Law and Order
"Agent Provocateur"
SVU, Episode 16.11
Production number: 16011
First aired (US): 14 January 2015
First aired (UK): 15 March 2015
First aired (CAN): 14 January 2015
First aired (AUS): 4 May 2015
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Written By
Samantha Corbin-Miller

Directed By
Alex Chapple

A teenager is left for dead in an alley after meeting her celebrity crush.


Fifteen year-old Madison Baker sneaks out of her uncle's home to meet breakout movie star Scott Russo, who invited her to a party via social media. Later that night, a patrolman finds her in an alley, sexually assaulted and barely alive. Sgt. Benson suspects Russo and his manager, Lydia Lebasi, are covering up the crime when security footage from the party goes missing. When gossip site mogul Lenny Simmons airs the stolen footage, he refuses to give up the source material and ADA Barba takes him to court to find the truth.


Madison Baker leaves her uncle's upscale apartment and is helped into a cab by the building doorman. As the taxi pulls away, she removes her jacket to reveal a skimpy black dress. She takes a swig from a small bottle of vodka and applies lipgloss and mascara. The African-American driver watches in the rearview mirror and winks at her. The episode jumps ahead to her naked body dangling from the edge of a bed, draped in a white sheet. A generic black suitcase is hurled on the floor and a figure in black, wearing leather gloves, carefully arranges her body to fit inside and zips it closed. The figures walks the suitcase through the halls of the hotel, through a crowded bar and out onto a cobblestone street where they leave it beside a pile of trashbags, partially unzipped.

A short time later a police officer is shown running over to the bag. He places his fingers on Madison's neck to check for a pulse and radios for help. Madison's body is then shown being loaded into an ambulance and, after a quick cut, through the halls of a hospital as doctors and nurses frantically work on her. They have to defribilate her.

When she wakes Sergeant Olivia Benson and Detective Nick Amaro are waiting in her hospital room. Madison is initially confused, not knowing where she is or what happened. She is informed that she was found, naked, in a suitcase. She says she cannot remember anything that happened and tells them she'd been planning on seeing the musical Wicked with a girlfriend. Her mother was in Atlantic City, Jersey, with girlfriends and Madison had been staying at her Uncle's apartment on the Upper West Side.

At the scene where Madison was found, Detectives Fin Tutuola and Dominick Carisi speak with the uniform who found her. The officer tells them that he had responded to a call - somebody had wanted Madison found. CSU has not arrived yet and the officer's canvas has not yielded any leads. The officer postulates that she was probably underage, out partying, OD'd and was dumped there.

Benson calls Tutuola, saying Madison doesn't remember anything after the cab ride and informs them that Madison's uncle is not picking up the phone; Tutuola and Carisi head to the uncle's apartment to investigate. Benson, meanwhile, continues to interview Madison. The girl tells her that the cab driver locked the doors and was "driving like a lunatic". She tells them the driver is Middle Eastern, maybe, but that her memory isn't clear. She realizes her phone is missing as she recalls how she had tried to text her friend.

Madison then claims to remember the driver stopping, climbing into the back and forcing her to take pills. Benson then asks Madison to do a rape-kit, despite the girl's claims that she wouldn't be able to recognize her assailant. Meanwhile Tutuola and Carisi have arrived at the uncle, Matt Baker's, apartment, seemingly arousing him from his sleep. answers the doors, confused, claiming his niece is upstairs sleeping in the guest bedroom. Matt lets them into the guest room which is empty. The detectives ask when he last saw his niece and he tells them they'd plan to go to the musical together but Madison told him she had a friend who was dying to see it. They find the unused tickets on a bedside table. Matt is informed his niece in the hospital and Carisi inquires about an alibi. He tells them he was out at the Meat Market until 1AM. When SVU asks if anyone can verify, he leads them into his bedroom where his lover is still sleeping. When they ask about the identity of the friend Madison was allegedly meeting, he tells them he isn't sure and that they don't really talk. Madison is fifteen and constantly on her cell phone texting, he claims.

At the precinct, they review the case. The detectives don't believe the story about the taxi-driver claiming it is impossible to speed through Times Square during that time. Madison's tox screen shows alcohol, ambien and xanax. The rape kit doesn't turn up any DNA, though it does show condom lubricant. The cell records show a trail to a hotel in Tribeca where her phone went dead. Carisi pulls up her instagram and shows that yesterday she posted a selfie of Scott Russo holding a sign saying "See you tonight". Russo is, according to Carisi, a "actor-slash-painter-slash-philosopher. In his free time he's trying to end climate change". He is in town for a film festival at the same Hotel Madison's phone last pinged at.

