Stabler and his son, Dickie, get in an argument over the Nikki Sherman rape case. Nikki is a student with Dickie at school and Dickie claims there are photos of her flashing her breasts on the Internet. To add insult to injury, Dickie's friend and ex-drug addict, Shane, comes over to drive Dickie to school; he is someone Stabler does not like nor trust.
During Nikki's trial, the defense tries to prove that she changed her story about being raped by Sam Baylor. The defense attorney, Aaron Davidson, believes there is a recant statement from Nikki that the prosecution is hiding. According to Davidson, the defense has a witness to recant this statement. Cabot believes that there is no such witness. Suddenly, Liam Black from the state bar enters the room and the judge orders Cabot to request a continuance. Benson and Stabler swear that they gave Cabot all the evidence they had, but apparently not; the judge is giving Cabot two days to review her story. When Cabot sees Black in the room, she realizes that she is being reviewed by the state bar.
Cabot tells Black that this investigation is fallout from Sonya Paxton's intoxication in court. Black tells Benson and Stabler that the SVU likes to bend the rules and if Cabot's license gets taken away, the two detectives are next up for investigation. All Black needs from the detectives is their full cooperation. Back at the precinct, things take a turn for the worse when Cragen tells Stabler that Dickie has gone missing.
Stabler rushes home and Kathy tells him that Dickie got into a fight at school before disappearing. Detective Nina Gomez is there to assist and Stabler tells her that Dickie is probably goofing around with Shane, who is a bad influence. Apparently Shane has a record of doing drugs like weed and cocaine. Gomez tries to convince Stabler to let her help, but Stabler doesn't think they need to file with missing persons. However, Kathy is convinced that something bad has happened, and files the report. Gomez gets permission to access the cell phone towers so they can locate Dickie if he makes a call.
Stabler isn't convinced that Dickie is missing and thinks Kathy is overreacting. Stabler gets a phone call and finds out that Dickie was trying to use an emergency credit card to get cash out of an ATM. While Kathy goes to find Dickie, Stabler talks to Shane's mother, Belinda. Belinda swears her son is straight now, according to the urine test he takes every morning. Stabler doesn't believe her and doesn't like Shane hanging around with Dickie. Belinda gets upset at Stabler's accusations and claims that Dickie doesn't even like being called "Dickie" anymore, he prefers to be called "Richard." Stabler leaves his card on the table, although Belinda tells Stabler he will never be talking to Shane again.
Back at the precinct, Stabler gets another phone call from the bank, claiming that Dickie was trying to get cash out of another ATM with the emergency credit card. Cragen has to remind Stabler that there still is a pending rape case going on. Fin, Benson, and Stabler go over the Nikki Sherman rape case evidence: Nikki claims Sam raped her at a party, and the exam shows Sam's DNA and evidence of rape. However Sam is claiming he had consensual sex with a virgin. The problem is that the defense is claiming there is a recant statement from Nikki, who said she wanted to sleep with Sam. Although Benson says that she and Stabler gave the all the evidence to the defense, Stabler suddenly remembers the photo Dickie talked about earlier in the morning. This will open up a whole new can of worms for the prosecution.
Kathy comes to the precinct emotionally upset and says that Dickie called and he was frantic on the phone, saying that he needed the code to get money. Stabler doesn't buy that something is wrong until Benson points out Dickie's location: a rough neighborhood in the South Bronx and on top of that, he's not with Shane. Fin rushes to get the bank footage while Stabler tries to calm Kathy.
Cragen tells Benson and Stabler that they can investigate Dickie's case until they get a new break in Nikki Sherman's case. The detectives go down to the school to question Danny Proctor, the boy Dickie was fighting with before he went missing. Turns out, the fight was to protect Shane. Shane sold Proctor "stolen goods" because Shane needed money right away to join the Army. Apparently, Dickie and Shane have been talking to the recruiter a lot these days.
Stabler is almost at the end of his rope. He explodes into the Army office and demands the recruiter, Sgt. Jordan, tell him why he was talking to Dickie, who is still a minor. It seems as though both Shane and Dickie wanted to join the Army on the buddy system. Stabler tells Jordan to kick Dickie out of the Army office the next time he comes in, but Jordan tells Stabler that the Army has no intention of turning Dickie down, and in two years, Stabler won't have a say.
At the precinct the ATM surveillance tape shows Shane trying to get money with Dickie's credit card, but Dickie isn't with him. Stabler thinks Shane stole Dickie's card, and he doesn't really care who is with Shane, he just wants to find Dickie. Stabler is about to make a move to find Dickie, when Munch comes in with Nikki Sherman's photograph: she is topless in a room with a bunch of boys, including her rapist, Sam Baylor. Cabot is livid about not hearing about Nikki's photo earlier and is unsympathetic about Stabler's missing son. Cabot says that they are being watched, but Stabler doesn't care. Cragen tries to tell Cabot to cut Stabler some slack, but she isn't having it. Personal investigations are against procedures.
