Law & Order Special Victims Unit s25e02 Episode Script

Truth Embargo

In the criminal justice system,
sexually based offenses
are considered especially heinous.
In New York City, the
dedicated detectives
who investigate these vicious felonies
are members of an elite squad
known as the Special Victims Unit.
These are their stories.
- Morning, ma'am.
- Thank you.

When your thoughts wander astray ♪
They always run ♪
to the same place somehow ♪

Somehow ♪

Is it very crowded there and ♪
Oh, my God!

Hey, lady,
what's your problem?
What, are you crazy?
Get the hell out of my van!
Close my door!
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Yeah, no kidding.
The condition of that gun,
I doubt if it's ever been cleaned.
All right, man. Thank you.
Your boy hit a wall?
It's a 15-year-old gun.
You still got prints, right?
Yeah, but the thing with prints,
sometimes too many
is worse than none at all.
Or it's got nothing
to do with this case.
You connect the 9-mil to
Maddie Flynn's abduction yet?
No, ATF said that gun's
been passed around
more than little Nicky Carisi
at his baptism.
Why is Clark Kent
in the conference room?
Agent Clay.
Oh, I know who he is.
I was wondering
how long it would take
the Feds to get here.
Captain Benson,
nice to see you again.
So you're here
to take away my case?
No, no.
I'm here to coordinate.
Well, that's understandable.
Maddie was taken across state lines.
And then, of course,
there's the sex doll thing.
We're looking at potential
federal child porn charges.
So how do you propose
we work together?
I know you got your hands
full with other cases.
For the short term,
I'd like you to be
part of our CART.
The Child Abduction
Response Team.
- Mm-hmm.
- I assume,
your team is putting together
a behavioral analysis profile
George from Canada.
BAU's already working on it.
I would love to see it
when they're done.
No problem.
Well, thank you.
I forget, did we decide on
snorkeling or kayaking
on our honeymoon?
Oh, very funny.
I told you, I'm not going
anywhere near the ocean.
Then why did you
pick an island?
I like the sun.
Brooke, how long have you been
suffering from thalassophobia?
[SCOFFS] I'm sorry,
some of us didn't
major in psych at UPenn.
It's an intense fear
of deep water.
Oh, I'm not afraid
of the water.
I'm afraid of sharks.
It's two weeks of cocktails
on the beach.
Ah, but then I'm gonna need
a sexier swimsuit.
- You wanna come with?
- I'd love to.
But I'm late for work.
Can I try these bathing suits on?
Right this way.
Not bad.

Yeah, yo.
We out here getting
that group discount.
Yes, sir.
you got here quick.
I was commuting in
when I heard it on the radio.
What are we looking at?
Gang of about 20, maybe
25 looters, mostly masked.
Okay, we were told
there was a sexual assault.
Saleswoman got groped.
Did you get a look
at her assailant?
One of the only smooth brains
to pull off his mask.
Okay, you two,
take her statement.
Let's go inside.
The guy tore my shirt,
grabbed my breast.
Can you describe him?
He was white.
Maybe, maybe Hispanic.
All I know is that he had bad skin.
He was a teenager.
Okay, and where were you?
I came up front when
I heard all the noise.
- We're pulling security cams?
- All of 'em.
And we'll need the phones
from anybody who recorded.

- Hello?
It's okay. It's okay.
I'm NYPD, okay?
- Are they gone?
- Yes, they're gone.
- You're okay now.
You're okay now.
Let me get you out of here.
Can you tell me your name?
- Natalie.
- Okay, Natalie.
Natalie, I got you, okay?
I got you.
Here you go.
I'm gonna give you this.
Hey, Fin?
I need a bus. You're okay.
You got that?

All right, you're okay.

I was shopping?
So when I found you, Natalie, you
hiding in the stock room closet.
Do you have any idea
how you wound up there?
I'm sorry.
It's okay.
How about we start with
the last thing you do remember?
I remember trying on
a bathing suit.
In the dressing room.
Okay, great.
Great. Anything else?
I picked out a bathing suit
that I thought Brooke would like,
and then I heard a commotion,
coming from outside,
I went to look.
And there was a man there.
And, what happened next?

