There was one line in this episode that summed it all up: “this whole case has been a big waste of time.” There are so many things wrong with how Benson handled this situation that I am not sure if I have the time, or the energy, to write them all down.
It was stated more than once that there was no law in the New York criminal code that stated what Tom did was illegal. I love the increased legal focus on SVU as of late but it is worthless unless Barba grows a spine and tells Benson he will not prosecute a case just because she wants him to or just because she finds a person’s behavior repugnant. Her logic that because Tom lied about who he was and that he didn't use his real name would negate Laura’s consent makes no sense. Using Benson’s logic, any time a person had consensual sex with someone who misrepresented their identity, or without knowing their sex partner’s real name, it would be rape. How many one night stands occur between consenting adults where names are never exchanged? Does that make them all rapists because they don't know who they really are? Her logic would make a rapist out of a married person who cheated on their spouse and had consensual sex, without telling their sex partner they are really married, not single. Her logic would mean that prostitutes, who likely don’t use their real names, would be rapists, as would be the people having sex with the prostitutes, who likely aren’t using their real names or identities either. Maybe in Benson’s world, she would prefer if people showed two forms of identification – a driver’s license or birth certificate or passport – to verify the person’s name before consenting to sex. (Maybe they should sign a contract too while they are at it.)
Clearly what Tom was doing was despicable, but as it was not illegal, Benson should have dropped the issue. I sensed that even Fin had concerns about how Benson was handling the case. It’s too bad there isn’t anyone on her squad that is willing to forcefully stand up to her. Her staff and Barba are becoming her enablers, and she is sending them all on wild goose chases.
I thought the defense case was handled well, with attorney Nikki Staines highlighting that while the prosecution presented the case as rape, she saw Laura’s behavior as prostitution. Staines was not wrong, with Laura admitting that she did consent to sex in order to get an edge in her son’s entry into Hudson University, which was something of real value. Both Benson and Barba should have seen that coming and realized, in addition to Tom not doing anything illegal, that it could be Laura who was engaged in the illegal behavior. The judge was right in challenging Barba on his motivations to present the case, and he was right to "encourage" Barba to make a deal. This case may have put Barba in a bad light not only with this judge but other higher ups.
As for the apparent suicide of the young Justin at the end of the episode, I put some blame on Benson. She knew what Tom did was not illegal, she knew that Laura’s marriage was headed for divorce, and most of all, she knew Justin was having a very hard time dealing with the humiliation that the case brought to him and the family. This poor kid was already a victim of his mother’s obsession with him going to Hudson University, and Benson hanging out the family dirty laundry was just another burden that this stressed out kid had to bear. Benson was more concerned with catching her “white whale” – the rapist of the week – than with the damage to the Collett family. She wanted to make a statement. Her statement was punctuated by Justin's suicide. Benson has yet to realize that her actions have consequences, however unintended they might be.
It was also mentioned early in the episode that Noah's language skills are underdeveloped for his peer group. This should be no surprise to SVU viewers.
I’m not sure what I was supposed to be feeling watching this episode. All I know is I felt angry and disappointed about how poorly both Benson and Barba handled the case.
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.
Wallace Langham - Tom Metcalf
Callie Thorne - Counselor Nikki Staines
Vincent Curatola - Judge Al Bertuccio
Paula Marshall - Laura Collett
Steve Rosen - Public Defender Guthrie
Conor Proft - Justin Collett
Chris Henrey Coffey - James Collett
Tiffan Borelli -Erin Dowling
Juney Smith - Stanley Korva
Andre Blake – Alden Kessler
Mac Brydon – Gary Bell
Paul DeBoy - Bill Sullivan
Tiffan Borelli – Erin Dowling
Julia Veron – Woman One
Lauren Hooper – Woman Two
Alan Barnes Netherton – Man One
Joey Mintz – Man Two
The Colletts - mother Paula, husband James, and son Justin get ready for the day. James and Justin are heading out of town. Laura gets a phone call and tells the caller she will she him soon. Later, Laura and the mystery man are kissing and he asks if she is sure she wants to have sex. She says absolutely, asking why does he think she is here?
Afterwards, she is in a bathroom, the tub is filling, and she is drinking a glass of wine with a concerned look on her face.
