Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 16, Episode 20 - Daydream Believer - full transcript

The joint investigation between SVU and Chicago PD moves to a new location when their rape and murder suspect kidnaps Nadia Decotis from her Chicago precinct and takes her to New York City.

Perp torched the joint.
There's just too many similarities
to a case that I worked 10 years back.
I'm on the next plane to Chicago.
Witnesses were consistent.
They all saw a man in medical clothing.
What brings you to Chicago, Mr. Yates?
My job as a physician,
there's always a spot to fill.
(Lindsay) He's playing a game, and we'll get him.
Chicago PD!
He was just here.
(male narrator) In the criminal justice system,
sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous.
In New York City, the dedicated detectives
who investigate these vicious felonies
are members of an elite squad
known as the special victims unit.
These are their stories.
[dramatic clang]
That son of a bitch is toying with us.
Well, he knew we were tracking his phone.
He left it in the basement next to a lighter and nail polish.
Hey. Fin, Ruzek, and Amaro are still
He couldn't have gone far. We have alerts on his car,
his I-Pass, his credit cards--
Look, everybody is in on this.
Have Nadia set up a civilian hotline.
Where is she? Where's Nadia?
She had to run an errand.
She borrowed your car.
An errand?
She went to pick up your birthday cake.
It was supposed to be a surprise.
Straight to voicemail.
[man singing with radio] ♪ The good times start now
- ♪ Without dollar one... - [woman mumbling]
♪ But how much, baby, do I really need ♪
- [humming] [volume increases]
♪ Cheer up, sleepy Jean
- ♪ Oh, what can it mean - [muffed screams]
♪ To a daydream believer
♪ And a...
[Muzak plays in background]

Oh, let me give you a hand with that.
It looks like you got your arms full already.
You're a peach.
Look at you!
Pick Your Poison.
Come again?
That's what it's called.
All the polishes have silly names.
- She'll love it. - Mm-hmm.
Evening. Is that your car?
Is there a problem?
Yeah, there's something moving around in the back.
Oh, good, she's still alive.
Don't you just hate it when you kidnap a girl,
and she won't stop kicking the back of your seat?
It's my dog, man.
- Oh. [both laughing]
Yeah, my dog hates it when I lock her in the car too.
- You have a good evening now. - All right, cheers.
[muffled whimpers]
I said lie still
or I will knock you clear out, got it?
Is that a yes?
They're gonna find you.
Please let me go.
Now? Come on.
We are on our honeymoon.
This is paradise compared to what's coming.
Nadia, you ever seen New York?
It is the epicenter of the world.
We are gonna have a field day, the two of us.
Please, I--I won't tell them that it was you.
You missed your chance.
See, a nice trucker, he heard you kicking.
In fact, oh, look at that,
he's still outside.
If you'd only been just a little bit louder.
Help! Please! Somebody help me! Please!
[laughing] It's too late for that now.
Hey, we've got a long drive ahead of us.
Why don't you start by telling me something about yourself?
[music plays loudly] me!
Somebody help me!
[Daydream Believer continues playing]
All right, tell me you got something.
We found Yates' car parked across from the district.
CSU's tearing it apart, and there was...
A smashed birthday cake on the ground.
No other sign of Nadia.
Okay, he snatched her right off the street.
- There's got to be witnesses. - Patrol's still canvassing.
Also checking on traffic and security cams.
This is not on you.
She went to get my birthday cake.
She went outside because of me.
We don't know anything for sure.
We know she didn't just take off, Jay.
She's in trouble. We've got to find her.
[phone buzzes] Here we go.
All right, let's just not panic until we know.
Hey, we know.
He has her.
Thanks. Guys,
we may have a hit on Lindsay's plates.
East Side headed towards Calumet Park.
- Did they stop the car? - Lost it in traffic.
Reported a man driving and a woman in the front seat.
Come on, let's go.
[police radio chatter]
Get out of the car, Yates.
Hands up!
- Suspect's emerging. - Nice and slow, buddy.
Nice and slow.
(man) What the hell?
Hey, hey, don't shoot.
- Get down. - It's okay--just get down.
- Don't shoot! - It's okay.
The son of a bitch switched the plates.
- Got a mom and two kids. - Otherwise the vehicle's clear.
