Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 1 Episode 12

Russian Love Poem

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jan 21, 2000 on NBC

Episode Recap

Emily and her mother arrive home from a trip to find Emily's father, Andrew, dead. While Benson talks to Emily's mother, Stabler speaks with Emily. Her mother explains her son was at a bachelor's party in the Hamptons and hitched a ride home with them. Emily tells Stabler her dad wanted a divorce. Her mother tells Benson her husband would have sex with anything or anyone. When asked why someone would sodomize him with a banana, she explains he was allergic to them before excusing herself to call her son, Adam.
In the squad room, Munch and Stabler agree on the fact that whoever used the banana knew he was allergic and may not have been trying to kill him since that would stop an allergic reaction. Benson does not understand why the wife stayed knowing about his extra activities, but she has an alibi which is confirmed by Emily, who Stabler does not believe would lie to protect her mother. Cassidy remains hung up on the guy in the photo. Jeffries tells them the widow and the kids share $100 million as a result of Andrew Harlin's death. Cragen tells Jeffries to pull all of Harlin's records, bills, and such. He sends Benson and Stabler to talk with the son. Cragen tells them he wants to reconstruct the family's affairs.
Munch and Cassidy question 'Bull Dozier' (the guy in the photo) while he loads a moving van. He tells them he ended his relationship with Andrew when he did not pay for the last 7 dinners, all he wanted was sex and they both wanted to be on top. He shows them the bondage paraphernalia Andrew loaned him and asked if his wife wanted them returned. Munch told him she probably will not miss them.
When Benson and Stabler talk with Adam, they learn the trip with his mother was enough for him to last for three years. He informs them he had a good relationship with his father until he started sleeping with his girlfriends. The last one being Becky Sorenson.
When they talk with Sorenson, she sounds like Andrew was God's gift to women. She tells them the relationship only lasted two weeks, but ended on a good note. When they show her pictures of men Andrew had been with, she recognizes Charlie, the one with the boat.
Charlie tries to deny the relationship, but finally concedes that he let Andrew have sex with him in exchange for help with his child's tuition for school. He is shocked to learn he was not the only guy Andrew had been with like he had been told.
In the team meeting, Benson and Stabler inform them Andrew had no angry break ups and no one with a motive. Munch informs them he spent more money on girls than boys. Jeffries tells them a fingerprint lifted from the scene belongs to Sonya Pietrovicz. She has been in the states for 3 years and lists her occupation in Russian, but it translates as 'hooker'.
Benson and Stabler go to The Turkish Baths in search of Sonya. They are told she left a few weeks prior to be with Victor, who owns Ecstacy. He also explains that in Russia hookers are at the top of the social scene. They rarely fall in love. In America, girls fall in love so easily. When they see a guy in the Jacuzzi, Benson and Stabler recognize him but cannot place him.
At Ecstasy Spa, Benson and Stabler learn Sonya no longer works there, but her friend Natasha does. Natasha tells Benson about Sonya's new boyfriend Yuri. She also tells her they are not friends any more because she met too many men. Natasha and Sonya auditioned for the same singing job. Natasha believes Sonya only got the job because she was sleeping with Yuri.
Benson and Stabler talk with Sonya after a performance. When they tell her fingerprints were fond on the bondage supplies used to kill Harlin belong to her, she tells them she cleaned his house as a favor to her friend Katya, who is on vacation. When they threaten to arrest her, she says she thinks Katya slept with Andrew once. They tell her to get word to Katya that they want to talk to her.
While they are sitting around the squad room discussing Russia and women, Jeffries answers a call. When she hangs up, she tells the team that it was Harlin's housekeeper who is not on vacation and her name is not Katya. They decide to bring Sonya in for questioning. She informs them it is exciting to do something forbidden. And her job is forbidden. She tells them her only commitment is to her friends. After she denies knowing the identity of Katya's boyfriend, Cragen interrupts them to tell Stabler Emily needs to speak with him. Emily tells him she retrieved her father's personal papers from his hiding place. Among the papers were some legal papers telling of a lawsuit he had going against Katya. When Stabler informs Cragen Andrew was suing Katya for $2 million, Cragen tells them that was a good motive. Benson tells him that was the value of the gifts Katya kept. Stabler informs him the lawsuit was dropped the day after Andrew died. Emily also told him her mother may know where Katya is because she used to