He forced me back
into the dressing room,
and pulled off my
bathing suit, raped me.
Can you remember
anything about him?
He seemed young.
He had a mask on.
Is there anything else
that you remember about him?
- A characteristic?
- I need Brooke, please.
We were joking around
just a few hours ago.
Planning our honeymoon.
How could this happen?
We're sorry.
Well, is Natalie gonna be okay?
She was hurt.
Sexually assaulted.
We're doing
a rape kit right now.
It was the middle of the day.
At a busy boutique.
I mean, aren't there witnesses?
We're still investigating.
What happened to this city?
I mean
Are the police trying
to prove some kind of point?
What point is that?
That we still need you.
It's already too late.
The press is here.
I'm looking at the trucks right now,
and we need to send somebody
down here ASAP
before they start harassing my vic.
Thank you.
Well, 2024 is off
to a rowdy start.
Second media case in a week.
- Tell me something.
- Natalie finished her kit.
Have the lab rush it.
On it, Captain.
Just got a break.
My buddy down at Major Case
is on a task force
trying to deal with
all these smash and grabs.
- And?
- And he's gonna give us
first dibs on the footage
from that boutique.
Captain Benson!
And when can we
watch that footage?
How about now?
Yes, because watching a screen
is better than being on one.
Captain Benson,
can I get a comment?
If this city walked
into a shrink's office,
it'd be diagnosed borderline.
Unstable personal relationships,
distorted sense of self,
strong emotional reactions.
Bruno, you missed
your calling in life.
Did your friend send over the
dressing room security cams?
They don't have any in the
dressing room, but
We got this.
So this is where Natalie
comes out of the dressing area.
He clocks her, then
follows her, and then
And then there's this.

Bruno, freeze that.
He pulls his mask off?
I thought Natalie told you
she didn't see the guy's face.
- That's right.
- Maybe she lied.
Hold on, let's not
get ahead of ourselves.
Is this the best angle that we have?
It's the only angle
Major Case had.
Do they have anything else?
Yeah, TARU's been
looking up the social media
of the kids and found this.
Here we are,
we coming at you live.
Heart of New York City, baby,
me and the crew.
We're doing it.
We about to clean this
The kid recorded
the whole thing.
Whatever happened
to the concept of omertà?
You know we out here
getting that group discount.
- Yes, sir!
- Wait, pause that.
The other guy, that's
that's the guy that pushed Natalie
into the dressing room.
Yeah, looks like it.
Yeah, and them two are
looking real buddy-buddy.
Did TARU get a name
on that social media account?
Yeah, Travis Butler.
Juvie record for assault.
Bring him in.
And find out how
buddy-buddy they really are.
- Travis Butler!
Police, open up!
Head up on the stairs.
He's going out the back.
- Freeze, right there.
- Nice shirt.
Travis Butler,
you're under arrest.
Arrested for what?
What did I do?
Posted a video of it, genius.
arrested yourself.
I hope the clicks were worth it.
Look, yo, yo, yo, yo. Look.
All I took was this shirt, I told you.
If you want the shirt, take it.
Okay? Are we done here?
This isn't about what you stole.
While I appreciate
the admission of guilt,
you know, it makes my job easier,
what I really wanna know is,
do you recognize this woman?
- No.
- Well.
What about her?
Look at her.
One of your buddies did this to her.
This is what you kids call
a collab, right?
Yo, he ain't
no friend of mine.
While you were
making videos,
he was sexually assaulting her.
Look, no one was
supposed to get hurt.
- We were just trying to
- What?
- You were trying to what?
- We were trying to put
food on the table.
Oh, yeah?
Tell me, where on the food pyramid
can I find a Gucci shirt?
Your friend's being sought
for rape one.
Look, I told you,
he's not my friend.
But, you do know his name.

