Sharane Alvarez

Theater Arts

1-12-07

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Episode "Closet Case"

Episode S9E13

OPENING NARRATION:

NARRATOR (V.O.)

In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.

FADE OUT/FADE IN:

INT. DARK CLOSET

Two voices can be heard arguing quietly as a forlorn looking boy shivers in fear in a small closet.

JACOB DOYLE (O.S.)

(quickly)

We need to get rid of him, Melinda!

MELINDA DOYLE (O.S.)

(nasally voiced)

We will, Jacob, we will! But you know we can't just dump a kid somewhere without suspicion, we need to plan this out.

TOMMY DOYLE sniffles and stiffens when the voices cease. Heavy footsteps approach the closet door. The door swings open and JACOB DOYLE pulls TOMMY out roughly, shaking him angrily.

JACOB DOYLE

Shut up boy!

TOMMY DOYLE

(terrified)

Please don't dad!

JACOB slaps the boy hard, sending him flying across the room. TOMMY picks himself and flees the hall towards the front door.

CUT TO EXT. DOYLE RESIDENCE DAY

TOMMY flings front door open and runs down the steps, MELINDA and JACOB follow him.

JACOB DOYLE

(yelling red faced)

Get back here boy!

MELINDA DOYLE

(screeching)

Tommy, get back here now!

TOMMY runs to the end of the driveway and reaches the sidewalk, we see he is skinny and has many bruises all over.

CUT TO EXT. REBECCA GARDNER RESIDENCE DAY

We see the elderly woman peer out her window at the commotion. She gasps and turns quickly.

ZOOM THROUGH WINDOW INTO INT. REBECCA GARDNER RESIDENCE

REBECCA is dialing a number on her phone; she waits for someone to answer before talking.

FEMALE OPERATOR

(on the phone; calm)

911, how may I help you?

REBECCA GARDNER

(upset)

Yes, I need to report an abuse.

CUT TO: INT. STABLER RESIDENCE

Four children are eating breakfast and talking all at once, DET. STABLER'S cell phone rings and he jumps up to get it. We see his wife, KATHY STABLER, rolls her eyes in annoyance as she spoon feeds a baby boy in a highchair.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(answering breathlessly)

Stabler.

FADE OUT: QUE THEME MUSIC/OPENING CREDITS

FADE IN: INT. SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT SQUAD ROOM

Detectives MUNCH and FIN are relaxing in their chairs at their desk. DET. OLIVIA BENSON is typing up her DD5'S on her computer at her desk; everything seems calm.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(wearily)

If I type one more word, my fingers are going to fall off.

DET. JOHN MUNCH sighs with boredom and DET. FIN TUTOLA stretches.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER suddenly blows into the room and throws off his overcoat while sitting down at his desk in one fluid movement. DET. BENSON looks up in confusion as she holds down some papers; her desk is located directly in front of DET. ELLIOT STABLER'S.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(irritated)

What the hell Elliot?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER looks up quickly, then proceeds to jot down a few notes. DET. OLIVIA BENSON tries to get his attention.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Elliot? El, what's up?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER sighs and places his pencil down as he looks up and meets DET. OLIVIA BENSON'S eyes with his own.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(exhaustedly)

I got a call this morning about a reported abuse. I called ASC about it and they turned me down immediately after I said I had no proof.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Well then we should go get some.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER looks up and shrugs as both the detectives hop up and head out the door.

CUT TO: EXT. DOYLE RESIDENCE DAY

DET. ELLIOT STABLER and DET. OLIVIA BENSON exit the vehicle and head towards the front door of the DOYLE RESIDENCE. DET. ELLIOT STABLER pounds on the door.

JACOB DOYLE

(yelling)

Who is it?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER and BENSON pull their badges out and hold them at the ready as DET. ELLIOT STABLER responds.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(shouting through the door)

Police, Mr. Doyle!

There is silence, then the front door swings open to reveal a stocky, brown haired man in his mid-thirties.

JACOB DOYLE

(gruffly)

Any ID?

The detectives wave their badges. JACOB DOYLE nods.

JACOB DOYLE

What can I do for ya?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

I'm Detective Elliot Stabler this here is my partner Olivia Benson.

(MORE)

DET. ELLIOT STABLER nods to indicate who BENSON was.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER (CONT'D)

We're from the Manhattan Special Victims Unit.

JACOB DOYLE

Sex crimes right?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

We also investigate reported child abuses.