Later, Carisi and Rollins are at a scene. The victim is Laura Collett who is on her way to the hospital with an apparent overdose. There was no note. Maintenance found her at 2:00 AM; the tub started overflowing and leaking into the room below. Carisi asks if she checked in alone, and Rollins says they aren’t sure, they are trying to pull video but the room was in her name. They key card was last used at 9:56 PM. No witnesses and nobody heard a peep. Carisi notes the room looks romantic and Rollins says they will check the wine for narcotics. Fin is also there and says there is an outcry witness – the suspect, via text. He has no name; he called the number a few times and there is no answer and no voice mail. Laura’s last text was 11:56 last night. Carisi reads the message which states “He raped me. Burn in hell.” Carisi thinks this is clear but Fin counters that Laura sent a text to the same guy 10 minutes earlier. Carisi reads that text which says, “Incredible night. Just gotta say it – best sex ever!” Carisi questions that in 10 minutes Laura went from the best sex ever to “you raped me”, wondering how the hell does that happen?
Rollins, Carisi and Fin return to the SVU and they bring Benson up to speed. There were no drugs in Laura’s system and the doctor did a full tox scan and there were no “date rape” drugs. They talk about Laura’s “change of heart” and Fin wonders what turned this into rape? Benson asks that TARU said the texts went to a burner and Rollins confirms. Benson recaps the info they have on the victim and Rollins adds Laura is 42 and has a son. Carisi shows Benson a screen shot from her phone. Rollins says it is just another perfect family. Carisi says it is too early to be that jaded, and Rollins jokes next time she will wait until noon. This husband is at the hospital and Benson tells them to head down there and see what he knows
Later, at Mercy Hospital at 365 West 32nd Street on Thursday, September 15, Carisi and Rollins speak with James Collett. He is surprised they are investigating her for an overdose of pills. When Carisi says they are trying to understand what happened prior to that, James is confused. Carisi explains the text message rape accusation, and James still is confused. Rollins says they are trying to figure out who she was with. James explains he last talked to Laura in the late afternoon; he and Justin were in Boston visiting colleges. Carisi asks if James knew she was staying at the Luxembourg hotel last night, and James and he looks stunned and says nothing. Carisi questions if she had any idea how Laura was with and maybe it was somebody at work, and James says Laura doesn’t work. She is involved with various charities and they were happy, at least he thought they were. All she thinks about is college admissions for their son who will be going next year. Carisi knows this is overwhelming for James but asks to consent to a rape kit. He nods in agreement.
Back at SVU, Benson asks the detective what do they have. Rollins and Carisi review the hotel security footage: At 6:14PM Laura walks into the lobby and she says hello to a tall white man, early 40s, decent looking and well dressed. They will run him through facial recognition. Benson tells them to take the image to the hotel and show it to guest, doormen, etc. Rollins asks Carisi if he wants to take a ride to the hotel but he explains he can’t; Barba set him up with an interview with an ADA from Brooklyn . Rollins asks if he will have to grow a beard and start making artisan pickles. She laughs and he says he is just seeing what is out there and for the record, he likes artisan pickles. As they step into the elevator, he asks her how he looks, and she replies, “Like a cop.”
Sometime later at SVU, Benson is on the phone with Lucy and asks how did Noah do and, looking disappointed, asks if she talked to the teacher. She looks sad and when she gets off the phone, Fin asks if there is a problem with the little guy. Benson explains that Noah’s language skills are slightly underdeveloped relative to his peer group. She insists she has been doing her best – reading, talking, singing. Fin asks if he is not getting into the fancy school, and Benson says she doesn’t know yet. She asks for an update on Laura, and Fin explains that the rape kit came back with no semen or bruises or abrasions but she did have sex; they found traces of condom lubricant. Nothing on facial recognition and nothing on social media. Fin shows her that Laura DM’d her son some time before the incident and Laura tells him she is sorry and to call her, and he replies that she makes him sick and he hopes she dies. Carisi, who has returned, says maybe the kid found there was somebody else and he will go back to the hospital and see what he knows. Benson asks how it went with LaRosa, and when Carisi stops dead in his tracks, Benson asks if Carisi doesn’t know she hears things. He smiles and walks off without answering.
