Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Season 1 Episode 8


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Nov 22, 1999 on NBC

Episode Recap

When ADA Karen Fitzgerald is raped and murdered, the SVU squad is pressured to find the killer quickly. As the detectives discuss the case in the squad room, Benson reveals that she had been an acquaintance of hers. Jeffries adds that the ADA was raped, hit in the head with a rock, and shot twice. Munch says the case is reminiscent of the Labor Day rapist, and Cragen asks Munch, Jeffries, and Cassidy to pull the Labor Day files and search for any parallels to see if they might be looking at the same M.O. and/or the same perp.

Benson and Stabler head to the crime scene in Central Park. Crime Scene Investigators tell the two detectives that the ADA was grabbed and pulled into the bushes. A book that she was reading is found on the opposite side of the knoll from which the body has been found, and the detectives surmise that she must have been sitting on the park bench below. A bird watcher on the bench admitted he was practically pushed off the bench by the perp and is brought in to try to make an ID on the perp. Out of the photos, he makes no less than ten IDs claiming all of them look like the man. Afterwards, Cragen tells Benson and Stabler that cross-references of the bird watcher's IDs match two defendants in Fitzgerald's old cases – one is Kenneth Maggio who did time for sodomy but is now out on parole. The second is Richard White who pleaded out on a date rape charge and did no time. Benson and Stabler head out to interview White.

At White's office, the man said he was innocent and pleaded out on his counsel's recommendation. He added that he harbored no ill feelings toward Fitzgerald, whom he said was only doing her job. The detectives ask about his whereabouts yesterday between 3 and 5pm. White said he was previewing a house, and this could be documented because he had to put a code into a lock box at the house before he could enter. He said his alibi can also be corroborated by his partner, Kimberly Phillips, who knew his whereabouts. Benson and Stabler make a trip to Krim Properties to check White's alibi of registering his code in the properties' lock box. They corroborate his story. White 's code was entered at four o'clock.

Meanwhile, Jeffries and Munch go back to a witness, Mr. Levin, who saw a man running from the scene in the Labor Day rape. The man IDs a Canadian man who was deported back to Canada. Cassidy goes to call and see if the man is registered. Munch and Cassidy follow up and find that DNA evidence in an old case is a match to the Labor Day rape case, but the man has fled somewhere in Canada and the authorities there are looking for him. The pair then head off to a doughnut shop where Maggio is working to follow up on the Maggio/Fitzgerald link. Maggio tells the two they can't pin this latest rape on him. Maggio drops his pants to reveal that in prison he was given a 'welcome' with a combination or soap and sulfuric acid leaving him permanently impotent.

At the station debriefing, Munch says the Canadian man matching the Labor Day rapist's DNA is currently being searched for by Canadian officials. Benson and Stabler add that White's alibi holds up, but a review of the court documents revealed that Fitzgerald really dragged him through the mud before letting him plead down. Cragen asks Munch to follow up with White's date rape victim, Louise Billings. Jeffries has scheduled an afternoon meeting with Fitzgerald's best friend, Joan Simon. The detectives head out for their respective assignments.

At Billings' apartment, Munch and Cassidy interview Louise. She revealed he was a sweet man that had a dark streak. After they broke it off, she kept running in to him repeatedly which Munch thought was a bit odd. Billings added that he was so sweet upon these meetings that she finally invited him up to dinner. At that dinner, he got drunk, violent, and raped her. On top of that, she said, he had the nerve to send her flowers the very next day. Karen Fitzgerald gave her the courage to press charges against him.

As Benson and Stabler meet with Joan Simon, Fitzgerald's friend from her law school days, she said the ADA had been fearless, but about a month ago they had been out to dinner and a man was smiling at Karen. Uncharacteristically, Karen got rattled when Joan pointed him out, but wouldn't say why. Benson produces a photo lineup page and Joan IDs White in the photo lineup. In Cragen's office, Benson says that White must have been stalking his victims. As they walk out, Munch tells Cragen and the other detectives that he has been reviewing the court transcripts. White's partner, Kimberly Phillips, is his alibi in the Fitzgerald case, and she also served as a character witness in his rape trial.

Benson and Stabler head out to meet with Phillips. She shows them how the lock box/code system works. Upon questioning, she adds that she met White at an open house and he suggested they go into business together, even offering to put up the seed money. Finding him a bit odd, she initially said no, and he sent her flowers the following day with a note that said 'No hard feelings'. Still, she kept running into him at various open houses and he persisted with the idea. Finally, she agreed and they've been partnered for two years. After she leaves, both of the detectives express the feeling that she's holding out on them. Benson believes that White must have something on Phillips and adds that she believes that he craves control and takes revenge on those who try to take that control away from him. In his attempts to regain control, Benson believes White raped Billings and then he killed Fitzgerald. As they discuss this with Cragen, he tells the two to bring White in for questioning.