JACOB DOYLE

(hurriedly)

Well my wife and I don't abuse our child so I'm sorry you wasted time for a useless trip up here.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(motioning to the inside of the house)

Mind if we come in and see for ourselves?

JACOB DOYLE

(aggressively)

Yes, I do mind. Now if you excuse me I have to go.

JACOB DOYLE slams the door in their faces. DET. ELLIOT STABLER turns to DET. OLIVIA BENSON, smirking.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(smugly)

Well he's obviously lying to us.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(shrugging)

Guess we need a warrant to help change his mind.

FADE OUT/FADE IN: INT. ADA CASEY NOVAK'S OFFICE

ADA CASEY NOVAK

Absolutely not.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(irritated)

Why not?

ADA CASEY NOVAK

You have no probable cause, no evidence.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(sarcastically)

That's because we couldn't go inside Counselor.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER stands in the middle of ADA CASEY NOVAK'S office, whereas DET. OLIVIA BENSON had opted for relaxing on the couch. ADA CASEY NOVAK stands from behind her desk and makes her way over to DET. ELLIOT STABLER.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

Sorry, Elliot, but you know as well as I do that a judge will never sign a warrant without probable cause.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER rolls his eyes and places his hands behind his back.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Then we'll find a probable cause.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER exits the room; DET. OLIVIA BENSONS shrugs at ADA CASEY NOVAK and stands to leave too.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

He okay?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Is he ever okay?

ADA CASEY NOVAK smirks as DET. OLIVIA BENSON exits the room as well.

FADE OUT/FADE IN: EXT. DOYLE RESIDENCE DAY

DET. ELLIOT STABLER peeks around the corner of the house, DET. OLIVIA BENSON follows.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Elliot, what are we doing here?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Looking for a probable cause.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER makes his way to the front of the DOYLE RESIDENCE and knocks on the front door. DET. OLIVIA BENSON joins him at his side.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

He's not going to welcome us in, El.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

I know, Liv, just wait.

The front door opens a bit and a skinny, red-haired woman opens the front door. She blows smoke into the detective's faces. DET. ELLIOT STABLER smiles, unfazed. DET. OLIVIA BENSON looks annoyed as she waves the smoke from her face.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

You Melinda Doyle?

MELINDA DOYLE

(in a nasally voice)

Who's asking?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Detectives Benson and Stabler, Manhattan SVU.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON motions to herself then STABLER as she says their names.

MELINDA DOYLE

Right, right. Jacob told me about you guys. Told me not to let you in without a warrant, so you guys have a warrant?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(smiling)

Nope.

MELINDA DOYLE

Then you can't come in.

MELINDA DOYLE starts to shut the door when DET. ELLIOT STABLER puts his foot in to stop it. He looks at DET. OLIVIA BENSON and cocks his ear towards the house.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

You hear that Detective Benson?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(in a mocking tone)

Hear what Detective Stabler?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Sounds like probable cause to me. Mrs. Doyle you may want to step out of the house, there may be an intruder. Detective Benson and I need to check to see if it's clear and safe.

MELINDA DOYLE protests as the detectives enter the house. They pull out their weapons and move along the wall stealthily. DET. ELLIOT STABLER ducks into the dining room and gives OLIVIA a slight nod. DET. OLIVIA BENSON inches along the wall and enters the kitchen, then exits and gives DET. ELLIOT STABLER a nod. Both make their way to the middle of the hallway, DET. STABLER glances at the closet door and looks up at DET. BENSON. DET. BENSON nods.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(shouting through the door)

Tommy? It's the police; we're here to help you!

DET. BENSON grabs the doorknob and pulls the door open. DET. STABLER makes a quick scan of the small closet then crouches down so that he is face to face with the young boy. DET. STABLER holsters his gun and holds his right hand out.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(whispering)

Tommy? I'm Elliot? Can you come with me? We're here to help you, this is my friend Olivia. She's a police officer too.

TOMMY DOYLE looks up frightened, but hesitantly grabs DET. STABLER'S hand. DET. BENSON holsters her gun as well and steps back to allow DET. STABLER and TOMMY DOYLE to exit the closet.

MELINDA DOYLE

(yelling)

Tommy, don't tell them nothing. We're good parents, we'd never hurt you… you know that!