Sir, where are you coming from?
My mother-in-law's.
Okay, when was the last time you stopped?
A rest stop in Indiana for dinner.
Outside Elkhart.
Oh, my God.
[dramatic music]

Fin and Amaro filled me in. He's still driving
- Lindsay's car? - We think so.
He's smart. Taking back roads.
Avoiding tolls.
(Voight) Nadia's cell goes dead around 5:00 in Chicago.
Two hours later, he swapped plates at a gas station
near Elkhart, Indiana.
And you think that he's headed here?
Well, the second switch
is at a parking lot just east of Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania.
And New York is his old stomping ground.
(Voight) He used to be somebody when he was there.
Yeah, so he could be here by early morning.
- You put out alerts? - Yeah, his photo, hers too.
Flagged both their credit cards.
Also checking for stolen cards along the way.
Okay, as soon as you can confirm his new license plate,
we'll broadcast it.
Your guys, Lindsay, and I are on the next flight out.
Hopefully we get there before he does.
Look, Olivia, just something else...
She's a good kid.
So I've heard.
And we know what he's doing to her.
Don't go there.
That never helps.
Yeah, I know.
[drill whirrs]
We made pretty good time.
Looks like we'll get there about dawn.
You ever see the sun rise over the East River?
Nod your head. Yes? No?
Let me go.
Oh, all the girls say that.
"Please don't kill me.
I'll do whatever you want."
Pretty soon
you'll beg for your life.
And a little secret:
towards the end... you'll cry for your mama.
Not me.
Oh, you will.
You know what's gonna happen to you?
You're a funny girl.
If you kill me, Hank Voight is gonna track you down
and make you wish you'd never been born.
Enough small talk for now.
[muffled grunt]
Okay, Chicago PD's flight finally landed at LaGuardia.
- What can I tell Voight? - We got a hit
from a stolen credit card used to buy gas,
an ice pick, and a shovel.
It was off of route 78 near Plainfield, New Jersey.
They're getting close. We've got local police
getting an ID from the clerk now.
There's no hits on the last known plates,
so he might have switched them again.
Still, he's got to take a tunnel or a bridge
to get into Manhattan.
He's driving the most common car on the road.
So what, are we gonna stop every silver Camry?
We're gonna stop every one driven by a male, white,
that fits Yates' description and check every known location
that Yates frequented when he lived here.
Hey, Sergeant, we may have a hit on Lindsay's car.
It's south of the Broadway Bridge.
Let's go.
(Voight) All right, what have we got?
We just got here.
(Rollins) The sanitation truck spotted it.
I mean, it's not exactly public parking.
(Lindsay) It's mine.
(Amaro) Locked.
Nothing. No body.
I gave her that scarf.
She left it for us to find.
So she could still be alive.
Okay, there's no way he walked out of here, okay?
We're gonna get more units, canines, cadets,
check to see if there's any reports of stolen vehicles.
We're gonna get him.
Yeah, I'm there.
Okay. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah.
Need help with that?
Oh, thank you.
(woman) Oh, my God!
Oh, my God!
Oh, oh, oh, oh!
[police radio chatter]
One DOA, a slender brunette with long hair.
- Is the other one Nadia? - No.
It was a flight attendant sharing an apartment.
Brutally beaten. He left behind a sap.
Cracked their skulls. Both sexually assaulted.
- She's a witness? - Not to the crime.
The perp helped her with her bags
as he left the courtyard.
- Time? - About half an hour ago.
Her apartment's across from the girls.
The door was ajar. She called it in.
- Do you mind if I help? - Of course.
Listen, CSU's upstairs.
Yeah. I need to see for myself.
(woman) This is a nightmare.
They were so young.
Ma'am, you said that the man you saw
was white in his 40s.
Any of these guys?
Him, maybe, or...him.
Did you see which way he went?
Was he on foot? Did he get into a car?
I just remember he had the nicest smile.
Okay, thank you, ma'am.
If he did this to these two, where the hell is Nadia?
- Did she ID him? (Carisi) Sort of.
- Not much else though. (Rollins) Okay, it's 30 minutes.
He could have hopped on the subway.
He could have stolen another car.
Or there's a reason that he's in this neighborhood.
