LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT {LAW AND ORDER: SVU}: CONSCIENCE (TV)

Summary

One in this series of police dramas—a spin-off of "Law & Order"—about the sexual crimes investigated by the elite Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department. In this episode, a young boy, Henry Morton, goes missing from a birthday party, and the Special Victims Unit quickly organizes a manhunt. They receive several false leads and are pestered by a man, Wolinsky, who takes it upon himself to hunt down predators. They meet with the missing boy’s father, Dr. Brett Morton, a psychiatrist, and talk with a neighbor, a 13-year-old boy named Jake, who says he saw a man watching Henry from a car that morning. When they investigate the car, the closest match is convicted sex offender named Billy, but when they get to his apartment, Wolinsky is already there and threatening the man for Henry’s whereabouts, which angers Elliot. They question Billy, who swears his innocence. Elsewhere, a canine team uses Henry’s scent to track him, and they soon discover the boy’s body in an alley.

The detectives bring Dr. and Mrs. Morton to the morgue to identify the body, and Elliot and Olivia note that the father is unusually calm and collected. Dr. Warner reveals that the boy was suffocated with several small pebbles. They bring Jake in for a line-up and he picks out Billy, who finally confesses that he broke his parole by baby-sitting a young boy on the day of the murder, the timing of which exonerates him from having killed Henry. The detectives find Wolinsky and his cohorts protesting outside Billy’s apartment, and Elliot arrests him for inciting a riot. O’Halloran, the forensics tech, discovers that the fingerprints on the pebbles are too small to be an adult’s and are not Henry’s, and Elliot and Olivia are shocked to realize that it was Jake.

They question the boy again, and he admits that he picked Billy because “that other cop” told him to and showed him a photograph, and Olivia quickly realizes that Wolinsky lied to the boy and caused him to make a false ID. Incensed, Elliot shoves Wolinsky into lockup. He and Olivia continue interrogating Jake and confront him with the evidence, and he tearfully says that Henry was going to tattle on him for accidentally killing the neighbor’s cat, and that he unintentionally killed the boy in a panic over being sent back to “that camp.” His mother sent him to a “tough love” camp for badly behaved children, but he was tortured and abused there by the other kids. When Morton learns that Jake committed the murder, he is stunned and admits that he recommended the camp. In court, Jake apologizes to Morton, and when Casey tells the father that they are trying Jake as an adult, Morton objects and says it is not justice to do so.

The detectives journey to the camp and question the doctor in charge as well as the other children, who all state that Jake was the violent one who injured himself and others. They realize that he is a sociopath who killed Henry without remorse, and Dr. Huang states that one “can’t grow a conscience.” Casey appeals to Donnelly to have Jake’s case altered, but she tells them that it is too late and that Morton already requested that he be tried as a minor. Casey addresses the court in front of Morton and explains about the new evidence, but she is told that jeopardy is attached and there can be no change, and he is outraged that he believed the boy and defended him. He is taken from the court and tells Elliot in a panic that Jake will be released at age eighteen and will kill again. The boy passes him and sarcastically apologizes again for killing his son, and, enraged, Morton grabs a court officer’s gun and shoots him.

At the station house, they learn that Jake died in surgery, and Donnelly orders Casey to charge Morton with second-degree murder. Elliot objects, and Morton’s lawyer argues extreme emotional distress and requests manslaughter. Dr. Huang interviews him, and he states that he does not remember shooting Jake and says he was only thinking of his son at the time. Huang tells Casey that he seems to be describing a state of shock, but that he could be faking, as he is a psychiatrist too. In court, Casey argues that he was aware of his actions, and though it is generally agreed that no one under eighteen can be deemed a sociopath, Morton himself wrote a paper stating that “killer kids” should be stopped before they reach adulthood. He protests that he meant they should be jailed, not murdered, and says that he did not intend to kill Jake and will always regret it. Elliot is called to testify on Morton’s behalf, and while Casey tries to make him agree that Morton “executed” Jake purposefully, Elliot remains non-committal. The jury finds Morton not guilty, and outside, he speaks to Casey and Elliot and admits that he consciously decided to kill Jake as soon as he realized the truth about him. Elliot says that he manipulated them, but he replies that he will never kill again, whereas Jake would have. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: NBC
  • DATE: November 9, 2004 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:43:36
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:85405
  • GENRE: Drama, police/detective
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, police/detective
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1999-
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Peter Jankowski … Executive Producer
    • Neal Baer … Executive Producer
    • Ted Kotcheff … Executive Producer
    • Dick Wolf … Executive Producer, Created by
    • Michele Fazekas … Co-Executive Producer
    • Tara Butters … Co-Executive Producer
    • Jonathan Greene … Co-Executive Producer
    • Roz Weinman … Co-Executive Producer
    • Lisa Marie Petersen … Co-Executive Producer
    • Dawn DeNoon … Co-Executive Producer
    • Arthur W. Forney … Co-Executive Producer
    • Patrick Harbinson … Co-Executive Producer
    • Robert Nathan … Co-Executive Producer, Writer
    • Randy Roberts … Supervising Producer
    • Peter Leto … Producer
    • David DeClerque … Producer
    • Gail Barringer … Co-Producer
    • Jose Molina … Co-Producer
    • Amanda Green … Co-Producer
    • Sheyna Kathleen Smith … Associate Producer
    • David Platt … Director
    • Roger Wolfson … Writer
    • Mike Post … Music by
    • Christopher Meloni … Cast, Detective Elliot Stabler
    • Mariska Hargitay … Cast, Detective Olivia Benson
    • Richard Belzer … Cast, Detective John Munch
    • Diane Neal … Cast, A.D.A. Casey Novak
    • Ice-T … Cast, Detective Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola
    • B.D. Wong … Cast, Dr. George Huang
    • Dann Florek … Cast, Captain Donald Cragen
    • Kyle MacLachlan … Cast, Dr. Brett Morton
    • Peter Riegert … Cast, Chauncey Zeirko
    • Johanna Day … Cast, Leslie O'Hara
    • Jordan Garrett … Cast, Jake O'Hara
    • P.J. Brown … Cast, Billy Turner
    • Bruce Kirkpatrick … Cast, Malcolm Wolinsky
    • Kathleen McNenny … Cast, Mrs. Morton
    • Gary Werntz … Cast, Judge Donald Harris
    • Mike Doyle … Cast, Forensics Tech Ryan O'Halloran
    • Jill Marie Lawrence … Cast, Cleo Conrad
    • Audrie Neenan … Cast, Judge Lois Preston
    • Novella Nelson … Cast, Family Court Judge
    • Tamara Tunie … Cast, M.E. Warner
    • Judith Light … Cast, A.D.A. Elizabeth Donnelly
    • Jeff Gurner … Cast, Dr. Burt Gleason
    • Wiley Moore … Cast, SOMU Det. Monahan
    • Mark Aldrich … Cast, Jeffrey Jackson
    • Jennifer Prescott … Cast, Soccer Mom
    • Cecelia Antoinette … Cast, MTA Clerk
    • Kevin Jiggetts … Cast, Officer Green
    • Dennis Pressey … Cast, Dog Handler
    • James Hosey … Cast, Sam
    • Peter Oliver … Cast, Jason
    • Jelani Jeffries … Cast, Tad
    • Brendan McVeigh … Cast, Theo Morton
    • Christen Simon … Cast, Paralegal
    • Wendy Scott … Cast, Foreperson
    • Michael Iles … Cast, Henry Morton
    • Max Iles … Cast, Henry Morton
    • Alexander Scheitinger … Cast, Kid