At the hospital, Carisi speaks with Justin who says she is still unconscious but the doctors are optimistic, wondering if he is trying to placate him. Carisi shows him the photo of the man and Justin doesn’t know him. Carisi mentions the text Justin sent and Justin explains she kept bugging him about Hudson and she really wants him to go there, thinking it is so prestigious. Carisi explains his mother didn’t even know he applied to college and two days before classes started he asked if he could borrow $400 for books, he just got into St. John’s. Justin says his mom has been on 4 campus tours of Hudson, sat in on 6 lectures and had 3 lunches with some guy from the admissions office. The other day she asked Justin to have lunch with him and it might be the difference maker, and he snapped. He states he is sick of her stress over it, He is the one applying. He hopes that is not the last thing he ever said to her. Carisi asks if she ever mentioned the name of the guy and Justin replies no. Justin worries Laura took those pills because of the fight and Carisi says no, telling him to put that out of his head. He thinks she loves him very much and because of that she will make a full recovery.
Back at SVU, Carisi smacks the printer to get it to work, and Fin tells him he has to hit it hard. Carisi complains that wireless is overrated – that and putting lemon in water. Carisi tells Fin that Justin said his mother was working with someone from admissions at Hudson. Carisi has 27 males and 18 women in that department. Fin wonders that it takes all those people to look at applications and say yes or no. Rollins approaches and says nobody at the hotel recognizes the man. She did get a name = Laura signed it at 6:33 PM and a guy named Alden Kessler signed in at the exact same time, and Carisi says that name is on the top of his list – the director of admissions.
At Hudson University at 504 Riverside Drive on Friday, September 16, Rollins arrive at the office of Alden Kessler and it is a black man. Carisi shows him the photo of the man and Laura and he does not know them. Rollins explains why they are there and shows him a paper with a signature, asking if that is his. He says no, adding he never set foot in the Luxembourg hotel. Rollins explains there is a rapist out there pretending to be him. They think someone is using his name and that Laura’s son Justine applied to Hudson. Kessler bring up Justin’s information on h is computer saying Justin’s info is exception but they get two thousand with similar credentials and they only take 400 and the others go to international students and athletes. Carisi asks if he is saying it is tough to be a rich white kid with great grades and Kessler says at elite universities. Rollins says that must make him pretty popular, and Carisi asks if any of the rich parents try to influence his decision. Kessler replies no, never, that would be unethical. Rollins asks if any offer sex, if he wanted to exploit his power in a sexual way. He says he has been offered outrageous things and there have been sexual advances, Rollins gets a message and tells Carisi Laura just woke up and Benson is on his way to the hospital. Rollins thanks Kessler and says they will be in touch.
At the hospital, Laura explains to Benson that she met the man on campus at the café and he said he worked at admissions. Benson mentions the text about best sex and then the rape text. Laura explains he figured out he was not Alden Kessler as the man mixed up a few statistics and she got suspicious. She had looked him up and he was on some professor’s Instagram page. She was stunned and she called the man she just had sex with and she confronted her and laughed at her and he hung up. She called him again and he didn’t answer. She sent the text as she wanted to know how disgusting he was. She didn’t mean to hurt herself, she was trying to numb the pain, she would never abandon her family. Benson thinks out loud that Laura did not know his true identity so she never consented to have sex with him. Laura looks confused and asks what is Benson saying, was what he did a crime? Benson replies she is saying that what he did to her was rape.
Back at SVU, Fin comments that Laura screwed some guy trying to get her kid in college, and, acting like it is funny, he says Laura got played. He adds that lying to have sex is part of the game. He mentions that back in the day, he pretended to be Melle Mel’s cousin and ask Benson if she is saying that is rape. Benson replies that things have changed, and Fin counters not that much, everybody is lying in the club, trust him on that. Benson states Laura consented to having sex with Alden Kessler, not some stranger pretending to be him and that’s rape. Benson says to find the guy and asks if they have any leads. Carisi says the wine bottle came back negative for prints and he found a few notes written to Laura on Kessler’s stationery. Benson thinks if the stationery is legit, the guy has access to Kessler’s office, adding it is time to take another college tour.