Find out if there's anything from his past
that ties him to Elmhurst.
I'm gonna kill this animal.
Okay, any sign of forced entry?
So he charmed his way in. That's his MO.
Yes and no. Leaving the door open,
the bodies in situ, the weapon--
- Your point? - He's decompensating.
He's getting sloppy or he knows we're closing in on him,
- and this is his final spree. - Hey, Sarge,
Yates got a parking ticket back in 2004, three blocks from here.
Fin and Amaro are on the way.
Okay, flood the zone.
(Fin) Unis canvassed the block.
Neighbors saw a male, white, Yates' age and height,
follow a woman into this house.
Hit it.
Everybody down.
You can't just come in here like that.
- What's going on? - Where is she?
She? Who? What is this about?
- Ma'am--ma'am! - Where's Nadia?
I don't know.
Sergeant, back off, we got him.
Back off. Turn around.
- Ma'am, are you all right? - I'm fine.
We're having lunch. What is this?
- You know this guy? - Greg?
He's my fiancé.
Come on.
- Hey. - You got him?
- Where is he? - He's in with Rollins.
He still hasn't told us where Nadia is?
Nope. We could use a bad cop in there.
I don't know what happened to Nadia.
You don't know? You kidnapped her.
Kidnapped? No, she offered me a ride.
Have you really not heard from her?
No wonder you're so worried.
Cut the crap. Where is she?
Dr. Yates,
tell me how you and Nadia...
Hooked up?
Well, I was a bit on edge.
I knew the Chicago cops were after me.
I thought I should visit the station,
maybe clear the air,
but I met Nadia there and she thought that was a bad idea.
Mm-hmm, and she, uh, she offered you a ride?
Yes, she said she needed to get out of town,
but she didn't want to drive alone.
I don't know, I just went with it.
From what I know about you, you don't really act on impulse.
As a surgeon, right, you can't.
You have to be methodical, thoughtful.
Is this an interrogation or a date?
- She's getting him to talk. - He's jerking her around.
Give her some time.
He's been getting away with this for 20 years.
And he's not gonna cave. The girlfriend.
Greg and I have been involved on and off for 19 years.
We met while he was at medical school.
(Amaro) Right, at Duke. - Yes, I was a freshman.
We moved to New York together.
That's a long time.
When did you two get engaged?
Just today, actually.
He never wanted to commit. He's a bit of a rolling stone,
but that kind of worked for me too.
(Lindsay) Did you ever live together?
No, I guess we both needed our space.
Did you ever wonder why he needed his space?
He's a doctor. He's busy with his practice.
He needs to unwind.
He likes to take hikes. He rides his bike.
- He goes rock climbing. - Susie...
Greg Yates is not who you think he is.
Look, these girls went missing at Duke,
in New York,
New Orleans, Chicago.
Girls who were raped,
All while Greg was living in those cities.
Nadia looked at me like a father figure.
She said she couldn't deal with the responsibility
of being everyone's good girl,
that she needed to spread her wings.
Dr. Yates, you were the last one with her.
You knew her mindset.
What do you think happened to her?
A pretty girl like that looking to party in New York?
I mean, it kind of depends on
who she fell in with, doesn't it?
I mean, where...
do you think this person would take her?
Oh, um...
well, he would probably take her to a remote location
where he could do whatever he wanted to her.
And after that?
Maybe he would take her body to a special place.
A sacred place.
A place where he could visit her
every once in a while.
defile her again, you know.
I can't imagine what you're going through right now.
It must be horrible thinking about Nadia's last moments,
how she must have suffered.
Your lives must be a living hell
wondering if you're ever even going to find the body.
I'm going in.
Just let Amanda do her job.
No, no, that is just not possible.
This is where he was right before
he came to your apartment. Look at it.
He bludgeoned this girl to death,
and that one's brain damaged.
- You're lying to me. - Am I?
Susie, why do you think I'm here?
He kidnapped a girl in Chicago, and we tracked him here.
Nadia. He has her.
She's my friend.
On the drive here,
he bought an ice pick
and a shovel at a rest stop with a stolen credit card.
- Here. - We found this in his car
along with her blood and his DNA.
Now I know you're lying. He was at the beach.
