22x02 - Ballad of Dwight and Irena

In the criminal justice system,

sexually based offenses

are considered especially heinous.

In New York City, the dedicated detectives

who investigate these vicious felonies

are members of an elite squad

known as the Special Victims Unit.

These are their stories.

[DRAMATIC STING]

Your husband, Leon, is getting paroled tomorrow.

♪ ♪ If Leon came back, you could be in a grave.

And that little boy would be alone.

- Sergeant Fin.

- Andre.

Think fast.

My man, if you're ever

scared about anything,

call me.

Andre.

Slow down.

[DRAMATIC STING]

You didn't know your husband, Leon, was getting paroled?

Not until Sergeant Tutuola told me.

And that's when you let him know Leon was reaching out to you through your son, Andre?

Probably.

And isn't that when you asked him not to report it to Leon's parole officer?

[SOFT DRAMATIC MUSIC]

What I remember...

Mr. Tutuola told me it was a violation.

He'd have to report it and Leon would go back to prison.

Mrs. Fuller, are you saying under oath that you never asked Sergeant Tutuola to refrain from going to Leon's PO?

Counselor, the law is clear.

Sergeant Tutuola was obligated to report.

Isn't it true you wanted Leon out on parole?

So he'd have to pay child support?

[SCOFFS]

What I-I didn't want...

I didn't want my son to watch his father get shot and bleed out on the kitchen floor.

Come on, Leon.

Stop.

- [INDISTINCT CHATTER]

- Don't do it!

- Come on.

- [GUNSHOT]

- [ALL YELPING]

- [CRIES]

[TENSE MUSIC]

♪ ♪ _ [GRUNTING]

[BOTH BREATHING HEAVILY]

Hoo!

[PANTING]

[INHALES]

[EXHALES]

Well, I-I've been thinking about that since the Mason-Dixon Line, darling.

[SIGHS]

What?

Just wish you would've called, Dwight.

Before just showing up?

Oh, here we go.

I drive hours straight with a case of Popov under my arm, a princess gown for my daughter.

No.

No, that was... that was sweet.

Maybe next time you could bring something for Will too?

He ain't my kid.

[DOOR OPENS]

Mom?

I'm hungry.

I'll be right out, sweetie.

I'll put the fruit tarts in the toaster, Ma.

The hell are you doing?

Shut the damn door.

Kid's a fruit tart himself.

Leave him alone.

Hey.

How about I make us some bacon and eggs?

You know what?

We should get married.

The way you bust my balls, might as well be my wife.

[LAUGHS]

Was that a proposal?

[SOFT UNEASY MUSIC]

♪ ♪ [EGGS SIZZLING]

- More?

- Ow!

- You little thief.

- Guys, what's going on?

He ate all my damn bacon.

I don't even eat bacon.

I'm a vegan.

Well, your kid's a liar and a cry baby.

Ow!

I'm not crying.

Just let him go.

I'll make more.

Boy, you don't toughen up, this world will run right over you.

Dwight!

How 'bout some more coffee?

It's about time.

Well, how about you?

You want some?

I don't drink coffee, Daddy.

Oh, you don't.

Since when?

♪ ♪ I'm so sorry.

Hang in there, Fin.

What... five hours and they're still deposing him?

This is not right.

He saves Andre's life and Joelle sues him?

She's in a long-term abusive relationship.

She's identifying with her abuser.

Um, yeah, I know.

But Fin is the last man who deserves this.

Hey, is it okay if I take a run up to Fort George?

- Do you wanna tell me why?

- A nurse called from I.S.

.

A boy came in with bruising.

- What'd the kid tell her?

- He was evasive.

She called the mom and overheard a domestic situation.

Okay, a DV should go to the local precinct.

There's a daughter in the apartment.

The nurse is worried about sexual abuse.

Okay.

Uh, Rollins, go with.

And if it sounds like a situation, then you wait for backup.

