SVU, Episode 1.22
Production number: E0926
First aired: 19 May 2000
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 released in all  
Written By
Dawn DeNoon & Lisa Marie Petersen

Directed By
Ted Kotcheff


After a fruit vendor brings a note for help to the squad, the detectives begin trying to locate a young Romanian woman named Ilena, only to find her aunt, who hasn't seen the girl in months. The squad eventually find her at the home of the Morrows, a successful yuppie couple. A forensic psychologist analyzes the team, and presents disturbing findings to Cragen, suggesting that one of the detectives be removed from the team.


Cragen enters the squad room telling the team that One Police Plaza has decided to have biyearly psych evaluations. To pilot the program, SVU will be the guinea pig. He hands them each a folder, tells them to fill it out, and the resident psychologist will set up the appointments. After Cragen tells them he does not know where they are going with this, Benson asks who is first. He tells them he will be first. When Stabler asks Benson if she believes this, she tells him they may need it. The Romanian owner of a fruit stand on Lex and 78th interrupts them to report a sex crime. He explains that after two boys steal bananas from him, a woman begs him to help her. She is trapped in a situation with a man she cannot escape. He believes there is both physical and sexual abuse. He tells them he does not know her name or address, but she hands him a piece of paper with the name "Constanta Condrescu" and asks him to tell her she was right that she needs help before taking off. When Stabler asks what time this happened, he tells him three days ago.

While the fruit vendor works with a sketch artist, Cragen tries to understand the case. Some girl is being abused by some guy somewhere in Manhattan. Stabler explains Mircha, the fruit vendor, came to the states a few years ago and he has never been in trouble. Benson tells them he accidentally told his wife about it and she would not shut up until he came in. Benson reminds Cragen many women are abused by their other half and never report it, so they at least need to investigate. Munch agrees giving a comparison to "Deep Throat".

Benson and Stabler shows Constanta the sketch and ask if she knows her. When she denies it, Stabler reminds her how rare her name is. She finally admits the girl is Ilena, her niece. Ilena came to the states three years prior on a student visa and she has not seen her since. She tells them she does not know where she is. Before they leave, Benson gives Constanta her card and asks her to call if she can think of anything else. As they make their way to the car, Stabler calls in for a check on Ilena after telling Benson they at least found out her name and got an actual picture. When Stabler says unless Ilena flunked out or quit she should still be at NYU, Benson calls Munch to have him check with NYU.

Munch is told Ilena never showed up at NYU. When he asks if they have the reason why in her file, he is shown the file room of student records.

Audrey Jackson closes the blinds to the room she is using for the evaluations. Cragen tells her he feels like a perp. When they take their seats, she asks him about golf and what he does to relax. He gets fed up with the dance and tells her to go ahead and ask him about his alcoholism. He tells her he gets the urge to drink after what he sees every day. When Jackson asks if he will drink, he tells her to ask him tomorrow and walks out.

When Benson and Stabler show Ilena's picture to a clown in the park making balloons, he tells them he sees her all the time. He informs them she has lost some weight since the picture, but he is positive it is her. She is the nanny of an eight or nine year old. He last saw her the day prior.

When Benson and Stabler inform Cragen the clown saw her serene the day before, Cragen tries to make sense of it. Three days prior she is slipping a S.O.S. to a fruit vendor and a few days later she is strolling happily through the park with a kid. While Stabler answers his ringing phone, Cragen explains he wants Ilena in the station explaining herself after wasting 32 combined man-hours. Stabler announces Homicide caught a dump job off the Henry Hudson with Benson's card in the pocket.

When Benson and Stabler arrive on the scene, they are told the body was wrapped in a rug and probably dumped the previous night. There are no witnesses because people always dump stuff. She was found by a fisherman thinking he found a present for his wife. When they see the body, they confirm her identity as Constanta Condrescu. Stabler guesses she found a way to contact Ilena.

The ME informs Benson and Stabler Constanta was dead before she was put on the rug. Something injected into her bloodstream caused her heart to stop beating instantly without effecting the other organs, but he cannot find a puncture wound. After explaining he checked all of the usual concealed places, Benson asks if he checked under the tongue. As he is telling her that would make sense for an accidental overdose but not for a killer, he checks and finds the puncture wound.

During the team meeting, Stabler suggests the victim had to be sedated for the killer to inject at that location. Cragen does not understand Constanta sharing a spiked drink with the perp after learning Ilena is in trouble. Stabler guesses she did since she was dead two hours after they left her. Munch tells them Ilena's father was murdered in Romania in '89 and believes the two are linked. Cragen tells him to start the investigation in Murray Hill.

