Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 1 Episode 15


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 18, 2000 on NBC

Episode Recap

Two mounted officers talking about E-bay approach a parked car telling the lovebirds to move along. One officer states the car radio would sell well on e-bay. When one officer gets to the window, he tells the other the radio was not stolen, but they shot him in the head and took his pants.
When Benson and Stabler arrive at the scene, they are told one .44 round was found in the gearbox and plenty of fingerprints. While they are looking in the car, Stabler finds a small notebook with a time and location. Benson informs him the location is a gym where people would more likely go to play squash. A uniform officer takes them over to a family who heard the shots. The mother tells Benson she heard a pop because she had left the window open in her apartment because her radiator is broken. They are interrupted by a man wanting to give his statement because he was in a hurry. He tells Stabler he heard a boom, but he did not call the police because if he called about all of the noises he heard he would be on the phone half of his life.
Cragen walks into the squad room with Benson and Stabler informing the team on their newest case as they enter. The victim was shot once in the back of the head. He is 35-year-old Dean Woodruff. He was a salesman of fitness equipment on lower Broadway. He is divorced with two kids who live upstate. His parents live in a small town near Saratoga. There were no eyewitnesses, but several heard a shot between 2 and 2:30. He was in his own car. His sales district was upstate and Jersey. Munch and Cragen agree that by using the .44 the shooter was an amateur, insecure, or a wacko citing a pro would use a .22 up close and personal so no one wakes up. Benson and Stabler inform them the spot is a grope spot for teenagers, honeymooners, and co-workers. After Munch suggests the victim may have been alone, Benson tells him his pants must have come off from the force of the shot.
ME Rodgers informs Benson and Stabler she assumes the cause of death is from the gunshot wound to the back of the head since she is still picking through hair and glass fragments. When Benson questions the victim's purple legs, Rodgers tells her she believes it is just pooling. Rodgers tells Stabler not to get too excited about the fact she found semen because it could be a part of the body's natural death reflex.
Munch and Jeffries check out Woodruff's office. They are told he came to work early, took short lunches, and left late. When he would make a deal, they would only deal with him from then on giving him the largest private client base. Munch asks for the list of Woodruff's clients. When Jeffries hears a woman, Moira Shannon, crying in the next room, she goes to speak with her. She tells her Woodruff was popular around the office. He would go with a group of them to Le Bar for drinks after work.
Munch and Jeffries speak with a waitress at Le Bar. She asks if he skipped on some alimony or knocked the wrong girl up. When they inquire as to why she would think that, she tells them he had a never fail technique with the women. When they tell her he is dead, she tells them he left around 11:55 and he tipped 25%. Jeffries looks at the receipt noticing he used his expense account for 4 vodka gimlets, 2 cosmopolitans, and a roadkill. She tells them he could have left with anyone seeing as how the women that come in there are all the same.
At Woodruff's apartment, Munch and Jeffries are told whenever Woodruff brought a woman home, she left with a key. After looking around a little, Jeffries finds 3 file folders – one with matchbooks, one with seashells, and one with cocktail napkins. They also find some cards. They are interrupted when Munch's cell phone rings and he has trouble answering it. Jeffries helps him by answering it herself. She tells him Shannon has two gun permits – one for a 9mm and the other for a .44. She also tells him Shannon has no priors. Munch picks up a picture of Shannon and Woodruff and says she is not happy anymore.
Munch and Jeffries return to speak with Shannon. She tells them she has not been to Le Bar in months. She informs them her father taught her to hunt leading to a fascination with guns. She tells them the .44 was a phase and she sold it to a gun shop in Dutchess County.
Munch and Jeffries return to Le Bar to speak with the waitress again. She tells them Shannon was old news. As she looks through a stack of pictures, she tells them between each one she was with him. After a little hesitance, she tells them the lady he was with was the easiest score he had before pointing them to a table and tells them the lady they are looking for was with them part of the night. When they first approach the table, the guy gets a little upset at the intrusion. After Munch flashes his badge and Jeffries threatens to break his collarbone, his companion looks at the picture of Woodruff and tells them he was with one of the Mulroneys.
