Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Payback - full transcript

Stabler and Benson investigate the murder and castration of a New York cab driver. They discover that the victim had assumed the identity of another man because he himself was wanted by police.

'In the criminal justice system,

'sexually based offences
are considered especially heinous.

'In New York City, the detectives
who investigate these vicious felonies

'are members of an elite squad
known as the Special Victims Unit.

'These are their stories.'

- Sex Crimes?
- Olivia Benson.

Elliot Stabler.

Frank Bremmer, 2-7. A white male,
mid-30s, multiple stab wounds.

$40 left in the cigar box.

Hack licence made out to Victor Spicer.

$12 in a wallet was in his pants.
No ID.

OK, so it's not a robbery,
but stabbings aren't necessarily sexual.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Any specific reason you called us?

Whoever did this sliced off his cigar
and took it with him.

Is that specific enough?

Works for me.

Sorry I'm late.

I talked to Van Buren at the 2-7.
She wants all our paperwork on this.

- Where are we?
- Autopsy this afternoon.

- Who's cutting?
- Rodgers.

Not much doubt on the COD.

Are your conclusional pole-vaults
personality or gender driven?

I dunno.
What about deductively logical?

Really? I had what looked like
a stabbing once.

Turned out some guy was getting divorced,
drank drain cleaner.

When his soon-to-be-unmarried widow
discovered him dead, no alimony,

she stabbed him 15 times out of pique.

- Captain?
- What?

Desk sergeant just got a call
for a Sex Crimes detective

at the 96th Street IRT.

- Why?
- Some guy molesting a dead body.

Oh, that is just terrific.

- Who's up?
- Me and Munch.

I think a dead molestee can be
handled by one detective. Cassidy.

Munch, give Stabler and Benson
the benefit of your experience.

If the body's dead,
is that considered a sex crime?

Just go.
Investigate, interrogate, write up a DD5.

You follow up with the cab company
for a home address on the vic.

- I'll do the hack bureau.
- What about your partner?

I'd love to but my presence
is required in court.

I read about it in the news. City councilman?

Wienie wagger.

Detective Stabler.

You previously testified that when you first
approached the defendant in the park,

he was feeding the pigeons, is that correct?

That's correct.

The zipper
on Mr Kloster's pants was closed?

- At that time, yes.
- So to your knowledge,

Mr Kloster's pants
have never been unzipped in public?

- You got me. He didn't flash me.
- Why did you arrest him?

Two women told me the defendant
had been exposing himself.

So you arrested my client based
on their uncorroborated accusations?

Yes. I've known both women for five years.

So you know them well?



Don't be ridiculous. We're neighbours.

You work in the Special Victims Unit
of the NYPD. Is that correct?

Yes, it is.

And this unit is referred to
in the police as the Sex Crimes Unit?

That's correct, yes.

Are you obsessed with sex, Detective?

- Objection.
- Sustained.

This is an all-volunteer unit, correct?

- Yes, it is.
- Tell the court why you volunteered.

I requested the assignment

because sexually based crimes
are a major law enforcement problem.

So, you see yourself
as the Ken Starr of the NYPD?

Hardly. Sex should be one of
the best parts of life, not the worst.

I see myself as the father of four children,

none of whom I'd like exposed
to Mr Kloster's... shortcomings.



Shortcomings my ass, you putz head!

Yeah! Look at that! Shortcomings, huh?

Take a look! Look at it!

Hey, how'd it go?

He's in Bellevue.

The jury came back that fast?

He waved his flag at them before
they had a chance. Nobody saluted.

OK. Unfortunately, our homicide
isn't gonna close as fast.

We have a problem.

- OK, shoot.
- I went to the hack bureau.

Victor Spicer's licence was suspended
when he got 11 months for assault.


He's still in Rikers.

Don't trust the computers.
They get backed up on releases.

So I talked to the watch captain.
Spicer's still there.

- Why is this ours?
- Doer sliced off the vic's unit.

