|←||SVU, Episode 3.04||→|
|Production number: E2318|
First aired: 19 October 2001
| Teleplay By|
Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene
Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene
When a series of increasingly violent rapes occurs in an African-American community, Detectives Benson and Stabler are quick to suspect a known sex-offender recently released from prison, especially when they find him on a rooftop with a fourteen-year-old girl.
Stabler has his eye on Leon Tate, an HIV-positive male with a record for assaulting & raping underage girls. When a series of rapes & murders of young African-American girls occurs, it is first believed that Leon is a suspect. But after Leon overdoses on a rooftop, the detectives search for the real serial rapist and murderer.
An ex-con named Leon Tate is about to take a young woman onto a rooftop in Harlem for a sexual tryst. However the girl hears some disturbance nearby, which turns out to be Detectives Benson and Stabler, who arrest him on the spot. The girl admits to being 14, causing him to turn on her, accusing her of lying about her age. The detectives reveal that he's HIV-Positive. During Stabler's interrogation he tries to find out how many other young girls Leon may have fooled around with, but he refuses to answer him. Though the squad knows he's guilty, they also realize they don't have much of a case against him. The only alternative seems to be to consult Dr. Huang to make the case for psychiatric institutionalization, but this fails as well. Suddenly they find a young African-American woman has been raped by a man who claims to be able to get her a rap-music deal. Captain Cragen urges Stabler not to pin it on Leon automatically, however when he and Fin arrive at the hospital and interview the girl, they both suspect Leon, because the man used the same lines, despite the fact that he called himself "Andre." The fact that she contracted A.I.D.S. from the rape prompts Stabler to talk the captain into letting them question Leon again. During the stakeout Fin reveals that he grew up in the neighborhood, and hates to see people like Leon turning it into such a bad place to live. Sure enough, they find him walking back to his apartment with another girl who seems to be older, and they arrest him again, and reveal his disease. Unfortunately, none of any of his known victims were able to identify Leon or any of the other four men as their rapists, and they're set free.
Meanwhile, another young rape victim was set on fire and thrown off a roof in the same part of Harlem. The girl just so happened to be the sister of Rodney Thompson, a friend of a family that Fin knows. Needless to say, they suspect Leon of the murder, and their suspicious are intensified when they ask his former juvenile detention counselor about his record, which includes torturing small animals and arson. While trying to search for Leon again, they question his mother Alva Tate, who blames his fate on the girl he raped 15 years earlier as well as the NYPD. They also question a friend of his, who refuses to talk to them. Finally while on another rooftop, Stabler and Fin discuss how each of them used to spend time on their respected roofs, when Stabler discovers the body of Leon Tate himself, after he overdosed on heroin. During the investigation of this crime scene Benson reveals that another young girl was raped and murdered. While investigating that scene, Dr. Warner reveals that Leon can no longer be considered their suspect, because her death took place after his. Stabler blames himself for ignoring other possible suspects.
Upon learning of her son's death, Alva berates the squad for driving him to OD on heroin. While the detectives try to find out who else could be responsible, Rodney visits the precinct and blames her death on them as well, accusing them of neglecting the death of Afro-American girls. Just as he leaves, the rest of the detectives get a call about another young girl who has been raped and murdered. This victim's landlord reveals that she and her parents are good people and blames himself for not keeping the building safe. After he brings them to the apartment, her mother tells them that she sent her to a local grocery store for bread. A clerk at the store claims to have seen them, and said she left with a bald Afro-American man. They return to the victim's apartment and the landlord reveals that their suspect has an apartment in the building. They meet a man named Malik "King" Harris, who is shown not to be kind to women. Though he was busy having sex with another women closer to his age, he doesn't let her reveal this to the police until he decides to do so. As they leave the building, Thompson stirs up some local youths and tries to incite a riot by accusing the police of neglecting the murders of the girls simply because they're African-American, but Fin successfully calms them down. Later, Cragen orders Fin into his office and interrogates him about the melee. Despite maintaining order, he believes their complaints are justified. Cragen tries to show sympathy, but Fin won't hear of it. He leaves the precinct with Munch futilely trying to calm him down as he drives off to find an paid informant, shunning Munch's assistance. The informant claims that he knows that the NYPD is after King who buys dope from his dealers, pretending to be a rap music mogul in order to seduce young women, and gets the money from richer women that he thinks he can smooth-talk, who dump him once they wise up to his scheme. Fin tells Cabot what he knows, and she tells him they can only bust him for his drug purchases. As they do so, they find he's producing a rap record by another teenage girl and potential victim. King tries to avoid getting a DNA test by claiming he's a Jehovah's Witness, and though nobody believes him, the mere fact that he said so legally prevents Warner from testing him. Fin and Munch improvise by pretending to accidentally break King's sunglasses, and using the DNA from the broken sunglasses in another DNA test, which turns out to be a perfect match.