In the squad room, Benson informs the team the Mulroneys make quite a large clan, but Stephanie is the only daughter left. Stabler tells them she was busted for possession and got a thousand hours of community service, Jeffries interrupts noting community service is what the Mulroneys do. Benson tells them she is 33 now and runs an investment group. When Munch tries to bring politics into it, Cragen cuts him off telling him she is a reluctant witness as of now. Stabler tells them they left a note at her apartment 3 hours prior and left several messages. The meeting is interrupted when Briscoe tells Cragen there is a lawyer, Patrick Rumsey, waiting in his office. Rumsey tells him he is acting as a family friend and wanted to give him a copy of Stephanie's statement while it was fresh on her mind. Cragen informs him they will be taking their own statement. Rumsey tells him as soon as she is ready.
While Benson and Stabler wait for one of the Mulroneys, they look around at the decor. When Stabler keeps telling her things Munch told him about the Mulroneys, Benson reminds him that Munch says a lot and that is why they are there instead of Munch. Stabler notices something on the desk and asks what it is. Benson tells him it is a cigar cutter and notes it says "Winston Churchill 1929". They are joined by Mrs. Mulroney telling them Churchill lost it in a poker game. She further tells them every time a policeman has been in there home, someone has died. She tells them it has been 5 years to the day that her son died. When Benson tells her that her daughter was lucky, she is shocked by the remark until Benson clarifies that she survived the attack. She tries to tell them Stephanie has her own apartment, but Stabler tells her they have been there. Benson tells her kids go home when tragedy strikes. She tells them she is in seclusion in a private hospital. Benson promises if she will call her then they will leave her alone.
When they arrive at the hospital, the doctor reminds them of the fact it is a private clinic and Stabler tells him he understands the hospital is endowed by the Mulroneys. The doctor explains Stephanie was admitted early the morning prior for trauma. He explains they treated the wounds and gave her Seconal to calm her. Mrs. Mulroney and Rumsey join Stephanie for her conversation with Benson and Stabler. Stabler promises to make it quick. She tells them she met Woodruff at Le Bar. They were both having a bad day. She left with him. In the car, he was leaning against the window and made a joke about the disadvantages of bucket seats. When Stabler asked her to explain the joke, Rumsey told him it was obvious. She leaned over to change the radio station, but she cannot remember the song that was playing. Then Woodruff was shot. She says the shooter had black-rimmed glasses with dark hair and a roundish face.
In the team meeting in Cragen's office, Benson and Stabler inform them the information Stephanie gave them of a surprise attack is consistent with the autopsy – a single shot to the back of the head fired from outside the car. Stabler clarifies Stephanie is not surrounded by wagons, but tanks. Cragen verifies she got a good enough look at the shooter for a composite. Benson tells them Stephanie implied they did not have sex, but who knows considering she comes from a family of politicians. Jeffries suggests getting a DNA swab, but Cragen reminds them she was in the car with the victim. Benson hears the tension in his voice and asks if he is getting heat from the Brass. Cragen reminds them sympathy for the Mulroney family runs high. He tells Benson and Stabler to check out boyfriends of Woodruff's women and sends Jeffries and Munch to ballistics.
In Ballistics, Munch and Jeffries are told Woodruff was killed by a Black Talon. Munch reminds them Black Talons were no longer being made because they killed too many cops were easily traced back to the manufacturers.
Woodruff's ex-wife informs Benson and Stabler the last girl she knows of came to return a Greek Philosophy book. She tells them she is not angry any more. She explains Dean's father worked in a lumber yard and Dean would work over the summer. Before long, he was running the office. He saw everything as a business transaction, but nothing was good enough for his father. She knows he had a lot of girls before the college went co-ed.
At Barrett College, Benson and Stabler learn Stephanie reported that Woodruff raped her. The problem was her story never added up. They believe he seduced her then treated her shabbily resulting in the accusation.