I got Spicer's sheet.
Prostitution, soliciting, petty theft.

He also managed to get two
of his clients arrested, both married.

So he's scum. But he's not dead scum.
So who's the stiff?

According to his hack licence
he's Victor Spicer.

There's no other ID
on the body or in the cab.

Police work.

Seam's uneven.

I would take a ride over to Rikers

and see if Mr Spicer
thinks he has any enemies.


You're welcome.

- Home, maybe?
- Get in there.




You're looking awfully good there
for a dead man, Victor.


Somebody killed you in your cab last night.

Before or after I went... dancing?


Who'd want to cut your penis off?

Take a number.

The victim was using your licence.
Had a wife, little kid.

- Yeah?
- Yeah.

- So?
- How about a name?

We'll have you out for the weekend.

Yeah, I sold the licence to a guy,

right before I went in, a hundred bucks.

I don't know his name.

You'll have to do better than that
if you want us to help you out.

Yeah, yeah.

It was on Broadway.

Right near the 125th Street El.

That's right. The guy had the kid with him.

I don't know, four, maybe five.

So, you walk up to a guy
on Broadway, broad daylight.

He gives you a hundred bucks,
you give him your hack licence?

A foreign gentleman
at a coffee shop I frequent set it up.


43rd and 11th.

Cabbies' place. I don't know his name.

Oh, yeah, the guy...

The guy on Broadway had groceries.

He must've lived around there.

Hey. You doing anything Saturday night?

Oh, I'd hurt you.

Sergeants are distributing
the vic pic in the 2-3 and the 2-7.

They'll hit every apartment within ten blocks.

This guy's wife must be going nuts.

Missing Persons won't take
the report for two days.

Who was supposed to get sliced,
Spicer or the mystery man?

Spicer was the one who said,
'Take a number.'

BLT with hash. Burn it.

- Can we talk to you a minute?
- I'm kind of busy here.

- Hack bureau?
- Police.

- Oh. What's up?
- You ever seen this guy?

Yeah, but he hasn't been in months.

- Do you remember his name?
- Victor.

What about this one?

Yeah, a regular. Comes in
at midnight. He was here last night.

- Got a name for him?
- Now, that's weird. Victor.

Excuse me. Jesus!

I said corny on pump, this is rye.

Do you know what it's like
never hearing English?

- Did you ever talk to Victor Two?
- Almost every night recently.

- Yeah? What about?
- Traffic, weather, his kid. Why?

Somebody killed him last night.

This city sucks!

Can I have my sandwiches, please?

It's easy to become a cab driver.
He was probably here illegally.

No green card, no hack licence.

Wait! Becky told me Victor was killed.

- Which Victor?
- Who would care about him?

- You know his real name?
- Steven.

- And his last name?
- Never asked. I saw him last night.

- What time?
- Around midnight, I guess. Yes.

He came out as I went in,
and two ladies hailed him.

- Could you identify them?
- It was very dark.

- They see you?
- They must have.

We were in the light.
He was crazy about his little boy.

His wife is pregnant. They just found out.

Your dead taxi driver? Cab dispatcher
finally called. Got a call last week

asking if Spicer was one of their
drivers and what time he worked.

- Male or female?
- He wasn't sure.

Said the voice was too high for a guy,
too deep for a woman.

- Aren't these fabulous?
- OK. This poor guy is butchered

and whoever killed him thought
he was that disco queen in Rikers.

OK, let's say the vic had the misfortune

to buy the wrong licence and Spicer's
the target. Who wanted him dead?

- Whoever called the dispatcher.
- Wow.

Nice. Good stuff.

Yeah? What? Mm-hm.

Great. Uniform just got a hit on your vic.

687, West 123rd.

A Steven Panacek.

- Thanks. Thanks a lot.
- Never stops.

They have more varieties than that.

- Apartment 1 B. Nobody's home.
- Thanks. Good job, guys.

Hey, that's the kid in the picture.

- You got the Victim Services cards?
- Yeah.