As the team searches Constanta's home, Benson finds an unfinished cup of tea. Stabler finds her address book opened to the Cs with a page missing. Munch and Jefferies inform them the neighbors did not know her and they never saw the niece. Benson hands them a shoe box and tells them they may have better luck with her work.

At the restaurant, Jeffries is told Ilena never came there. Constanta was saving to bring Ilena from Romania, but Ilena met a businessman who agreed to help. He used his frequent flyer miles for her ticket and told her of a part-time job. Constanta tried to tell Ilena there would be a catch. She tried to contact her through the man, but he told her he had not heard from her. She kept trying before finally giving up.

During Benson's evaluation, she tells Jackson she is the child of rape. Although sometimes she gets too close to a case, she never loses her objectivity. When Jackson asks about her use of deadly force, Benson tells her Stabler was about to be shot and reacted as she was trained. Benson does not answer when Jackson asks her what she would do if she could not work sex crimes.

When Benson arrives at the lab, Stabler asks how it went with Jackson. After she responds it was a cakewalk, he looks at her as if he doubts the accuracy of her answer. They are told the rug is a Persian Keshan costing about $5000. She found dirt, cotton fibers, and a hair with an intact root that does not belong to the victim. Although they cannot prove it is the perp's, they still desire a perp to compare it to.

Munch and Jeffries check Air Bucharest for Ilena's flight information. When a phone starts ringing, Munch tells the man not to answer it before he is informed it is his phone. While Munch is on the phone, Jefferies suggests they check flights from Romania to JFK. They find the frequent flyer is Randolph Morrow.

When Benson and Stabler are knocking at the front door of the Morrow residence, Ilena comes out another door on the ground. When they tell her they got her message to her aunt, she claims she does not know what they are talking about. After a little girl runs up to Ilena, they move the conversation inside. She tells them the Morrows are good to her. She informs them they are at work and she must have dinner ready by the time they get home. Benson informs her that her aunt was murdered an hour after they told her she was in trouble. Ilena tells them she never sent the message. Stabler tells her they know her aunt came to see her. Ilena claims she has not seen her aunt in three years and repeats she has to have dinner ready when they get home. Before they leave, Stabler offers his condolences. Benson asks her why she never started at NYU causing the door to shut in their faces.

When Benson and Stabler inform the team the only time Ilena showed any emotion was at the thought of dinner being late, Jackson tells them it is the Stockholm Syndrome. After Jackson and Munch fill them in on what they are talking about, Jackson informs them it only takes 72 hours to break down a person's psyche through threats of death, isolation, and random acts of kindness. Cragen sends Benson and Stabler to find out what is going on in that house.

During Munch's evaluation, Jackson asks if he dates and if working in the unit effects his ability to function sexually. After joking his way through, he tells her he has a hard time talking about himself and asks what she thinks. She notes his multiple marriages to beautiful, spoiled women saying none of them matched him intellectually. She tells him he does not trust women or the government and he can smell a conspiracy at a five year old's lemonade stand. She adds he has given up on relationships, but believes in true love and the pain of never having found it is unbearable.

Benson and Stabler walk with the Morrows' neighbors as they walk their dog. They believe the Morrows are good neighbors and decent parents. When Benson asks about Ilena, they are told she has been with them for one year. They tell them Mrs. Morrow is a veterinarian and Mr. Morrow is an investment banker.

Randolph Morrow tells Benson and Stabler Ilena told him about her aunt but denies ever meeting her or knowing she was around. He informs them he met Ilena while on a business trip to Romania. She wanted to come to the states and he needed a nanny so he brought her back with him three years ago. While Benson tells him his neighbors are positive Ilena has only been here a year and he reminds her it is New York, his secretary brings in some drinks only to have him order her to lower the blinds. Before they leave, he tells them he was in a meeting with four corporate lawyers on Monday between four and six. As they leave, Benson notices hairs on his jacket. Acting as if she is just being nice, she plucks a few. Once outside, Stabler compliments her on her method of collecting DNA. Stabler receives a call telling them Constanta was killed with Beuthanasia. He clarifies the drug is used to put animals to sleep.