DET. BENSON cuffs MELINDA DOYLE as DET. STABLER leads TOMMY DOYLE down the hall and out of the house, to the car.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Melinda Doyle, you are under arrest for the abuse of a minor, and for neglect of a minor. You have the right to remain silent, if you so choose to give up that right anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one…

FADE OUT/FADE IN: INT. INTERROGATION ROOM

MELINDA DOYLE sits on a chair, picking at her nails in a casual bored way. DET. BENSON is sitting across from her staring, with her hands folded on the table. DET. STABLER is pacing behind DET. BENSON, hands clasped behind his back.

MELINDA DOYLE

(bored)

So?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

We're waiting for you to answer our question.

MELINDA DOYLE

What question?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(quiet, bitter tone)

Where is your husband, Jacob Doyle?

MELINDA DOYLE

Oh. Working, I guess. Look we didn't abuse Tommy, he's a young boy and gets into lots of fights with some neighborhood kids.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(softly; sarcastically)

Boys will be boys.

MELINDA DOYLE

Exactly! Now come on, who would hit a child?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER slams both his fists on the table causing DET. BENSON and MELINDA to jump.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(yelling)

You would! Pieces of scum would! Pedophiles would!

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(murmuring)

El..

DET. ELLIOT STABLER throws his hands up in the air and storms out of the room.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Be right back.

MELINDA DOYLE

Take your time.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON stands and exits the room, closing the door behind her.

CUT TO: INT. SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT SQUAD ROOM

DET. STABLER is sitting at his desk drinking coffee, staring off into space. DET. BENSON approaches him cautiously.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Elliot? We still have an interrogation to continue.

DET. STABLER sips from his mug, then places it down on his desk.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

We need a confession, a witness… we need to canvas the neighbors.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Why did we arrest her if we can't convict her? It makes us look bad.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

We can try to convict her, but you and I both know without a confession or witness our case is crap.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

We can't hold her then.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER looks up and smiles half-heartedly.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

She doesn't know that.

CUT TO: INT. DAVIS RESIDENCE

MARY and MATT DAVIS sit across from the detectives, both sipping tea. They glance at one another and smile, they look more like twins than husband and wife. DET. STABLER coughs, he has a notepad resting on his knee and a pen poised above it; ready for note jotting.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

So, have long have you known the Doyle's?

MATT DAVIS

Not very long, we really don't associate with them.

MARY DAVIS

Yes, they are not really our type.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Your type?

MARY DAVIS

You know… raunchy, trash type.

The detectives nod.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(in understanding)

Ah.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Have you ever seen Tommy before?

MATT DAVIS
Yes, once before.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

How'd he look? Scared, upset? Was he happy?

MARY DAVIS

(in thought)

He seemed… lifeless.

MATT DAVIS

(surprised)

Mary!

MARY DAVIS

What Matthew? He did! You saw it too, it was his eyes… there was neither light nor sparkle, they were blank.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

He ever said anything about his parents or home life?

MATT DAVIS

(clutching wife's hand; shaking head)

No. Never said anything.

MARY DAVIS

(nervously)
Well, one time I saw him outside. I asked him how he was and he looked at me and asked me to help him.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(leaning forward)

Is that all he said?

MARY DAVIS

All he could say. I was about to ask him what he meant, but his father called him back into the house. I never saw a boy look so scared of his father before.

MATT DAVIS

Why didn't you tell me?

MARY DAVIS shrugs. DET. ELLIOT STABLER jots some quick notes before motioning to DET. BENSON and standing. They held out their hands, and the young blond couple stood.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Thanks for having us and for the help.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Thank you.

MARY DAVIS

Anytime Detectives.

MATT DAVIS

Hope we helped.

The detectives make their way to the front door as MATT DAVIS stays behind to clean up the dishes. MARY DAVIS dashes forward.

MARY DAVIS

Detective Stabler?

(MORE)

DET. ELLIOT STABLER whirls around, causing DET. BENSON to halt.

MARY DAVIS (CONT'D)

Call, if you hear anything new about Tommy.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(nodding curtly)
I will, Mrs. Davis.

FADE OUT/FADE IN: INT. REBECCA GARDNER RESIDENCE

DET. ELLIOT STABLER sits on the edge of an antique couch, DET. BENSON sits on the other end. REBECCA GARDNER sits across from both of them, smiling sweetly and patting her gray bun.

REBBECA GARDNER

Sometimes this ol' bun won't stay where I ask it too.

DET. STABLER smiles at REBECCA.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(eyes squinted as he read his handwriting)

Mrs. Gardner, you called 911 and said you needed to report an abuse?