In the interrogation room, White attempts to flirt with Benson. She asks him if this is some of his famous charm and tells him that his alibi is shredding. She says that anyone can get into the lock box with another ID as long as they know that person's code. She leads him to believe that his partner has said he wasn't there that day. He counters with personal information about Benson including her college and work in the SVU squad. He says if they don't have any further evidence, he's got a house to show. White is allowed to leave.

Back in the squad room, Munch tells the group that the Canadian guy is clear. He turned up dead in a smack house in Canada. Secondly, he says that he talked to a friend of his on the realty board and found out that White not only sells houses, but also makes loans – mostly to low income buyers who don't read the fine print, and 70% of those loans wind up in foreclosure. High interest and high penalties help to make White's loan business more profitable than his real estate business. White's partner, Phillips, is not a partner in the loan division and so pulls down almost nothing. Benson and Stabler go to the bank to request the bank records for Richard White and Kimberly Phillips. After a little friendly persuasion, they have the records. Those records reveal that Phillips deposits a paycheck from White/Phillips Realty each week as well as $3000 cash each week. White Loan Company withdraws $3000 each week and puts it under miscellaneous expenses. Phillips is getting three grand a week under the table. As the two detectives are talking, Stabler gets a call on his cell phone. There is no beeper assigned to Kimberly Phillips. She has to be carrying around White's. The two go to meet with Phillips again.

Benson and Stabler tell her that they don't care about the IRS as long as she tells them the truth. Phillips reveals that the initial approach by White of giving loans to low income clients just didn't sit well with her and that was why she refused him. Right after, he got a frightening look in his eyes whereas Phillips thought he might hit her right in front of the other brokers, but he managed to pull himself together. However, when she received the flowers from White the next day, she was truly frightened because he had no way of knowing her home address. The day she agreed to be his partner, she had seen him following her to the open house. Benson asks why she didn't call the cops. Phillips reveals that she did, but they blew her off because she would have to say she was afraid for her life or that he was threatening her, and here he was offering her a job. Stabler adds that $150,000 a year, tax-free, must have taken the edge off her fear. She admits that she used his code to open his lock box that day as an alibi for him in the Fitzgerald case. Benson asks why she did that knowing his history from the court case. Phillips said he threatened to kill her if she told, and she really believed he would.

The detectives get a warrant for Richard White's apartment. The search reveals such items as a map of Central Park with times and locations marked which incriminate him and his stalking behavior against Fitzgerald. A photo of Louise Billings is in the freezer, and a pad is taken to reveal the impressions left from previous notes. The empty hangers in the closet and the lack of food lead the detectives to believe that White has skipped town. Back at the station house, Munch warns Benson that she may be in White's sights since she squared off against him in the interrogation room. He tells her that the whole squad has her back. He leaves as Stabler enters. Stabler tells Benson that they were able to pull some of the impressions off the pad – a grocery store, gym, laundromat, pharmacist…he says they called them all to see if White frequented any of them. He didn't. It turns out the all of the locations were the locations where Benson did business. White had been stalking her.

The next morning, Stabler drops by Benson's apartment to ask if she needs a lift to work. Benson says she knows what Stabler is up to, and for all she knows, White has left town. Next, the detectives are called to Billings' apartment. Louise, who had filed the rape charges against White, had been murdered in her apartment. A neighbor had heard the commotion and caught a glimpse of the guy through his peep hole. He immediately identified White in the photo lineup. Cragen gives all the detectives assignments, but tells Benson he doesn't want her on the street today. Benson insists and Cragen relents. Just then, a huge floral delivery arrives for Benson. The card reads: 'No hard feelings'. The detectives head to the floral shop and find that the arrangement was charged to the card of a Lila White. They get the address and go to Mrs. White's apartment. The woman is Richard White's wealthy mother. She says he had come home around 9am looking harried and disheveled and wanting to borrow money. She said he's a taker just like his father was, and she's prodded him to take control. Mrs. White says that Richard said he was going back to Manhatten to see a lady friend – some police woman. Stabler drops Benson off at her apartment for the evening.

Benson is awakened by the phone. Richard White is on the other end asking for a meeting. He tells her to be at the park bench at 7am and to arrive alone. She tells him not to be late. The next morning, Benson arrives at the designated location as planned. As a woman and man are jogging toward the bench, the woman screams as the man pushes her out of the way revealing the knife he had poised on her. He immediately puts the knife to Benson's throat just as the entire SVU squad jumps out from behind bushes, ambushes the guy, and Benson cuffs him.

Back at the station, Benson tells Stabler and Cragen that White wants to confess, but he also wants to play her reactions while he's doing it. Stabler reminds her that he has to confess to using the gun. Benson goes in to interrogate White. He asks about Benson's mother, Serena, and wants to know if she still carries the scars from her rape. He tells how he attacked Fitzgerald, but never cops to murdering his victims with a gun. He laughs and says he'll never get the death penalty, and he'll always be in Benson's head until he is dead. White then looks up at the interrogation window which Stabler is standing behind. White smirks and says, 'Detective Stabler, how are Kathy and the kids?'