What do I get?
Well, if you cooperate,
we can make a deal
for this little smash-and-grab.
You might even get
to keep your new shirt.
Come on,
help yourself out here.
Yo, high-key, I only
met him outside the store.
Yo, high-key, you ever
seen his face without a mask?
I swear to God.
Well, there you have it.
He swears to God.
- Never heard that one before.
- So we book him on robbery.
He'll be out on bail
in less than 24 hours.
He may be lying about
not knowing the rapist, but,
I saw his face
when he saw Natalie's photo.
He may not have
known about the rape.
Pull his calls and texts
and put an unmarked car
on him when he makes bail.
Hold up,
we may have another option.
From your buddy at Major Case?
They found these kids
on Discord,
monitored their chat,
just finished a raid.
- How many arrests?
- 18 so far.
All for robbery?
and with the Manhattan DA,
they'll be out on bail
as quick as Travis.
Not if they're booked
for sexual assault.
See if Major Case can send over
the male intake photos.
Hold on, are you gonna
take a run at all these guys?
If it comes to that.
Liv, no
No disrespect here, but,
this is starting to feel a
little less about Natalie Ross
and more about Maddie Flynn.
I'm catching this guy.
Liv, I'll pull an all-nighter
with you if we have to.
I appreciate that, Fin.
So maybe Carisi is right,
and maybe we should
narrow the pool into
something more swimmable.
So how about we bring in Jenny,
we bring in Natalie,
and we have them ID a mugshot?

That's him.
That's the guy.
You recognize him?
Young, pimples, green eyes.
After he groped me,
I watched him take off his mask
and try on a pair
of Cartier sunglasses.
I'm sure.
I don't recognize
any of these people.
That's okay, Natalie.
Just keep going.
My mind is still blank.
So these men,
they've all been arrested?
For what?
Are you sure they're guilty?
Well, we have them on video,
and they had the items in their
possession from the store.
I just wanna be sure.
Did you get any evidence
from the rape kit I did?
Uh, no.
There was no DNA,
which is not uncommon.
And it certainly doesn't mean
that you weren't assaulted.
Natalie, are you, are you sure,
that you didn't see his face?
Natalie, we saw the video.
He pushed you in the dressing room.
And we don't want
to retraumatize you, but
It did look like he
pulled his mask off.
That doesn't mean
that you saw his face.
But we, just want to be sure.
I understand, but I'm just
I'm not sure, if I saw his face.
- Okay.
- Okay.
Excuse me for a second.
What have we got?
Saleswoman from the store
ID'd her groper.
He's looking
for some kind of deal.
Says he's willing
to give up their fence.
So, all of these kids
sold their stuff to one guy?
What could he possibly know
about Natalie's rape?
We won't know till we ask.
Okay, bring him in.
Look, you guys
got me all wrong.
I just resell the stuff.
I don't steal it. Come on, man.
- I ain't no thief.
- Relax, Crispy.
We're not trying to jam you up.
I'm sure you hear things
from time to time,
as a middleman, though.
You hear anything
about a rape
during the latest smash-and-grab?
But you know kids,
they always chirp about
one thing or another.
CSU's at your crib right now.
All right, man, look.
There's this one kid.
Been bragging about how
he grabbed more than clothes,
- you hear me?
- We need a name.
I ain't got a name.
Man, don't look now,
but you guys got company.
What the hell's going on?
Hey! Don't move!
Whoa, whoa, easy!
You wanna wind up on YouTube?
Call a 13!
Backup's on the way!
Drop the laptop!
- Officer.
- That's police property.
Officer, lower your weapon.
Officer Gomez!
- Drop the laptop!
- Lower your weapon.
- Put down the laptop!
- Listen to me!
Lower your weapon now
before someone gets hurt.
These are teenagers.
There's right
and there's wrong.
Nobody's getting shot here
today, do you understand me?
Guys, nobody fire.
Guns down.
Where is my backup?
Yes, Chief, I know.
Fin and I have already talked about it.
We will stay up all
night if we have to.
Yes, it is getting wrapped up.
I'll keep you posted.
McGrath must be snapping
a filament in his head.
He already suspended
the downstairs desk sergeant.
- The guy was overwhelmed.
- Hey.
Oh, Carisi, you made it.
It took me 20 minutes
to get past security.
NYPD always responds best
after it's too late.
You two okay?
It could have been
so much worse.
Nobody got seriously hurt.
Any idea what the hell
they were after?
Sending us a message.
So how many arrests
are you looking at?
We collared eight kids.
They're all being processed now.
And guess who was one of them?
Travis Butler.
Travis Butler?
The same Travis Butler
who lied about being buddies
with Natalie's rapist?
So what is it, is he stupid?
Uh, worse.
He's an attention junkie.
Narcissism is a
learning disability.
Let me guess, he livestreamed
his arrest, didn't he?
And he would be livestreaming
from Central Booking
if they didn't take his phone.
So we have some leverage.
A lot more than we did before.
You think looting a precinct
was my idea?
Why were you even
involved in this?
You were out on bail.
What, are you collecting
violations for fun?
100,000 hits
on my livestream.
Well, I hope it was worth it.
You're looking at grand larceny,
tampering with evidence,
destruction of property.
At least half a dozen felonies.
Including obstruction,
that's a long list, Travis.
- That's serious time.
- What?
But you still got a chance
to help yourself out here.
How am I gonna do that?
Well, if you ever wanna
walk the streets again,
without an adult diaper on
Tell us who this is.
We've been over this.
I don't know who that is.
All right, stop it.
I'm sick of this.
What is it gonna take for you
to tell us the truth?
Is this guy threatening you?
- We can offer you protection.
- No.
I've known him since fifth grade, okay?
He raped an innocent woman,
You got a sister.
What would you do,
someone did that to her?
I'd kill him.
So how about you
just tell us his name?
Come on.
Help us get justice for Natalie here.
And as an added bonus,
you get to save your own ass.
His name's Jay Watson.

