|←||SVU, Episode 7.16||→|
|Production number: 07016|
First aired: 28 February 2006
| Written By|
Doug Waverly, Nick Pratt, and Jason King are arrested for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Jennifer Durning, a student from Canada, who disappeared while on a school trip. Even though Casey tells the arraignment judge that she has enough evidence to charge the boys with rape and murder (especially video footage that shows Jennifer leaving a nightclub with the boys and giving her alcohol and a tip to the police hotline that let the police know that Doug Waverly was leaving the country with his father), the judge disagrees due to insufficient evidence and the boys are free on bail.
Meanwhile, the SVU detectives run through the events of what happened to Jennifer Durning: Jennifer was at a nightclub with her friend, Danna Simpson where Jennifer met Doug, Nick, and Jason. She left the club with the boys and returned to her hotel later that evening. Early the next morning, the boys were seen at a diner and they reported their car stolen to the police. The detectives suspect that the boys dumped the car, but don’t know who. When D.A. Arthur Branch finds out what Casey did, he tells her and the detectives to get a confession from the boys or find Jennifer’s body.
As an excuse, the SVU detectives have Doug, Nick, and Jason come to the precinct and have the Medical Examiner come in to take their DNA. While they wait, the detectives go over the evidence with the boys that includes: the footage from inside the nightclub taken by Danna Simpson, footage from outside that shows Jennifer leaving the nightclub with the boys, security footage from the hotel elevator which shows Jennifer looking upset, Danna’s statement that Jennifer called Danna to tell her that she was gang-raped by the boys, and Jennifer’s clothes which has the DNA of three males on it.
Jason refuses to say anything because he doesn’t want to get his cousin, Nick Pratt into trouble, but Nick and Doug blame Jason for what happened to Jennifer. When Jason’s lawyer mentions that Jason takes piano lessons at Juillard, Casey gets suspicious. Casey suddenly realizes that the phone tip to inform the police that Doug Waverly was leaving the country was made at the payphone near Juillard. Jason confesses that he made the call and that after the boys dropped Jennifer off to the hotel, his cousin and Doug wanted to kill Jennifer, but he wasn’t in the car when they said it.
During the grand jury testimony, Jason says that he had consensual sex with Jennifer Durning, but Nick and Doug raped her and it was Nick’s idea to kill Jennifer to keep her quiet about what happened. Casey is able to get an indictment from the grand jury against Nick and Doug. Jason is upset about betraying his cousin and his friend, so his parents take to the Catskills to get away from everybody.
When the DNA evidence comes back, it shows Nick and Doug’s DNA on Jennifer’s jeans which is consistent of Jason’s story that they raped Jennifer, but a male pubic hair was found on the toilet seat in Jennifer’s hotel room, but it doesn’t match any of the boys. Casey decides not to include that evidence in the case.
During the trial, Elliot is questioned about the investigation and the defense lawyers bring up the pubic hair found in Jennifer’s hotel room. Judge Donnelly calls everyone into her chambers and she decides to include the hair as evidence in the case. Meanwhile, the detectives look through the hotel elevator footage and Munch spots a man carrying Jennifer’s coat. The man is identified as Keith Willis, a local drunk. They also find Jennifer’s passport on him as well. Even though Keith is able to identify Nick Pratt and Doug Waverly’s photos, said the boys paid him to make a phone call to Jennifer saying that he had her passport, and saw the boys force Jennifer into her car, he is demented from years of alcohol abuse damaging his brain which makes him an unreliable witness.
Stabler and Benson decide to question Jason about if he saw Keith Willis. When they arrive at his house, Jason is nowhere to be found. There’s no sign of a struggle and they discover car tracks on the driveway which doesn’t match the cars belonging to Nick or Doug. When Casey finds out Jason is missing, she is emotionally devastated, blaming herself for making Jason testify against his cousin. When Novak talks to Arthur Branch about Jason’s disappearance, he believes that someone leaked the whereabouts of where Jason King and his family were staying at, but they come to the conclusion that the leak didn’t come from either SVU or the DA’s office, which only leaves Judge Donnelly’s staff. Branch says the trial cannot be stopped because then double jeopardy would attach and Nick and Doug could never be tried for the rape or murder of Jennifer Durning again.