Unfortunately, before King can go to trial, his defense attorney, Cleo Conrad, claims the SVU violated his genetic privacy in order to make a conviction. Alex insists that they can still make a case against him. During arraignment on the drug charges, King is released on $2,000 cash bail, when suddenly Rodney flies into a rage and attacks him for his sister's death, punching and strangling him, but King bites him in order to escape, leaving his DNA. King is promptly arrested again after a confirmed match. Alex is convinced Fin set the whole attack up, which he denies, and she reluctantly accepts. Conrad also attempts to accuse the police of setting up the attack, but Alex denies it. Stabler later walks in with a letter from King's former hometown of Detroit, where, with the help of his DNA, they can link him to more murders and rapes. King tries to negotiate a deal with the NYPD, but Fin promises the only deal he has a chance of getting is him serving his last meal before his execution.
- 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
- Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen
- Tamara Tunie as M.E. Melinda Warner
- Audrie Neenan as Judge Lois Preston
- Liz Larsen as Defense Attorney Regal
- Tom O'Rourke as Judge Mark Seligman
- Ron Leibman as Executive A.D.A. Stan Villani
- B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang
- Jill Marie Lawrence as Defense Attorney Cleo Conrad
- Asio Highsmith as Malik "King" Harris
- Todd Williams as Rodney Thompson
- Mylika Davis as Shareen White
- Brenda Denmark as Judge Elmore
- Adriane Lenox as Alva Tate
- Dorian Missick as Leon Tate
- Malachi Weir as Tommy Epps
- John Ottavino as Burt Ferris
- Jack Landron as Darnell French
- Trish McCall as Angela Dupree
- Reggi Wyns as Benny
- Jamilla Perry as Nashika Morris
- Tracee Beazer as Melissa
- Kahshanna Evans as Vanessa Hiltz
- Jermaine Hopkins as Store Clerk
- Mark C. Hutchinson as Uniform Policeman
- Kyndra Reevey as Tanya
- John Henry Redwood as Felix
- Madina Milano as Rapper
- Ruperto Vanderpool as Man
- Munch: (arresting King while he's recording rap) Maybe you should be recording Jailhouse Rock.
- Fin: When I was a kid you couldn't afford to go to the Island of Aruba so we had to go to the Island of Aroofa, Tar Beach.
- Munch: Guy ODs two weeks out of prison, talk about bad karma.
- Stabler: Well, my old man never approved of a single thing I ever did. I don't go around raping and killing young girls.
- Dr. Warner: (about the girl who was raped and murdered) It couldn't have been Leon Tate.
Benson: What are you talking about?
Dr. Warner: The victim's still in rigor. Probably killed this morning. Tate was dead by last night.(Elliot stands upright, looking shocked.)
Stabler: I wanted it to be Leon.
Benson: Everything fit.
Stabler: We wasted time. Another girl's dead because I went down the wrong road.
- Alva: You happy now?
Stabler: Mrs. Tate, I'm sorry about Leon.
Alva: Don't you dare say you're sorry. You're glad he's dead. He didn't kill those girls, but you killed him anyway. You murdered him.
Fin: Mrs. Tate, Detective Stabler was doing his job.
Alva: My son was innocent.
Fin: Your son was gonna kill somebody with his HIV. We had to stop him. We didn't put the needle in his arm.
Alva: You didn't. But you all stick together, don't you? [walks away]
Stabler: Fin, thanks for taking my back with Mrs. Tate.
Fin: Leon was scum. He was gonna kill some innocent girl if you didn't stop him.
- Fin: [to Cragen] No matter what you say, Captain, you're not black and you're not from the hood.
- King: [on the verge of a death penalty for the murders] I want a deal.
Fin: You want a deal? How about right before we execute you for killing those girls, I bring you your last meal? How's that?
Background information and notes
- On 1 December 2006, USA Networks aired a short marathon including the episodes "Strain", "Lust" and "Rooftop" in observance of World AIDS Day.
- Actress Audrie J. Neenan appears for the first time in an episode from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In this episode and the episode "Monogamy" she plays Judge Marilyn Haynes, a role she also played on Law & Order. In later episodes she returns as a recurring character named Judge Lois Preston.
- This episode also marks the first appearance of actress Jill Marie Lawrence as Defense Attorney Cleo Conrad. She also appeared on episodes from Law & Order.
Episode scene cards
Chambers of Judge Elmore
Office of Burt Ferris
Apartment of Alva Tate
Trax Recording Studio
Chambers of Judge Seligman
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