Ugh, she still has me on a short leash.

It's not you.

Four years ago, we lost a good man on a DV call.

Chief Dodds's son.

She's never forgiven herself.

[SOMBER MUSIC]

♪ ♪ - [KNOCKING]

- NYPD, open up please.

She's home.

I saw that jerk leave without her.

Go ahead.

What... what jerk?

- Look...

- [KEYS JANGLING]

Leave me out of this.

[DRAMATIC MUSIC]

I got her.

♪ ♪ All clear.

Place is empty.

I got a pulse.

Call it in.

SVU Portable to Central, we need a bus to Naval Avenue for unconscious female hit in the head...

[DRAMATIC MUSIC]

♪ ♪ Irena Nowak, her son Will is from her ex.

And she's got a six-year-old with her trucker boyfriend, Dwight Wagner.

He's a good old boy.

He came in all hopped up.

I sent him downstairs to vape.

- What about the kids?

- The school's holding them.

Okay.

Good.

Kat, see if you can get any more out of Will.

Rollins, you take Dwight.

So you don't remember everything but you think that you fainted?

I was rushing to pick up the kids.

Mm-hmm.

So, Irena, you have a...

you have a black eye and, some bruising on your arm.

Uh, I'm supposed to be on the road already.

I do long hauls for a freight broker.

But Irena called, so I came right away.

So you and she don't live together?

No, I live in West Virginia.

Irena and I, we see each other when I pass through.

Were you two in a fight before you left?

We got a call that there was a disturbance.

People here need to mind their business.

- Oh.

- You know back home, it's legal to beat your wife on Sunday.

You can look that up.

We weren't fighting.

Okay.

Do you remember getting a call from Will's school?

Will, how is he?

Where is he?

Well, the school nurse called and said that Will also had bruising on his arm.

Do you know anything about that?

These schools overreact.

Boys tussle.

So do you know how it happened?

Well, I can guess.

Willy's a runt.

The other kids push him around.

I try to teach him how to fend for himself.

Teach him how?

[TENSE MUSIC]

Look.

I know what you're getting at.

But hand to God, I've never hurt that boy.

I fell.

Anyway, it doesn't matter.

Dwight'll be gone soon.

My kids...

I-I need...

I need to get my kids.

No, no, your kids are at school with a detective.

♪ ♪ I'm a good mother.

I would never let anything happen to either of them.

Will always has a story.

He fell off the monkey bars.

He tripped.

And you didn't believe him?

Not today.

After I called his mother, I tried his father.

He said Irena's boyfriend bullies Will.

I should have called before.

So this has been going on for a while?

Worse now with the pandemic.

Not just him.

Lots of these kids stuck at home, stressed, no one to look out for them except the ones doing the abusing.

It was dumb.

These boys on the subway wanted my MetroCard.

I said no, so they started wailing on me.

That used to happen to me a lot.

So it's just you, your mom, and your sister at home?

Most of the time.

Except when Dwight stays over.

You and Dwight get along?

I don't like it when he yells at my mom.

Was he yelling at her today?

- Will!

- Dad.

How you doing, buddy?

Marc Vargas, with the one-one-seven.

Let me take Will off your hands.

Kat Tamin, SVU.

We're almost done.

I get it, but I don't want my boy being dragged into this.

Will, go play with your sister.

[SIGHS]

So I guess Dwight's back in town?

I'm not just saying this 'cause I'm her ex.

The guy has anger management issues.

Your son told me that he got mugged.

I'll talk to him and fill you in.

I should've fought harder for custody.

Irena and Dwight...

[SIGHS]

Takes two to tango, and they've tangoed for years.

A son with bruises, a mother with a black eye, and the only one accusing the boyfriend is the ex-husband.

Will and Irena are afraid.

Does... the boyfriend, Dwight, does he have a record?

A lot of mis-ds including assault.

On Irena?

Bar fight.

West Virginia.