Novak stalls for time by putting character witnesses on the stand to talk about Jennifer Durning, but the defense attorneys become suspicious and so does Judge Donnelly. She gives Novak a day to bring up Jason as a witness. Later that night, Branch and Casey tell Donnelly that Jason King is missing and there might be a leak in her office. While in Donnelly’s office, Morales finds a bug on the bookshelf which would have picked up Donnelly putting in the location of Jason’s whereabouts on her Dictaphone. When Branch asks for a mistrial, Donnelly tells Novak and Branch that unless there is evidence proving that Jason King met with foul play, a mistrial cannot be requested, but Novak has run out of character witnesses to put on the stand. Judge Donnelly has no choice but to dismiss the charges against Nick and Doug due to lack of evidence.
Even though there is nothing more to be done about prosecuting Jennifer Durning’s murder, the detectives investigate to find out what happened to Jason King. They soon discover that a court officer, Emily McCooper was in Donnelly’s chambers to "use the restroom" and the receiver for the bug was found in McCooper's locker. It is discovered that McCooper had been sleeping with Nick Pratt, who gave her a new Mercedes. The detectives were able to find McCooper's old car and the tires on her car match the tire tracks in Jason King’s driveway. McCooper claims that Nick told her to drive him and Doug to Mr. Waverly (Doug’s father)’s produce warehouse.
The detectives believe that Jennifer’s body was dumped somewhere near the warehouse and realize that the diner where the boys were at on the night of Jennifer’s murder is across the bridge from the produce warehouse. Nick and Doug are discovered on the toll booth camera footage in the back of a man’s car. The detectives soon discover that the car was towed to the police impound lot. Jennifer’s blood is discovered in the trunk.
The detectives find the place the car had been parked, next to the river. While searching the area, they find Jennifer’s shoe, but Jennifer’s body has probably been swept away in the river. Jason’s body is found in the river, having been stuck on a pier of the bridge. In the end, Nick Pratt and Doug Waverly are arrested for the murder of Jason King.
- Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler
- Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson
- Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
- Diane Neal as A.D.A. Casey Novak
- Ice-T as Detective Odafin Tutuola
- B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang
- Tamara Tunie as M.E. Melinda Warner
- Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen
- Mike Doyle as C.S.U. Detective Ryan O'Halloran
- Joel de la Fuente as T.A.R.U. Technician Ruben Morales
- Fred Dalton Thompson as D.A. Arthur Branch
- Judith Light as Judge Elizabeth Donnelly
- Michael Boatman as Defense Attorney Dave Seaver
- Barry Bostwick as Defense Attorney Oliver Gates
- Harvey Atkin as Judge Alan Ridenour
- Ian Bedford as Officer Bamford
- Harry Zittel as Jason King
- Teddy Eck as Doug Waverly
- Paul David Story as Nicky Pratt
- Susan Saint James as Defense Attorney Monica Bradshaw
- Maggie Siff as C.O. Emily McCooper
- Sándor Técsy as Keith Willis/Durvo
- Anna Kathryn Holbrook as Roberta King
- Edmund C. Davys as William King
- Rebecca Baxter as Amanda Durning
- Ray Luetters as Sanford Warren
- Jonathan Charles Kaplan as Law Secretary
- Erica Bradshaw as Court Clerk
- Walter K. Jordan as Pound Supervisor
- Haythem Noor as Sharif Damavandi
- Katrina Bowden as Dana Simpson
- Barbara King as Jennifer Durning
- Dennis Pressey as Dog Handler
- Lily Mercer as Headmaster
- Jordan Hunter as Grace
- Jenni Barber as Ally
- Michael M. McGuire as Henry
- "Trial's over, Casey. Put the gloves on for round 2."
- – Judge Donnelly
- Doug: You can't prove we killed anybody.
- Stabler: You like that sea bass? You're gonna love what we just pulled out of the river.
- "How does a spy satellite see you taking a crap from 22,000 miles in space?"
- – John Munch
- Cragen: You didn't kill him, Casey. He was dead the minute he got caught in cousin Nicky's web.
- Novak: We have Jason's body. Let's get him some justice.
- Branch: We need to talk to you.
- Donnelly: In the middle of a trial? I don't think so.
- Branch: The defense had their ex parte moment.
- Donnelly: In chambers, not my living room.
- "Check out Luca Brasi."
- – John Munch referring to a Godfather character
Background information and notes
- This episode appears to based on the Natalee Holloway case.
Episode scene cards
New York State
Dal Santo's Bar
Tannersville, New York
Trial Part 29
Trial Part 29
New York City
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