|←||SVU, Episode 4.11||→|
|Production number: E3109|
First aired: 10 January 2003
| Written By|
Juan José Campanella
A triple homicide resulting from a robbery turns into a complicated investigation when it is discovered that the murders were designed to silence a victim of sexual abuse.
A man and a woman are standing outside a video store, about to break up, when someone fires a gun inside the store, and a bullet shoots the man dead. Inside, the video store clerk shoots the masked gunman who first started firing, but not before he has shot a little girl, who is lying unconscious next to her hysterical older sister.
Detective Deuthorn arrives on the scene, and CSU walks him through what happened. The ski-mask wearing gunman, Eric Campbell, appears to have attempted to rob the store at gunpoint, when the little girl, Rebecca Kurtz, dropped a video and startled him, making him fire in her direction, shooting her and the man standing outside, before he himself is shot dead by the store clerk, Joey Field. Deuthorn talks to Field, who is shaken up, but Deuthorn tells him he did a good job.
Rebecca Kurtz has been taken to the hospital and is put on life support and it is discovered that she has gonorrhea, at which point detectives Benson and Stabler are called onto the case.
Munch and Tutuola talk to Missy Kurtz, Rebecca's teenage sister who was with her in the store. She is crying and distraught, but manages to tell them that their father works from home and spends a lot of time with Rebecca. She tells them also that she was adopted by the Kurtzes when she was twelve, and that her biological father was extremely abusive.
Stabler talks to Mrs. Kurtz who reveals that Rebecca has been declared brain dead, while Benson talks to Mr. Kurtz, telling him that Rebecca was abused and asking for a DNA sample. He refuses and reacts very angrily to her suggestion, but Benson's instincts tell her that he is innocent. Tutuola, however, reveals that several years ago Missy filed a complaint of abuse against her adoptive father.
Tutuola and Munch speak to the ACS caseworker who handled Missy, and she tells them that Missy was simply confused about the difference between a 'good touch' and a 'bad touch', after being abused since age five by her biological father. After some counseling, she recanted.
After clearing Rebecca's piano and ballet teachers, Benson and Stabler go to her school and find out that Rebecca had suffered some incontinence, but that, as she was only six years old, it didn't really raise any alarm bells. Meanwhile, the Kurtzes have made it known that they intend to pull the plug on Rebecca, so that they can donate her organs.
The detectives insist that they need time for a specialist to examine Rebecca to get all their evidence, before she is allowed to die. Cabot takes the matter to court, asking for a restraining order against the parents until the test can be done. The Kurtzes argue that as more time passes, Rebecca's organs are degenerating, and there is a dying little boy in Philadelphia who urgently needs a liver, to whom Rebecca is a match. The judge, however, agrees to the restraining order.
After the examination is completed, it is confirmed that Rebecca was raped. Cabot wakes up a judge for the restraining order to be lifted, and Rebecca is taken off life support in time for her liver to be donated to the boy in Philadelphia. The Kurtz family agree to tests for gonorrhoea, and Mr. Kurtz comes back clean, however this could be because he was recently treated.
Benson and Stabler talk to the Kurtzes' doctor, who says that he never treated Mr. Kurtz for gonorrhoea, but that he did treat Missy. Benson and Stabler confront Missy at her house, and she accuses her boyfriend of raping her and Rebecca and threatening to kill her if she ever told anyone. She reveals that her boyfriend is Joey Field, the clerk at the video store, and that he made her take Rebecca to the store the day of the shooting. She says that Field and Campbell, the masked shooter, were friends.
Tutuola and Munch go to Eric Campbell's house and speak briefly to his drunkard father, who lets them search Eric's room. He had a new stereo and other expensive equipment, including a new answering machine, which has a message from Joey Field saved on it. The message appears to involve an arranged meeting, but is not explicit enough to amount to any kind of evidence. However, a technician at the lab has examined the gunshot residue pattern on Rebecca's shirt and it reveals that Campbell moved closer to Rebecca in order to shoot her (presumably after his first shot missed and hit the man outside the store).
Benson and Stabler go to Joey Field's house and lure him outside (so they can arrest him without a warrant) by saying he is going to win an award for his heroism at the video store. It turns out that Field's father is a high profile lawyer, who refuses to let his son cooperate with the police. At arraignment, it appears as though Field Sr. knows the judge very well, but this does him no favors as Joey is remanded without bail.
Missy's lawyer appeals to Donnelly and Cabot for her to have immunity if she agrees to testify against Joey, so that she won't be prosecuted for taking her sister to the store. Donnelly agrees. Meanwhile, the detectives are having trouble finding any helpful witnesses from the video store, while Malcolm Field begins to swamp Cabot with useless motions (such as to exclude the answering machine as evidence), and calls Deuthorn to testify that Joey was a hero.
Munch and Tutuola search the Fields' residence, and find a shocking tape. The detectives and Cabot view it and find that it is a video of Rebecca Kurtz, apparently drugged, and Joey Field and Missy Kurtz abusing her together. They realize that the abuse and the killing were all Missy's idea, but there's nothing they can do now that she has immunity from prosecution.
