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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Episode 13.16 : Child's Welfare

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Poster

TV Info


Episode Premiere

March 01, 2012

Distributor

NBC

Genre

Drama

Show Period

1999 - now

Production Company

NBC, Studios USA Television, Universal Network TV

Cast and Crew


Director

Holly Dale

Screenwriter

Peter Blauner, Julie Martin

Main Cast

Synopsis


The eerie hum of an unknown machine echoes through a dark basement as we hear the faint sound of a woman crying out in pain. We see glimpses of a pregnant mother as another woman gently motivates her to keep pushing until we hear the cries of a newborn baby. A man's silhouette looks at the baby and shakes his head in disgust, "A boy, no." The mother of the baby starts panicking, "Please don't take him! Please!" Later, two bums are awoken on the church steps when they find an abandoned baby in a box crying out for help.

In a New York City apartment, Simon Marsden, Benson's half-brother, and his wife Tracy and two children talk to a Child Services worker. The worker asks the young boy how he got the big bruise on his forehead. The boy says that his father accidently dropped him while they were playing. Later, the police forcibly take Simon's kids into protective custody to the tears and screams of everyone in the family. Simon tells the police that they have no right to take his kids, but they hand him an emergency order saying the children are being removed for their own safety.

Benson and Amaro receive a call about the abandoned baby and begin to walk out of the squad room when Simon comes running up. Benson is surprised to see her brother for the first time in five years as he quickly pleads for her help. Simon tells her about his two kids, a 5-year-old stepson named Ty and 1-year-old Olivia, named after her aunt. Benson agrees to help Simon but only if he tells her the complete truth; "the state doesn't remove kids without a reason." Simon tells her how he was driving with the family when he was pulled over by a cop and was forced to empty his pockets where he was holding a marijuana joint. The cop arrested him on the spot and sent a social worker over to his house to check on their living environment. Later, Capt. Cragen walks up to Benson to make sure her brother isn't taken advantage of her. "Last time your brother showed up he almost cost you your shield� watch your step." Benson appreciates the warning, but Simon is her only family; she has to help.

Amaro and Rollins are at Mercy Hospital interviewing the doctor who took care of the abandoned baby. He tells them there were no signs of abuse or harm; "whoever left him wanted him to be found." A neo-natal nurse rolls out the healthy baby boy to show the detectives as Rollins asks the doctor for the baby's DNA sample. Later at the squad room, Munch mentions that the homeless couple who found the baby also saw a suspicious red van driving around the area. Rollins tells Cragen that they have the DNA sample from the baby, but it'll take time to go through all the records to see if a match pops up. "Keep looking, keep digging," Cragen tells his squad, "this case is going to be a media circus."

Benson talks to Counselor Bayard Ellis who is starting to take an interest in her brother's case after he learns Simon's wife is African American. Ellis thinks he might be able to show a pattern of profiling in the arrest and child custody. At court, Ellis is successfully able to have Simon's drug charges dropped after he was able to prove it was an unlawful search. After the trial, Benson happily meets her niece at child services. "She's beautiful," Benson says as she holds Olivia in her arms. "Liv, this is your family," Simon tells her as they all stand around each other for the first time. The next day at Family Court, Ellis fights to have Simon's parental rights restored but is stopped short by an unwilling judge. The judge says that even though the drug charges were dropped, Simon has a history of trouble with the law. She wants Simon to complete a drug rehab program, and in the meantime, the children will be ordered to stay with a foster care family.

Finn and Rollins talk to Cragen about a break in a case. The baby's DNA matches a Celia Barber, a 13-year-old kid who was abducted three years ago and was never recovered. "I've been praying for this day," Leo Barber tells Benson as he learns that his child is still alive. Leo was riding a bike with Celia three years ago when a red van pulled up and grabbed her. The police and his ex-wife blamed him for her disappearance, and he's been living a nightmare ever since.

The squad discovers a similar baby abandonment case in Newark that eerily fits the same description of their Baby John Doe. Rollins and Amaro run a DNA check on Baby John Doe #2 and find no match on the mother; however there is a match on the father. It seems the same man is impregnating multiple girls. Amara and Rollins head to Newark and talk to the foster parents of Baby John Doe #2. They seem edgy talking with the police. Amaro is able to coax out of them that a homeless woman named Lori came up to them last year and said their adoptive baby was really hers. At first, they thought Lori was just crazy; but soon she started to give intimate details about the baby, and they realized the woman could really be the child's mother.

Benson and Amaro find a strung out Lori at a women's shelter and question her. Lori tells them her story; she ran away from home and got a ride from a couple in a red van. She thought it would be safe because they were a couple, but it wasn't. They kept her imprisoned for over a year in a basement and made her call them "Mommy and Daddy." The man would rape Lori in order to get her pregnant, but when she gave birth, they discarded the child because they wanted "no boys in the house." After they took Lori's baby, they dumped her by Yankee Stadium and drove away.

Captain Cragen informs Benson that her brother and wife kidnapped their children from foster care, and there's an Amber Alert out on them. Later, Benson and Cragen find Simon in the middle of being arrested in New Jersey. After some wrangling, they are able to get custody of Simon and not have his case turn into a federal kidnapping charge. "Oh, Liv, I messed up," Simon admits. He can't believe he's turned into such a horrible father. He understands if she's completely done with ever helping him. Later, Ellis tries to defend Simon and his wife to no avail. His wife is granted bail, but Simon is taken back into custody until trial. Ellis tells Benson that they lost the high ground and the chances of getting his kids back anytime soon is dwindling.

Rollins and Amaro continue to question Lori about her horrific experience of being held captive by "Mommy and Daddy." Lori mostly stayed well behaved after she learned the rules, but one time when she knew police were in the house, she screamed for help until Mommy had to run downstairs and drug her to keep quiet. After more details from Lori, Rollins and Amaro figure out that the neonatal nurse that took care of Baby John Doe #1 could be the "Mommy" Lori talked about. They talk to the nurse who starts to act jumpy around them. Rollins and Amaro tell the nurse they know who she really is; now they want to know where Celia is.

SVU and a SWAT team slowly walk through the dark basement of an apartment building as the nurse leads them to a back room. Benson enters the room and finds a scared, pale Celia standing in the corner. Celia refuses to go with the police, as she continues to back into the corner. Soon Benson sees what Celia is hiding another child playing in the corner. Amaro finds "Daddy" and soon chases him throughout the catacombs of the apartment building. After a tense chase, Amaro finally traps "Daddy" on the roof and takes him down. "I know you think you saved those girls," he tells Amaro, "but I was their whole world. They'll never forget me." Later in the squad room, Rollins updates everyone that Celia is reuniting with her family and is getting ready for the long road to recovery in front of her.

Benson and Ellis meet with Simon in jail and tell him that a deal was reached between Children Services and the DA office. They will reduce Simon's kidnapping charge to custodial inference, which is only a misdemeanor, but there is a catch. Tracy will be gaining full custody of the children in order for them to quickly exit foster care. Simon will have to move out of the apartment and will only be able to see his children in supervised sessions for the next three years. Simon is taken aback by the abrupt new reality of his life. Benson reassures him it's the best deal because it gets him out of jail. "I really thought I could get it right this time," Simon tells Benson as tears fall from his eyes. Benson gently takes her brother's hand and replies, "Me too."

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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