- That is no help.

- Hold up.

The local precinct responded three times to neighbor complaints when Dwight was in town.

Shouting, breaking glass.

And when the cops showed up?

Well, she stood by her man but that's par for the course.

So she won't file a complaint?

[SIGHS]

Can you get her to request a restraining order?

- I can try.

- [PHONE VIBRATING]

But she will be afraid, rightly so, that Dwight will view that as an escalation.

- Dwight doesn't live here, right?

- No.

Best bet, find a way to get him on the road.

Carisi.

Dwight is staying an extra day to care of me.

He's out getting Aspirin now.

Okay.

I-I understand that, Irena.

But... but it's not just you, that I'm worried about.

My children?

I take care of them.

And Dwight would never hurt LeAnn.

What about Will?

Of course not.

I-I meant to say that.

I'm just still not all here.

[TENSE MUSIC]

In fact, the doctor wants me to take it easy, and my ex is about to bring the kids back so...

I understand but, you know, maybe, um, the kids could stay with your ex-husband tonight.

I think that would be easier for you.

Marc's new wife, she didn't love that idea.

♪ ♪ - Well, then...

- We're fine.

We're all gonna be fine.

My dad was upset.

So I ran to him.

You weren't afraid of your dad?

No.

Not even when he put a knife to your throat?

Daddy wouldn't hurt me.

Why'd you have to shoot him, Sergeant Tutuola?

♪ ♪ Checking in.

Hey.

How'd it go?

Joelle claims she's worried about Andre but then she made him testify.

She's got her eyes on the prize.

Fin, you and I both know that you did what you had to do that night.

Everything is being looked at through a different prism now.

It is what it is.

These lawsuits, these depositions... don't underestimate how painful and how exhausting they can be.

You gotta take care of yourself, Fin.

There's more to life than this job.

Trust me.

You sound like Phoebe.

How's that going?

About the only good thing to come out of this pandemic.

Hey, I just got an alert.

Irena's building.

Okay, Kat.

You and I will go up.

I'll go.

I mean, I'm still on the job, right?

[TENSE DRAMATIC MUSIC]

- Hey.

- Hey, Kat.

EMTs just called it.

- Is she gone?

- "She"?

♪ ♪ You mean he?

What happened?

He was in the tub with that hair dryer still plugged into the wall.

Full cardiac arrest.

Who called it in?

Dead guy's girlfriend.

She and her daughter are with the super's family.

♪ ♪ So Irena's abusive boyfriend ends up electrocuted by a hair dryer in the bath tub?

Kicking it old school.

And the ME confirms cause.

It was an old model blow dryer.

Pre-war building with faulty wiring, manner not yet determined.

[GROANS]

Do we think this was an accident?

Okay...

What did she say on the way in?

Only that her ex-husband, the cop, told her to wait for her lawyer.

Great.

The kids with her?

LeAnn was there.

Son was with the ex.

Come up with Kat.

Bring him here.

Hey.

Irena's lawyer is...

Tommy Calabrese.

Formerly with the PBA.

DA's office here already?

I hope this isn't a rush to judgment.

[DOOR OPENS]

So it's pretty clear that we're looking at a tragic accident.

Okay.

We just...

Just need to hear from Irena.

That's right.

It was an accident.

[DOOR SHUTS]

Okay.

[SIGHS]

So, uh, Irena, we know...

- That you called .

- Mm-hmm.

You found him?

Mm-hmm.

Dwight had been in the tub a while.

LeAnn needed to pee.

I knocked, there was no answer, so I went in.

What did you see?

He... he was just lying there.

Uh, I saw the hair dryer.

It must have fallen in.

Fallen in from where?

It's usually on a shelf, above the sink.

Do you usually keep it plugged in, turned on?

She told you what she saw.

Okay.

Irena...

And then what did you do next?

Uh...

I didn't know what to do.

Um, I was afraid to touch him.