Back at Hudson University at 504 Riverside Drive on Friday, September 16, Rollins and Carisi walk the grounds and Rollins brings up that guys have been lying for years. She thinks it is disgusting but where do you draw the line? She brings up a few hypotheticals but Carisi thinks this guy is different, he is a predator. Rollins says this is gray; they are cops, not lawyers. Carisi tells her to speak for herself. She laughs and says she keeps forgetting, and Carisi jokingly asks if that is an insult. She says it is a compliment.
Inside, they find someone who ID’s the man as Tom Metcalf, campus security. He hired him two months ago as they had extra security during application season. He punched out at 5:12 and Carisi asks if they can call Tom to find out where he is and pretend he has to talk to him about work or something. The man agrees and makes the call.
Later. Rollins and Carisi are in a bar and hear what sounds like people lying about who they really are. They find Tom giving a woman a line of BS and Carisi sits down and asks how he knows all that. When the call him by his nameTom, he feigns confusion but Rollins shows her badge and asks if they can go back to her place.
In SVU in interrogation with Carisi, Tom is surprised to hear about Laura’s overdose. Carisi brings up Tom’s lie and he is contrite. He admits he lied but said he told her he worked in admissions but omitted it was as security guard and that Laura assumed. As far as he knows that is not a crime. He looked it up. Trying to get Tom to talk, he brings up a story from college, saying someone thought he was a foreign student and it was the best sex he ever had. Tom says that the foreign thing works with some. Meanwhile, Benson and Rollins watch the interrogation and Benson comments "he" thinks he is clever. And Rollins, motioning to Tom, jokes so does this guy. Benson chuckles. As Carisi continues to question Tom, he asks what is the point of the meeting. Carisi says he wants his side, and Tom says he met Laura and they had a few dates and that is that. Carisi presses if he has veer impersonated other people, and Tom says it is not against the law. He says it is a brilliant strategy, like taking advantage of the tax law and finding loopholes. He admits he’s impersonated other people, but he plays sophisticated angles. He states he worked security in a medical building and he heard all this lingo; the next thing you know, the neurologist is in the house. He goes through one of his speeches and says it is all part of the humble brag. He is writing a book about this. Carisi asks if Laura ever said yes to Tom before sex and he asks if he under arrest. Carisi says no, and Tom says he is out of here. As he leaves, he says he will send Carisi a copy of his book and if he is nice, he might even autograph it for him.
Outside the courthouse, Barba comments to Benson that it sounds like rape by fraud but the problem is that doesn’t exist in New York criminal code. Benson states she knows but they can’t just let this guy walk, adding there must be some kind of statute or theory that they can use to prosecute this kind of vile behavior. Barba cites a case from 1994, the People vs Hough. A twin tricks his partner’s wife into having sex with him. The court rules there is wrongdoing but no crime is committed since the law doesn’t cover that type of behavior. Benson thinks it is time to update New York law into the 21st century. Barba comments there have been rumblings about a new bill in the legislature and the case could kick start things. He asks if the woman is willing to testify, and Benson replies she will talk to her. Barba questions if their repugnant ladies man has done this before, and Benson replies it sounds like it. She explains Tom told Carisi he was writing a book about his various conquests. Barba thinks if they can establish a consistent pattern, it would help sway the jury. Benson asks for a warrant to keep digging. He nods.
At the apartment of Tom Metcalf at 341 West 38th Street on Monday, September 19, Rollins and Carisi search and the man who let them in – Stanley – asks them if he needs to stick around for this. Carisi says it is better he stays. Rollins says Tom is a person of interest. Carisi finds information on a Dr. Michael Mandelbaum from Stanford University Medical School. Rollins comments that Tom definitely backstops. Rollins finds a book by Stephanie Dowling called “My Mali Journey” and Rollins says Tom has desperate moms submitting their works to him. Rollins reads a cover note from Stephanie’s mother Erin thanking “Alden” for reading this and that Stephanie is a special young lady and to see him tomorrow afternoon at the Strathmore, which is a new luxury building in Soho. It sounds like another con. The note was from yesterday and the day is today. Carisi thinks they might be able to stop this and wants to call Benson.