- Mrs Panacek?
- Yes?

Hi. I'm Detective Stabler,
this is Detective Benson.

- What's happened to Steven?
- Mrs Panacek...

Was he in an accident?
What hospital is he in? Can I...?

Oh, no!

Oh, God, no!

Oh, my God, no!

Oh, God!

Why? Why Steven?

He was here illegally, wasn't he?

Mrs Panacek?

What difference does that make now?

Don't you want us to find who did this?


What nationality was he?

He was Czech.

- When were you married?
- Almost five years ago.

Steven never applied for residency.

He talked to an immigration lawyer
and he said they would deport him.

You should, erm, talk to Victim Services.
They can be very helpful.

- Thank you.
- I'm so sorry.

Oh, baby.

How's my baby?

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Thank you.

That's great. Thanks a lot. Yeah, bye.

That was the ME.

- The stab wounds? 37 of them.
- Wow.

- This still reads gay to me.
- You got a fax.

Panacek's prints are clean
so let's do this by the numbers.

He's illegal, send a set to Interpol.

- Forensics report.
- What?

They found part of a fingernail
in the front seat of the cab.

With red nail polish on it.

Dispatcher thought
it was a woman who called.

Kind of undercuts your gay theory.

Could be a he-she.

Didn't two of Spicer's
married johns take a bust?

Yeah, about six months ago.

- Vice targeted the piers.
- Their wives must've been thrilled.

What are you doing?

- Eavesdropping.
- Good, you're up to speed.

Why don't you interrogate a husband?

- Anyone in particular?
- Enjoy yourself.

I already paid my fine. Do you know
the problems that arrest caused me?

You were with a male prostitute.

I have nothing to do with Spicer.

Somebody tried to kill him.

- I wouldn't go near that animal!
- Calm down.

- We want to ask about your wife.
- What is wrong with you?

- Leave my wife out of this!
- Hey!

Do you want to be arrested again?

- No. No!
- Then answer my partner's questions.

- I got a bad rotator cuff.
- Where was your wife last night?

In her wheelchair.

She's a paraplegic.

Why do you think I was in the back of a taxi?

Good question. If it was a female prostitute.

You enjoy this, do you?
Is this how you get your rocks off?

Thanks for your cooperation.

Spicer's a disgusting
little piece of street meat

but he has an extraordinarily gifted
orifice in the middle of his face.

Know anybody who'd want to kill him?

- There's a host of candidates.
- Like your wife, maybe?

I know you find it hard to believe
but I have nothing to hide.

My sexual predilections may not
be known to the readers of Page Six

but they're known
to my friends and my wife.

For the record, where was she last night?

My wife? You're joking.

No, we're not.

My wife's bisexual but she prefers women.

- How lucky for her.
- We have a civilised relationship.

So tell us where she was,
say, 1am this morning?

At a restaurant, Elaine's,
with me and four very good friends.

Thank you.

Her name is Clarissa.

And you should give her a call.

A military plane
drops JFK's coffin into the water,

three years after the assassination.

You don't find that a bit disquieting?

- No.
- No?

Justice Department waits 33 years
before they tell the people,

then they say they did it
because it wasn't evidence.

- Are you sheep? You believe anything?
- Baa.

You guys going to eat all this?

- Suppose we say yes?
- Suppose I'm just being polite?

- That'd be a first.
- John doesn't eat vegetables.

Yeah? The way I heard, that's not the only
thing John never gets to... eat.


Speaking of DOJ,
you guys see the fax from the Feebs?

- Internet paedophilia.
- Innocent Images Squad.

Anything we find should go to Baltimore.

No way! I'm never setting foot
in the city of Baltimore again.

Why? You're rich, did your 20,
got your pension.

I earned that pension with my mind

while surrounded by intellectual insects.

Not to mention that I lost a wife

to someone who was not only another
detective but a member of my squad.

What's that?

Take a look at that.
Fingerprint check on Panacek.

Gives us a whole different kind of motive.

See if any of the victims
are in the New York area.