We wired Travis last night,
set him up with his friend Jay here.
What exactly did he say?
Did he admit to raping Natalie?
Closest he got was admitting
taking something that
didn't belong to him.
Not his shirt,
something else.
It's not exactly
an ironclad confession.
Natalie's still shaky on the ID?
And nothing on the rape kit?
Maybe he wore a condom.
Kid's not exactly a planner.
And you didn't recover
anything else from the scene?
Okay, so I can tell by your tone
that we're gonna need more.
Well, I'd love a confession,
but let's start with a
corporeal ID from Natalie.
I'll go talk to her.
You found the man
who assaulted me?
We have a suspect, yes.
- Did he say he did it?
- No.
But we do have other evidence.
But we still need you to make an ID.
I told you, I didn't
get a good look.
I understand.
Natalie, nobody is gonna
pressure you either way.
So how about I just
walk you through it?
So you're gonna see
a lineup of six men.
They will not be able to see you.
And you look at their faces,
and look at their eyes.
And if you recognize the man
What if I don't recognize him?
Well, if you don't, you don't.
Natalie, I'm not gonna ask you
to do anything
that you're not comfortable with.

Do you see him, Natalie?
Which one?
Number three.
Number three?
You're sure that's the
man who raped you?
Hold on.
Take as much time
as you need.
- Natalie, look at his eyes.
- I don't need to.
I know I told you before
that I wasn't sure before, but
I am now.
That's him, number three.
Let me get you a car.
I need to talk to my client.
Well, the main subject better
be about a plea, Mr. Carter.
Not in the habit
of taking a plea
when your main witness
took a plea himself.
And there's no physical evidence.
And your so-called victim,
changes her mind with the wind.
You two done?
Carisi, talk to me.
Oh, I'd never say this
directly to his face,
but I agree with Carter.
- Natalie ID'd Jay.
- Today she did.
But at the hospital, she said she
didn't get a good look at him.
So what exactly do you need?
Evidence, DNA.
Everything that Carter just
listed, that's what I need.
Look, I know you didn't
get DNA off the kit,
but you're telling me that
there's no DNA
anywhere in that dressing room?
We've gone over it.
Come on,
we're missing something here.
- You ran her clothes?
- Yes.
Even the bathing suit
that she was wearing.
- And?
- Came back clean.
Oh, my God.
Oh, my God.
The liner.
- The what?
- There's hygienic liner
in every female
bathing suit that is sold.
- There is?
- And if it is removed,
then you cannot
return the bathing suit.
And Natalie never
even got that far.
Velasco, when you bagged the
bathing suit, did you see it?
- Did you find it?
- No.
Maybe it fell off.
It wasn't part of her rape kit,
but if it was there,
I would think CSU picked it up.
I would think, but if
it's a male CSU tech, then
he may not have known what it was.

