, her intel – all of it. Benson adds that the girl who gave Ariel Martha’s phone number is where they start. Martha says she can’t, it will blow her cover; she promised she wouldn’t give her away to anyone. Barba answers, “Well, guess what – you lied.” Benson asks if she thought Ariel was going to be delivered last night, and Martha states that Selena told her boss she was going to bring 7 girls. Then she called and said she was just going to bring 5. Her pimp held back 2 so he could discipline them. Barba asks who is the pimp, and Martha says they call him Timmer; if a girl gets out of line, he boot-stomps them in front of the others. Benson asks who told her that, and Martha replies that she has not saved her daughter yet but she bought and sent home 6 girls. Barba questions “Bought?” and Martha explains if a girl causes enough trouble, a pimp will sell her for $1,200. Benson comments it is a slave trade. Barba tersely asks where does Martha get the money, and she explains it is from donations from her church. When Barba raises his eyebrows, she adds it is a cash business. She explains the pimps deliver the girls at the beginning of the night and when the night is over, they take them home; they get 70% and the house gets the rest. Benson concludes that Martha was going to buy back Ariel last night, and Martha confirms it, and also buy her friend. Barba thinks the girls they picked up last night should know Ariel. Martha insists they will not talk to him, Timmer owns them. Barba states not any more, adding Martha has a choice: cooperate with them or he will charge her. He walks out of the interrogation room. Martha begs Benson not to do this, adding her daughter might be lost forever. Starting to cry, she says, “Please.” Benson says she promises her that she will do everything she can not to let that happen. Benson gets up and leaves the room.
At the Parisian Suites Motel in Queens Village, Queens, on Friday, January 30, Rollins speaks to one of the girls who is reluctant to give Rollins any information. Rollins brings up Timmer’s name but it doesn’t do any good. Rollins shows her a photo of Ariel and asks if she is still alive.
Meanwhile, in the same motel, Carisi works another girl for information. The girl calling Ariel a “snow bunny” and said Ariel mouthed off and Timmer stomped her in front of them. Carisi continues to press but the girl isn’t buying.
At prison, Amaro and Fin press Selena about Ariel and use Selena’s son as leverage Selena thinks the other girls are lying but Amaro and Fin aren’t buying it and explain how things will play out for her. But Selena still will not talk.
Back at SVU, Fin explains after they walked out on Selena, she called her lawyer; she wants to see her son again. Amaro says she would not give up Timmer but gave them a location of a party house where they rotate girls. Martha says she’s been there; the madam’s name is Tracy. Rollins says on that black there have been 5 911 calls in the last 6 months for assault and drunk driving but no charges. Fin thinks someone is paying off the precinct. Carisi suggests he go in and get eyes inside, but Benson suggests they stake it out to see what they are dealing with. Martha says if they see Ariel, they move in and Benson says they will – if they can.
At the party house in Jamaica Queens on Saturday, January 31, Fin and Carisi sit in a van right outside the house, Carisi taking pictures. They see a van pull in and girls disembark and they think Timmer is there. Fin comments the girls look more ethnic. Amaro and Rollins are in another car nearby and Rollins thinks Selena’s tip was good. Amaro doesn’t know if that will help her cause. They don’t see Ariel and neither does Fin and Carisi. One girl looks like she is in trouble and a woman approaches and Fin thinks this is Tracy, who may be upset the girl is strung out. Fin radios Tracy may not be happy and is sending the driver back for more girls. Carisi and Fin decide to follow the van and Amaro and Rollins stay at the house. Amaro seems concerned that Carisi is driving and Fin urges Carisi to slow down. Amaro worries they will lose the van but Rollins asks him to give Carisi a break. Amaro and Rollins see a truck pull up and a driver makes a beer delivery.
Meanwhile, the driver of the van turns around and Fin and Carisi are forced to let him go. Amaro gets upset when they see the van come back towards them but Rollins tells him to relax, telling him the guy made a u-turn and none of them cam follow him without setting off alarms. Amaro is testy over it but Rollins reminds him they still have the beer delivery guy – illegal delivery of alcohol to an unlicensed and non-commercial establishment. Amaro suggests they not pull him over anywhere near the house.
Shortly later, they pull the driver over for the illegal distribution of alcohol to a brothel. The driver says he is trying to make a living and they take this as an admission and arrest him.