At the Strathmore on 77 Grand Street on Monday, September 19, Benson arrives with Fin who says Erin’s phone is still going to voice mail. Benson, flashing her badge, shows the photo of Tom to the doorman who works there who says their tenants are private. Fin explains it is an emergency. The man identifies Tom as Mr. Kessler and he just clocked in, he hasn’t seen him. Benson asks if he lives there, and the man says he stays in Mr. Zang’s place sometimes; 24B. Benson races to the elevator and as the door opens and she enters, Tom walks out. He laughs and recognizes her, and Benson asks if Erin is up there. He said yeah, she is probably catching her breath now. Fin steps in his way and comments about Tom’s stupid smile, and Tom asks if he is threatening him. Fin glares at him and Benson tells him to let him go.
Later, in the room, they break the bad news to a shocked Erin. Benson says she knows this is traumatic but Erin says it is humiliating; she and he husband spent over a half million dollars on her daughter’s education and they want a return on their investment but the college admissions process is brutal. He daughter is smart but normal, not prodigy smart, and is not a minority or an elite athlete. As Erin primps her appearance, she states she met Tom at the café on Hudson’s campus. Her daughter was there and he approached Erin. She admits she thought he was Kessler until now. Benson says she is sorry but she wants Erin to know they intend to prosecute Tom for what he has done and they hope they can count on her to cooperate. Erin asks Benson if she is joking, asking if Benson wants her to tell the world she was sleeping with the admissions director to get her daughter into college? Benson replies that Erin didn’t consent to having sex with Tom Metcalf, he defrauded her. Erin says they were two adults playing a game and the hustler got hustled; lesson learned. Benson looks crestfallen and Erin walks off. Fin asks what now, and Benson says a crime was committed and to process it like any other case. Fin says he will call CSU but seems skeptical.
Back at SVU in her office, Benson is on the phone and when Fin walks in, she explains that was the owner of Metcalf’s sex pad. She adds that it is cloudy in Hong Kong. The owner never heard of Tom. They don’t know how he got into the condo. Fin says CSU found something good: their imposter is a film maker too. Fin shows Benson a photo of a video camera hidden in a drawer.
Later, in Barba’s office, Benson shows the video of Tom and Erin to Barba and the video then shows Tom and Laura. CSU is running the camera for touch DNA but Benson thinks Tom is clearly running the clubhouse. There are 5 women on the video, all mothers trying to get their kids into Hudson. They have ID’d all the women but none are interested in filing a complaint. Barba thinks this is understandable, and Benson thinks this is why he keeps doing it. Barba says there is no question Tom is revolting but the victim isn’t exactly perfect. Benson agrees, saying she made a horrific decision, but this case is about something bigger than Laura. She asks how many men and women are they gone to let this guy victimize? Win or lose, they need to make a statement here. Barba says okay, she wins. He tells her to pick him up. As Benson moves to leave, she turns and tells Barba they are doing the right thing. He says he knows, that is what he is worried about.
At a later time, Benson leads Tom into SVU interrogation with Barba in tow. Tom says he never recorded anything. Benson says he can’t con them. He asks what is he even doing here, he has done nothing wrong, asking since when is having sex a crime. Benson says what he did wasn’t sex. Tom counters if they arrested every guy who lied to get women, she’d have 50 million men in prison. Barba says they won’t debate the ethics of his behavior but they are there to discuss a deal if he is willing to plead guilty to sexual assault in the third degree. Tom asks if he is kidding him, saying these chicks are begging for it, if anything they assaulted him. With a blank face, Barba asks yes or no, and Tom say to kiss his ass. Benson reads him his rights and cuffs him, arresting him. She leads him out of the room.
Afterwards, Benson is at Laura’s and they discuss Barba’s filing of rape charges. Justin walks in and heads upstairs, not responding to Benson question how he is doing. Laura says he is having a hard time; he is terrified this is going to become public. Laura asks if they can win this case, and Benson thinks they have a decent chance and will need her to testify and to stand up there and tell them the depth of Metcalf’s deceit. Laura says her family is ashamed and Tom saw how weak and vulnerable she was and her obsession with getting Justin into Hudson. Benson understands it is very easy to get lost in this private school madness. Laura feels stupid and pathetic and he made him hate herself more than she already does. Laura says she wants him to feel the humiliation and pain she felt. Benson promises to do her best.