Cragen joins Benson and Stabler when they return to speak with Stephanie at her mother's home. He shows her a sketch and asks if it is accurate of the shooter. After glancing at the sketch, she tells them it is him. When Stabler tries to ask if she is sure nothing needs to be changed or added, Rumsey cuts him off. Stabler asks about Barrett College. He informs her they know she knew Woodruff from there. Benson adds she knew him intimately. Mrs. Mulroney steps in and tells Cragen they all want the same thing. He tells her he wants the truth.
While in a meeting in DA Schiff's office, the agenda was to talk Cragen into getting on the Mulroney bandwagon. Cragen explains Stephanie's story is inconsistent. He tells them she had sex with the victim in Saratoga, but they are not sure if it was rape or a one-night stand. They believe she stewed in her anger and allowed herself to be picked up by him. He reminds them she was busted for possession of cocaine. Schiff tells him to find the weapon and he will have his case. Cragen reminds him they have motive and opportunity. When he is asked about the means, he reminds Schiff that 90% of the murderers he put in Attica are there without a murder weapon. Schiff tells him to talk to McCoy.
In a meeting with Carmichael and McCoy, Cragen tells them cocaine users are prone to lying. He tells them she lied to them about when she met the victim and about her trauma so her mother could put her on ice. When Carmichael asks about Stephanie's reliability with the sketch, Cragen informs them they think Stephanie is the shooter citing she could not remember the song that was playing that caused her to change the radio station when she should have remembered it. When Carmichael questions Stephanie using a .44, McCoy reminds her she does not have to be the one to pull the trigger. He says he will have to run damage control with Schiff and security after the arraignment. Carmichael reminds him these people attract weirdos. McCoy cites her false statements and luring the guy to his death for revenge for charging her with Murder Two. He wants to flip her for the shooter.
In court, Rumsey interrupts Judge Abrams request for a plea by asking for the restraints to be removed. Abrams agrees before Rumsey enters a not guilty plea for Stephanie. Mcoy asks for remand based on the fact her family obtained an expedited passport for her and the unlimited resources at her disposal making her a serious flight risk. Abrams states he finds it reprehensible she would lower the standards from which she was raised and he believes she would put herself above the law so he remands her to the Department of Corrections.
On the courthouse steps, Rumsey tells reporters Abrams decision was wrong. He tells them she was not a flight risk, but the family had a family reunion planned in Bermuda. He believes Stephanie will be a part of that reunion when his decision is reviewed by his peers. McCoy tells the reporters the Mulroneys are used to getting their way. Carmichael tells themt hey deserve the due process of law – no more, no less.
While Briscoe hands out coffee to the team, everyone is on their phones looking for a similar MO in any other cases. Jeffries breaks the reverie when she relays to Cragen there has been another shooting in a parked car, single shot with a .44 to the back of the head with the pants down.
While the team is looking over the victim in the car, Benson asks for the round. The uniform officer shows it to her stating it was dug out of the visor on the passenger side. He tells them the car is registered to Stanley Brecker. When Benson asks if the woman is his wife, he tells them her name is not Brecker, it is Katish. When the team questions he, Katish tells them she did not think she would ever be involved in something like this. She implies he was shot while she was performing oral sex on the victim. She describes the shooter saying he wore Buddy Holly glasses like a little psychotic nerd. She tells Stabler she models, does temp work, and auditioned for Picnic. She tells them she met him in a bar.
Benson and Stabler inform Pauline Brecker of her husband's death. They tell her they are not sure what the circumstances around his death. She tells them he was in the garment business. He was constantly worried about a union representative pressuring him or a goon asking for protection money.
Jeffries informs Cragen that Ballistics is still trying to see if the bullets match. He tells her to follow the bullet. Munch suggests it could be a copycat. He tells him uniforms are in the park looking for the weapon, but have not found it yet. When Munch suggests their theory of "Hell hath no fury" is blown, Cragen asks if he has any new conspiracies to replace it with. When Benson informs them the wife is not even upset, Cragen asks why the killer kills the guys and leaves the girls. Stabler suggests he is a loser that never gets any himself. Meanwhile Briscoe works with Katish in coming up with a computer composite of the shooter. Jeffries enters Cragen's office informing him she went back 30 years checking the shootings using a .44. She states that out of 319, 12 were intermediate range, 3 from parked cars. She tells him two of them have arrests, but the guy tied in the Attica riot. She tells him of the open cases, there were 4 cases six years prior. One of them from the 27 and the other 3 were from the same gun. Cragen calls Lennie Briscoe asking him about a shooting with a .44 from '93-'94.