And I didn't want LeAnn to see so I closed the door and called .

And what about Will?

You told me yesterday when we were talking that your ex-husband was dropping off LeAnn and Will.

[SOMBER MUSIC]

Well, I, um...

I told Marc that you were nervous about Dwight staying with Will so he kept him at his house overnight.

♪ ♪ [WATER RUNNING]

Mister?

When can I see my mom?

Soon.

You, uh... you doing okay in here?

- I got this, Mr. Carisi.

- I'm hungry.

We can get you some, uh...

Some pizza?

Can I get a hot dog?

Yeah, sure.

We could do that.

How about two?

Mm-hmm.

Will doesn't like hot dogs.

Last night I asked him for one but he said they have to kill cows to make them.

Oh.

So, uh, your brother made dinner last night?

Uh-huh.

Veggie burgers.

Ugh.

Right before Daddy had his accident.

♪ ♪ [SIGHS]

And you're sure that she meant last night?

- Yeah, pretty sure.

- Oh.

Can I take LeAnn home now?

We still have some things to sort out.

Will.

Will!

- Mom!

- What's he doing here?

He doesn't know anything about this.

Right.

Um...

Just...

He's gonna have to tell us that.

Let's go have a seat.

Officer Vargas, I appreciate you coming in.

Kat, take them to the Interview Room.

Fin, you have a minute?

Come on, this way.

My dad picked me and LeAnn up.

You were there.

You saw.

I did.

And he took you back to his house?

Both kids.

My wife, Carmen, was not too happy about it so I drove the girl back to the apartment.

LeAnn but not Will?

I wanted to go with her.

But Dad wouldn't let me.

'Cause of Dwight.

I get it.

So you had dinner with your step-mom?

Sergeant, what's this about?

- You have veggie burgers?

- Yeah.

How'd you know that?

Your little sister like 'em?

Will was with me.

And we're done here.

Look, man, relax.

We're both cops here.

You already knew we were gonna check the traffic cams and your cell.

So you might as well just tell us right now.

Did Irena call you when she found Dwight?

[SIGHS]

She was in a panic.

She needed advice.

And she needed you to come get Will?

- Dad.

- Shut up, son.

This is how you treat a brother officer?

No wonder you got lawsuits against you.

Will, let's go.

No.

Dad!

- Now.

- Dad, ow!

- Will.

- Stop.

- Shut up.

- Dad, stop!

[SHAKY GASP]

I was there.

[DRAMATIC MUSIC]

And I did it.

They were arguing.

Mom was crying.

He was gonna hurt her again.

I know he was.

I wouldn't let that happen.

I said shut up.

How dumb are you?

♪ ♪ You guys played me.

I knew I should've brought a lawyer.

Not another word till he gets one.

- I was afraid of this.

- [SIGHS]

Will has been a punching bag his whole life.

He finally hit back.

♪ ♪ I told you Will wasn't in the house.

We know you called Marc, to get your son out of the house before you called the police.

Irena's just been through a trauma.

- She's confused.

- And we understand that.

So... why don't, um, Irena, let's just...

[BREATHES DEEPLY]

Let's just take a breath and start over, okay?

Will was home, when Dwight died.

Okay.

Yes.

So were they fighting?

[SCOFFS]

Neighbors tell you that?

Like Dwight says, they should mind their own business.

So Will was defending you.

Is that what Will is saying?

I told you I walked in and Dwight was dead.

It must've been an accident.

Thing is, Will told us he was there, that he threw the dryer into the tub.

No, no.

He's trying to protect me...

- Irena, you need to stop talking now.

- Protect you from what, Irena?

- Shush.

- Protect you from what?

- Do you have a confession from the boy?

- Yes.

And we need corroboration, so Irena needs to tell us...

No, she doesn't!

Is she under arrest?

No, but if you wanna help your son...

Then I'm taking her and LeAnn home.

- You need to do that.

- I need to talk to Will.