- Your partner may not like it.
- It's a murder investigation.

Don't let her forget
we don't get to pick the vic.

Are we missing
some key piece of information?

Shut up, John.

Not going to be a problem.

It can't be a problem
if she wants to be in this unit.

There you go.

'You are admirable,

'for you remain firm, even when
troubled by personal relationships.'

Steven Panacek wasn't Steven Panacek.

OK. First he wasn't Spicer,
now he's not Panacek?

- So, who the hell was he?
- Stefan Tanzic.

Am I supposed to recognise the name?

He's a Serb,
under indictment for war crimes.

- What'd he do?
- Commanded an ethnic cleansing unit.

- He was a rapist?
- Indicted, not convicted.

- How many women?
- 67.

How many are still alive?

I got 15. Five in the New York area.

The shape of some of the wounds
was bothering me

so I made additional measurements.

Width of entry
and depth of penetration varied.

- Is that because he was struggling?
- Some of them were made by a blade

with a serrated edge, some were clean.

I hate to complicate it, but you're
looking for more than one killer.

Oh, have you found out something?

- May we come in?
- Yeah, of course.

- Is your son at home?
- No, he's at preschool.

- You lied to me yesterday.
- Excuse me?

Your husband wasn't a Czech.
He was a Serb.

I don't see what that has to do...

- He was indicted as a war criminal.
- That was just politics.

If you want us to catch his killers
we need all the information.

This goes way beyond politics.

I can see you know what he did.

You don't know anything.

Steven was a wonderful man.

The greatest father I've ever seen.

Let me ask you, what was it like
sleeping with somebody

who raped dozens of defenceless,
terrified women?

- My husband is dead!
- And you know why!

Go! Get out of my house!


That's the dumbest move you ever made.

- She wasn't going to be of any help.
- Not now.

Not ever. She knew what he was.

You just verbally harassed
the wife of a murder victim.

She lied. If anything,
she's guilty of obstruction.

- You're on very thin ice right now.
- How's that?

Cragen's worried
about your objectivity on this.

- Let him take me off the case.
- You don't want to do that.

What's that mean?

You take yourself off this case,
you take yourself out of the unit.

We don't get to pick the vic.
His words, not mine.

I'm a good cop, Elliot.

Yeah, I know.

Thank you.

- Ileana Jashari?
- Who is it?

We're police offi...

Did you know Stefan Tanzic?

He is the one who did this to me.

I just want you to know,

he's dead.

Allahu akbar.

Remember that Tom Hanks movie
where he managed the girls' team?

'There's no crying in baseball.'

Maybe I should talk to Cragen.

Ileana Jashari is physically
incapable of killing that pig.

So, who's next?

- You want to talk to my wife?
- Can you tell us where she is?

She works at Fellowes & Kinsolving.
She's an architect.

- What's this about?
- What time do you expect her?

It varies. She's working on a project.

I'll tell you what,
why don't you have her give us a call?

Daddy, can I stop yet?


- Say hi.
- Hi.

- Hi.
- Hi.


- You want to go to the park?
- In a minute.

- Is there anything else?
- How long have you been married?

Go change your clothes, OK?

A little over a year.

I'm Nicky's stepfather.
My wife's first husband died.

- Stefan Tanzic's the father of that boy.
- Yeah.

That doesn't change anything.

- I'm on the job, Elliot.
- I knew you would be.

I got a conference
with one of my daughter's teachers.

- Want me to drop you?
- I'm just going to walk this off.

OK. See you.

Yeah, I need an address.

- She's over there.
- Thank you.

- Marta Stevens?
- Yes.

Detective Olivia Benson, NYPD.


How can I help you?

Just want to talk a minute.
Is there someplace more private?


- What's this about?
- I just have a few questions.

Would you mind me
looking at your hands, please?

Can you put them over, please?

- I think you know why I'm here.
- No, I have no idea.

- No idea?
- No.

Stefan Tanzic was the father of your son.