Dr. Morrow tells Benson and Stabler she was at home on Monday. She tells them her husband was not there and denies Ilena had any visitors. After Dr. Morrow asks Barry to help her, Stabler asks how things are working out with Ilena. While she retrieves a pill from the medicine cabinet she tells him they have a routine, but her husband can explain it better. Stabler asks her if she and Ilena got along when she has to retrieve the pill she dropped. She tells him her husband selected her to help her. Dr. Morrow tells them they should talk to her husband when Benson asks how close he and Ilena are. They are interrupted by news of a hit-and-run accident. She asks Barry to take over for her before excusing herself. When Stabler compliments the facility, Barry tells them they have their own O.R., recovery rooms, and a pharmacy down the hall. He explains the DEA does not monitor them as closely as they do humans. When they ask about vets getting addicted, Barry ends the conversation. Stabler gives him his card and tells him to call if he wants to tell them anything else.

During Jeffries's evaluation, Jackson asks about her close call with the explosion. Jeffries explains she does not hesitate, but is more confident saying she feels alive. She tells her she was in a long-term relationship before starting with the unit and has been celibate until the accident. She tells her she goes out with a lot of men. After hesitating, she decides to tell her about meeting a former suspect in a bar and going home with him. Munch sees Jeffries and asks if she is okay because Jackson had him wanting to eat his gun. She unconvincingly tells him she is fine before walking off. When Barry asks Munch for Benson or Stabler, he escorts him to them.

Barry explains when Valium or Ketamine come up missing it is normal because of the stress. He tells them Dr. Morrow took Beuthanasia home a few months ago. He explains you cannot mistake it because it is bright pink.

Dr. Morrow tells Benson and Stabler the Beuthanasia was for her personal use. When Benson asks if she wanted the drug because her husband was sleeping with Ilena, she tells her sexuality is about reaching our limits and transcending them. Stabler asks if her husband transcended Ilena's aunt. She tells them Constanta showed up at her door, threatened her husband, and threatened her routine, so she calmed her down with tea. She tells them her husband did not have to tell her to kill Constanta.

After they receive no response from pounding on the Morrows' door, Benson and Stabler break the glass to gain entry. Once inside, they smell something coming from upstairs. When they reach the room, they see Morrow burning pictures. Stabler cuffs him while Benson tries to salvage as many pictures as possible. Morrow tells Stabler Ilena is gone for good. Not believing him, Stabler and Benson begin searching the house calling her name. When they find a door with a padlock, they break it open and reveal a restraint system.

In the interrogation room, Benson asks Morrow where the girl in the picture is. He tells her he would like a mineral water without ice. She responds she would like his balls in a blender. When he tells her he would like some quiet time, she excuses herself to catch up on some typing. Once she is out of the room, Stabler tells him he should not have called her "honey." When Stabler tells him he has been trying to break her in, Morrow suggests the excruciatingly painful rack. He adds it has to be consensual like it is with Ilena. Cragen interrupts them, escorting Morrow's attorney. When the attorney gets upset about Stabler questioning his client, Morrow tells him they were discussing common interests. Cragen stops Stabler to let him know the hair from the rug belongs to Dr. Morrow. Stabler returns to the squad room telling Benson they need the warrant now because they need to find Ilena before she dies.

ADA Alden explains to the judge the detectives entered the apartment believing a woman was in imminent danger when they saw the pictures. She tells him they found evidence she was being held against her will and recently moved. The judge reminds her of the amount of bondage shops in the city stating possession does not mean it was non-consensual. He denies the warrant.

Benson and Stabler locate Dr. Morrow in the hospital detoxing from Ketamine after long-term use. When they suggest her husband tortured Ilena, she corrects them saying he disciplined her. They tell her Ilena is missing and the only one left to put in the closet is their adopted daughter. She explains he was good to her at first, but he began asking her to do things. She did not leave because she was afraid for their daughter. Nothing changed until Ilena came. He kept Ilena in the closet for the first six months unless he was torturing or raping her. She never helped Ilena because he stopped hurting her. Stabler tells her she is going to help them.

Stabler informs Munch it was easy to get Dr. Morrow to flip on Morrow. When he tells Stabler and Munch she will not testify, Stabler tells him they control her now. They explain he made her too pliable making it easy for them to gain control. He tells them he controls Ilena. Stabler makes him stand up and sit back down a few times before telling him they have forced every move he has made. He denies it. When Stabler tells him they forced him to move Ilena, Morrow grins, causing Stabler to go back to the squad room where Benson and Jeffries were looking over the photos. Benson confirms all of the pictures were taken in the house, but they cannot figure out one with a corner of a rug. They realize the rug was the one Constanta was wrapped in so Stabler checks Dr. Morrow's confession and finds it was taken from the bedroom. They rush out the door to find her.

