Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 1 Episode 13


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 04, 2000 on NBC

Episode Recap

A homeless woman wonders upon a car. Hoping she can get a warm place to sleep, she opened the car door to find a dead man. She leaves the door open and walks away.
When Munch and Cassidy arrive at the crime scene, Munch comments on the view. Cassidy tells him the view is nice at night as well. He begins telling him he had been there on a case, then it was a date, and finally saying it was with a guy friend of his. They are told a patrol car found the body. While checking the body, Cassidy finds a gunshot wound to the head and the groin. Upon searching the car, they find a holster but no weapon. When they ask if they had located any identification, Munch is handed a wallet identifying the man as Judge Warren Varella. He tells the other detective to be sure to seal the crime scene extra securely.
Cassidy informs the team the ME places the time of death between 8 and 11 PM. Munch tells them he left work early to be alone. Benson informs them his wife last saw him as he headed to work that morning. Stabler tells them the wife is not talking. Jeffries suggest he was having an affair and his wife shot him in the groin and decided to remove his brains before telling them his cell phone battery was dead, but she is still checking to see if he may have tried to call for help. When Cragen asks if it could have been a hit, Munch reminds him he was shot in both heads. Stabler suggests maybe it was a disenchanted lover while Benson suggests a sex offender. Briscoe informs them the victim was licensed to carry and he had a permit for a 9mm. Cassidy informs them they found 9mm slugs. When Cragen suggests it was the victim's gun, he tells them they believe the gun is under the pier in several feet of water. Munch tells them they recovered one slug from the rocker panel and the other from the victim's jaw. After Benson tells them the family lawyers will not let them talk to his wife until the next day, Cragen tells them he is fielding calls from the press and the Criminal Justice Bureau, and DCPI wants him to issue a press release. He reminds them this was one of their own who was tough on sex offenders. Jeffries tells them he was responsible for the Together We're Safe house opening. Cragen sends Benson and Stabler to check out the politics and Munch and Cassidy to check out all recent parolees. When Stabler leaves to head for the car, Benson assures Cassidy he knows nothing about them.
In Judge Varella's chambers, Benson and Stabler are told there are 2000 sex offenders that would have wanted the judge dead. They are told a file was kept of all of the threats the judge received and they are welcome to it.
Rodgers informs Benson and Stabler the shot to the groin came a minute or two before the one to the head. She also tells them she found he saliva on his glands along with Cherry Glow Lipstick. Stabler deduces he received oral sex prior to his death. Stabler decides the widow needs to start talking now.
The widow tells them he always worked late and left early so she was not worried about him. When they ask if her husband was having an affair, she tells them she would be the last to know. Benson does not believe her. She believes she is standing by her man to protect his pension.
Benson and Stabler meet with Emily Waterbury. She tells them the Women's Movement lost a champion in Judge Varella. She believes they should check the wife beaters and the sex offenders before checking to see if anyone in Albany could have killed him.
While searching through files, Cassidy tells Munch paying for sex is pathetic. Munch responds by telling him not to publicize his office romance to everyone, invoking the "Don't Ask. Don't Tell" policy. Green, Melendez, and Yi are all recent parolees of Varella's. When comparing those names to the threats received, they find Melendez at the top of their suspect list.
When Munch and Cassidy go to Melendez's apartment, Melendez freaks out and starts hitting his old lady. Cassidy pulls him off of her and arrests him while Munch stands between the two of them.
When Benson and Stabler question Melendez, he denies knowing Judge Varella. He tells them he would not own a 9mm. He claims he was in parenting s Tuesday night. To test him, Stabler asks him what to do if his child breaks curfew. When he gives no answer, Benson asks him why he was paroled. He tells her the Judge made him pay $2,226 to get out. Stabler informs him he failed the parenting midterm as he picks him up from his seat to return to jail.
Cassidy informs Benson and Stabler the last call Varella made was to Emily Waterbury. After hearing this, Melendez's claim about bribery seems more likely. Stabler tells him she claimed not to know the judge. Cassidy says he and Munch will check out the bribe tip with other ex-cons. Benson and Stabler decide to speak with Waterbury again.
Waterbury claims she cannot remember every phone call she gets everyday, but with Benson and Stabler's assistance she remembers she received a call from Varella the night he died. Stabler decides to call her on it. They also tell her they know about the charges against her for hooking. She claims the guys were boyfriends. Varella gave her clean start so she could help free truly rehabilitated prisoners so they can support their families again.
At Varella's office, Benson and Stabler inform his assistant they need all appointment books, financial transactions, and records for all of the organizations the judge was involved in. She believes they are following the wrong lead.
Cragen tells the team he knows judges that call their wives using calling cards to avoid even the thought of impropriety. He wants to know if the judge was cheating on his wife, taking bribes, or both. After some searching, Jefferies finds "Together We're Safe" has made $4.7 million in one year. When Cassidy is impressed by the amount of money this "fledgling" charity has made so quickly, Benson expresses that she is impressed by his use of "fledgling". He gets upset and causes a scene. Cragen tells all of them to follow the money before he calls Cassidy into his office. Once alone, Cragen gives him a tape of a statement he took from a 9-year-old when he was in Homicide. He informs him her mother's boyfriend molested her before killing her mother. He tells him he checks up on the girl from time to time. He wants him to go check on her for him.
