Detectives Goren and Eames investigate the discovery of a woman's body appeared on the banks of the Bronx River. The woman appears tied and carefully wrapped in a plastic tarp, as they learn she was reported missing 20 years previously.
Meanwhile, the well-preserved body of the victim shows signs that she was subject to substantial physical torture before killing her. Chemical residue on the body leads Goren and Eames to the basement of the house in which it had originally been buried underneath, and later to a drug addicted man whose parents owned the home. But their instincts tell them that this man must have had a smarter partner-in-crime.
The junkie gets arrested when he tries to persuade his partner for some more cash and ends up in his sister's house.
When the junkie ends up murdered as well, the detectives focus their investigation on his college classmate; a former chess master who is now a successful and control-oriented businessman known to suddenly disappear for a while from his family. The man, who has a history of drugging and sexually assaulting women, could be linked to two earlier rape cases with similarities to the murder. The case takes a major turn when Goren confronts him during an interrogation.