The scene: a New York City subway platform during rush hour. Guest star Nicole Sullivan from Mad TV comes down the stairs talking on a cell phone, looking harried and distracted. Viewers everywhere start waving their arms trying to get her attention: "Nicole!" they cry. "Wrong show!" But she doesn't yet realize she's taken a wrong turn at Talk to Me and has now wandered into a nasty television neighborhood. Here, in the gritty tunnels of the city, there is no sketch comedy, and we fear for Nicole as she gets on the train. She swigs her coffee and groans as commuters shove past her to board and get off at the next stop. Cut to a shot of the train moving through the tunnel. Cut to a shot of Nicole's legs, and in the foreground we see a man's hand extending a retractable knife. Oh no! It's Psychosexual Image Theatre! We cringe, and then the knife man rushes Nicole and slams her against the door at the back of the car. He's got a hooded sweatshirt on and he hisses, "Open your mouth and I'll slit your throat, bitch!" Scary, scary scene showing Nicole pressed up against the window while the man in the hooded sweatshirt takes her by force. Cut to shots of commuters acting way more concerned with COUNTING THE PARTICLES IN THE AIR IN FRONT OF THEM than with what's happening to Nicole. What, have they all decided that she's just not a special enough victim?!!? Just as the train pulls into the station, Hooded Sweatshirt Guy gets off her and shoves his way out through the doors. Nicole slumps to the floor of the train in shock. People suck.
Opening credits. Pictures of missing kids. Dead prostitutes. Hell, the whole world sucks.
At the station, Cap'n Cragen is briefing the SVU on the case. This is such a big case that nobody's going to mess with a bunch of that bureaucratic expository dialogue today! Everyone says one line and hustles out the door. Jeffries says hers: "He carries a box cutter, waits till the train is almost at the station, and boom -- he's gone." Munch: "And no one says, 'How typical.'" Stabler: "Seven times in six months." Benson: "That makes it three times this month." Whoosh! They fly out of the station, leaving clouds of dust and clichés.
As they cross the police barriers set up outside a subway entrance, Jeffries asks Munch what's wrong. "If you must know, Monique," says Munch. "Today's my wedding anniversary." "Ooh, sorry!" says Jeffries. "Which one?" "Exactly," says Munch. Aw, Munch. See if Briscoe wants come over and play Ex-Wife Trading Cards. Down on the platform, Jeffries and Munch speak with transit authorities, who tell them that the crime occurred a few stops back. "What, it took her that long to find a transit cop?" remarks Jeffries. Mr. Transit Cop looks around nervously and doesn't have an answer. "Hey! Who are you?" he asks a reporter writing things down in a notebook. The reporter introduces himself as Nick Gantzner, and he's with the Post. "We're all workin' together to get this guy," he says. "And I been watching that NYPD Blue so's I know how to sound all streetwise talkin' wit youse cops." Well, practically. "Yeah, right," says Munch. Munch and Jeffries step into the train car which has been secured as a crime scene. Munch exchanges the usual nasty complaining bitchy banter with the transit evidence cop, which is to say he Gets His Munch On. The evidence cop has turned up nothing except for the coffee cup that Nicole was drinking from when she was attacked. Starbucks decided to pass on doing a product placement here. Hmm, wonder why.