No, Robert is Nicky's father.

And I'm sure a very good one.

Where were you Tuesday night?

Right here. I have a presentation
on Friday. Why?

How late were you here?

Late, very late. Maybe one o'clock.

Was anybody else here with you?

No, I was the last to leave.
Why are you asking these questions?

Stefan Tanzic was murdered Tuesday night.

Oh. I didn't know he was in New York.

He was stabbed to death.

His genitals were cut off.

Yeah. So?

So I can see that you are very affected by it.

How would you feel if your neighbour
raped you for three weeks

and the government gave him a medal?

Stefan Tanzic was your neighbour?

We went to grammar school together.

When Sarajevo became insane,
I went to my cousin's in the mountains.

Tanzic was an officer in the Serb army.

His unit came into the village,

took all the men, old men,

and all the boys over seven to
the school and machine-gunned them.

Then they took all the women
and children and put them into trucks.

Tanzic picked me out.

He said I was too pretty
to stay in the tents.

That night, he raped me.

He raped me every night for 23 days.

Sometimes he was too drunk
so he did it with whatever was there.

A wrench.

A pistol.

A broom handle.

Every day he would handcuff me to his bed,

and every night he would say
that maybe when he's tired of me,

he would shoot me instead of using me.

So, I'm not sorry he's dead.

Anything else?

No. Not at the moment.

Thank you.

I'm concerned that she still
writes her letters backwards.

Her sisters never went through that.

Well, her writing...

Excuse me.


Yeah. Y'know, now's not a good time.

You what?

What were you thinking?
I thought you could handle this.

Well, did she implicate herself?

Did you tell her she was a suspect?

I am upset!

Fine. Let's talk about it in the morning.

Thank you.

Do you think she killed him?

There's not a doubt in my mind.


How do you feel about that?

When that little boy came in

and I realised that Tanzic was the father,

part of me wished
I'd been in the cab with him.

I really wish you would consider
getting out of that unit.

- Come on, Mother, let's not...
- Do you think it is healthy for you?

You were raped, for God's sake.
Are you saying you don't understand

why she did what she did?

I understand it.
That does not mean I condone it.

Wait. Are you saying
you wouldn't have done

exactly the same if you had the chance?

- Is that what you would want of me?
- Yes.

How old is that little boy?

He's five.

Will he be better off
with his mother in prison?

Do you think you would have been
better off with me in prison

the whole time you were growing up?

I hate him for what he did to you.

So do I.

And if he hadn't,

you would not be here.

- You don't think she murdered him?
- No.

I don't think she murdered him.

She said she was in her office
till around one.

That's after he was killed.

- And no one else was there.
- No one else was there.

No one else was there.
That is an anti-alibi.

Elliot, I saw her hands.
There are no broken fingernails.

We know there are two killers so...

How are we going to find the other one?

You mean the other one
who also didn't do it?

We got three other
Tanzic victims to check out.

Let's do that.

Being in Europe, that's an alibi.

Who's next?

Anya Rugova,
owns a restaurant on the East Side.



- Anya Rugova?
- Yes.

Hi, I'm Detective Stabler,
this is Detective Benson.

Do you know a man named Stefan Tanzic?

Years ago, in Yugoslavia.

How did you know him?

He murdered my husband
and my grandson with a hatchet.

Could you tell us
where you were Tuesday night?

- Why?
- Stefan Tanzic was murdered,

late Tuesday night
or early Wednesday morning.


Now, would you mind
answering our question?

I was here, we closed around one o'clock.

- Anything else?
- How'd you hurt your hand?

Kitchen accident.

Do you know a Marta Stevens?

Stevens? No. I don't think
I know anybody by that name.

I must get back to work.

You agree she knows Marta Stevens?

She's not a very good liar.
'I don't think I knew her'?

- Did you check out the bandage?
- Left hand.

You heard what Rodgers said
about the wounds.

It's hard to stab with your left hand.

Unless you're left-handed.

She signed the bill with her right hand.