Back at SVU, Martha is in Benson’s office looking at the photos the detectives took and picks out Timmer, one of the Asian girls, and Nina, Ariel’s friend that she gave the phone number to. But no Ariel. She worries Ariel is injured. Benson tries to reassure her and says they will start working on the ones Martha ID’d and asks Martha to see if she can ID anyone else.
In the squad room, Benson informs the detectives that Martha identified 2 girls and the pimp, Timmer. Carisi states the plates on the van are to a rental made by a church which is licensed to a non-existent church. The drive has been cautious. There was no sign of Ariel, the girls were more ethnic and Ariel may be considered high class and by special request. Benson says they need to get into that house. Rollins reminds them tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and they already grabbed half his girls so Timmer will be working every single one of them that he has. Fin comments it is also a big day for beer delivery. Benson asks if Tommy, the beer delivery guy, has lawyered up yet, and Rollins replies not yet, she thinks he is afraid of calling his wife.
In the interrogation room, Rollins and Amaro press Tommy who insists all he does is deliver beer. But they continue to press him and he finally explains for special events they bring in the best girls and it is high class and those are big delivery days for him and Super Bowl Sunday is his biggest day of the year. Amaro says they will take that delivery off his hands,
Later, Benson and Fin are in the surveillance van watching as Amaro makes the delivery. Amaro knocks on the door and says he is filling in for Tommy and convinces Tracy to let him in. Once he has eyes inside and sees the young girls, asking how old are they, one of the men stands up. Amaro pulls out his gun and announces he is NYPD and shows his badge. Fin and Rollins break in the front door and stop anyone else from fleeing. Tracy bitches to Benson they are taking her down on Super Bowl Sunday, and Benson tells her to consider it a hostile takeover.
Afterwards, Benson works Tracy and gets her phone, and when Tracy questions where is her warrant, Benson says it is on the way. Benson tells her if they work with them, Benson will work with her. They suggest she go on with the party and that Tracy needs to tell them who is coming – how many johns, pimps, girls – no surprises. Benson says when they arrest them, they will arrest Tracy too and make it look good and no one will know she cooperated. When Tracy asks what if she says no, Rollins reminds her they have two underage girls. Benson adds if Tracy says no, she is talking Federal charges. Benson shows her a photo of Ariel and Tracy hasn’t seen her in a week. She says she doesn’t know who she is with but Fin tells her to make some calls and get her here. Carisi adds for her to tell the pimp that she has a special request; she has a whale here willing to pay top dollar for snow bunnies. Benson tells her to stand up and uncuff her, and it anybody asks, Benson is Bethany and she is here to help her out for today. Fin states he is her new supplier and he will bring her new girls fresh from vice. Carisi will be the whale. Benson tells Tracy to make the call, and Tracy angrily grabs the phone and make the calls.
Back at SVU, Benson is on the phone trying to get the youngest looking girls available and get the house wired – today. Martha is there and is hopeful Ariel will be at the party, and Benson explains they put in a request and Timmer will make some calls. When Martha asks to come with, Benson says that will not happen. But Martha pleads to Benson’s mom instincts.
At Benson’s apartment, she gets dressed up for her undercover role while Lucy tends to Noah. Her doorbell rings and Benson says that is her date. It is Fin, dressed for the part as well. He asks if she is ready to roll.
Back at the house, Benson, Fin, and Carisi play their roles. Timmer asks Tracy who is Benson and she explains that she is her sister in law Bethany and works a house in Nassau country, chiding him that she told him she needed help. Benson asks if those are his girls, and asks which ones do special requests. Timmer says they do what he tells them to do. Benson says that is what she likes to hear.
Meanwhile, Martha watches the video feed from inside the van with Rollins and Amaro, worried they have not seen Ariel. A vehicle pulls up and it is not a car she knows.
