POTENTIAL SPOILERS below
An seemingly convential investigation opens with the apparent double killing of a mother for hire and her defenceless unborn baby. An unwanted pregnancy for a woman with a wrecked life. A couple desperate for children, with a friend who acts as an unregistered intermediary, offering a solution to both parties. Altogether spells tragedy when the prospective father learns that the mother has changed her mind. Was it a tragic suicide, by a mother who couldn't code. Or could it have been a murder by a man who wanted a child for himself and his wife.
The screenplay is driven by this excellent fast-paced plot that twists and turns from a mystery, into a quest to find the father of the dead child. Can he be the killer given he was facing a paternity suit. Is he the father or isn't he? Then episode them morphs into a dramatic chase for a paedophile rapist who is about to commit his next horrific crime. Will Elliot and Olivia save the young victim in time?
Overall, the levels of tension and stakes build up superbly gradually over the course of episode. You won't even know it, so engrossed will you be in what is being played out. Add to this the introduction of the new ADA to replace Alex March, which add a new dynmaic of conflict between her and the team and you wont want to turn away for a second. Whats more, we get to see a personal edge to Novak and what it must be like to have to face this kind of horror each day.
A superb episode, with one of the most heart-wrenching, intensity rising stories across the L&O franchise that kept my attention from start to finish. A classic in every way and one to watch.