An automated photo-developing machine cranks out a snapshot of a smiling, adorable little boy: oh, how cute! And here's another one of the same kid, aww, and, there he is again . . . uh . . . in his undershirt . . . and . . . oh, shit. This isn't a commercial for Sears Portrait Studio, is it? Nope, it's just another child-molestation plot on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Oh yeah, and happy Mother's Day weekend!
Next, a photo shop clerk is flipping through the photos, showing them to Stabler and Benson. "Guy dropped these off about forty-five minutes ago," he tells the detectives. "What's his name?" asks Stabler. The clerk looks at the envelope: "Holt . . . Larry Holt." The clerk explains that he'd just recently been trained to look out for weird pervo stuff like this. Stabler holds up the last photo in the series, where the kid is sitting in his socks and skivvies. "This kid is posed. Look at the way he's looking at the camera." Benson points out that there's an open bottle of alcohol in the background, making it a clear case of endangering the welfare of a child, but that's all that they can arrest the photographer on. "We're going to have a hard time proving this is child porn," she says. She's right. All you'd have to do is stick this kid in a big flower pot, and you'd have a photo suitable for an Anne Geddes calendar. Which is creepy enough as it is. Ain't no one going to dress up my baby like a cupcake.
Anyway. Stabler is saying, "Yeah, but my gut feeling tells me this is the tip of the iceberg. Guy gets one whiff of us, he's going to clean out everything." "So let's follow him for a few weeks, and don't waft his way," says Benson. Just then the door to the shop opens and an older balding guy walks in. The clerk gives the detectives a look like, Dude! Here comes pervo! But we would have figured this out soon enough, because this Holt guy looks freakish. He's so pale and waxy and unblinking and creepy-looking you'd think he lurched straight out of the "Syphilitics Of Bedlam, 1731" diorama at Madame Tussaud's. And yet he can somehow smell the tension and suspicion in the photo shop over the scent of his own preservatives. "What's going on here?" he asks. Stabler mutters to Benson, "So much for not wafting his way," and turns to Holt. "These your photos?" Stabler asks. "Yes," says Holt. Stabler flashes his badge. Holt expresses waxen shock.
Cue the opening credits. Then the commericials. This feeling of discomfort has been brought to you by Lexus.