A special place he likes to go. He told me so.
He had sand in his shoes. That's why I asked him about it.
He said he had gone there to mediate.
He decided he was going to ask me to marry him
while sitting on that beach.
What beach, Susie?
[police radio chatter]
Susie said Yates sometimes took her to the main beach
in the summers.
There's no bodies out here. Too public.
You're right, this place is mobbed in the summer.
Yates did speculate that the killer
liked to come back and visit.
Maybe they're both playing us.
Someplace sacred.
Search the woods.
- Hey. - Was it her?
No, some old bones, a skull.
(Rollins) We got thigh bones, pelvic bones, a hand--
- All complete decomp. - They've been there for years.
My God.
(Halstead) Hey, Sarge.
We got her.
I'm sorry.
Cover her up.
- Nadia Decotis. - Yeah.
She's the one you worked with?
- Yeah. - I'm sorry.
She was raped and tortured and killed
in a car that Yates dumped in Upper Manhattan.
He must have stolen another car
to transport her to his burial ground.
Burial ground? How many others?
Seven remains so far--they're working through the night.
- They're still digging. - The bodies have been there
for years. It's down to skulls and bones.
We're looking at dental records.
Two hits so far.
- to any of them? - No. Yates usually
chooses his victims at random, okay?
He either burned the bodies or he buried them.
He never left evidence.
Not even with the two vics in Queens?
There's no blood from them on his clothes or on his body.
He must have changed his clothes, washed himself.
None of his DNA is in their apartment.
Can the vic who survived ID him?
Brain damage.
I got a State's Attorney standing by in Chicago.
We can try Yates for his last two victims there.
You mean the one he burned, along with any evidence?
Or the one who apparently died
while Yates was walking in the park
with one of your detectives,
along with your whole squad there to alibi him.
Hold on, Barba. This might be something.
Nadia Decotis was not random.
This was a screw you to Chicago PD.
Do we even have any evidence
that puts Yates in the car with her?
Yes. We have forensics,
and we have footage of him driving.
Not to mention he admits it.
She's our best case, Nadia Decotis.
Nadia Decotis would be horrified to find me on trial
for her murder.
She was someone I grew close to.
In light of the serious charges I'm facing,
I've decided it's in my best interest
to represent myself.
Dr. Yates, are you sure?
You are entitled to competent counsel,
and Ms. Crane is an experienced attorney.
She is, but with all due respect,
it's my life at stake, not hers.
Very well. Trial will proceed
with Ms. Crane staying on as co-counsel.
As those autopsy and crime scene photos show,
Nadia Decotis had been struck repeatedly by a heavy object
in the head and chest,
suffering traumatic wounds pre-mortem.
She was then strangled.
There are also ligature marks on her wrist and ankles
indicating she had been bound.
Were there any signs of sexual assault?
Wounds and tears to her vagina and rectum
indicating violent penetration.
I see, thank you.
Doctor, forgive me, I am new at this.
But those wounds of the vagina and rectum,
are those the kinds of things
you might see in the body of an active prostitute?
- To some extent, but not-- - To some extent.
Nothing further.
(Lindsay) Nadia loved her job.
She had really turned her life around.
She was studying criminology to become a police officer.
- That was her dream. - Her dream.
Did she ever tell you she wanted to throw it away
- and move to New York? - Absolutely not.
When she disappeared, I knew something had happened to her.
Objection. What the witness thinks she knows
can't be evidence, can it?
Detective Lindsay, when did you next see Ms. Decotis?
When we found her body in a shallow grave.
So something had happened to her.
I'm very sorry.
Detective Lindsay, did you meet Ms. Decotis
through friends, at a party,
a police benefit for widows and orphans--
- Your Honor-- - Ask your question, Dr. Yates.
Well, how did you meet Ms. Decotis?
I arrested her.
For what?
She was working as an escort.
As a prostitute.
Was she on drugs?
She was addicted to heroin when I arrested her.
She really struggled for a time, but when she was ready,
she called me, and I brought her to rehab.
She had been clean and sober ever since.
- Are you sure? - Yes.
We became roommates.
I saw her every day for a year.
You sound very committed to her recovery.
I can see how you'd hate to think
that your little rescue project failed.
- Objection. - Sustained.
