Blessed be Sars, Pooh,and Chels, for they sayeth snarky things.
First, a legal disclaimer: "Although inspired in part by a true incident, the following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event." Except for those RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES of the HILLSDALE COLLEGE CASE. Next comes the L & O rip-off voice-over intro. Sexually-based offenses are heinous, man. Chung-chung!
A middle-aged woman in a maid's uniform enters a hotel room somewhere in Manhattan. "Housekeeping!" she calls, and when there's no answer she starts picking up clothes of the floor, scowling, and complaining in Spanish. My Spanish isn't very good, but I'm pretty sure she's saying, "Oh great--so I get to find the dead body in this episode? They think I don't know this is the first two minutes of the show?" She opens the french doors into the bedroom part of the suite and then turns away quickly. "Oh, please excuse me, Miss," she says to the person in the bed. Hello? Maid? There's that DEAD person Dick Wolf told you to keep an eye out for. The maid does a double-take and then crosses herself and begins calling for help. Behind her we see a woman in black lingerie lying on the bed, obviously dead, because she's filmed from the sort of really unflattering thigh-maximizing camera angle used only on dead people.
"These hotel scenes suck," complains one of the forensics cops as she dusts for yet another set of fingerprints. Let's hear it from our woman on the inside! Benson and Stabler stroll on in and notice that the room's been trashed and apparently robbed. Stabler goes over to the bed, and the camera pulls in closer to the dead body's body in her teensy sheer panty-and-cami ensemble in order to point out the sex-crime element here, in case some of us had forgotten in the seventy-three seconds since the voice-over announcement in the L & O title screen that these cops specialize, oh! in sexually-based offenses. As the cops discuss how she died, the camera pans helpfully all the way across her body, from her feet, up her leg, and over her chest in order to establish that there are marks on her NECK. Cause of death: asphyxiation. Did we mention that she's wearing little black panties? Because she is. Anyway, Stabler points out the way the vic's arms are crossed over her chest, as if her killer wanted her to appear peaceful. Benson nods. "A burglar-rapist with a conscience." Whatever. The camera cuts back to the vic in her dead bikini'd glory. It's all like a grim Victoria's Secret commercial. Laetitia, what is death?