REBECCA GARDNER

(softly)

Yes.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Who was being abused?

REBECCA GARDNER

That little boy, Tommy Doyle, next door.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

How do you know he was abused?

REBECCA GARDNER

Did you look at him? That boy is skin n' bones! His little body covered in terrible, terrible bruises.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

His mother claims that he got into many fights around here.

REBECCA GARDNER

(snorting)

With who? Over what? That boy is being abused in his own home!

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

We know that Mrs. Gardner, but we need more than that. We need proof, something substantial that can hold up in court.

REBECCA GARDNER thinks for a moment, and then sighs.

REBECCA GARDNER

Sorry detectives, I have no proof.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(disappointed)

That's alright; call me if you remember anything.

DET. STABLER stands and hands GARDNER his card. DET. BENSON stands too, she looks frustrated. The detectives stop at DET. ELLIOT STABLER'S car. DET. STABLER places his hands on the hood of the car, DET. BENSON stands at the entrance of the car door, ready to enter.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(cocking his head)

Did anyone ever mention a school that Tommy goes to?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(shrugging)

As far as I know, Tommy doesn't go to school.

FADE OUT/FADE IN: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT SQUAD ROOM

DET. MUNCH is typing on his computer as DET. TUTUOLA questions an inaudible person on his phone. DET. OLIVIA BENSON is reading something out of a file; DET. ELLIOT STABLER is staring blankly at his pile of opened folders, deep in thought.

CAP. DON CRAGEN (O.S.)

Benson, Stabler my office now!

The four detectives look at each other, DET. STABLER and BENSON stand and shrug at each other. They make their way to their Captain's office behind their work area.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

Shut the door.

DET. STABLER shuts the door. DET. BENSON stands with a confused look on her face, arms crossed.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

What's up Cap?

CAP. CON CRAGEN

What's up? I'll tell you what's up. I have Doyle's lawyer all over me because he was not informed that his client was arrested. A confused and frightened nine year old boy in the children's interrogation room, and we have an angry ADA on our tails.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Why's she angry?

CAP. DON CRAGEN

You two entered a house illegally; after she told you guys no warrant. Then you two take the child and arrest his mother without enough proof that she even abused the boy.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

You even see the kid yet, Cap? Trust me, he was abused.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

Do you have evidence? A witness? For all we know that boy just got into a few fights at school.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(shaking her head)

Not possible, Tommy doesn't attend a school.

CAP. CRAGEN sits down behind his big desk and sighs. DET. STABLER rubs his forehead in irritation.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

What do we have?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

The neighbors who have seen Tommy caught only glimpses. The boy is rarely out.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

They all say they saw bruises and marks. Plus he's extremely skinny, and we found him in a closet.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

He doesn't go to school, doesn't have any friends.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

Not one?

Before DET. STABLER can answer, his cell phone rings. He holds up a finger and answers the phone.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Stabler.

REBECCA GARDNER

(on telephone)

Hello, detective?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Yes, Mrs. Gardner, how can I help you?

REBECCA GARDNER

(on telephone)

I remembered something that may help.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

We could use the help here. So what do you have?

DET. STABLER has a pen and paper on CRAGEN'S desk, and is writing notes down.

REBECCA GARDNER

(on telephone)

A boy I saw Tommy talk to briefly a while back. I remember the boy gave Tommy something then Tommy went back inside.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Do you know the boy's name or the object Tommy was given?

REBECCA GARDNER

I don't know his name, but he looks just like Tommy, only older. Maybe fifteen or so. As for the object I'm unsure as well, it was small and black.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Sounds great Mrs. Gardner, anything else?

REBECCA GARDNER

Yes, one more thing. Tommy's mother stopped by shortly after you two left asking for him.

DET. STABLER stops writing and looks up at the other two confused.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

His mother?

REBECCA GARDNER

Yes, Melinda is Tommy's stepmother. Didn't you know?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER looks at the other two with a dumbfounded look.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

No, no I didn't know.

FADE OUT/ FADE IN: INT. CAPTAIN DON CRAGEN'S OFFICE

DET. ELLIOT STABLER and OLIVIA BENSON stand side by side looking at their Captain, ELLIOT is holding an open folder. CAP. CRAGEN is sitting behind his desk pondering the new facts, tapping his chin periodically.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

We know who the real mother is?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(reading the folder)

Jean Taylor, formally Jean Doyle. Thirty four, two sons, works at a diner up in Queens full time.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

And we're hearing about her now because…

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Because she was placed in protective custody four years ago.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

Let me guess, Jacob Doyle abused her too?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(nodding)

Yep.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

Who's the other kid?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Umm, Dominick Taylor, he'd be thirteen now, placed in protective custody with his mother.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

(sarcastically)

He happen to look like his younger brother?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Uh yeah, very much so.

