One night, Jessie Sturgis receives a call from her estranged ex, Tommy, asking her to meet him. Jessie secures a babysitter to watch her son while she heads out for the rendezvous. When she arrives at the meeting location, Jessie finds Tommy lying on the floor, covered in blood. He's been shot. Moments later, the police arrive. Jessie has been framed.
In the SVU bullpen, the detectives receive word that Jessie has been arrested for the murder of Tommy. They know Jessie from a previous case. She had been sexually assaulted and beaten by an unknown assailant. Jessie wouldn't ID a suspect at the time, but they suspect that Tommy was involved somehow. The detectives head out to see D.A. Barba.
The detectives arrive at Barba's office to find Pam James, a Suffolk County D.A., leaving. Barba explains that Tommy's murder took place in a county that is out of his jurisdiction. D.A. James is leading the charge to convict Jessie of Tommy's murder, and she needs to collect information on Jessie's previous case with SVU. Barba was new to the office at the time, so he'll need a refresher on the case as well. The detectives tell Barba Jessie's story.
Four months earlier, the SVU received a call that Jessie had been assaulted. Jessie had been out drinking with girlfriends, then she left the bar alone. Jessie claims that a black man in a town car pointed a machine gun at her, assaulted her, then dropped her off around the corner. Benson can tell the story is a lie, but before the detectives can dig any further, Tommy shows up to forcefully remove her from the hospital.
After checking Jessie's cell phone, Benson knows that Jessie called a phone number three times before she left the club. They trace the number to Michael Provo, a private investigator and informant to D.A. James. Michael tells the detectives that he and Jessie have a sexual relationship, but that he did not abuse her.
The detectives head back to question Jessie about her relationship with Provo. She admits that she has a relationship with Provo, and that she lied about the man in the car because she was afraid that Tommy would be upset. Nonetheless, she still claims that Provo raped her. Jessie also says that if Tommy finds out, he'll kill her. Barba sees the irony in the statement, since Jessie is on trial for murdering Tommy.
So far, Jessie has woven a web of lies, but Benson believes her accusation against Provo, citing that all of her details have been consistent since then. She and Amaro head back to talk to Jessie again. She tells them that the night she met with Provo, she discovered that he was married. When she decided against the rendezvous, Provo got upset, beat and raped her, then threatened her, saying if she told anyone, she would regret it.
Back at the station, the SVU detectives do some checking up on Provo. They discover that he was accused of sexual assault once before. Before charges could be filed, immigration was tipped off, and the victim was deported. They bring Provo in for further questioning, but Provo denies raping Jessie. During the questioning, another Suffolk County D.A. arrives to pull Provo away in order to help with a case. The detectives know that Provo has his hooks in the D.A.'s office.
At Jessie's arraignment, the process moves incredibly fast. Jessie is placed in holding to await trial, and her son is surrendered to Social Services. Jessie later explains that she got a call from him and showed up at a house. The detectives realize that the police were tipped off and that Jessie was set up. Before they can leave, Benson and Amaro are subpoenaed to appear as witnesses in Jessie's trial.
The detectives piece together a timeline of the night Tommy was murdered, based on Jessie's phone records. The timeline doesn't make sense. The police were called before Jessie even arrived at the scene. The gun used in the murder was stolen, and the owner eventually admits that Provo borrowed the gun and told the owner to lie about it to return a favor.
The detectives head to Provo's house to place him under arrest. Since the gun came from Manhattan, the crime took place on the detectives' home turf. D.A. James confronts Barba about the arrest, and Barba accuses James of participating in a conspiracy. James is tough, but Barba doesn't back down. Meanwhile, Jessie must stay in custody until D.A. James drops the murder charges against her.
In court, Jessie testifies that Provo told her he could "set up anyone, at any time." Meanwhile, Benson and Amaro track down the woman who placed one of the 911 calls the night Tommy was murdered. They discover that she was involved with Provo and that he put her up to the call. Provo has been pulling strings all over town.
Barba and the SVU detectives call Provo and D.A. James to the station to give them a heads up. They walk Provo and James through a series of witnesses whose testimonies will reveal the conspiracy between James and the Suffolk D.A.'s office. Provo tries to stay tough, but James begins to crumble and agrees to drop the charges against Jessie and file murder charges against Provo in Suffolk County.
Jessie is released from jail and greeted by her son, Benson, and Amaro. Benson explains that Jessie's ordeal is over, but there's some bad news. Even though Provo will be charged with Tommy's murder, he won't be charged for raping Jessie. It's unjust and unfair, but it's part of the deal that got Jessie out of jail and reunited with her son. Still, Benson is never happy when a rapist gets off.