hear her parents arguing over Andrew paying for her apartment. Cragen sends them on their way to talk to the widow.
Mrs. Harlin says she believed they already knew about the suit. She also tells Benson and Stabler she is sure there were more Russians that Andrew slept with. Adam interrupts to tell them he told his mother to drop the lawsuit. When they ask her if she has an address for Katya, she tells them to ask her lawyer.
Someone calls Cragen speaking Russian so he gets Munch to take the call. Munch tells Cragen and Cassidy it was Sonya, she said she was on Brighten Beach, and she sounded scared. When they get to the apartment building an elderly lady is scrubbing the stairs. When they open the door, they see Sonya and another woman laying dead on the floor.
Benson and Stabler join Cassidy and Munch outside the apartment building. A uniform officer brings a Russian man over to them and says he is Sonya's cousin. While the guy speaks in Russian, Munch relays to the others that he is inviting them to his restaurant to drink and talk. At the restaurant, he tells them the other woman was Sonya's aunt. He shows them a picture of Sonya and her friends. When they show him a picture of a guy, he tells them they do not bring their American boyfriends around him.
While they are talking about a possible motive for the deaths of these women, they are interrupted by Alexander Strizhov. He tells them there is no need to find Katya because he killed Harlin. He tells them he was shot, but he was not murdered that way. When told about Sonya's death, he is shocked by the news, but he keeps telling them to arrest him. Cragen, Benson, and Stabler decide he is lying possibly to cover for Katya. They decide to go look for Katya at her apartment.
The doorman tells them she left an hour prior in her car service very dressed up. When they finally locate her, she comes on to Stabler. He informs her Sonya is dead, but she already knows. She believes she should go on with her life. When they ask her to join them at the station, she tells them unless she is under arrest she will not go. They agree to let her come to the station at 9AM, but if she does not show they promise to have immigration show up at 9:05.
The next morning, they inform Katya Alexander confessed to Andrew's murder. She tells them they went to Andrew's to tease him. She told him she left him because she caught him with two men. She denies killing Andrew, but admits to putting the banana in his tailpipe.
When they update Cragen on their interview with Katya, Stabler guesses that since Harlin liked living on the edge that may have included sleeping with a mobster's girlfriend. Cragen sends them to Sonya's boyfriend's restaurant.
When they get there, they are invited to join the table of Sonya's boyfriend. When Benson refuses to dance, she is told she must wait. Stabler is told Sonya made bad choices when it came to the men she chose to hang around with, like Alexander. When Stabler asks if he is trying to say Alex killed her or Andrew, he says they are just having a friendly conversation.
While Munch and Cassidy are questioning the locals at Brighton Beach, they see Sonya's cousin. He is drunk and speaking English. He tells them he heard an argument between Sonya and Alex. He hears banging around and then Alex kills her.
Stabler informs Katya that they know Alex killed Sonya and they think he killed Andrew. Stabler tells her Sonya and Alex were sleeping together. She tells him that she and Alex used to sleep together. Benson asks to speak with her alone. When Stabler leaves, Benson tells her it would be easy to convict her of Andrew's murder. Benson tells her if she is not guilty, then help them convict Alex. When she tells Benson she is too busy, Benson asks her if she is a sex machine with a cash register between her legs or if she is too scared to get involved. When Benson tells her the prisons in America are no different than the ones in Russia, Katya does not believe her. When she starts to place her under arrest, Katya agrees to help set up a sting for Alex. When they rush the restaurant, Alex empties the gun he has of all but one bullet. He decides to play Russian Roulette while he tells them a Russian Love Poem which is the story of his crime. When he says he is lucky, he pulls the trigger again and shoots himself.
Benson and Stabler take a few minutes to look out at the water before deciding to go home. As they walk toward the city, they try to make sense of the tragedy.