DET. BENSON takes the folder from ELLIOT and tosses it to CRAGEN. He opens the folder to reveal two photos. One is of Jean Taylor, with thick brown hair and dark brown eyes, she is covered in bruises. The other is of Dominick Taylor, age nine at the time. He too has brown hair, brown eyes, and bruises. He looks exactly like TOMMY.

CAP. DON CRAGEN

Wow.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(thinking aloud)

You guys think that Jacob Doyle waits till their nine before abusing them?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Depends, why?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Well Dominick was nine when abused now Tommy is.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Maybe, but Cap, do you think these prior charges against Jacob Doyle will convince a jury of his guilt?

CAP. DON CRAGEN

(shrugging)

Can't hurt, talk to Novak.

FADE OUT/ FADE IN: INT. ADA CASEY NOVAK'S OFFICE

ADA CASEY NOVAK sits behind her mahogany desk as she listens to the detectives tell her what they found out so far.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Okay, we have Jacob and Jean Doyle. They have sons Dominick and

Tommy Doyle. Jacob starts abusing Jean and Dominick, but not

Tommy. Jean goes into protective custody along with Dominick when the FBI believes their lives are in danger.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

Why didn't Tommy go?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Jacob and his girlfriend Melinda King, they were together before the protective custody thing… fought for custody over Tommy.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

(angrily)

And they won?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

He wasn't being abused; he was in no apparent danger blah, blah bull crap. FBI didn't want another body out in protective custody because of budget. He was not in danger, ergo stay with newly wedded father.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Tommy practically disappeared, venturing outside a few times a month. Neighbors reported abuse, no proof.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Rebecca Gardner, a neighbor, says she saw Dominick Taylor give Tommy something small and black a while back ago.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

Any idea what it was?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

Could be a camera, cell phone, anything like that.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(angrily)

Or it could be a damn diary for all we know.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

I'll get you a warrant, look in the house and search for that object. Whatever it is, it could probably help us. By the way, bring the mother down to see her son. And find Jacob Doyle.

FADE OUT/ FADE IN: INT. DOYLE RESIDENCE

DET. STABLER and BENSON along with numerous other officers search the discarded house. DET. STABLER and BENSON search the small closet.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(gingerly stepping on one spot on the floor)

I think I found something.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

What?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

One sec…

DET. STABLER pulls the blankets and clothing off the small ground and stamps on the floor once; there is a little hollow sound. DET. STABLER hands BENSON his flashlight as he kneels and reveals a small hiding hole on the floor. ELLIOT reaches in and pulls out a small, black tape recorder. He holds it up for OLIVIA to see.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(grinning)

Bingo.

FADE OUT/FADE IN: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT SQUAD ROOM

DET. ELLIOT STABLER and DET. OLIVIA BENSON enter the squad room, DET. STABLER holds up the tape recorder and grins. MUNCH and FIN walk up to them and laugh.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

What's so funny?

DET. JOHN MUNCH

(grinning amused)

Good news all around I guess, guess who the Mounties caught trying to sneak into glorious Canada?

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

(shrugging off her coat)

Jacob Doyle?

DET. FIN TUTUOLA

Exactly.

DET. JOHN MUNCH

(nodding at the recorder)

What do you have there Elliot?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

A tape recorder Dominick gave to Tommy before he left in protective custody.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

We haven't played it yet, care to join us?

DET. JOHN MUNCH

(shrugging)

Why not?

CUT TO: INT. CAP. DON CRAGEN'S OFFICE

Detectives MUNCH and FIN are leaning against the wall while DET. STABLER sits on the edge of CRAGEN'S desk with his hands in his lap. OLIVIA stands against the door, arms crossed. CRAGEN sits behind his desk; he reaches over, picks up the recorder and looks at everyone.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

Ready when you are.

DET. OLVIA STABLER

Same here.

DET. JOHN MUNCH and FIN TUTUOLA

(in unison)

Ready.

CAP. DON CRAGEN pushes the play button and sits back down, there is nothing but static at first. We get closer and closer to the recorder until it is all we see on CRAGEN'S desk.