Inside, Carisi gets impatient and asks Benson where is his blonde. Timmer sends him over to Nina in the meantime. Benson tells him he has money and asks if she is actually coming. Timmer says he will make another phone call. As he goes to make the call, Fin explains to Benson a mystery pimp just pulled up in the driveway. In the van, Amaro watches the unknown pimp and says they have a problem. Benson asks Tracy who just arrived in the black Escalade, and Tracy says it is Bishop, he is crazy; Timmer must have called him about Ariel. Benson questions that he is alone. Bishop walks into the room and calls out to Timmer. Benson turns and is shocked to see that it is their former Lieutenant Declan Murphy, apparently undercover. He asks who are these trespassers; he doesn’t know them. Timmer looks uncomfortable and Benson explains she is with Tracy, they are all friends here. Murphy, continuing to play his role, says she is no friend of his. Carisi pushes Nina off his lap and tells her to “shut up, bitch.” Murphy gets in his face and tells him never to speak to a woman like that, he is done. Carisi pushes Murphy and tells him to back off, the game hasn’t started yet. Murphy says his is over, and when Carisi asks who is he, he doesn’t know him, Murphy clocks Carisi in the head with his gun. Fin tells Murphy to take it easy and Murphy says he doesn’t know him either, calling him Superfly. Murphy holds a gun on Fin and yells that the party is over, but Benson pulls out her gun and tells Murphy to drop his. Murphy looks at Timmer and says he prays he did not invite a pig to the party. Benson orders Murphy to drop the gun. He tells her to take it easy, then tells Tracy to tell her bitch to step back. But Amaro and Rollins burst in with police and they make arrests, surprised to see Murphy but not blowing his cover. Amaro arrests Benson to keep her cover as well.
Back at SVU, Benson walks into her office with Barba, who comments if he wants to know why she is dressed like that. When she explains she and the squad was undercover and that Martha was there, he is less than thrilled, reminding her he told her Martha could not be involved. Benson says “Sorry” and Barba says “Sorry? That’s it?” She explains that what she was trying to tell him is before they could rescue Ariel, Declan Murphy shows up, deep undercover as a trafficker and they had to arrest him. Barba is incensed, asking who is Murphy undercover for? Benson can’t answer that. Barba tersely tells her to see if Murphy can.
Meanwhile, Carisi is in holding with an ice pack to his head, nursing a nosebleed. Murphy gets on Timmer’s case. Amaro comes in and lets two guys out and then tells Fin and Murphy to come with him, Fin saying he doesn’t know Murphy, he’s crazy. They leave Carisi inside.
Benson brings Fin and Murphy into the interrogation room and Fin and Benson get on his case. But HE wonders what THEY are doing, saying he embedding himself 9 months into a trafficking ring and asks that they want to blow it with a Super Bowl vice bust, the dumbest, riskiest day of the year. Benson explains they are looking for a trafficked girl and he asks - just one? He thought he taught her to think big like hundreds. He is working for Johnny D. Fin says they don’t know him, and Murphy angrily retorts of course they don’t, it took him 9 months to figure out and now with this he will have to spend a week at Rikers until the gun charge is dropped. He tells Benson he handed the reins to her and she had to bollocks [not to be confused with "Bullock", Donal's character on the series "Gotham"] the whole thing up. Benson retorts that she missed him to, and shows him a photo of Ariel. He knows her and says she is damaged goods, Timmer did a number on her before he sold her to Johnny D for $800. Johnny D has just bought girls from him, he’s never taken Murphy to his lair. Benson is shocked, saying so now he is trafficking. Murphy says he is earning his trust and angrily says she does not relay that to One PP. Benson says he should tell Johnny D he wants to buy Ariel from him, but he says she overplayed that hand and Johnny D will sense a trap. Benson explains she made a promise to that girl’s mother, and Murphy says that is a promise she will not be able to keep. He explains it is too late for Ariel, those girls are so broken they won’t save themselves and Johnny D won’t think twice about killing a whore, pimp, or cop. If alone with him, given the chance, he will put a shiv in him and just walk away but they have to put him back in holding before they make this worse. She opens the door and Murphy and Fin walk out. Benson closes the door and looks concerned.
Meanwhile, Rollins works Nina in the interview room and she tells her about how Martha was going to buy them and Timmer walked in while Ariel was on the phone with Martha. Timmer beat Ariel until she blacked out. Martha watches with Benson from the observation window in her office. Nina doesn’t want to talk and Martha convinces Benson to let he talk to Nina. Benson relents.