In motions court part 14 on Tuesday, September 27, Counselor Nikki Staines says there is no proof Tom made the recording and only Laura filed a police report. The other women have not come forward and refuse to cooperate with the prosecution, making the tapes irrelevant and more prejudicial than probative. If the prosecution wants to talk about the sex tapes, they should charge Tom with unlawful surveillance. Barba replies they intend to. Judge Al Bertuccio states they are here to try a rape case, so the video pertaining to Laura is admissible and the rest of it stays out. Barba leaps up and says there is a pattern of conduct here, but the judge reiterates his ruling. Staines give Barba a satisfied look.
Afterwards and outside, the judge catches up with Barba and he tells him being a prosecutor isn’t enough, Barba wants to be a legislator too. Barba looks stunned, and walks up to the judge and says “Excuse me?” Judge Bertuccio replies to correct him if he is wrong, but Barba’s job is to bring cases that are actually crimes under the New York criminal code. Barba states they presented the facts to the grand jury who deliver an indictment. The judge says he once indicted a ham and cheese sandwich for triple homicide. Barba says the defense filed a motion to dismiss. The judge asks Barba if he wants him to kick a rape case in this political climate without hearing all of the evidence? He takes Barba’s arm and walks with him, asking him what is really going on here; does he want press and is he laying a bed for a political run? Barba tells the judge , with all due respect, he is out of line. The judge tells him to be careful, just because he prefaced it with all due respect doesn’t mean it is not disrespectful. Barba explains he didn’t intend to... and the judge coldly tells him not to use his courtroom for his own agenda, asking if he hears him. Barba asks if he is asking him to dismiss the case, and the judge says no, he would never ask a prosecutor to dismiss a case that he believes is worthy of the court’s time, that would be an abuse of judicial power. The judge walks off.
In Supreme Court Part 14 on Wednesday, September 28, Barba states his case about what Tom did with using Alden’s identity to have sex. He says it is rape. Staines counters the argument saying Tom exaggerates, saying they used to be called playboys and pick up artists. She says Barba is trying to advance his personal political agenda.
Later, Laura testifies that she did not agree to have sex with Tom Metcalf if she knew who he was, her only objective was to help her son get into Hudson. It was more of a business transaction. Staines asks if that is like a prostitute, and Barba objects, the judge overruling. Laura says she didn’t think of it like that, he didn’t give her money but she supposes she is right, she was giving him sex and he was giving him something of value in return. James and Justin watch from the gallery. She is not proud of what she did, she was just trying to help her son and she knows this sounds silly but she dropped out of college after two years. She wanted him to have better and enjoy all the things a prestigious college offers and she was willing to do anything. They have money, but not enough to buy their way in so she thought this would help. Staines says using sex to influence s a decision based on merit is a hell of a way to help her son. The judge comments that they get the idea, telling her to move on. Staines mentions that right before Laura overdosed she sent Metcalf a text saying that it was incredible and it was the best sex ever but now she is saying she didn’t consent to having sex. Laura states she sent the text before she knew who he was and she was pretending. Staines says she lied, and Laura says yes. Staines asks what else is she lying about. Barba objects and Staines withdraws the question. Under cross, Barba brings up the other text she sent to Tom saying her raped her, saying that when she found out who he was she said he raped her and she hoped he burned in hell. Benson, sitting in the gallery, looks down. Barba rests his case.
Staines then calls Gary Bell and Barba asks to approach. Barba says Gary is not on the witness list. Staines explains he is the doorman at the Strathford and he just recently came forward. The judge asks what is the crux of his testimony, and Staines states that he heard Laura refer to Tom Metcalf as Tom – not Alden. She knew who Tom was; after the third or fourth time they had sex, Metcalf came clean and told her who he was and she kept sleeping with him anyway, adding, “So much for no consent.” Barba looks stunned.
Outside the courtroom in the hall, Barba confronts Laura that Tom says she knew his real name and had sex with him 3 or 4 times. She says that is a lie; they had sex once at the hotel and she never knew his real name until then. She asks why would she put herself through this if she knew who that pig really was. Her son can barely look at her and her husband is going to file for divorce. Benson says they believe her, and asks if she remembers seeing this man – showing a photo of the doorman – Gary Bell, where they had drinks one night? She says she doesn’t know, asking what difference does it make, she never called him Tom. Barba gives Benson a look and Laura comments that Tom is going to get away with this and this whole case has been a big waste of time. She asks Benson why did she tell her to testify, and looking like she is ready to cry, walks away from them. Benson looks stunned.
