|←||SVU, Episode 18.16||→|
|Production number: 18016|
First aired: 26 April 2017
| Teleplay By|
Julie Martin & Brianna Yellen
Warren Leight & Julie Martin
The Special Victims Unit aim to convince a group of employees to put their jobs on the line to support one of their coworkers when she accuses her boss of rape.
Olivia Benson joins a morning show with Heidi Sorenson, a lady she met a while back and kept in touch with, as well as a well-known actress, to talk about rape and sexual assault in the workplace. As the actress is telling her story of being raped by her director and costar, Heidi's co-anchor George expresses sympathy and Heidi, visibly shaken, blurts out a statement implying she has been a victim of sexual assault.
The studio crew calls cut and Heidi rushes off set. Benson follows and asks what happened. Heidi says that she was raped by Harold Coyle on the couch in his office back in January. After Benson says they should talk, Heidi takes back her statement and walks away.
At the station, Benson is updating SVU on what happened and says she believes Heidi's story. As they are talking, an officer brings a guy in claiming he has something urgent to say.
Benson takes the guy into a room to talk where he shows them a picture of his wife, Amy, and tells them about how she was assaulted by Coyle while working there. He claims Coyle taped her and used it as blackmail if she ever went to the police. She left HNT and six months later committed suicide. The husband also tells them that everyone at HNT knew, especially the producer, Steven.
With this new information, they return to the studio and go around asking about Amy. While speaking to Steven, they see Coyle and a new anchor, Margery Evans, are surrounded by cameras. Margery tells the reporters that she looks up to Heidi. Fin tells Steven that they will ask the network to turn over the tapes. Steven laughs this off and says that Heidi is doing this because she is renegotiating her contract and found out that Margery is set to replace her.
Benson later goes to see Heidi who tells her she does not want to talk. Olivia asks if it is true what Steven said about her contract. Heidi says that she is not about to ruin her career over this, she apologized to Harold personally, and she was not going to commit suicide like Amy. As Benson is leaving, she tells Heidi to contact her if she ever does want to talk about it.
Back in Benson's office, Chief Dodds shows up. He asks them if they are investigating Coyle, which she confirms, though she says that it is extremely preliminary at the moment. The chief reminds them that the network has a lot of power and extends a warning: if they have evidence of a crime, they should of course investigate, but they better be sure.
Later that night, Benson is at home when Heidi knocks on the door. She says after everything she is fired and they hired Margery, telling Olivia that she was stupid for thinking everything would be fine. Benson asks her if she wants to go after him now and Heidi says she does. They go to the station and she gives her full statement of all the things that had happened before as well as the day of the rape. She also tells them that the only person she confided in was Margery, to warn her.
Benson and Rollins meet with Margery and her lawyer to ask her a few questions. They ask her if Heidi ever told her how Coyle treated her. Margery denies knowing anything about it, defends him, and claims she does not believe it happened.
Meanwhile, Fin and Carisi sit down with George to try and get him to testify. They tell him that Heidi is claiming rape. George confirms that Heidi did seem upset the day of the rape and had been acting strangely ever since. He tells them Coyle is as bad as everyone says when it comes to women but his contract is up in six months and he cannot strut around in his underwear to keep his job and can't help them.
In Olivia's office, she, Barba, and the chief talk about how they have zero corroborating witnesses and nobody was there when Heidi and Coyle were together. Except Coyle himself. They decide it is time to question him and even if they don't have any solid evidence yet, Coyle does not know that. The chief wants to accompany Benson. When Olivia asks if it is because he does not trust her, Dodds denies this, saying he simply wants to show Coyle that they mean business.
Benson and the chief meet with Coyle. Coyle confirms him and Heidi did meet privately on occasion but that her accusation is false. Coyle claims she is trying to get back at him for hiring Evans. He then antagonizes the chief by bringing up the death of his son and Dodds calls an end to the meeting.
Outside, Benson confronts Dodds about what Coyle said. The chief interrupts to tell her that it was not her fault and he said a lot of things he shouldn't have. He says the wound is still fresh and Olivia says she knows. As they part, Dodds says that they cannot give up or the bullies win.
At Heidi's apartment, her and Olivia see Margery on air saying that Coyle is like a father figure and would never assault anyone. Heidi tells Benson again that she only told Margery about the rape. As they talk, Benson receives word that an anchor that worked at HNT ten years prior was on her way to the police station to make a statement about Coyle assaulting her.