That signature of a five-year-old!
She's left-handed.

Besides, we'll get a DNA match
on the fingernail.

It could have been in the cab for a month.

- For a month?
- Yeah.

Theory of the crime.
Stop me when you don't agree.

One of them gets in the cab,
my bet is on Rugova.

She recognises Tanzic.
He doesn't recognise her.

She checks the name on the licence,

finds out when he works,
calls Marta Stevens.

They wait outside the coffee shop,
get in his cab.

End of story, Olivia.

It could be them, but I told you,
it was dark where they crossed.

It's OK, just take a look at them.

I could look at them all day,
it wouldn't do any good. I am sorry.

- You sure they saw you?
- Oh, yes, that I am quite certain.

You've been a big help.

- We don't have a case.
- Oh, yeah, we do.

- There's no proof.
- They don't know that.

- Elliot.
- We arrest them. Now.

A first-year law student could get them out.

- Not if they confess.
- I'm not.

You are.

- Would you please stand up, Mrs Stevens?
- What's this about?

You're under arrest
for the murder of Stefan Tanzic.

We've got the younger one in custody.

Send a car to meet us
at 71st and 2nd Ave.

I want 'em transported separately.

Yes, sir. A positive ID from
the Sikh cab driver at the coffee shop.

How can you do this?

Please put your feet in the car.

Listen to me.

I know what a shock it must've been
to see Tanzic in that cab.

Don't talk to anybody without your lawyer.
No one. Say nothing.

- Hey. You call for backup?
- Yeah.

Ah, Miss Slice And Dice.

The psychodrama over inside or what?

We also recovered a fingernail.
We'll get a DNA match on that.

- Am I under arrest?
- Yes.

You are.

You have the right to remain silent.

- May I call my lawyer?
- By all means.

- No!
- Oh, God!

No! No!

Get back! Back! Drop the knife!

- No! No!
- Somebody get the knife!

Put down the knife. Mrs Rugova, please.

Call 911. 911. Get an ambulance.

This is Detective Benson,
Sex Crimes. I need an ambulance.

We're at 72nd and 2nd Avenue. Now!

- How bad is it?
- She got the femoral artery.

Please, don't help me.

- She's bleeding out.
- Stay with us.

As soon as we heard his voice
we recognised him.

And where were you at this point?

I don't know.

Somewhere downtown.

I heard his voice and looked at Anya.

I thought I was going to faint.

- What happened then?
- I don't remember.

I started to feel hot all over.

My head started to spin.

Then Anya reached through
the divider and stabbed him in the head.

And then we were both stabbing him.

And the car... went up on the kerb.

And we... we were out of the car

and we pulled open the front doors
and stabbed him more.

And again and again.

I was seeing him

taking his clothes off.

I was feeling him pushing into me.

Forcing me.

I think you've got enough, don't you?

I have to run it by Schiff
but I'm willing to take a plea.

- Man one?
- I'll take man two and smile.

Severe emotional distress.
I sure as hell don't want to go to trial.

If they get Tanzic's war crimes indictment in,
and her friend's suicide, and she'll walk.

- How much time?
- My guess,

with the right judge,
18 months in a psychiatric facility.

You two all right with that?

- Yeah.
- Yeah.


Get her transported,
I'll have her arraigned, minimal bail.

She'll be home with her kid for dinner.

Thanks, Abbie.

My office, now.

That's nice. The game
with the Sikh non-eyewitness?

That's good police work
but it ain't man two.

- We don't...
- Shut up!

What about the call
asking when Spicer worked?

The dispatcher couldn't tell
if it was a man or woman.

Whoever called could've wanted
the real Victor Spicer.

My ass.

Let me ask you something.
I read the autopsy report.

Do you really believe that those two ladies

walked around with those knives
in their purses every day?

We did the one thing
that will allow me to sleep tonight.

You used your Get Out Of Jail Free
card on this case, Olivia.

There's only one in the pack.

She said something to you, didn't she?

'I just want to be with my family.'