Interrogation room. Evan is telling his side to Stabler: "Larry said that Jonathan didn't feel the music. He said, 'How can you play a piece about longing when you haven't felt that.'" Stabler is way pissed. "Jonathan," he hisses, "was playing 'The Entertainer.' " Amen, Stabler. The only thing I ever felt when I had to play that goddamn song was a longing to be watching The Banana Splits instead. "It's the way I learned how to play," says Evan. Stabler asks him how many times it happened. "Once. That's it," says Evan. "Don't lie to me," says Stabler. "That was the only time," Evan replies, slowly. Cragen jumps in: "You committed a crime." "I deserve to be punished," says Evan. He still wants to testify against Holt, though. Cragen tells him he's being arraigned this afternoon. "Am I going to jail?" asks Evan. "We probably could make a deal," says Cragen. Storm clouds appear over Stabler's head.
Now it's time for L & O Ethics Agitprop. My favorite segment! In the hallway, Stabler pouts about the deal and Cragen tries to reason with him. "We watched that boy on tape . . . a victim being subjected to things no child should ever should have to suffer though." "Who are you talking about?" says Stabler, "Jonathan or Evan?" "Point taken, but I was talking about Evan," replies Cragen. "He was abused and then he turns around and does it." "Some excuse," says Stabler. Cragen points out that the abuse-begets-abuse argument has been used by countless defense lawyers, "but in this case, it also happens to be true." "He had a choice," insists Stabler. "Evan the adult had a choice, and he committed a crime, and we're cops and we'll deal with that," says Cragen. "But do you know what's eating you? It's Evan the little boy. The boy on the tape. What choice did he have?" Stabler thinks about this, and I guess we're all supposed to, too.
Judge Beck sets Evan's bail at $25,000. Evan's lawyer and ADA Hickey Mark approach the bench and tell Beck that Evan's the key witness in the Holt case. "The stress of spending the night in jail will probably affect his testimony," ADA Hickey points out. Beck agrees: "Until the testimony is completed, I'll release Evan into the custody of the people."
The custody of the people happens to be a room at the Starland Hotel with Stabler. Mmm, this is my kind of people! But the tension in the room is as thick as Stabler's biceps. "You hate me, don't you?" says Evan. "I don't hate you," says Stabler, unconvincingly. Evan sits down and tries to bring up the conversation at the diner. "That was before," Stabler cuts in. Finally he turns to face Evan. "Look, what happened to you is terrible. I look at you and I try seeing that little child being abused. Only now, um . . ." "Only now you see an abuser," Evan finishes for him. "Yeah, I do," says Stabler. "I see a guy that if you ever came near my child . . ." he points accusingly at Evan. Evan gets it. Stabler goes back to unpacking his bag and finds Twas the Night Before Christmas. He tosses it on the bed. "My kid must've put that in there. He's determined to make Christmas come every night." Evan picks up the book and opens it and begins reading it out loud. "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house." Stabler grabs it from him. "Don't!" he says. He Takes It So Personally that he's gotten it monogrammed. Evan gets the point some more. So do we, okay?