|←||SVU, Episode 7.16||→|
|Production number: 07016|
First aired: 28 February 2006
| Written By|
Doug Waverly, Nick Pratt, and Jason King are arrested for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Jennifer Durning, a student from Canada, who disappeared while on a school trip. Even though Casey tells the arraignment judge that she has enough evidence to charge the boys with rape and murder (especially video footage that shows Durning being served alcohol and leaving a nightclub with the boys, and a tip to the police hotline that let the police know that Doug Waverly was leaving the country with his father), the judge disagrees due to insufficient evidence and the boys are free on bail.
Meanwhile, the SVU detectives run through the events of what happened to Durning: She was at a nightclub with her friend, Danna Simpson where Durning met Doug, Nick, and Jason. She left the club with the boys and returned to her hotel later that evening. Early the next morning, the boys were seen at a diner and they reported their car stolen to the police. The detectives suspect that the boys dumped the car, but do not know where. When D.A. Arthur Branch finds out what Casey did, he tells her and the detectives to get a confession from the boys or find Durning's body.
As an excuse, the SVU detectives have Doug, Nick, and Jason come to the precinct and have the Medical Examiner come in to take their DNA. While they wait, the detectives go over the evidence with the boys that includes: the footage from inside the nightclub taken by Danna Simpson, footage from outside that shows Durning leaving the nightclub with the boys, security footage from the hotel elevator which shows Durning looking upset, Danna's statement that Durning called Danna to tell her that she was gang-raped by the boys, and Durning's clothes which has the DNA of three males on it.
Jason refuses to say anything because he does not want to get his cousin Nick into trouble, but Nick and Doug blame Jason for what happened to Durning. When Jason's lawyer mentions that Jason takes piano lessons at Juillard, Casey gets suspicious. Casey suddenly realizes that the phone tip to inform the police that Doug Waverly was leaving the country was made at the payphone near Juillard. Jason confesses that he made the call and that after the boys dropped Durning off to the hotel, his cousin and Doug wanted to kill Durning, but he was not in the car when they said it.
During the grand jury testimony, Jason says that he had consensual sex with Durning in his car, but then Nick and Doug raped her afterwards, and it was Nick's idea to kill Durning to keep her quiet about what happened. Novak is able to get an indictment from the grand jury against Nick and Doug. Jason is upset about betraying his cousin and his friend, so his parents take to the Catskills to get away from everybody.
When the DNA evidence comes back, it shows Nick and Doug's DNA on Durning's jeans which is consistent of Jason's story that they raped Durning, but a male pubic hair was found on the toilet seat in Durning's hotel room, but it does not match any of the boys. Novak decides not to include that evidence in the case.
During the trial, Stabler is questioned about the investigation and the defense attorneys bring up the pubic hair found in Durning's hotel room. Judge Donnelly calls everyone into her chambers and she decides to include the hair as evidence in the case. Meanwhile, the detectives look through the hotel elevator footage and Munch spots a man carrying Durning's coat. The man is identified as Keith Willis, a local drunk. They also find Durning's passport on him as well. Even though Keith is able to identify Nick Pratt and Doug Waverly's photos, said the boys paid him to make a phone call to Durning saying that he had her passport, and saw the boys force Durning into her car, he is demented from years of alcohol abuse damaging his brain which makes him an unreliable witness.
Stabler and Benson decide to question Jason about if he saw Keith Willis. When they arrive at the Kings' house in the Catskills, however, Jason is nowhere to be found. There is no sign of a struggle and they discover car tracks on the driveway, which don't match the cars belonging to either Nick or Doug. When Casey finds out Jason is missing, she is emotionally devastated, blaming herself for forcing Jason to testify against his cousin. When Novak talks to Arthur Branch about Jason’s disappearance, he believes that someone leaked the whereabouts of where Jason King and his family were staying at, but they come to the conclusion that the leak did not come from either SVU or the DA's office, which only leaves Judge Donnelly's staff. Novak wants to put the trial on hold until Jason is located, but Branch says the trial cannot be stopped, because the only way to do so is to drop the charges. However, doing so at this point would cause double jeopardy to be attached, and Nick and Doug could never be tried for Durning's murder again.