- Is he gonna be okay?

- You can talk to him later.

We are going home.

[SNAPS]

Now.

[BREATHING HEAVILY]

[WHISPERING]

Irena, listen to me.

♪ ♪ Thanks, Pippa.

Okay.

Pippa Cox has agreed to defend Will.

She's been doing child defense work - since I don't...

- Yeah, since her husband went to prison for child p0rn?

- She's a good lawyer.

- Yeah, well, Will's gonna need one.

Carisi, are you gonna charge this kid?

I'm sorry.

Do I have a choice?

- He just confessed.

- He's .

He was bullied by Dwight.

Self-defense maybe.

Not unless he was threatened in the moment.

And his mother's gotta confirm that.

She's still saying it was an accident.

And that is coming from her ex-husband and her lawyer.

And in case you haven't noticed, Irena does what men in her life tell her to do.

If you ask me, she did it and she's letting her son take the fall.

I'm due back in my deposition.

[HUFFS]

Listen, I...

I don't wanna charge Will.

But something's gotta give here.

Then give us a warrant for the cell phone, computer, devices.

Fine.

Not a problem.

What about the forensics in the bathroom?

Useless!

Everybody's fingerprints are everywhere.

And nobody is telling us the truth.

- Except LeAnn.

- Who's six.

We can only talk to her with her mother in the room.

Well, please.

Let's try that.

Because unless you get me something exculpatory, right now, Will is gonna take the whole weight.

[SIGHS]

The lawyer told me you can go through our stuff but I can't talk to you.

Okay, so does Will have a computer?

That's his study area.

His backpack.

Go ahead.

And we'll also need your cell.

LeAnn...

You know, why don't you show Officer Tamin your bedroom?

No, I'm sorry, the lawyer told me not to leave her alone with either of you.

Okay.

The three of you go then.

I'll stay here and supervise.

So this is your room, LeAnn?

It's nice.

Will has the top bunk.

When Daddy's not here, I get to sleep with my mom.

Is Will gonna be okay?

I hope so.

If I were to ask LeAnn about what happened that night, you'd want her to tell the truth, right?

Um, of course.

My mom says to always tell the truth.

That's 'cause she's a good mom.

You won't get mad if I say what happened to Daddy?

No, no, no.

Daddy's in heaven.

Like we talked about.

That's right.

God's not mad at him, even though he was yelling.

Yelling at who?

The lawyer said we shouldn't..

I remember.

You said not to tell anyone, Mommy.

But he was yelling at you and Will in the bathroom, right before he had his accident.

[SOFT DRAMATIC MUSIC]

♪ ♪ [KNOCK AT DOOR]

[DOOR OPENING]

Excuse me, Mr.

Carisi?

They said you're the lawyer on Dwight Wagner's case?

Yes.

How can I help you?

I'm Sherry, his wife.

Drove straight up from Wayne county hoping someone would tell me who murdered him.

Um... we're... please, take a seat.

We're still...

we're still piecing that together, ma'am.

I 't know what they've been saying about him.

But he was a good man.

This baby...

[SNIFFLES]

Will never get to meet his daddy.

[PHONE VIBRATING]

Sorry.

Excuse me.

Rollins.

Okay.

Slow down.

It's inadmissible.

LeAnn's six.

She doesn't know the difference between truth and make believe.

Well, she knew her mother told her to lie.

I didn't want them to put Will in jail.

Irena, were you in the bathroom with Will and Dwight?

You still have a confession from the boy?

He hasn't recanted?

Then what are we doing here?

Will's story and LeAnn's story don't match up.

We need Irena to tell us what actually happened.

The kid did it.

Or it was an accident.

And forgive me for saying this, but we're all better off now that Dwight is gone.

All, huh?

Does that include his grieving, pregnant widow in West Virginia?

[TENSE MUSIC]

Sherry?

Dwight told me they broke up years ago.

Huh.

Well, sorry.

I thought you must have known.

Guess I do now.

Well, whatever she's saying, it's common law at most.

- Dwight would never commit...

- Irena!

Irena, Dwight was a liar.

He lied to you.

He abused you.

He abused your son!

I understand that you were scared of him.

- So if there's anything...

- Enough, Captain!

All right, there's no mitigating circumstances - because there's nothing to mitigate.

- Is that right, Irena?

Or did Mr.

Calabrese convince you to let your son do the time?

No, no, he won't go to jail.

He's .

- Irena...

- Hold on, is...

Is that what you told her?

Is that why she's not talking?

- You're forcing my hand.

- Wait, what does he mean?


He's bluffing.

Don't worry.

All right.

You have left me no other choice.

I will be charging Will as an adult.

♪ ♪ He's barely .

You're gonna charge him as an adult?

This was clearly self-defense.

Electrocuting a naked man in a bathtub?

Dwight was no saint but I don't see imminent danger.

But if Will tells me what really happened that night, I would be more than happy to redirect this to juvenile court.

Where he can still be locked up till he's ?

Dwight was terrorizing Will that night.

Okay.

Let's say that's true.

It's a small apartment.

Your mother must have heard something.

No.

It wasn't "loud" loud.

Will, your sister says it was.

She said all three of you were in the bathroom arguing.

LeAnn's a little girl.

She gets days confused.

Will, if your mom was there with you, - it's okay to say that.

- My mom wasn't there.

I swear.

Oh...

okay.

How about I give you two the room?

Will...

I know you're worried about your mom.

But sooner or later, the truth is going to come out.

This is not your responsibility.

- You're just a kid.

- My mom wasn't there.

Just me.

[SIGHS]

LeAnn needed to use the bathroom.

I went in to tell Dwight.

He told me to shut up.

He said she could use the kitchen sink.

He said he'd deal with me and my mom later.

[SOFT DRAMATIC MUSIC]

♪ ♪ I saw the hair dryer.

I saw him in the tub.

I guess I just snapped.

He was in the tub, Will?

Yeah, I just told you.

[WHISPERS]

Okay.

[TALKING]

He sticks to that story, there goes self-defense.

♪ ♪ [SIGHS]

The victim, Dwight Wagner, died of cardiac arrest due to electrocution caused by a hair dryer in his bathtub.

In your experience, is there any way that his death could've been an accident?

You mean was he blow-drying his hair while taking a bath?

That would be highly unlikely given the room geography and tub position.

Geography and position.

His head was at the farthest end of the tub, the dryer at his feet, and the outlet four feet from there.

Was there any chance that he was standing up?

There are no signs of bruising or the body falling.

So he was lying in the tub when he was electrocuted?

In my opinion, yes.

Thank you, doctor.

Dr.

Truman, you weren't in the bathroom at the time of the fatal incident, were you?

Me?

No, of course not.

The prosecutor wants this jury to believe that because Mr. Wagner was in the tub, Will was not in any danger.

In your opinion, could a ' ", pound man seem threatening to a -year-old boy?

- Objection.

Speculation.

- I'll rephrase.

You can't know if Will did feel threatened.

I can't know what he felt.

I only know the physical and forensic reality of a dead man in a tub.

Irena called, said there had been an accident, that Dwight was dead, that I had to get Will out of the house.

And, um, what did you take that to mean?

That Will was somehow involved.

You assumed - that Will had killed Dwight?

- Yes.

But I knew it was self-defense.

But you didn't tell that to the cops.

- No.

- In fact,

didn't you drive to the apartment and get Will out of there?

And then tell the police that Will wasn't there when Dwight was killed?

I-I... didn't know what happened.

I-I was just worried about my son.

Mr.

Vargas, as a police officer, if somebody lies to you, instead of claiming self-defense, what does that tell you?

What do you want me to say?

Nothing further.

Officer Vargas, did you know your son had been bullied by Dwight Wagner?

I was aware.

I should have intervened sooner.

I blame myself.

Do you believe Will was afraid of Dwight?

- Terrified.

- Afraid for his life?

Objection.

Again, calls for speculation.

Sustained.

Mr. Vargas, do you think your son is capable of murder?

No.

He's a good kid.

He'd never do anything to harm another human being, unless he was absolutely forced to.

[SOFT DRAMATIC MUSIC]

Thank you.

[FOOTSTEPS]

[DOOR OPENS]

Irena.

There you are.

[DOOR CLOSES]

Do you know when they'll call me to testify?

It's been hours.

I-I don't know.

But, um...

But your ex-husband just got off the stand.

Did he blame me?

The whole time we were married, any time anything went wrong, it was always my fault.

[BREATHING SHAKILY]

If... if I...

if I tried to explain, it didn't matter.

He never listened to me.

♪ ♪ He was right to blame me.

I should have known better.

[SIGHS]

Irena...

I grew up in a house where someone got beaten every single day.

I swore I wouldn't let that happen to my kids.

♪ ♪ I don't know why Leon thought that.

I was not involved with Joelle.

My only concern was Andre,

a young boy trying to protect his mom.

So on the night of Leon's murder...

I'm sorry, death...

you came to his home.

You inserted yourself in their domestic situation.

Andre, frightened that you were going to hurt his father, rushed to his dad's side, right?

No.

Leon called him to use him as a shield.

Leon would've never hurt Andre.

He... he loved him.

It doesn't matter.

I've seen this so many times before.

A man in that state, he'll take his wife and his kid down.

If he can't have you, nobody can.

There's no way he was gonna let the two of you walk out of there.

Will asked Dwight to get out of the bathroom.

I heard Dwight calling Will names and threatening him.

How so?

Saying Will was gonna pay, that he'd had enough.

I could hear splashing, Will saying, "Stay away." What did you think was happening?

I was sure Dwight was getting out of the tub to attack Will.

But you didn't go in, try to stop it?

By the time I opened the door, it was too late.

Dwight was dead.

Can you tell the jury why you didn't call right away?

I was sure it was self-defense but...

I was afraid of...

Of this.

I should have told the truth from the beginning.

I'm sorry.

Ms. Nowak, when you went into the bathroom, what did you see?

Dwight was in the tub, dead.

Will was in shock.

Did you see the hair dryer?

I saw the cord.

It was plugged in and off the shelf I keep it on.

Okay, so Will had to reach for the hair dryer.

He had to take it off the shelf.

He had to unwind the cord.

And he had to plug it in, - right?

- Yes.

And all of that would've taken time...

more than enough time for Dwight to get out of the tub and attack Will, if...

That's really what Dwight intended to do.

But there was no sign of a struggle.

Dwight was lying, submerged, his head on the far side of the tub.

I don't remember.

Do you remember thinking that your son had murdered Dwight?

Objection!

I'll allow it.

You may answer the question, Ms. Nowak.

[DRAMATIC MUSIC]

Oh, are you looking at... at your lawyer?

Maybe... maybe look at your son.

♪ ♪ I didn't know what to think.

I was trying to protect him.

Well, from what?

- From being charged with murder?

- My son is innocent.

He shouldn't even be sitting there.

Mom, stop!

[WHISPERS]

Sit down.

He didn't kill Dwight.

Well, how do you know that, Ms. Nowak?

Because I did!

♪ ♪ Irena breaks down on the stand.

Is she trying to cause a mistrial?

I don't think that that's what's going on here.

- Maybe Pippa Cox coached her into it.

- I was watching Pippa.

She was more shocked than you are.

So Will's been covering for her from the start.

- Huh?

- He has been trying to protect his mother his entire life.

First from the ex-husband.

Then from Dwight.

And now...

Now from you.

My client was in a fragile state of mind.

The stress of seeing her son at the defense table...

Are you saying that she perjured herself on the stand?

- No, I am not saying that.

- How about you let Irena tell us what happened that night.

[DRAMATIC MUISC]

♪ ♪ LeAnn needed to use the bathroom.

Will went in first.

Dwight started yelling.

Okay.

What did you see?

Dwight in the tub.

My son holding the hair dryer.

And Dwight...

Dwight was taunting him, saying he didn't have the nerve to drop it.

That when he finished his bath, he'd take care of me and Will, that we'd be sorry.

Okay, Irena.

And what happened next?

Will said that he'd never let anyone hurt me again, that he'd had enough, that he was gonna take care of the family.

I couldn't let him do it.

So I did.

♪ ♪ Did you think, in that moment, that Dwight was about to hurt you, or your son?

I thought in that moment that if I waited for Dwight to get out of the tub, it would be too late.

Clearly self-defense.

We're not taking a plea.

And if you take it to trial, we will put Will on the stand, and he will swear that he did it.

No.

No, no, he won't.

Not after I talk to him.

Irena, they don't have a case.

We're good.

And we're going, - Now.

- No, no.

[SIGHS]

Jesus, how stupid are you?

They are handing you and your son a Get Out of Jail Free card.

- Just take it and thank me.

- Do you always talk to women like that?

Excuse me, "Captain." This is between my client and I.

What if I don't want to be your client anymore?

Can I fire him?

- Yes!

- Yes, you can.

I need the room.

I need to tell Irena what's good for her.

No, no.

I am done listening to you.

I can't take it anymore.

You are making a big mistake.

Get out!

Get out!

Get out now!

You heard her.

Counselor.

♪ ♪ Before you say another word, Irena, we need to get you a new lawyer.

Mm-hmm.

♪ ♪ That night,

I saw my son about to give up his life for me.

I couldn't let that happen.

I took the dryer out of his hand.

Dwight had that... that look, and I knew if I didn't stop him, there was gonna be hell to pay.

I threw the dryer in.

My son was just trying to protect me.

I'm the one who should've been protecting him.

Counselor?

Your Honor, given the traumatic circumstances, the state has no interest in pursuing charges against Will Vargas, and we will accept a guilty plea of criminally negligent homicide from Ms. Nowak.

And how do you plead, Ms. Nowak?

I'm guilty, Your Honor.

♪ ♪ Having reviewed all of the evidence, I accept the guilty verdict, and sentence Ms. Nowak to a year in prison on the condition that she and her family

start getting psychological help.

A year?

A year?

That's all?

Ma'am, calm down please.

What?

She killed him.

She killed the father of my baby.

- Officers, remove her please, gently.

- You killed him.

You killed my Dwight.

You killed my husband!

[THUDDING]

No, no!

[DRAMATIC MUSIC INTENSIFIES]

♪ ♪ The city settled with Joelle for million.

Seriously.

The attorney said something about "optics." Leon had a knife to his son's throat.

It was a good shooting.

Look, if I could do it all over again, the minute Leon violated his parole, I would have turned him in.

Hindsight's / , Fin.

It used to be so simple, you know?

Just take down the bad guys.

Now the lines are blurred, and half the city looking at us like we're the bad guys.

It was an impossible summer.

Things are gonna calm down.

Yeah.

I don't see that happening.

The way that NYPD handled the demonstrators...

We were under attack.

What do you want us to do?

Sit there and take it?

We're supposed to deescalate.

We're supposed to be aware of our bias, not over-react.

Like shoot a man in front of his son?

[SOMBER MUSIC]

Fin...

Look, growing up in the hood, the way the cops treated us, I never trusted 'em.

That's why I joined the force: to try to make a change.

Then I worked my way over to SVU 'cause there's no gray area when you're taking out rapists and pedophiles.

The last thing I wanted to be is another trigger-happy cop that kills a Black man.

And here I am.

♪ ♪