- You're done, Dr. Yates. - Okeydoke.
I tried my best, but he just made her sound--
Erin, it's not on you.
You just gonna let him get away with smearing Nadia like that?
There's a limit to how far he can go.
When he exceeds it, I'll object.
- You'll object? - Is there a problem?
There shouldn't be.
He's a murderer and a rapist.
We all know that, but no offense
to your legal acumen, the jury isn't privy to what we know.
They all see the same charming man
whose smile lured dozens of women to their deaths.
Liv, we need to prep. This is going to be hard on you.
I'm fine, we went over it. Just give me a second, okay?
Hey, maybe you don't want to be in there.
Yeah, I do.
A forensic exam found DNA from Ms. Decotis
and from the defendant in Detective Lindsay's car.
There was also blood from Ms. Decotis.
When you questioned the defendant about that car,
- what did he say? - He claimed that Ms. Decotis
invited him to drive with her here from Chicago.
Did he offer any explanation
for the presence of her blood in her car?
No, he did not.
He did, however, say he was sure that she must have suffered.
No doubt.
Thank you, Sergeant Benson.
You don't like me, do you, Sergeant?
- Objection. Relevance. - Sustained.
Dr. Yates, confine your questions to the case.
Okay, the case.
Sergeant Benson, you recently went to Chicago
to investigate another rape, murder, and arson, didn't you?
Yes, I did.
A murder similar to a case of yours from a dozen years ago
- in New York? - That's correct.
And you were looking for one suspect
in both of these murders.
Yes. You were that suspect.
You say that today, Sergeant,
but before I was arrested,
you had another suspect in mind, didn't you?
I was consulting with Chicago PD.
We were pursuing many leads.
Oh, I see, and... from your investigative notes,
was one of these leads a Dr. Will Halstead?
His name did come up.
Really? Well, why did SVU speak with him?
Because he knew another woman who had gone missing.
And did you suspect that the murderer
you were looking for was involved in that case?
And then, Dr. Halstead shows up in Chicago
He even works in the same hospital as the Chicago victim.
Yes, that's why I went and spoke with Dr. Halstead.
He was ruled out by an alibi.
I see, and that alibi was confirmed, not by you,
but by the Intelligence Unit of the Chicago police,
isn't that right?
A unit of the Chicago police
that includes Detective Jay Halstead,
who just happens to be the brother of Dr. Will Halstead.
The suspect's brother conveniently cleared
your prime suspect,
and you let him go on his merry way
while looking for someone else to charge with murder.
Dr. Halstead was cleared because he didn't do it.
Did you ask him where he was
at the time Nadia Decotis went missing?
No, we did not.
I guess you didn't want to know.
- Objection. - Withdrawn.
No more questions.
My brother was in Chicago that day.
We could find a dozen witnesses.
Then the trial becomes about your brother and not Yates.
- He's smart. - He's scum.
He knows what he's doing.
He gets off on torture, even in court.
I ran into Nadia outside the police station.
She warned me about the Chicago PD.
She said they were looking for a patsy.
And that's when you decided to drive to New York
with Ms. Decotis?
No, I made that decision
when she told me what they were doing to her.
Which was what?
Her boss there, Sergeant Voight,
was making her have sex with him.
Objection, hearsay.
It's key to my defense, your Honor.
I wasn't kidnapping her. I was trying to help her escape.
If it goes to your state of mind, I'll allow it.
Your testimony can only reflect what you saw or experienced.
Why did you get in the car with Nadia Decotis, Dr. Yates?
I believed Sergeant Voight was raping her.
She wanted to get away, I helped her drive.
She was distraught at the abuse that she had suffered.
She wanted to get high. I tried to talk her out of it.
- Did you succeed? - Oh, I wish.
But as soon as we got to New York,
she said that she was going to get a fix.
- Objection. Hearsay. - Sustained.
What was your last impression of Nadia Decotis
based on what you witnessed?
She had a look in her eyes...
a look that I recognized from my medical practice.
She was jonesing.
I...I was afraid that she would prostitute herself
to get the money to buy heroin.
After all, that is the life she knew.
She got out of the car.
I never saw her again.
Thank you, sir.
So, Nadia Decotis told you she decided to flee Chicago?