Martha speaks to Nina and explains she is Ariel’s mother. Nina says Ariel's mom’s boyfriend pimped her out in Canada but Martha says this is not true, explaining she has been looking for Ariel since the say she disappeared. Nina says no one ever came looking for her, and Martha asks who told her that, Timmer. She continues to press Nina about wanting to reunited with her daughter. Martha continues to beg. Nina says that the morning after Timmer beat her, he drove Ariel to hell – to Johnny D. Johnny D keeps his new girls chained up for a week and lets his pimps come in and do whatever they want to them; that’s how he breaks them.
Meanwhile, Fin and Rollins question Timmer who realizes this was a set up. They know he is a pimp, and Fin uses the recent photos to make Timmer think they have been following him for a year. Rollins says they embedded Selena, and her madam, Martha, was a UC. He isn’t buying it and says he will call his lawyer now. Martha, watching this, asks Benson and Barba is this is over? Barba says not yet, and Benson adds they know what they are doing. In interrogation, Fin and Rollins tells Timmer they are letting him and Bishop go, and Bishop and Johnny D will think Timmer set them up so they will be waiting on him when he gets out. Fin says he is looking at a dead man now and Timmer’s body doesn’t even know it. Timmer gets worried, saying he didn’t set up anybody, and Rollins says if he wants to live, where is Ariel?
On Sunday, February 1, the detectives arrive at an abandoned hospital in Forest Hills, Queens. In the basement, they find 3 girls in locked rooms with nothing but a mattress, all in bad shape. They hear a scream and follow it to another locked room. Amaro kicks open the door to find Johnny D holding Ariel with a piece of glass to her neck and Amaro orders him to drop the glass. Johnny D threatens to kill Ariel but Benson says if he kills her, he dies too, asking if she is really worth it. Johnny thinks about it and gives up, asking for his lawyer. Ariel runs to Benson, who rushes her out of the room,
Later, Benson is with Martha in the hospital where Ariel lay in a bed. Martha thanks Benson. Ariel opens her eyes and is happy to see her mother. She cries and embraces her as Martha says she is safe now.
Back at SVU in the interrogation room, Rollins brings in something to drink for Murphy who is sitting at the table. She comments he has been under a long time and asks if he is okay. He says he is fine. Rollins says some of the girls say Murphy pimped them out, and he says you can’t believe what they say, they are liars. He asks what about her, is she walking the walk? She says she hit a rough patch but what doesn’t kill you…Murphy finishes that it makes you a better detective. She nods and smiles. Benson enters the room and Murphy comments he heard she found her girl. Benson says they did and the bruising and fractured ribs will heal but the rest …Murphy says one can only pray. Benson informs him they took his man down and found him in his lair with 4 sex slaves as prisoners and he will be going away for life for Federal charges. Murphy comments maybe; he has trafficked for over 20 years with no paper trail and not a single arrest. He warns them not to turn their backs on him. Rollins asks Murphy if he can come in from the cold now, and he asks if they want him back in charge that badly? He explains that Johnny D was the king and now he is out of commission which makes him the heir apparent. He mentions the gun charge and says Benson should be ashamed at themselves for the illegal search. It will get dropped and he will be back on the streets in no time and every trafficker in the northeast will be kissing his ring, so make it look good. He gets up and Benson asks “Cuffs?” and he replies, “By the book.” Rollins cuffs him. Murphy tells Benson she has a good team here and to take care of themselves. She replies, “You too, Declan.” Rollins leads him out of the room.
At Federal arraignment court on Tuesday, February 3, John Drake, AKA Johnny D is arraigned and pleads not guilty. Benson, Barba, Amaro, Rollins, Carisi, and Martha sit in the gallery, The prosecutor is successful in getting him remanded to a Federal penitentiary. Martha is happy.
Back at home, Benson is reading to Noah and her doorbell rings. She answers it to find Melinda Warner. Melina apologizes for coming to her home but says she has something she wants to keep off the books. Melinda asks the legal status of her relationship with Noah and if Benson started the adoption process. Benson explains there is a pile of paperwork but the second she is allowed to adopt him she will. Benson asks what is going on, and Melinda says there was a hit on Johnny Drake’s DNA when it went through the system. It was a familial match in an unrelated case which is not discoverable in Drake’s current case; he never needs to know. Benson asks “Needs to know what? What are you saying?” Melinda explains that Johnny D is Noah’s father. Benson looks at the file, stunned. She shakes her head in disbelief, then looks at Melina and Noah with concerns and worry as we fade to black.
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