At the police station, while interviewing Gwendolyn, who says she had to come forward after seeing Margery on TV defending Coyle, SVU gets several more women come forward about sexual harrassment during their employment. One of the women was an assistant to Heidi's co-anchor, George. They think this will help them get George on their side to testify.
Four of the women who came forward made recorded statements about what happened to them. All four had similar stories and all four claimed that Coyle had tapes of them and did not come forward out of fear.
In front of the judge, Barba argues that the victims' statements should be heard in court by the jury due to showing a history and pattern. The defense argues this would be prejudicial. The judge agrees and throws out the statements.
Now in court, Benson takes the stand and confirms the series of events the day of the broadcast. Heidi takes the stand and tells the court what Coyle put her through during her employment and what happened the day of the rape. The defense tries to make a case that the accusation is about money. Barba receives a text and finds out that George is now refusing to testify, so he requests a recess.
Fin and Carisi confront George. They learn that Coyle threatened to release information on George's daughter, who had a juvie record. He says he has to protect at least one woman in his life and that's his daughter.
Back in court, Margery takes the stand and says that Heidi always seemed happy and that she liked her job. She claims that they spent time in hair and makeup together the morning of the rape and that she appeared sunny. Barba brings up her replacing Heidi and her salary and Margery is silent.
Outside the courtroom, Heidi sees Margery down the hall. Benson tries to stop her but Heidi says she needs to tell her. She goes to Margery and asks her why she is defending Coyle. Margery says she is loyal. Heidi and Benson warn her again that what he has done to so many others he will do to her. Margery says she is sorry for what happened but she is not Heidi and leaves.
Later, Margery goes to Coyle's house to see how he is doing. Coyle seems very happy and wants to celebrate, thinking the trial is basically over as the jury will think Heidi is in it for the money. Margery says that since she has been so loyal and such a soldier, she would like her tape back, revealing that she had also been a victim this entire time.
Coyle says he would never use the tape against her, as he has too much respect for her. Margery tells him that she "respectfully" would like her tape back and she would wait for him to get it. In response, Coyle says he has been very patient and if she wants to keep that new job, she had better show him. He then attempts to assault her and as Margery tries to get away, it is revealed that she has been videotaping the encounter.
The recording ends and Margery, now at SVU with Benson and Rollins, tells them what happened. She says she was able to fight Coyle off and escape him. She says she thought she was different and had to know for sure. Now she knows she is not, Margery is willing to retestify after perjuring herself and she apologizes for siding with Coyle.
Barba shows the recording to Coyle and his lawyer, Richard. Knowing they have lost, Richard asks what is on the table and hushes Coyle when he claims entrapment. Barba says they can either settle or he will absolutely lose in court with this recording and Heidi's and Margery's testimony.
Afterwards, Benson is with Heidi, who is showing her a building under construction. She is using the settlement money to create her own business, Step Up, a place for female youth empowerment. Olivia congratulates her.
Benson heads back to her office and the chief is waiting for her. He tells her the story of the scorpion and the tortoise and that Coyle will spend a year and a half in prison. Finally, he confides in her that he has been avoiding the place and that every time he walks in, he expects to see his son. Benson assures him he is not crazy and the chief leaves on good terms.
- Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson
- Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins
- Ice-T as Detective Odafin Tutuola
- Peter Scanavino as Detective Dominick Carisi, Jr.
- Raúl Esparza as A.D.A. Rafael Barba
- Jenna Stern as Judge Elana Barth
- Joanne Baron as Defense Attorney Diane Schwartz
- Peter Gallagher as Deputy Chief William Dodds
- Stephen C. Bradbury as Judge Colin McNamara
- Jack Nawada-Braunwart as Noah Porter-Benson
- Tyree Michael Simpson as Desk Sergeant
- Christopher McDonald as Harold Coyle
- Bonnie Somerville as Heidi Sorenson
- Mark Moses as George Thanos
- Peyton List as Margery Evans
- J.C. MacKenzie as Defense Attorney Richard Pace
- Beth Chamberlin as Gwendolyn Gates
- Paloma Guzmán as Davina Delucci
- Danny Wolohan as Steven Turner
- Jacob A. Ware as Mark James
- Melissa Miller as Christine Davis
- Joanna Howard as Diane Douglas
- Christine Jones as Alana Reed
- Heather Girardi as Counselor Allison Bell
- Amber Owens as Female Anchor
- Michael Chenevert as Reporter #1
- Dawn Yanek as Reporter #2
Background information and notes
Episode scene cards
122 Lafayette Street
"Know It All"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
"Real Fake News"