Benson visits Madison in the hospital. Madison's mother has also arrived. Benson asks about Russo and Madison's mother tells them she's obsessed with the actor and has seen his film ten times. Madison, to her mother's horror, tells them that she got his number through a DM on twitter. She tells them Scott told her he could get her on the list for a party at the hotel bar but that nothing happened. She had some cocktails at the party and blacked out - the next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital. Madison's mother insists that Scott be arrested.

Tutuola and Carisi arrive at Scott Russo's suite where he is playing a sitar. They show him a photo of Madison and Scott tells them that she's a fan and that he just responded to a text she sent him. He tells the detectives that he met her and that she'd had a few of the free drinks from the bar. He claims they only talked and that he'd left her in the booth. He says that industry folks saw him leave alone, including his co-star. His manager Lydia arrives as they are interviewing him. She insists that nothing happened and tells the detectives they can e-mail her the questions.

When Tutuola and Carisi go to hotel security to gather the surveillance tape, the staff tells them that another police officer already came late last night to pull the footage of the hallway, bar, elevator, and lobby. Somebody has impersonated an officer to steal the footage.

At the press junket downstairs Lydia tells Russo that she doesn't want him to talk to the detectives. Screaming fans line the velvet ropes and Russo and his co-star Skye Adderson post a selfie to instagram with the adoring masses. SVU asks DA Barba to get them a search warrant for his phone and he instructs them to get a witness putting Scott and Madison together after the party. They return to the hotel to interview Skye, who Scott claimed would vouch for him. Skye fails to back up Scott's claims - he saw them together in a booth and then they were both gone.

The trailer for Scott Russo's latest film, in which he portrays a man falsely accused of rape-murder, drops and Carisi and Amaro suggest that this is a publicity stunt for the movie. It fits into Russo's meta theme perfectly. Olivia reminds them that somebody had sex with a fifteen year old girl and left her for dead in a suitcase in an alleyway - that is a crime and they will not be dropping the case. Tutuola tells them that waiters saw Russo doing body shots off Madison.

A google-alert informs Tutuola that LMZ has found something - the detectives turn on the television to see a report on 'suitcase girl'. The gossip program rolls surveillance footage showing the pair kissing in the bar. The show then airs footage of Scott returning to his room and then, afterwards, Madison teetering drunkenly down the hall to his room. Scott is clearly shown opening the door to let her in.

Tutuola and Carisi find Scott and a gallery and bring him in, telling him he's looking at 15-20 years for rape and assault. Their search of his room finds the same cocktail of drugs found in Madison's systems and condoms matching the type indicated by her rape kit. He tells the detectives those condoms are in the hotel amenity basket.

Carisi confronts him about kissing the girl and letting her into his room. Scott insists that, upon finding out she was underage, he rebuffed her advances and closed the door on Madison. SVU does not have the rest of the tape to confirm or rebut his story. They tell him that he'll be in trouble in court and, realizing the severity of his situation, Russo confesses that he was meeting Catalina Sore, his married co-star in his adjoining room. Catalina, however, is on a nineteen hour flight to New Zealand where she's starring in a new film trilogy directed by her husband. Lydia arrives and he invokes his right to an attorney. The drugs and condoms are circumstantial; Barba tells Benson to re-interview the victim.

At the precinct, Amaro and Benson talk to Madison and her mother again. Her mother is outraged that Scott is free to victimize 'another child' while Madison insists she wanted to be with him and followed him to his room. She insists it was consentual and that they are soulmates. She tells SVU she went to his bathroom and took some of his pills to calm her nerves but that they were stronger than she had anticipated. She tells them that she had sex with Scott and that he was gentle. Benson suggests they bring charges of statutory rape and Barba reminds the detectives that Madison has changed her story several times. Carisi states that if he were Scott's lawyer he'd paint Madison as a crazed fan, high on pills and alcohol. Amaro suggests they could get him on child endangerment for the video footage of Scott doing bodyshots off Madison. They realize that if they use the footage of him talking to her outside his hotel room door, they'll need to explain to the jury why they don't have the rest of the film.

They visit the headquarters of LMZ where the head of the company insists he does not have access to the rest of the tape and that he must protect his sources. Barba threatens him with withholding evidence however Lenny Simmons claims his journalistic right to shield his sources. Because the film was obtained through the impersonation of a police officer and because Simmons had knowledge of that crime, Barba serves him with a subpoena to appear before a Grand Jury. He must reveal his source or be held in contempt. Simmons, however, doesn't show. Benson suggests picking him up at the end of the day so that he cannot be processed until Monday and has to spend the weekend in 'the tombs' (lock-up).