When Benson and Stabler speak with Waterbury again, they tell her they just want to solve the homicide case. She tells them Varella would convince the guys if they gave to a charity, then it would improve their image. She explains that when he called her to tell her yes or no on a parole vote, she would handle getting the bribes where they needed to go. She informs them the only thing Varella got out of it was the sex.
When Benson and Stabler speak with Tyrell's wife, she confirms she was having sex with Varella to get him out of jail. Her last visit to Tyrell serves as her alibi.
When Munch claims the charity is fake, Stabler tells him it was the donations that were fake. Benson informs the team three of the women stayed at the shelter. Cragen sends them back to the pier to see if they can find anything that may have been missed.
While searching, Munch and Cassidy find the homeless woman. She tells them she heard the gunshots and saw a lady in a blue uniform got out of the car. When Munch gets mean with her, Cassidy makes him back off. They take her to the station to do a computer composite.
Cassidy tells Benson and Stabler the homeless woman does not know what kind of uniform the woman was wearing. Stabler tells Cragen the last parolee Varella was working on was Roger Silver. Benson informs him two of the members of the parole board were on the take. He tells them to talk to the third.
When meeting with the third member of the parole board, Benson and Stabler are informed she knew there was something going on, but she chose not to know the details. She tells them it is two against one vote. She explains the board meets once a month for one day and they each get paid $20,000 a year. While sitting in the hallway looking over the files, they notice Roger Silver's wife, Gina, is a flight attendant for Intercontinent Airlines. When Stabler looks at his watch, Benson sends him home in hopes his family has not changed the locks on him.
The next morning, Stabler brings Benson a donut. She tells him Gina Silver and Varella have exchanged lengthy phone calls for two years. She informs him that Roger Silver was denied parole 3 times before and is up for parole again next week. Stabler cannot believe Gina would want Roger out of jail after he almost kills her. Benson reminds him it is not unusual.
When Benson and Stabler ask Gina about her relationship with Varella and tell her they know about the four calls a week for 2 ½ years, she asks them if they can talk somewhere else. They tell her they have a car outside and wait while she tells her daughter she is leaving to talk with them. Before they leave, Stabler reassures her daughter that she will be back soon.
When they get to the precinct, Munch and Cragen have the homeless woman look at a line-up containing Gina, but she is unable to pick her out. Gina's lawyer tells them without the eyewitness they do not have a slam dunk case. Benson tells him they can link her lipstick to the lipstick found on Varella. Stabler tells him once they get a DNA swab, they will have their slam dunk.
In an interrogation room, Gina tells Benson and Stabler that Varella called her that morning and told her to meet him at the pier. She explains the calls were one-way phone sex and he confided in her who was on the take and in which department. She tells them the meeting at the pier was for her to pay her annual dues. When she finishes paying her dues, he tells her he has to end it. She tells him to make the call, but he told them "wife's request denied". She knew where he hid the gun so she got it and shot him. When Stabler asks for clarification as to why she wanted Roger out, she tells him she was doing this to keep him in.
While meeting with the ADA, Cragen is showed pictures of Gina Silver's injuries. He tells him the charge was attempted murder. The ADA tells him since she killed a judge, it is a federal case and he cannot choose the charge. Cragen reminds him the judge was using and abusing women while he was supposed to be doing all of these things to help them. The ADA tells him to send his detectives to meet with Roger to prepare for Gina's trial.
Roger sticks to his story about her hitting herself. Stabler tells him Varella is dead. When Benson asks if he knew about a relationship between Varella and Gina, he tells them he would call Gina to talk with his daughter before his parole hearings but she told him he would never see her again. Before he leaves, he tries to get them to deliver a threat to Gina.
Cragen goes to the State Attorney General's office and gives them the files for Varella's activities. He explains Varella was not only exchanging oral sex for parole, but he was charging for the service.
When Benson and Stabler meet in Cragen's office, he tells them the State Attorney General offered Gina a deal if she would flip on the others involved. After they both blow a gasket, he informs them that they can charge her later. He orders them to run the paperwork over to the courthouse before Gina is arraigned.
When Benson and Stabler meet with Gina, they explain she will still be eligible for prosecution when the state is finished with her. They further explain if the information she obtains is no good, she will be arrested. When they tell her she lives in the area of the city dealing with a high crime rate and she will be getting minimal protection, she clarifies she will be on her own. Stabler tells her they do not like the deal she got, but they have to follow orders. After they explain what she needs to do, they take her home and begin the operation.
Cragen informs Benson and Stabler Roger Silver has Gina. When they leave Cassidy comes in and tells him he talked to the girl. After Cragen gives him a shot of alcohol, he informs him a guy the girl liked did her, then she was gang raped by seven or eight guys. The guys left her there alone and cold with nothing but a beach towel. She was so hurt she couldn't walk. When a guy comes by offering to help her comes along, she accepts his help only to be hurt again. When he breaks down, Cragen offers to let Cassidy a transfer to Narcotics.
When Munch sees Cassidy packing up his locker, Cassidy tells him he is leaving. When he tells Munch of the offer to transfer, Munch tries to talk him into it. Cassidy gives him a small Nerf football before he walks out for the last time.
When Benson and Stabler arrive at the scene, a uniform officer informs them Roger is holding Gina hostage. He also tells them a hostage negotiator is on the way, but he does not believe it can wait that long. Roger has Gina in the laundry room on the floor holding her down with one foot and a gun pointed at her. They both enter the room with their guns pointing to the floor. Stabler tries to talk him out of his gun. The closer Stabler gets, Benson trains her gun on Roger. When he aims at Stabler, Benson shoots him.
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