Briscoe tells Benson and Stabler they never found a weapon, but they have a description of a guy with Buddy Holly glasses from a witness named Jill Templeton. After they tell them they arrested the wrong guy, Briscoe asks if he is back. Benson tells him he now has two more hits under his belt.
Jeffries interrupts Cragen's wait for the other shoe to drop to tell him the bullet was from a .44 – same gun, same shooter. She also tells him she spoke with the owner of the gun shop in Jersey that sold the Black Talons to a guy with Buddy Holly glasses.
Mr. Rhinehart tells Munch and Jeffries the guy would not have been noticed, but he kept dry firing the rifles. He finally told him to buy something or leave. The guy told him he wanted some cop killers before they went off the market. Since this is still s free country, he sold them to him. When they ask for the records, he tells them he is against government interference into free enterprise. Jeffries hands him a court order stating she is to and that is why she considers a court order an intrusion although sometimes it is a necessary one. He pulls the records and hands them to Jeffries. Jeffries reads 'Arthur Pruitt. December 4, 1994. 3 boxes Black Talons .44 caliber'.
Stabler informs Jeffries he found five priors on Pruitt, including check kiting, forgery, and some Mickey Mouse stuff with phone sales. Benson tells the team the Feds say he was arrested with 100 credit cards at an Indian casino in California. She tells them he was released 5 months prior. He told his probation officer his mother was dying and gave an address in Chinatown. As the team gets ready to leave, Cragen tells them he is calling the 27 because it is their bust, too.
When they arrive, the clerk point to Pruitt sitting on the sofa behind them. They approach him and ask if he is Pruitt. After he asks for identification, he puts on his glasses to see it and tells them he is the man they are looking for. When they search his room after arresting him, they find newspaper clippings hanging on a bulletin board of his crimes.
When they put him in a line-up, all three witnesses walk in and identify him immediately. In the interrogation room, Green tells Pruitt when he saw the crime scene photos he almost blew his lunch. Briscoe tells him he and his partner were cold for weeks and could not get rid of the smell of death. Munch comes in yelling saying he is going to kill the guy himself as Jeffries weakly attempts to calm him. While he whispers "I'm going to kill you", in his ear, Pruitt asks Jeffries if this is legal to which she replies, "Probably not". Stabler tells him they have the Black Talons he bought, bu the explains it away as he is not the only one to buy them. When Stabler tells him they have 3 witnesses, he questions how they could have seen anything when the windows were fogged up because they were getting busy before explaining he has a vivid imagination. When Stabler tells him he is a gentleman of the old school, he tells them under coercion he confesses. Cragen tells Munch Pruitt confessed to killing Woodruff but Schiff is going to rip him a new one. Munch questions why the guy stonewalls them for an hour before confessing so what is his agenda.
Rodgers explains to Munch the injuries to Brecker are the same as the other except he had other bruising from getting the crap beat out of him. At the same time, Munch tries to ask her out only to be shot down.
Schiff tells Cragen they went on a wild goose chase on this case, but Cragen still believes he was right. When he cannot tell Schiff the case is still open, Schiff tells him he will have to fall on his sword, but it will be painless. The Mulroneys arrive and greet the men. Schiff informs them he asked the judge to dismiss the charges without prejudice in chambers to avoid further embarrassment. They express their gratitude. When Mrs. Mulroney informs Schiff she contacted Judge Abrams, Cragen took that as his cue and apologized before quickly leaving.
Munch catches Cragen as he comes out of the building. He tells him the ME has doubts about Brecker. He explains the circumstances leading him to believe Brecker was a mob hit ordered by the Mulroneys. He believes Stephanie killed Woodruff. Cragen tells him he is not going to tell anyone they had this conversation. As Cragen walks away, Munch yells the Mulroneys will do anything to protect the family.