Cabot and Cragen go to speak with Joey Field in prison, but he refuses to betray Missy. They reveal that his test for gonorrhoea was negative, meaning that Missy must be cheating on him, and got the disease from someone else, then gave it to Rebecca. Joey finally admits that everything was Missy's idea, and that she had planned the killing to look like a robbery gone wrong (Eric wasn't aware that as part of the plan, he too would be killed) and asked him to participate. He reveals that while Rebecca was usually drugged during the abuse, she had woken up one time and threatened to tell her parents, and that is why Missy decided to kill her.
Cabot is determined to find a way to break Missy's immunity, studying through the case law. Donnelly tells her that DA Branch okayed the death penalty for Joey, and to give up, because there was no way to get Missy for the crime. Cabot does, however, come up with a plan, which involves Malcolm Field helping her, in exchange for Joey's death penalty coming off the table.
Field argues, in front of Judge Petrovsky, that the ADA can't put Missy on the stand to testify against Joey, because they know that what she is saying is perjury, but by not putting Missy on the stand, Joey is denied his constitutional right to confront his accuser. Petrovsky agrees, and voids the immunity. Petrovsky knows that the whole thing was Cabot's idea, and is not happy with her. She tells Cabot that she had better have all the evidence ready to convict Missy by tomorrow.
Missy is arrested, and the Kurtzes storm into the station, furious. The detectives show them the video, and although they are horrified, they intend to stand by Missy, because they don't want to lose another daughter. When the detectives ask where Missy could possibly have gotten the money to pay off Eric Campbell, they refuse to help.
Missy refuses to cooperate with the detectives or Cabot, and her lawyer argues that with her childhood history, a jury will not convict her. Huang talks to Missy, and determines that she is a sociopath. She has no feelings for Rebecca or the Kurtzes, and feels no guilt. He says that by the time the Kurtzes adopted Missy, the damage was probably already done.
Munch and Tutuola go over the things they found in Eric Campbell's room, and find a pawn ticket from a few days before the murder. The pawn shop owner shows them the gold locket which he sold, inscribed with the words 'To Missy, love Mom and Dad'.
In a final meeting with Missy, she appears cocky, confident that she will not be convicted. Cabot sets her straight, they have the evidence, and she will be convicted and executed. Missy is cold and has no remorse. "You can't kill me," she says. "I'm already dead."
Outside the courthouse, Mr. Kurtz pleads with Cabot to spare Missy's life, which the District Attorney's office cannot allow her to do. It's a hollow victory for Cabot, who knows that the person who really should be prosecuted is Missy's biological father, who abused her and ruined her life.
- Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler
- Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson
- Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
- Stephanie March as A.D.A. Alexandra Cabot
- Ice-T as Detective Odafin Tutuola
- B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang
- Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen
- Ned Eisenberg as Defense Attorney Roger Kressler
- Daniel Sunjata as C.S.U. Technician Burt Trevor
- Joanna Merlin as Judge Lena Petrovsky
- Tom O'Rourke as Judge Mark Seligman
- Sheila Tousey as Judge Danielle Larsen
- Erik Palladino as Detective Dave Duethorn
- Judith Light as Bureau Chief Elizabeth Donnelly
- Jordan Gelber as C.S.U. Technician David Layton
- Tim Miller as Court Clerk
- Dan Lauria as Peter Kurtz
- Michael Gaston as Malcolm Field
- Ari Graynor as Missy Kurtz
- Glynnis O'Connor as Raquel Kurtz
- Christopher Denham as Joey Field
- Pierre Epstein as Al
- David Bryant as Mr. Curtis
- Max Vogler as Dr. Foster
- Jennifer Roszell as Gina
- George L. Smith as John Marcum
- Keira Naughton as Sarah
- Mark Kachersky as Arthur Campbell
- Wayne Alon Scott as EMT
- Maura Clifford as Witness #1
- Donald Cragen: Missy’s mad, not bad, and daddy takes the rap.
- You can't kill me. I'm already dead.: Missy Kurtz
- (After learning that the DA is going for the death penalty)
- Peter Kurtz: Ms. Cabot, c-can’t you see how damaged Missy is?
- Alex Cabot: Yes. Yes, I can.
- Peter Kurtz: Well then, why can’t you just put her in prison?
- Alex Cabot: Because I have to follow the law.
- Donald Cragen: If you don't know there's a trampoline in the room, you're not gonna dust the ceiling for prints.
- Elizabeth Donnelly: Stop blowing smoke up my ass, Roger.
Background information and notes
- Goof: There is a continuity error in the showing of the video of Missy. Originally, when Stabler, Benson and Cragen are watching the video, it's from somewhat of a distance. When the same tape is played again for Missy's father, the angle is much closer, like the camera is right in front of them.
- This episode originally advertised crossover appearances by 27th Precinct Detectives Lennie Briscoe and Ed Green, the detectives from Law & Order at the time, but featured Erik Palladino instead.
- District Attorney Arthur Branch is mentioned by Roger Kressler.
Episode scene cards
Trial Part 35
Al's Pawn Shop
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit