Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Stocks & Bondage

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Stocks & Bondage

Over at the Medical Examiner's, M.E. Rogers (woo hoo!) is telling Benson and Stabler that the cause of death is your everyday garden-variety "asphyxiation from a ligature around the neck." Stabler points out that "a cause isn't always an explanation," and asks Rogers if she thinks this was a case of suicide, homicide, or accident. She wants more info from the cops before she declares. Benson asks if Layla was sexually assaulted. As she and Benson gawk at the body, Rogers explains, "Assault is hard to determine. She was penetrated but there are no bodily fluids. Also, the kind of scarring and sexual injury this woman endured for years would send someone to prison. Except for one thing." Benson: "It was self-inflicted." Stabler thinks that maybe the fatal injury was self-inflicted. Rogers could see that happening, except the robe the victim was wearing is spotless. No sweat, no soiling, nothing. Stabler wonders if someone re-dressed her, like maybe a remorseful killer. Rogers points out that "sometimes family members clean up the scene."

So, over at Layla's apartment, Benson and Stabler are talking with Mrs. Briggs again. Stabler says that Layla may have been experimenting sexually, and Benson says that because of that fact, her death may have been an accident, not suicide. Mrs. Briggs is a little creepy in her shock and denial: "Layla was a good girl." Stabler says nothing that happened means she wasn't good, but if Mrs. B knows anything, she has to tell them so they can find out what happened to her daughter. Mrs. B finally gives in: "I was bringing her a cake. I didn't want to be nosy, she didn't like that. I was just gonna let myself out, and then --" Benson sits down and helps her along, "and then you walked into her room." Mrs. B continues, "You think it can't be true, when you see it. I felt dizzy. I lay down on the floor. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to cal someone, I thought I should call my minister, but I didn't want him to see her, not if I wanted a service. Then everyone would know." Benson is sympathetic to Mrs. B's embarrassment, and Mrs. B goes on, "She was wearing this weird leather thing and other things -- I don't even know what they are. I got rid of all that, put a robe over her, and called the police." Mrs. B threw all of "that filth" in a Dumpster behind Layla's building. Poor Mrs. B.

Cut to the crime lab, where a plethora of leather goods are laid out on a table. There's a zippered mask, bra, and thong; a merry widow lace-up thingie and boots, all accented in purple; and a bitchin' cat o' nine tails. Lab guy says he's sure this is the outfit Layla was wearing when she died. There were bodily fluids from Layla and a man, and semen has been sent out for DNA comparison. Stabler's all, "She had a partner during her final performance," and Benson's all curious: "So how's that work? She's got a whipping boy with her for some rough sex and he gets carried away?" Stabler thinks it could be that, or a homicide made to look like that. "So the whipper boiled over," concludes Benson. Lab Guy bursts their theoretical bubble when he tells them that nobody got whipped. There are no skin traces on the whip, it's in brand new condition, and the handle rattles when he shakes it. As the Oboe of Dramatic Revelation starts up, Stabler shows he knows about these things by saying, "That's odd. Let's open it up, see what's making that sound." Lab Guy unscrews the end of the handle and turns it over, dumping out a big pile of diamonds. Ooh, sparklies! Stabler and Benson try not to let their expressions change, but they've both got bugging eyes. Stabler steps up to the table and uses a pair of lab tweezers to pick up the cost of all four of his kids' college tuition and drool over it in the light.

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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