Back at SVU, Benson asks the detectives what do they know about this doorman, and Fin says he and Metcalf went to the same high school and Fin found a picture of them on line in shop class. Benson comments that they know each other buy why is he willing to lie for him and give him access to a luxury condo. Rollins replies it is about more than friendship; she spoke with Bell’s supervisor at the last hotel he worked – Carisi says he was the night manager at the Mapleton – and he got fired for setting up a camera in the women’s rest room. Benson says “there you go”, adding that he is a watcher. Fin states no wonder they never found any sex tapes on Metcalf ‘s computer. Rollins adds that Tom wasn’t filming it, his friend Bell was. Benson said there was no prints or evidence on that camera, and Carisi says the doorman doesn’t know that.
Later, Gary Bell is in interrogation with his lawyer who says he is not sure what they are doing here, Bell’s testimony is not going to change. Barba brings up the video camera and Carisi says his fingerprints were all over the camera. Barba calls it unlawful surveillance is a felony and that means prison and they will be filing those charges soon. The only question is will he also be filing perjury charges. Carisi says Bell agreed to lie for Metcalf because Metcalf threatened to out him for the sex videos, but now that they know he has no reason to lie. Barba says telling the truth will be better for him in the long run. Bell starts to explain but his lawyer tells him to stop talking, adding if for some reason his client thinks he made a mistake, will Barba take that into account when it comes time to plead out the illegal surveillance charge? Barba nods.
In Supreme Court part 14 on Thursday, September 29, Staines says they now won’t call Gary Bell and they won’t call any witnesses. The judge asks if she is resting her case before presenting it, and she says correct. She moved to her closing argument, saying that Tom is not perfect and he is not decent. If he tried to date him she would laugh at him or punch him in the face, adding he is disgusting but not a rapist. He is a sad frustrated man who longed for success but never found it so he creates successful, respectful characters in his own mind like an actor or undercover detective might do, and under the course of these identities he meets women and sometimes has sex with them. It is not an ethical or moral way to conduct a romantic life but it is not criminal either. She says Barba wants to pass judgment of Tom for lying to women, but being a jackass is not a crime under New York law, adding that the jury has a legal obligation to find him not guilty.
Afterwards, Barba and Staines walk in the hallway with the judge who says it was a compelling closing for Staines and he is sure the jury found it persuasive as well. He asks Barba what was his take, asking if he found it illuminating. Barba says he stands by the evidence. The judge, now sitting at his desk, says he does not care about the evidence, he cares about the law or the lack thereof. He says Barba is a talented prosecutor with a bright future and if he was him he would take Staines out for a cup of gourmet coffee that everyone drinks these days and beg her to accept a plea to a lesser charge. The judge is sure she will accept it because she is a reasonable woman and notes that her client is a repulsive human being. He adds that judges and prosecutors are supposed to enforce the laws that exist, not the ones they think should exist, and when they lose sight of that, they run the risk of getting their pants pulled down in public and having their sterling reputations sullied. Barba looks at the judge and nods.
Later, Benson is shocked that Barba has agreed to criminal impersonation in the second degree, a misdemeanor. Barba explains it is the best he could do. The judge was prepared to overturn the verdict. Benson asks if he said that, and Barba states “in so many words.” He has not told Laura, he called hew a few times but does not know where she is. Benson says she will find her and break the news to her in person.
When Benson arrives at the Collett home, she sees an ambulance there. She races to James who is standing on the steps and she asks what happened. James says nothing and drops to sit on the stairs as Benson asks if it is Laura. She runs inside and tells the police to watch him. She heads into the back yard and sees Justin on the ground, surrounded by police and with Laura crying out. Benson sees blood on the ground at Justin’s head and it is clear he is dead. Benson puts her hands to her head in shock. She looks up to the balcony from which Justin has jumped. As Laura clings onto Benson and sobs uncontrollably, and Benson looks stunned, we fade to black.
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