The detectives turn up at a crime scene where a young woman, Laura Santiago died after somebody sliced her throat. Warner tells Munch and Stabler the victim was sexually assaulted as well. There's no sign of forced entry. Meanwhile, the super tells Fin that Laura did have a regular boyfriend who often visited her.
Benson and Stabler bring in Laura's boyfriend Jan, who says he's innocent. Warner informs SVU that there were two types of DNA found with Laura's rape kit. Meanwhile, Jan's alibi -- he was walking his dog at the time of Laura's murder -- checks out. Jan is confirmed as one of the men Laura had sex with that night, but he's not her killer.
Benson and Stabler find out that Laura worked at a high-end leather store. One day, she flipped out, trashed the place and told the customers to leave. They return to SVU to find out that Laura's computer has hundreds of photos of women's behinds. There are also photos of cockfights; one features Laura's father in the background.
Laura's father admits that Laura didn't approve of his partaking in cockfighting and they got into a big fight. Later on, Jan tells detectives that Laura was going to attend a book reading about how women are used as gimmicks in the meat industry. On the cover of the book is one of the photos found on Laura's computer.
Stabler and Benson discover that Laura was working on a documentary film about the beef industry. They interview Jake Bradshaw, an internet powerhouse. Jake comes across as hotheaded and egocentric, and immediately becomes a suspect in Laura's murder. The detectives dig further into his background. Jake admits he gave Laura advice on her film, but they never worked together as a team.
After finding out that Laura was doing undercover work at a local meat factory, Fin and Munch decide to interview some of the employees. Everyone loved Laura, except for co-worker Jorge Vargas, who sexually harassed her until he was fired. Fin and Munch find Jorge at the basketball courts. He swears he would never harm Laura. Cragen tells him that his DNA matches that found on Laura's body.
Jorge's DNA is found on Laura's body and her blood is found on his work pants. The sweat stains inside the pants belong to another person. Stabler and Benson now believe Jorge is being set up. The detectives return to Jorge's apartment to confront his wife, who's just thrown him out for philandering. They're armed with a security photo, which shows Vanessa leaving her apartment just hours before Laura's murder.
Vanessa received an anonymous letter from a woman claiming she had an affair with Jorge. The author of the letter said that Jorge was cheating on both her and Vanessa with Laura, and suggested framing him for rape. Vanessa helped provide the pants and semen, but never physically met the woman who was going to plant the evidence. Benson arrests Vanessa for her part in framing her husband.
Benson goes undercover at Donna Rosa's Meats, where Laura was working undercover before her murder, hoping to find the woman Jorge was having an affair with. Instead, Benson finds numerous health code violations in the meat factory. The janitor tells Benson that Laura was caught taking photos of the factory. Their boss Riley fired her and she was never seen again. Benson investigates Riley's office.
Benson finds the videotape Laura was using to record the factory's conditions. When Riley finds Benson in his office, he punches her. Listening on the other end of Benson's hidden wire, Stabler barges in and arrests Riley. Benson takes a sample of Riley's DNA from a used toothpick to prove he's Laura's murderer.
Back at SVU, Riley denies killing Laura or sending the letter to Vanessa to help frame Jorge. Benson and Stabler order Riley to drop his pants so they can see if he was attacked by Laura's dog, per evidence they found at the crime scene. Riley's legs are completely clean of scratches or bite marks.
Warner tells detectives that Riley's DNA matches the sweat inside Jorge's pants, putting him at the scene of the crime. Laura's dog must have bitten through the pants material and not through flesh. The interrogation is interrupted by Rosa, the owner of Donna Rosa Meats, and Riley's attorney. Riley gives in and confesses to the murder, despite his lawyer telling him to be quiet.
Munch and Benson watch the video from Laura's undercover work, which features Riley carelessly showing employees how to cut meat. Munch points out that Riley is left-handed, but the knife wound on Laura proved the killer was right-handed. Riley was at the scene of the crime to frame Jorge for rape, but the real murderer has to be someone else. The detectives question Rosa at her apartment.
The elderly Rosa expresses sadness for Laura's murder. Benson points out that Riley is Rosa's son. He would do anything for his mother, including confessing to murder. Munch starts digging around. Rosa becomes more and more agitated with all the questions. Munch finds the typewriter Rosa used to write the letter to Vanessa.
Rosa grabs a knife in the kitchen and tells Munch and Benson that Riley was always her weak son. When the two of them went to Laura's apartment to murder her and frame Jorge, Riley couldn't commit the murder, so Rosa had to finish the job. Rosa says she only did it to protect her family's business. Benson and Munch arrest Rosa for murder.