Captain Benson,
can you explain what
this is to the jury, please?
It's a hygienic
bathing suit liner.
CSU failed to bag it at the
scene of Natalie's assault.
It was found subsequently,
and then the lab
managed to recover
Jay Watson's DNA from it.
And in your opinion,
why was it not still attached
to the bathing suit
Ms. Ross was wearing
when she was taken to the hospital?
I'll allow.
Well, most likely it came off
during her brutal attack.
- Your Honor
- Watch yourself, Captain.
Nothing further.
Your witness, Mr. Carter.
when was the bathing suit
Ms. Ross was wearing tested?
as part of her rape kit.
And what were
the results of that?
No traces of DNA, correct?
That is correct.
Where was this liner
tested again?
A few days later.
So you already collected
and tested everything
you thought was relevant.
Then you suddenly
happen upon this
linchpin piece of evidence?
Which is not uncommon at all.
Evidence is collected
separately all the time.
Collected or manufactured?
Mr. Carter.
You mentioned the word
"brutality" before.
Police have their own form
of brutality.
- Don't they?
- Objection.

How are you holding up?
Not great.
I was up all night with Natalie.
- She was inconsolable.
- That's understandable.
Look, when a person goes
through a trauma like that,
they can end up
in a very vulnerable state.
Yeah, it wasn't about that.
Okay, then what?
We're acutely aware
of the systemic inequities
that exist within
the criminal justice system.
- You mean for people like Jay.
- Yeah.
Our concern is that he might
not receive a fair trial.
Well, I can't deny that
there's a history of racial bias.
It's certainly not a perfect system.
How do you do this every day?
My focus, my priority
is on healing.
So I do what I can.
When does Natalie actually
have to take the stand?
She's up next.

Hey, Natalie.
So, I talked to Brooke.
Is everything okay?
Yeah, I'm fine.
It's just been a long day.
Yeah, it has been, but,
it's almost over, Natalie.
Are you sure, that you're okay?
- Yeah.
Councilor, your next witness.
Do I have time
to use the bathroom?
Yes, of course.
Tell me that
she's just nervous.
I'm starting to think
that I drove her too hard,
you know, for my own reasons.
You mean Maddie Flynn?
I chased an energy drink truck
down the street the other day,
and I thought that I saw her.
you are gonna close that case.
You are gonna feel
the pleasure of slapping
the cuffs on her abductor.
- You don't know that.
- I know you.
You will.
So you don't think I'm crazy?
We work in the
criminal justice system.
We're all a little bit crazy.
Let's focus on the perp
we have in front of us.
Let's put him behind bars.
And then I'm gonna
take you out for a drink.
Come on.
He pushed me back
into the dressing room.
And I-I
Just froze.
I gave up.
He pulled my bathing suit bottom,
uh, off to the side,
and raped me.
Thank you, Natalie.
I know this isn't easy.
Earlier, you testified,
that you ID'd your
assailant in an NYPD lineup.
Can you ID your assailant
now for the jury?

Natalie, can you identify your rapist?
Ms. Ross, are you able
to answer the question?
- Order.
Your Honor, I need a recess.
You have 15 minutes,
Mr. Carisi.

- Natalie.
- I'm sorry.
It's okay.
Just tell us what happened.
I just looked at him
in front of me, and his, his
His suit jacket barely fit.
Natalie, I wanna give you
the benefit of the doubt here,
but I gotta say, this is the first time
I've had a case blow up
on me because of tailoring.
What is going on?
You know, my parents
are a bit religious.
And they used to foster children.
And my brother Yves,
he's from Cameroon.
We were around 12
in a drugstore with my mom,
you know, just running around,
and, uh
I dared him to steal a pack of gum.
Cops show up.
They send me home with a warning.
- He gets arrested.
- Spent the night in juvie.
And for what?
Natalie, wha
What you're talking about
is apples and oranges.
Not for Yves.
He had a record.
Which only further
pushed him down a path
in the opposite direction of reform.
- How can you justify that?
- We can't.
We can't.
That never should have
happened to your brother, okay?
But Natalie, Jay Watson raped you.
Do you think I forgot?
How could I?
This entire trial has been
an exercise in reminding me.
And this is your chance
to do something about it.
I am going to, believe me.
Because I can.
I can afford therapy.
I have that luxury.
And maybe, one day
I'll be okay.
But if that teenager goes to prison?
He may not be.