Benson and Amaro arrive at his office and arrest Simmons for failure to appear and contempt. His office cheers as he is led away. While they cannot send in a undercover officer to talk to him about his own case, the detectives - with Barba turning a blind eye - decide to send in Tutuola and Carisi to fish for details about the rape. Tutuola, sporting the grossest and most obvious fake beard in cinematic history, records Simmons telling him that Lydia gave him the videos. They threaten to release him and leak that he talked to save his own skin, destroying his reputation.

Amaro and Carisi interview Lydia who tells him that she got a call from Scott that he had a problem: a fifteen year old had OD'd in his bed. She picked up a cheap suitcase and that he put her into it and wheeled her out while she cleared the room of evidence. She called LMZ to get rid of the footage but they 'screwed' her by releasing the footage of him going into her hotel room.

Tutuola and Carisi arrest Scott Russo while he is out with co-star Skye Adderson. Madison arrives at the precinct shortly afterwards who claims that Lydia is lying about everything. Madison then tells Barba and the detectives that she didn't have sex with Scott - they only made out at the party. When he opened the door Catalina Soren was standing behind him in her robe, seemingly corroborating his story that he was with his co-star instead. She claims Scott told her she was a sweet girl but too young - he closed the door on her and she cried and that is when Skye came out. He invited her into his room to clean up and they had a few more drinks and that she took some of his pills. Skye was very understanding about Scott - they kissed and then had sex. Her memory was then hazy until she woke up in the hospital. When asked why she had lied, Madison claims she didn't want Scott to know she had 'cheated' on him because he would never forgive him. Barba claims no jury would believe her anymore - she's changed her story too many times.

They return to the hotel to interview Lydia, again, pretending they have the missing footage. She is helping Skye prepare to leave - he is bound for New Zealand having just been cast in Catalina's new movie The Catalyst. SVU asks where Skye was after the party and he claims that he went to Lydia's room where they strategized about the upcoming Catalyst film before falling asleep on her couch. SVU tell Skye and Lydia that their account doesn't line up with the LMZ footage that Lydia okayed for release. Benson and Tutuola tell him that they have footage of him inviting Madison into his room and then wheeling the black suitcase out a few hours later. He asks about the footage of Lydia bringing the suitcase into his room. He insists he cannot take the fall for the crime and Lydia claims it was her idea - she didn't want a "stupid girl" to mess up the Catalyst deal. Skye claims innocence - he didn't know how old the girl was or that she took pills from his medicine cabinet.

Russo's indictment is dismissed. On the steps of the court house, he tells the SVU detectives that he is not mad and thanks them for revealing the truth. He indicates that Lydia tried to set him up for his refusal to compromise his morals and that she found a "shiny" new boy. Russo speaks to the media and a crowd of adoring female fans about the betrayal, managing to sneak in a few lines to promote his film Falsely Accused. While he does so, he shares flirty looks with a fan who appears underage and the detectives notice while being worried.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


Episode references


Episode quotes

Background information and Notes

  • An "agent provocateur" is a person who immerses themselves in a particular situation for the sake of sabotaging its potential outcome.
  • The opening has the song "Let Her Go" by Jasmine Thompson (song was originally sung by Passenger) playing as part of the montage of what happened to Madison Baker.
  • Rollins is absent after taking time off after the events of "Forgiving Rollins".
  • Rafael Barba goes up against a defiant LMZ's Lenny Simmons for evidence against Scott Russo. Barba's actor, Raúl Esparza, previously played a similar style entertainment reporter, Dennis Di Palma, in the Law & Order episode "Blackmail".

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Apartment of
Matt Baker
66 North Moore Street
Monday, January 5

Howell Hotel
Scott Russo Suite
78 Hudson Street
Monday, January 5

Abstract Space Gallery
63 Water Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn
Wednesday, January 7

Offices of
629 West 50th Street
Thursday, January 8

5 6 7

Manhattan Detention
125 White Street
Saturday, January 10

Howell Hotel
Skye Adderson Suite
78 Hudson Street
Tuesday, January 13

Motions Court
Part 12
Wednesday, January 14

Previous episode:
"Forgiving Rollins"
"Agent Provocateur"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 16
Next episode:
"Padre Sandunguero"
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