Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 1 Episode 14

Limitations

2
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 11, 2000 on NBC

Episode Recap

During a COMSTAT meeting, the head of a Robbery Unit was relieved of his command. Captain Cragen was asked about a man masturbating on a bus. He informs the panel Benson and Stabler made an arrest the previous day. Benson and Stabler assures them they have the right man. The panel then brings up a string of rapes that occurred almost five years prior asking if anyone has looked at the cases under his command. When he tells them they have not, he is ordered to investigate the rapes. One of the victims, Victoria Kraft, tells her story and pleads for them to look into her case before the time runs out. Cragen informs her he will give her case top priority.



As soon as they enter the squad room, Cragen tells Munch and Jeffries to check into Jennifer Neal and gives the other two victims to Benson and Stabler. He continues to explain the ME's office is trying to link DNA samples from unsolved rapes to those in the system or not. The three cases they are looking in to did not seem to be connected originally, but now they believe it is the same guy and the rapes occurred within one week. The ME has identified him as John Doe 121 using his DNA as the way to identify him. Benson and Stabler explains the MO (wears a stocking mask, breaks into apartments, climbs into bed with them, maces them, and rapes them) and description of the guy.



Benson and Stabler speak with Lois Creen. They ask if she has remembered anything new, but she has not. Benson informs her of the other two attacks. When Stabler shows her a floor plan of the apartment she was living in, she remembers that in order to get to her bedroom you had to go through the bathroom and she assumes he left through the front door. Benson informs her they are working on the case full time and to call her anytime.



Cragen informs ADA Eastman they need an arrest warrant based on the rapist's DNA. She does not believe they can pull it off since there is no case law in New York, but after much persuading she takes the file with her.



Munch and Jefferies speak with Jennifer Neal. She tells them the rape was the worst thing that has happened to her, but the aftermath was the best thing. She tells them she went through a deep depression, but the people around her helped pull her out of it. Munch informs her they are reopening her case because they have the DNA. They inform her about the other two victims. She tells them the guy knew her dog's name and a restaurant she ate at frequently. She states she does not remember anything new. Jeffries informs her of the five year statute of limitations.



Cragen and ADA Eastman ask the judge for the arrest warrant. He asks about any identification on the guy. They show him the DNA. He tells them to give him until the end of the day to decide.



Benson and Stabler speak with Victoria Kraft. She tells them she did not believe the detectives were the best or the brightest so she hired a private investigator. A neighbor told the PI of a guy on a bicycle. Benson tells her they will speak with the neighbor.



The neighbor says he saw a guy on a green R500 bike speed around the corner. He was wearing a motorcycle helmet and a jumpsuit.



The judge explains the reason for the statute of limitations and denies the petition. He informs them he forwarded the case to the appeals division. Outside the courtroom, Benson and Stabler tell Kraft the decision will be appealed. She tells them they fell down on the job and waited five years to try some legal trickery to get their job done. She thanks them for making this the second worst day of her life.



In the squad room, Cragen informs the detectives that the statute of limitations has expired on Victoria Kraft's case. When Cragen tells them he still wants them looking at her case since she can testify against him, Munch expresses his concern about throwing civil liberties to the wind in order to catch some guys. After Stabler tells Cragen they are going to speak with the original detectives who worked the cases, Cragen asks Munch if that is okay with him.



Munch and Jeffries speaks with one of the detectives in Kraft's case. She tells them Kraft sued her because she said they were derelict in their duties, but the PBA lawyers handled it. The only thing she knew about the guy was he was the kind of person nobody notices. They tell her about the other two cases.



Benson and Stabler speak with the detective for Jennifer Neal's case. He tells them he knew all about her. Stabler informs him of the other two cases. He tells them the other detective, Lattimer, said most rapes were fantasies.



Benson and Stabler speak with Detective Dan Lattimer. They tell him they want to talk about an old case of his. He tells them the department squeezed him out just shy of being able to get his pension. When they ask him about Lois Creen's case, he says it was a one-night stand because the guy knew a lot of personal information about the victim. Stabler tells him of the other two victims. Lattimer blows it off offering them a drink.



The appeals court judge asks why they do not file against every rape. He refuses to file the warrant so they can catch these guys at their leisure.



Benson asks Creen to tell her story again. She tells them the guy knew about her fascination with Brandon Lee and he called her "Lolly" (her grandmother's nickname for her). She also tells them of the guy on the green bike.



Benson and Stabler speak with the private investigator. He informs them he believed the guy on the bike to be a messenger with Green Machine Messenger Service. When they ask him if they tried to contact the company, he tells them it had already went out of business. He also tells them they have more resources to locate the employees than he does.



Benson and Stabler inform Munch the guy has been watching the victims before the attacks. Jefferies informs them the owner of the messenger service now has a laundromat.



When Munch and Jefferies ask the guy about the company, he informs them all of the employees wore the green jump suits. He also states they were better messengers than records keepers. He shows them a trunk full of records telling them they can have it all.



Jeffries suggests they concentrate on the billing records. Benson immediately locates four deliveries to the business one of the victims worked at.



Jennifer Neal tells Benson and Stabler she no longer wants to pursue the case. She lets it slip that she knows who it is. She tells them she has talked to the guy and she talked him out of turning himself in. She believes the guy has changed. She tells them she is a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Benson reminds her the Quakers created the penal system. She also reminds her of the other victims. Benson talks her into speaking with the other victims. Kraft tells her she wants a shot at him. Creen tells her she just wants a name. Kraft threatens to pull her business from Neal's company. Creen loses control of her emotions.



Benson and Stabler fill Cragen in. He tells them he wants to try for a material witness order. Stabler reminds him they have never tried to force a victim to testify.



In court, the judge tries to force Neal to give up the guy's name. When she continuously refuses, Neal is placed under arrest standing by her decision. Benson reminds Cragen they just sent a rape victim to lock-up when he asks if she is okay.



Commissioner Morris discusses putting a rape victim in lock-up to Cragen. Cragen reminds him they are close to losing this case and the victim is their only chance of getting this guy. Morris tells him he is getting pressure from every angle. When Morris tells him he is close to insubordination, Cragen tells him to write him up or get out because he has work to do.



Benson and Stabler speak with Neal's pastor. Stabler asks if he told Neal not to cooperate with them. He denies it. Benson tells him if he would give her a list of members, it might help them find the guy. He refuses telling them they need a warrant, but he will not be alone when they returned.



Benson, Stabler, and Cragen return with back-up. Benson and Stabler do not like this idea. When they make their way inside, the building is full. The pastor tries to get them to leave, but they go ahead. Benson informs another member who reminds them that "we all believe in the separation of church and state" that she is just trying to find a rapist. She retrieves the list she needs and leaves.



The team cross-references the list with the messenger employees. They try the original employment application and then look him up for priors. They find Harvey Denis was arrested previously for burglary and decide he must have been caught before he could commit the rape. They also find he was attacked in prison requiring hospitalization. When Benson and Stabler show up at the motel where Denis works. He buzzes them in and they find he is confined to a wheelchair. Stabler puts him into the car, and the wheelchair into the trunk. Denis keeps saying, "You got me."
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