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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Episode 11.16 : Witness

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Poster

TV Info


Episode Premiere

March 17, 2010

Distributor

NBC

Genre

Drama

Show Period

1999 - now

Production Company

NBC, Studios USA Television, Universal Network TV

Cast and Crew


Director

David Platt

Screenwriter

Dawn DeNoon, Christine M. Torres

Main Cast


Additional Cast

Synopsis


A young woman shows up at the hospital claiming to have been raped. The victim, Lainie, keeps asking Stabler and Benson for her boyfriend, Jason. Finally, Jason returns her cell phone call and Benson answers, only to find out Jason claims to have hooked up with Lainie only once and wants her to stop calling.

Lainie shows the detectives the stairwell where her attack happened. After surveying Lainie's apartment, Stabler acknowledges evidence of Lainie's very active sex life. A hysterical Lainey gives detectives little to go on with their investigation, until she mentions the rape stopped when an African-American woman pulled the man off of her.

Lainie looks at photos of tenants in her building to see if anybody looks familiar. In one photo Lainie recognizes the woman who stopped her rape. They search the apartment and find the woman is a home health aid for one of the tenants and her name is Nardali. She immediately refuses to help the detectives with their case and denies ever being at the scene of the rape.

The more the SVU tries to piece Lainie's story together, the more they believe she made the attack up for attention. Back at Lainie's apartment, Stabler confronts her about details of the attack. Lainie swears she was raped and just then, Stabler notices a man with a telescope staring at Lainie from his building window. The detectives go and question the man.

Bryce Kelton fits Lainie's description exactly. From his body description to the bruised eye where Lainie says the mystery woman slugged him when stopping the attack. Bryce tells Benson that his sex with Lainie was consensual and that it was interrupted only when he was attacked. Benson immediately arrests Bryce for rape. Cabot tells Cragen she doesn't have a case unless they can find Nardali.

Munch and Fin return to the apartment to bring Nardali in as an eyewitness. They are informed Nardali no longer works as a caretaker at the residence. Meanwhile, back in court, Lainie faints during her testimony and is rushed to the hospital. The doctors inform Cabot and Benson that Lainie contracted a flesh-eating bacteria, a result of a cut she got during her attack. Her organs are shutting down.

Benson and Cabot visit Lainie's hospital room. Lainie informs them her parents are in India on vacation and she only wants to see Jason. Benson promises she'll try to bring Jason in. Cabot convinces a reluctant Lainie to give recorded testimony of her attack, so Bryce will not get away with his crime. Cabot later informs the SVU she needs Nardali's testimony to continue her trial.

Using a cell phone tracking device, the detectives find Nardali. She tries to run, but Stabler stops her. Stabler tells Nardali that she is safe and there is no way Bryce can get her deported to the Republic of Congo, like he had threatened when she punched him. Back at the hospital, Cabot pleads with Nardali to testify for Lainie's sake.

Cabot promises protection for Nardali, but she still reveals her deep fears of being deported. Nardali shares with Cabot her horrifying story of living in her homeland and being gang raped by a militia in the dead of night, then watching them each rape her five-year-old daughter. Six days later, her daughter died and her husband returned home to throw Nardali out for causing shame to the family.

Nardali promises she'll return to court to testify against Bryce. Cabot believes her and later meets Benson for a drink and talks about Nardali's nightmare past. Cabot can't help but feel she needs to do more to help protect Congolese women. Cabot and Benson discuss ways to keep Nardali in the States legally.

After Nardali's testimony, Immigration sweeps in and places her in custody for being an illegal immigrant. Cabot vows she'll free Nardali and immediately rushes to the ICE offices. The lead officer in command refuses to release Nardali and cites her marriage to a known terrorist as his reason for keeping in her custody.

Cabot visits Nardali, who is being held in New Jersey. She tells Cabot she was forced into marriage and shares with Cabot stories of other women in custody, who have been waiting for their stories to be heard for years. Cabot and Nardali are interrupted with news that Nardali's papers have been processed and she's free to go.

Cabot credits her boss, DA Jack McCoy's call to the U.S. Attorney's office for Nardali's charges being dropped. Now, the two women can work on putting Bryce behind bars. Nardali is prepared to give her testimony one more time for the jury, but before that, the jury listens to Lainie's testimony on video, taken just hours before she died.

The next testimony comes from Nardali, who recounts witnessing Lainie's rape in the stairwell. Nardali tells Cabot that she pulled Bryce off of Lainie and punched him before he could knife her. The defense continues to say Lainie and Bryce were playing out a rape fantasy. Nardali sticks to her testimony, even after the defense brings up her illegal citizenship and her marriage to a known terrorist to tear down her character.

Cabot cross-examines Nardali and wants her to share her story of living in the Republic of Congo. Nardali tells the jury of her forced marriage and her repeated rapes that resulted in permanent damage. After Nardali's testimony, the jury find Bryce not guilty of murder, but guilty of rape. Nardali feels overwhelmed with joy that she helped put a rapist in prison.

Benson pays Nardali a visit at her apartment and delivers her the news that she now has permanent residence in the U.S. with a specialized visa. Nardali is extremely grateful and surprises Benson with news she's returning to her homeland to help other Congolese women. Later, Cabot confirms she's joining Nardali and is taking a leave of absence to work with a task force to bring justice to Congolese women who have been raped.

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PREMIERE PHOTO

Dann Florek
The Film Set of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Dec 22, 2010
Dann Florek
The Film Set of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Dec 22, 2010