Novak stalls for time by putting character witnesses on the stand to talk about Durning, but the defense attorneys become suspicious and so does Judge Donnelly. She gives Novak a day to bring up Jason as a witness. Later that night, Branch and Novak tell Donnelly that Jason is missing and there might be a leak in her office. While in Donnelly's office, Morales finds a bug on the bookshelf which would have picked up Donnelly putting in the location of Jason's whereabouts on her Dictaphone. When Branch asks for a mistrial, Donnelly tells him and Novak that unless there is evidence proving that Jason has met with foul play or that Nick and Doug were behind the bug in her office, a mistrial cannot be requested, but Novak has run out of character witnesses to put on the stand. Judge Donnelly has no choice but to dismiss the charges against Nick and Doug with prejudice due to a lack of evidence.
Though there is nothing more that can be done about prosecuting Durning's murder, the detectives decide to continue investigating to find out what happened to Jason. They soon discover that a court officer, Emily McCooper, was in Donnelly's chambers to "use the restroom" and the receiver for the bug is found in McCooper's locker. When confronted, McCooper tearfully confesses the she had been in a relationship with Nick Pratt, who gifted her with a new Mercedes in exchange for helping them find Jason and taking him to them under false pretenses. The detectives are able to find McCooper's old car and the tires on her car match the tire tracks in Jason King's driveway. McCooper claims that Nick told her to drive him and Doug to Doug's father's produce warehouse, and that she later dropped Jason off there as well.
The detectives believe that Durning's body was dumped somewhere near the warehouse and realize that the diner where the boys were at on the night of Durning's murder is across the bridge from the produce warehouse. Nick and Doug are discovered on the toll booth camera footage in the back of a man's car. The detectives soon discover that the car was towed to the police impound lot, but the system hadn't flagged it because the license plate number had been input incorrectly by a single digit. Durning's blood is discovered in the trunk.
The detectives find the place the car had been parked, next to the river. While searching the area, they find Durning's shoe, thus proving that she had been dumped there, but her body has long since been swept away by the river and is unlikely to turn up soon, if at all. Jason's body, however, is found in the river, having gotten stuck on a pier. In the end, the detectives and Novak arrest Nick and Doug for Jason's murder while they are out to dinner with their families.
- Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler
- Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson
- Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
- Diane Neal as A.D.A. Casey Novak
- Ice-T as Detective Odafin Tutuola
- B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang
- Tamara Tunie as M.E. Melinda Warner
- Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen
- Mike Doyle as C.S.U. Detective Ryan O'Halloran
- Joel de la Fuente as T.A.R.U. Technician Ruben Morales
- Fred Dalton Thompson as D.A. Arthur Branch
- Judith Light as Judge Elizabeth Donnelly
- Michael Boatman as Defense Attorney Dave Seaver
- Barry Bostwick as Defense Attorney Oliver Gates
- Harvey Atkin as Judge Alan Ridenour
- Ian Bedford as Officer Bamford
- Erica Bradshaw as Court Clerk
- Harry Zittel as Jason King
- Teddy Eck as Doug Waverly
- Paul David Story as Nicky Pratt
- Susan Saint James as Defense Attorney Monica Bradshaw
- Maggie Siff as C.O. Emily McCooper
- Sándor Técsy as Keith Willis/Durvo
- Anna Kathryn Holbrook as Roberta King
- Edmund C. Davys as William King
- Rebecca Baxter as Amanda Durning
- Ray Luetters as Sanford Warren
- Jonathan C. Kaplan as Law Secretary
- Walter K. Jordan as Pound Supervisor
- Haythem Noor as Sharif Damavandi
- Katrina Bowden as Dana Simpson
- Barbara King as Jennifer Durning
- Dennis Pressey as Dog Handler
- Lily Mercer as Headmaster
- Jordan Hunter as Grace
- Jenni Barber as Ally
- Michael M. McGuire as Henry
|“||Trial's over, Casey. Put the gloves on for round 2.||”|
- Doug: You can't prove we killed anybody.
- Stabler: You like that sea bass? You're gonna love what we just pulled out of the river.
|“||How does a spy satellite see you taking a crap from 22,000 miles in space?||”|
- Cragen: You didn't kill him, Casey. He was dead the minute he got caught in cousin Nicky's web.
- Novak: We have Jason's body. Let's get him some justice.
- Branch: We need to talk to you.
- Donnelly: In the middle of a trial? I don't think so.
- Branch: The defense had their ex parte moment.
- Donnelly: In chambers, not my living room.
|“||Check out Luca Brasi.||”|
–John Munch referring to a Godfather character
Background information and notes
- This episode appears to based on the Natalee Holloway case.
Episode scene cards
New York State
Dal Santo's Bar
Tannersville, New York
Trial Part 29
Trial Part 29
New York City
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit