"Her Negotiation"
SVU, Episode 14.24
Production number: 14024
First aired (US): 22 May 2013
First aired (UK): 11 June 2013
First aired (CAN): 22 May 2013
First aired (AUS): 27 June 2013
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 released in all  
Written By
Julie Martin & Warren Leight

Directed By
Norberto Barba

In the shocking season finale, a mysterious criminal sets off a dangerous chain of events.

Summary[edit | edit source]

After making a seemingly routine arrest of a man exposing himself in Central Park, Detective Rollins has a bad feeling about the suspect and calls upon the entire SVU squad and ADA Barba to help. With no way to discover the suspect's true identity, he masterfully outplays them at every turn. A shocking theory comes to light, and as Barba's trial comes to a close, the situation rapidly escalates and Detective Benson is put into mortal danger.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The detectives have the day off. Cragen and Fin catch a baseball game while Amaro spends time with his kids and Rollins spends time with her dog in the park. At a nearby halfway house, two men finish their kitchen duties. One of the men, Lewis, shows the other how he can tolerate pain by burning his fingertips on the grill. He's clearly a demented individual. 

Rollins' day in the park is interrupted when two teen girls run out of the bushes chasing after Lewis, the man from the shelter kitchen. The two girls and a witness tell Rollins that Lewis flashed his private parts to the girls in the park, so Rollins takes Lewis to the station for questioning. Unfortunately, Lewis has no identification and his fingertips have been burned off, making it impossible to prove his identity.

She calls the entire squad in to assist with her investigation. It may seem like a routine indecent exposure, but Rollins has a gut feeling that there's more going on here. Cragen trusts Rollins' gut and the team splits up to interview the suspect and the victims. Meanwhile, Cragen interviews the witness, Alice tells Cragen that Lewis exposed himself to the women and said something lewd to them. Meanwhile, Benson and Amaro interview Lewis, who claims that it was all just a misunderstanding. Lewis is elusive when Benson asks about his background. Benson and Amaro get the same feeling that Rollins had before: this guy is definitely not what he appears to be.

Barba decides to arraign Lewis to buy some time so that the detectives can investigate his past and find out who he really is. In court, Barba suggests a simple plea bargain, but Lewis refuses to plead guilty. Lewis is suspiciously "touchy" with his young, inexperienced public defender.  Benson knows that Lewis is playing hard to get so that they can't take his DNA and discover his identity. Cragen heads to the home of Alice, the witness from the park. He thanks her for her cooperation with the investigation and asks her if she'll be willing to testify in court. She dismisses the question and closes the door. Unbeknownst to Cragen, Lewis is inside the apartment, holding Alice at gunpoint.

The next day, the detectives are called to Alice's apartment when a neighbor discovers her tied to the bed, bleeding and horrifically abused. She's still alive, and she immediately tells Benson that Lewis is to blame. Over the course of 18 hours, Alice was raped, beaten, assaulted and branded with a number of household objects heated up on the stove. Cragen is appalled by the torture and feels incredibly guilty. Amaro assures him that Alice is a tough woman, and she'll make it through this. 

Lewis denies everything. Lewis tries to egg Benson on by telling her the graphic details of his abuse of Alice. Unfortunately, his entire confession is hypothetical, so it can't be used against him in court. By now it's clear that the detectives are dealing with a deeply disturbed but clever psychopath. Lewis' lawyer arrives and the questioning stops immediately. Barba tells Benson that the confession won't hold because it was couched in a hypothetical statement. Nonetheless, Lewis' DNA is all over Alice and her apartment. Barba says they'll need Alice to either testify or identify Lewis in a line-up as soon as she's released from the hospital. Meanwhile, Rollins continues to search for Lewis' background  However, it's difficult to find any solid information.

The next day, Alice stops by the station. Cragen apologizes deeply for what happened to Alice. Amaro informs Cragen that Lewis tried to choke himself during transport, so he conveniently won't be available for a line-up. The judge orders Lewis to undergo a psych evaluation before he can be tried. Luckily, the detectives get a break: Rollins managed to track down Lewis' true identity and criminal history.

15 years prior, Lewis abducted and raped his ex-girlfriend's mother, then got off on a technicality. Later, he kidnapped, raped and tortured two roommates and got off on another technicality. If there's a break, Lewis seems to catch it. In a later case, Lewis began sleeping with his defense attorney. Months later, she turned up dead and Lewis got off on yet another technicality. Cragen assures his team that Lewis will not get off again.

He catches another break when Alice dies from a heart attack. During a prison visit, Benson plants a seed, informing Lewis' new attorney/girlfriend that he murdered his last defense attorney/girlfriend. When the case goes to trial, Lewis' attorney attempts to systematically convince the jury that the SVU detectives have a vendetta against Lewis. She also discredits the deceased victim, Alice, by pointing out her vision problems. The final nail in the coffin, though, is when Lewis' attorney brings up tampered evidence. 

Back at the station, the detectives receive word that Lewis' attorney paid his bail, so he's a free man. Rollins and Fin lament the defeat by heading to a bar. Amaro heads home to be with his family, and Cragen tells Benson to take two days off to relax. Benson heads home to her apartment to find Lewis waiting for her. He holds a gun to her head and drags her to the bedroom leaving Benson's fate unknown.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main Cast[edit | edit source]

Recurring Cast[edit | edit source]

Guest Cast[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Episode references

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Episode quotes

Background information and Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Pablo Schreiber makes his 2nd guest appearance on SVU since the Season 8 episode Haystack.

Episode scene cards[edit | edit source]

1 2 3

Arraignment Court
Part 12
Monday, May 13

Apartment of
Alice Parker
939 West End Avenue
Monday, May 13

Brooklyn Beginnings
100 Stockholm Street
Bushwick, NY
Tuesday, May 14

4 5 6

Motions Court
Part 25
Wednesday, May 15

Motions Court
Part 25
Thursday, May 16

Supreme Court
Part 22
Monday, May 20

Previous episode:
"Brief Interlude"
"Her Negotiation"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 14
Next episode:
"Surrender Benson"
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