Belinda tells Benson and Fin that Dickie was calling Shane repeatedly. Benson and Fin find it hard to believe that Shane isn't using again. Belinda swears that Shane is clean; he even volunteers at a homeless shelter because his sponsor works there. Belinda doesn't think the detectives want to help at all; all they want to do is arrest Shane. Because of this, Belinda won't give them access to Shane's phone.
Stabler tells Cragen that he thinks Dickie was trying to help Shane get cash, and whether or not it was for drugs is only something Dickie can answer. Fin says a number on Shane's phone traces back to a homeless shelter, probably the same one where Shane's sponsor is. Cragen orders Stabler to either get on the rape case or go home. At the homeless shelter, Shane's sponsor, Carrie, says that Shane was clean and sober the last time she saw him. Carrie says that Shane was close with an addict, Harold, who was dangerous to hang around with. Carrie mentions that Dickie had stopped by asking about Harold not too long ago. Just then, Stabler comes in to help find his son. The detectives find Dickie beating Harold with a two by four.
Cabot confronts Nikki about the photograph. Nikki says that someone spiked her drink, but she doesn't know what it was. Cabot thinks Nikki was "roofied." The party happened three weeks before the rape and she only went because they are seniors and everyone wants to be friends with them. Cabot tells Nikki that she has to show her dad the picture.
Benson talks to Dickie to find out what happened with Shane. Dickie says that he gave Shane the card because Shane needed $200 to buy a fake I.D. and birth certificate to get into the Army. Dickie knows that Shane isn't taking drugs. Dickie tries to turn the tables on Benson by asking her if she ever slept with "her partner." Dickie says that he knows Harold knows where Shane is, because he heard Harold in the background when Shane called Dickie.
The detectives get Shane's location: central booking. But it turns out that Shane's phone was stolen, because he isn't there. On top of that, there's blood on the phone. Back at the SVU precinct Dickie and Stabler talk. Stabler tells Dickie that Shane is missing and they need to find him. The strain on Stabler and Dickie's relationship is great, and Stabler says that as a father, it's his business to know where Dickie is. But Dickie says he is done listening to his father. This upsets Stabler, who grabs Dickie and puts him up against the wall.
Benson and Munch find out that the blood on the phone is Shane's, and the man who stole it is a dangerous criminal, Neal Douglas. Benson and Stabler interrogate Neal and Cabot comes in to stop the interview because Neal does not have a lawyer present. Outside Cabot runs into Sonya Paxton, who advises Cabot to stop giving the state bar any more ammunition. Cabot has to watch her ass.
Stabler talks to Nikki, who is upset because Cabot dropped the charges against Sam Baylor. Benson and Stabler can't believe it. Nikki says that she was threatened before she pressed charges and she should have listened to her friends. Meanwhile, Munch is eavesdropping on Cragen, who is getting in trouble because of Stabler. Munch is now in charge. Before Cragen leaves he tells Stabler a body has been found in a dumpster, and it's Shane's. At the crime scene, Cabot runs in and yells at Stabler for being at the scene of the crime. Benson yells at Cabot and tells her that she put in a formal request for a new A.D.A, because Cabot sacrificed a rape victim to save her own ass.
Shane was stomped to death and stabbed 14 times; he died a slow and painful death. Warner says that the tox screen proves that Shane had been clean for months. Nearby, a guilt-stricken Stabler listens in. Benson meets Cabot at The Tombs and talks to Neal, the suspect in Shane's murder. Neal says that he took the phone for drugs, but he doesn't have a name, except that it was a homeless guy that hung out by the church. Benson knows right away it's Harold. Fin runs out to catch Howard, who almost stabs him with a knife. Fin successfully takes Howard in for Shane's murder. Fin interrogates Harold about killing Shane and it becomes clear that Harold is a severely disturbed and violent addict who will do anything to get a fix.
Back at the precinct, Stabler is looking at new surveillance footage. Stabler believes if he saw it earlier, he could have saved Shane. Meanwhile, Benson goes to find Nikki, who is not answering the door. Benson finds a horrifying sight once inside the apartment: Nikki is passed out on her bed after taking a bottle of Oxycontin. Benson immediately starts CPR to save Nikki's life. Meanwhile, Belinda closes the door on her communication with Stabler and his family.
Cabot has re-filed the Nikki Sherman rape case and tells Sam Baylor and his lawyer. Cabot brings in Amy, Nikki's friend. Amy says that she lied about Nikki saying that Sam didn't rape her because Sam invited her to parties. Apparently Amy sold Nikki out for some clothes and an iPod, and Amy is willing to testify this. Cabot is going to give Nikki Sherman her day in court, and this means Sam will be going to jail.
At the Stabler household, Dickie comes in after being out all night. Stabler tries to discipline him, but Dickie is too upset -- Belinda won't see him and he can't even go to Shane's funeral. Stabler feels horrible for all of this. Dickie brings Stabler the Army consent forms to sign but Stabler won't do it. Dickie is upset and cries, and all Stabler can do is hold him close.