TOMMY DOYLE

(tape recorder; scared)

This is Tommy Doyle. I'm nine years old. My older brother gave me this and told me to record important stuff on it, like when daddy hits me. He said it can be proof later.

(MORE)

CUT TO DET. ELLIOT STABLER'S facial expressions, his clenched jaw develops a tic.

CUT BACK TO: close up of tape recorder on the desk.

TOMMY DOYLE (CONT'D)

He didn't have more time to explain it to me, but I'll try to do what he says. Okay, here goes. Today my dad hit me in the face because I didn't finish eating the toast Melinda made for me. I cried and he hit me again with his belt and sent me to my room, it's actually a closet I don't know why he calls it a room.

(MORE)

We pan out and it is revealed that we are now in a court room. DETS. STABLER and BENSON are sitting behind ADA CASEY NOVAK on the prosecution's side. MELINDA and JACOB DOYLE are sitting on the defendants' side, both look disheveled and worried. DET. STABLER looks serious and very angry, as does everyone else as NOVAK continues to play the tape.

TOMMY DOYLE (CONT'D)

(on tape recorder)

Dominick says we can see each other again soon, but to stay out of trouble in the meantime, so that dad doesn't hit me. Dominick lied to me.

ROGER KRESSLER

That's enough; I think we've heard enough Your Honor.

JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY

(despairingly)

I agree, Counselor…

ADA CASEY NOVAK nods her head in agreement and presses the stop button on the recorder. She resumes her seat behind the table.

CUT TO: JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY.

JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY

Alright. We shall have a thirty minute recess. When we return I will give the court my verdict. Assuming we have heard all evidence and witnesses?

ADA CASEY NOVAK

(standing)

Yes, Your Honor. The People rest.

ROGER KRESSLER

(standing)

Defense has nothing else, we rest Your Honor.

JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY

(slamming gavel down)

Good, the court is adjourned.

Everyone stands for the recess; DET. STABLER and DET. BENSON remain sitting. ADA CASEY NOVAK stands and approaches them.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

Great job on finding the recorder guys, we should have a guilty verdict like that.

ADA CASEY NOVAK snaps her fingers.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

What about Tommy? Does he go with his biological mother?

ADA CASEY NOVAK

He should, seeing as both of his parents would be in jail.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(standing)

The minute that happens, then I know I did my job.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER exits the court room alongside BENSON for the short recess.

FADE OUT/FADE IN: INT. COURT ROOM

Everyone has assumed their original positions. JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY coughs, and shuffles some papers. Many people are whispering nervously.

JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY

Alright, everyone please settle down.

After everyone quiets down, the JUDGE glances over at the DOYLES'.

JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY

Will the defendants please rise.

The DOYLES' clutch each others hands and stand together, as does ROGER KRESSLER.

JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY

After careful deliberation over the evidence, and witness testimonies I have come to a conclusion.

(MORE)

The JUDGE pauses and looks over the court room. Everyone has their best poker face on, the DOYLE'S look very worried. ROGER KRESSLER looks as if he lost their case already. DET. ELLIOT STABLER and BENSON seem to lean forward in anticipation of the verdict.

JUDGE LENA PETROVSKY (CONT'D)

I find the defendants, Jacob Doyle and Melinda Doyle guilty of child abuse in the 2nd degree and guilty of child neglect in the 2nd degree. Each of you will be sentenced up to eight years in prison pending the following hearing. If there are no more questions or comments the court is adjourned.

There are a few collected gasps of happiness, the DOYLES' gasp in horror and struggle against the cuffs being placed on them by the bailiffs. DET. ELLIOT STABLER grins at DET. OLIVIA BENSON and stands to shake ADA CASEY NOVAK'S hand.

ADA CASEY NOVAK

Guess you did your job then, huh, El?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(shrugging)

For today, I guess we did.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON laughs and nudges her partner who is still grinning. The two exit the courtroom and start walking down the hall. They enter an elevator along with three other people.

DET. OLVIA BENSON

Wanna go out and celebrate?

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(shaking his head no; smiling)

Nah, no thanks. My kids are probably missing my ugly mug around the house.

DET. OLIVIA BENSON

I wouldn't miss your ugly mug.

DET. ELLIOT STABLER

(laughing)

Yeah, you would.

The elevator doors close, the detectives look relieved and happy.

END CREDITS