|Family|| Dan Hoffman (father)|
Kim Hoffman (mother)
Jill Hoffman (stepmother)
|Actor||Max Jansen Weinstein|
After Jill stayed at a DV shelter for three weeks, she came back for Tommy. They changed their names from Jill to Dana, from Tommy to Mikey.
A resident at a Hell’s Kitchen apartment building calls the fire department after smelling smoke in another unit. Firefighters break down the door and find food burning on the stove, a frightened, bloody 6-year-old boy named Mikey, and his badly injured mother. The mother had also been raped and sodomized. Barely alive when the fire department arrived, she dies at the hospital during surgery. The mother’s purse and all other identifying information were taken by her attacker. A urine stain on the hallway carpet outside the bedroom suggests that Mikey witnessed the assault, and was so terrified by what he saw, he wet his pants.
Tommy likes to draw and he draws pictures of Jill’s murder and of himself holding hands with Olivia. Olivia tries to draw him out about what happened to Jill. He reaches for her cell phone, and she gives it to him. He dials 911. Olivia asks Tommy if he knows his home number, and he tosses the phone down on the table. When she asks if he knows any other numbers, such as those one might call in an emergency, he dials the Domestic Violence Hotline.
His father, Dan Hoffman is a violent, abusive monster and wife-batterer who completely isolated Jill from the world; including driving away her friends. After three weeks at a safe house, Jill returned home long enough to get Tommy. But then the domestic violence workers couldn’t shelter her, because as Tommy’s stepmother, she had no legal right to take the boy from his father. They found her a pro bono attorney to assist her in her fight for legal custody.
The attorney tells Benson and Stabler that Dan started abusing Jill shortly after their wedding two years ago. Kim Hoffman, Dan’s first wife and Tommy’s biological mother, had left a year prior; Dan abused her, as well, and told everyone that she left them for another man. Dan had psychologically terrorized his son, but had yet to do so physically. Jill had known that Dan crossing that line was only a matter of time. Both Kim and Jill never made a domestic violence complaint because her husband is 'Mr. Pillar-of-the-Community' in their exclusive small town of Rye, no one would believe he's a batterer.
Tommy tells Benson that he and Jill had run away from his father. Jill was going to find them a new home, someplace far away where his father wouldn’t find them. Just as Tommy is going to talk about Jill’s murder, Dan Hoffman storms in. Tommy is clearly terrified, but he’s been medically cleared and released to the custody of his father. Another sign that he feared his father is when he was playing soccer on the front yard, Detectives Stabler and Benson and a couple of police officers came when his father called him back inside.
Tommy’s testimony would convict his father, but SVU is still barred from talking to the boy. Alex asks about Kim Hoffman, who as Tommy’s biological mother has every right to talk to him. Elliot replies that SVU hasn’t been able to find her.
Dawn Trent tells Elliot that she had helped Kim escape that night from her abusive situation. Kim didn’t take Tommy with her then because Dan was on the verge of killing her; she had to leave fast. She hoped to return for her son once she was settled elsewhere. Dawn belongs to a group which rescues domestic violence victims and passes them from one person to another, eventually resettling them far away from their abusers. All any rescuer knows is the next link in the chain.
Elliot follows the chain of Kim’s rescuers, locates Kim and tells her everything that’s happened. She tearfully tells him she had gone back for Tommy, only to see him happily playing on the front lawn with Jill and calling her “Mommy.” Kim then thought he was better off there, because what did she have to offer him. Elliot persuades her to come back for Tommy’s sake. If she doesn’t, Dan will be acquitted of Jill’s murder; and Tommy will be returned to his father.
At the courthouse where Dan’s trial is in progress, Kim talks to Tommy in the hallway. The bond between mother and son is reestablished. When Tommy is called to testify, he and his mother walk into the courtroom together. On the witness stand, Tommy is too terrified of his father to speak, and the judge allows him to step down without testifying.
As Alex leads Tommy past the defense table to leave, Dan flashes him a big smile and says, “I love you, son.” Tommy looks at his mother sitting nearby, then quietly says to his father, “You killed Jill.” Dan’s lawyer immediately asks for a mistrial, as the judge calls for order in the court among the murmuring observers. Dan’s good-guy mask slips off as he coldly tells his son not to testify against him, but Tommy turns to Alex and says, “I’m ready. I can do this now.” Dan can only watch in silent, seething rage as his son returns to the witness stand. As Tommy sits down, he glares at his father with a steely, righteous defiance that not even Dan’s most violent abusive fury will shake.