I don't want that.
Natalie, wait.
Hey, Natalie.
I get that this is personal for you,
but I think that
you're doing the wrong thing
for the right reason.
Jay Watson is a criminal.
He's only 18.
He's not anything yet.
He saw a chance to
victimize you and he took it.
You know, I have a lot
of admiration for you.
I admire your fairness,
and your thoughtfulness.
I am just trying
to do what is right.
And you are.
It was right of you to
point out that justice,
real justice,
should emphasize rehabilitation.
I feel guilty,
- for what happened to my brother.
- I know you do.
And I stand by whatever
decision you make.
But the answer is not
to swing the pendulum
too far in the other direction.
I hope you know that I wouldn't be here,
if I didn't think that
a fair trial was possible.
And I'm not asking you
to trust the system, Natalie.
I'm asking you to trust me.

Where's your witness,
Mr. Carisi?
She'll be here, Your Honor.
Just a few more minutes.
Your Honor, the people
call Natalie Ross
back to the stand.
Ms. Ross.
The last time you were on the stand,
you didn't ID your assailant.
Can you point out your
assailant for the jury now?
That's him.
Jay Watson.
And why did you refuse,
to ID him earlier?
As a victim of a crime,
my decision not to testify
was rooted in a familial trauma
that goes beyond the immediate
circumstances of Jay's crime.
Thank you.
Nothing further.
This all sounds very noble,
but did you come
to this epiphany on your own?
You didn't speak
to anyone after testifying?
No, I did.
Mr. Carisi and Captain Benson from SVU.
Oh, so after not ID'ing
my client, you left the court,
spoke to the prosecutor,
and spoke to the lead
criminal investigator,
and now, all of a sudden,
the man sitting next to me
is the one who raped you.
He is.
Well, I am glad
that you were able
to unburden yourself, Ms. Ross.
But white guilt,
cannot, and should not dictate
my client's actual guilt.
- Sustained.
- I made a mistake.
There are so many people in prison
who don't deserve to be there.
How sure are you
that Jay Watson isn't
just another one of them?
The only thing I am
sure about, Mr. Carter,
is that your client raped me!

Mr. Carter.
Hope I'm not interrupting.
I'm just working on
my closing arguments.
Yeah, well,
you can take the night off.
My client changed
his mind about a plea.
Oh, really?
I got his DNA,
the vic ID'd him in open court.
What makes your client think
that I'm still even open to a plea?
You can ask him yourself.
I'm listening, Mr. Carter.
Go ahead, Jay.
That girl, Natalie.
I did what she said.
She ain't lying.

I took something.
Something I can't give back.
It was just supposed to be a robbery.
But, when I saw her
my whole life,
nobody paid attention
to anything I did.
Not at home, not at school.
Always felt
kind of invisible, you know?
So, why would this be any different?
What I did to Natalie
I did.
Changed her life forever.
I guess I finally learned my lesson.
Just too late.
It's never too late, Mr. Watson.
You'll do time.
But not your whole life.
When you get out, you'll still
have some runway ahead of you.
And taking responsibility
for what you did,
is only the first step.
Let's speak to Ms. Ross.

So he took a plea, huh?
- I'm surprised as you are.
- Well, great work, Counselor.
- Justice was done.
- It was.
But not for Maddie?
How am I supposed
to go and live a normal life
knowing that she's out there somewhere?
You call any of this normal?
Come on, let me buy you that drink.
I will.
But only if you help me read through
a behavioral analysis
profile of the kidnapper.
You've got a strange way
of getting cheered up,
you know that?

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