When they arrive in the bedroom, Benson and Stabler check under the mattress then pound around the bottom checking for a hollow sound. Stabler pulls some pieces of wood off and they remove the sheet of wood. They pull out a vented wood box and find Ilena struggling to breathe. Stabler calls for an ambulance as Benson helps her out. She begs them to tell him she did not make a sound.

In Stabler's evaluation, Jackson asks how long a case like this sticks with him. He tells her a while, but he hugs his kids and kisses his wife to help him deal with it. He explains he does not want to be his families window into the world he deals with every day. When she asks if the cases involving children hits too close to home, he tells her he has seen a soulless child. He handles it by thinking about the crime, the victim, the perps, and how he could get away with killing them.

Jackson informs Cragen she has seen everyone and most of what she has seen is normal. She explains the program's purpose is to identify detectives close to a meltdown. She tells him she has found some at that level and she has to recommend they be removed from duty immediately. Cragen asks, "Who?"


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Cragen: Okay, let me see if I got this straight. Some girl is being sexually abused by some guy, somewhere in Manhattan?
Stabler: Something like that.

John Munch: And don't answer that phone. Anyone who calls an airline sits on hold 20 minutes minimum while being subjected to a Clockwork Orangeian repetitive loop on the benefits of your awards program.
Reservations Agent: I believe that's your phone, sir.
John Munch: (embarrassed, answers phone.) Munch.

Audrey Jackson: Do you have a girlfriend?
John Munch: Do you?

Audrey Jackson: Do you think that this job has had any affect on his sex life?
John Munch: No, but I think I've pinpointed what has. Believe it or not, I have serious intimacy issues. I'm critical and negative. I have the occasional bout of...let's see, melancholy. A lousy date, but a good cop. So, I guess that just covers everything?
Audrey Jackson: Uh, no, actually we still have 45 minutes.
John Munch: So I suppose you want to hear a detailed account of my sexual history? So how're we gonna kill the remaining 44 minutes?
Audrey Jackson: Do you always deflect personal questions with jokes?
John Munch: Do you always deflect jokes with personal questions?
Audrey Jackson: Have you ever experienced any sexual disfunction since taking this job? And I'd appreciate a serious answer.
John Munch: Once.
Audrey Jackson: Thank you. When did that happen?
John Munch: Not sure but it was definitely within the last ten minutes. I'm sorry. Look, I'm not good talking about me. You're the expert. Why don't you talk about me?

Morrow: Honey, I'd like a mineral water, no ice.
Stabler: And I'd like your balls in a blender, but ain't life a bitch.

Mrs. Morrow: Like he said, it was so perfect--a woman just in the United States and nobody would even know she existed. Her kept her chained in the closet for the first six months.
Benson: Yeah, except to rape and torture her.
Morrow: You have no idea...what I went through!
Stabler: That's why you never did anything for Ilena. Because he'd stopped doing it to you. All right, you're going to help us.

Randolph Morrow: She doesn't even blink without my permission.
Stabler: She blinked.
Munch: See that's where you screwed up, Chuck. You broke her down too much. You made her too pliable.
Stabler: Made it easy for us.
Munch: Most wives would go to the electric chair for their husbands but not yours.
Stabler: You really screwed up. Your power is gone, my friend. We took your control.
Morrow: I control Ilena. She doesn't eat, sleep or urinate without my permission. I control her. I do.
Stabler: You like beating up women? Huh, tough guy? Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. Stand up. Sit down. Sit down! No who controls who? We were forcing every move you've made.

Background information and notes

  • This episode shares similarities with the real-life case of Colleen Stan (Source: Colleen Stan at Wikipedia)
  • This is Reiko Aylesworth's last appearance as A.D.A. Erica Alden.
  • Actress Layla Alexander also appeared in the Special Victims Unit episode "...Or Just Look Like One" as Theresa Burgess.
  • This episode introduced the psych evaluations which would be used in the Morris Commission in the next episode.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

Apartment of
Constanta Condrescu
207 West 95th Street
Tuesday, February 22

Air Bucharest
Executive Offices
248 East 54th Street
Wednesday, February 23

Veterinary Clinic
260 East 76th Street
Thursday, February 24

Previous episode:
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 1
Next episode:
"Wrong Is Right"
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