- That's right. - Did she happen to tell you
why she decided to go at that very moment,
leaving behind $2,000 in a savings account,
all her clothes and other belongings,
the new friends she'd made, the Narcotics Anonymous group
she'd been attending faithfully?
She was desperate to get out.
- She didn't have her own car. - That's not the question.
She was supposed to go to a birthday party but she--
- Your Honor. - Jury will disregard.
Dr. Yates, limit your testimony
to answering only the questions you are asked.
Did Ms. Decotis know that CPD considered you its main suspect
in a series of brutal rape/murders?
Yes, but she also knew--
She knew her entire squad was looking for you,
and yet she asked you, of all people,
to drive halfway across the country with her?
Actually, withdrawn.
Nothing further.
Redirect, your Honor.
I'll allow.
Dr. Yates, do you have anything more to add?
Yes. My impression of Nadia Decotis' emotional state
when I got in the car with her
was that she was under Sergeant Voight's command.
She was traumatized by him tying her up--
Thank you, Doctor. Nothing further.
And brutally forcing himself inside of her, again and again.
Nothing further.
Thank you, Doctor.
Counselor, good job.
- Did you see what we saw? - The real Greg Yates?
I just hope the jury saw it.
They haven't yet. They will.
Dr. Warner, I just have a few more questions
about Ms. Decotis' injuries.
Your Honor, we've already heard from this M.E.
The defendant alleged the victim was a prostitute.
I'm entitled to refute.
Yes, you are. Proceed.
Did you find evidence in Ms. Decotis' body
of multiple sexual partners?
No, there was no DNA,
and the condom lubricant I found in her vagina and rectum
was the same brand.
So she was assaulted in both places by the same man.
It's likely.
Judging from the healing process,
both penetrations occurred around the same time.
Did you make a full catalogue of Ms. Decotis' injuries
as shown in these autopsy photos?
Yes. It was quite extensive.
Thank you, Doctor.
- No. - Yes.
Which is it?
Uh, yes, your Honor, I, uh... [clears throat]
I do have a few questions.
May I examine those photos?
Dr. Yates, your questions?
Uh, Doctor,
could Ms. Decotis' injuries
have been caused by her prostitution?
It's unlikely.
She was savaged.
Savaged, you say. How so?
In addition to the blunt trauma and strangulation,
there were cuts on her nipples and external genitalia.
And her anal sphincter, was--was that torn?
Yes, it was.
And these injuries, though not fatal,
they would have been painful?
She died a slow death.
How long did she survive after the first attack started?
30 minutes, maybe longer.
And she would have been in agony all through it?
Mr. Barba, not to put words in your mouth,
but I'm willing to entertain an objection if you have one.
I'm fine, your Honor.
Doctor, was she in a lot of pain?
Yes. I'm sure she was.
Were there signs of struggle?
The skin was torn around the ligature marks.
What goes through a victim's head in their final moments?
Your Honor, may I please speak with my client?
- No, I'm not done here. - A short recess.
Sit down.
Back to Nadia. Would the terror,
the fear, have flooded her with adrenaline?
I can't answer that.
[small laugh, exhales]
Would she have awareness
of what was going on?
Would she understand
that these were the final moments
of her life? [laughs]
Come on, Doctor. We are both medical people.
Use your knowledge!
Or don't.
Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?
We have, Your Honor.
On the charge of rape and sodomy in the first degree,
we find the defendant, Gregory Yates,
guilty. [courtroom murmurs]
On the charge of murder in the first degree,
we find the defendant guilty.
[courtroom murmuring]
Dr. Yates, you will remain in custody pending sentencing.
Members of the jury,
the State of New York thanks you for your service.
Court is adjourned.
[taps gavel]
Nadia was family. We'll miss her.
To Nadia.
- To Nadia. - To Nadia.
Didn't see me coming, did you?
That's because you dropped your guard for a second.
I could end this right now, just...
snap your neck.
Strangle you.
You know better than anyone how quickly this can end.
You know what I figure?
What's the hurry?
I want you to feel what you made others feel.
The pain.
The fear.
Looking over your shoulder when you eat,
take a leak,
sleeping with both eyes open.
Someone will do to you what you did to Nadia.
It's coming.