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Strange Beauty - Recap

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The episode begins with a girl on the phone telling someone that she is scared and wants to go home. She then enters a car rental service with a man sitting at a counter; the whole thing is then seen through security camera footage. The girl is told to go out by the man and as she stands outside the shop, a cab comes and stops near her and a hooded man comes out, the girl sees this and makes a run for it with the hooded man giving chase. It is then seen through the camera that the girl is being dragged by the hooded man into the cab. The cab then drives away, with the man in the rental service not noticing any of this. Meanwhile, Rollins introduces her previous captain Sam Reynolds to Fin and Nick who are playing pool.

Sam and Rollins are then left to play pool, while the other two guys leave. Sam then asks Rollins how she is doing in New York. He then in the middle of the conversation goes to kiss her and she reminds him that he is married. He then shows her his empty ring finger, telling her he is separated. Rollins then gets out of the bar to catch some fresh air. Just as she is standing outside, she sees a cab drive by with a girl against the glass of the window, shrieking for help. She immediately runs after the cab, while calling for backup. She in the end is unable to keep up, and the cab drives out of vision. The captain is later informed that the cab was reported stolen. The cab has now turned up an hour ago. Nick in the meanwhile informs the team that a desperate mother had called the cops, telling them that their daughter never came home.

The description of the girl matches the one Rollins has given. The captain tells Rollins to go and talk to the girl’s mother. Later Olivia and Rollins are informed by the girl’s mother that, Nina her daughter has been in and out of the house for the past one year. Nina called her mother last night but she doesn’t know who her daughter was with. She had called her mother and sounded like a scared kid. Nina told her mother that she was feeling out of control. Nina is seemingly going through a phase, and has recently been into piercings and tattoos. Later Rollins confirms to Olivia that, Nina is the one she saw screaming in the back of the cab. Meanwhile, Fin and Nick ask some boys on the street about Nina. One of the boys tells them about some guy Pablo, who she was seeing. The guys then catch hold of Pablo having sex with girl, and ask about Nina. The girl in anger asks him who Nina is.

Pablo tells the guys that he broke up with Nina 3 months ago, as she was bad news. He then tells them that she had come to him the previous night saying she felt scared. He says he did not entertain her, and instead send her packing. Nick and Fin then question the guy at the car rental service. He tells them that he had told Nina to call if she needed a car. He tells them that he saw cab pull up in front of the agency, and tells them that Nina must have left in the cab. The team then checks out security footage from the agency. They in the footage see a white male in a hooded shirt, dragging Nina into the cab. Olivia and Rollins are then shown a young woman’s left leg freshly severed that has just been brought in. The leg has an octopus tattoo on the ankle, just like Nina’s mother had described there was on Nina’s leg. The leg was possibly severed with a surgical saw.

There is also evidence that suggests Nina could have been alive when her leg was severed. The leg was reeled in by a fisherman from the Gowanus Canal. Olivia finds it odd as the canal is too polluted to fish in. Rollins and Fin then question the fisherman about the leg. He then tells them that he had found a leg 11 years ago, and then too he had reported it. Not much was done that time as the incident happened just 3 days before 9/11. Nick and Olivia then find out that the fisherman was telling the truth. The 11 year old severed leg was also a female leg, severed in a similar fashion to Nina’s. They are also informed that the same aesthetic was administered for severing both legs. Nick and Olivia then get information that the woman, whose leg was found 11 years ago, is still alive. They then meet the woman, and are informed that she let someone do it to her, in return for $25000.

She tells them she desperately needed the money. She tells them she was too drugged to recognize who did it to her. She tells them that the deed was done in the Place Hotel, and that’s all she remembers. The team is then informed that a body has turned up in the Gowanus Canal. Olivia and Rollins then reach the spot and find that it’s Nina’s body. Later it is found out that Nina’s cause of death was heart failure from an overdose of the anesthetic. Rollins and Olivia are also shown that Nina had an ear pointing surgery done a while ago. The two come to the conclusion that from the tattoo, the piercing, and the ear pointing, the next level was probably amputation. They conclude that whoever did this to Nina was from the same world. They then track down the tattoo artist. The owner of the tattoo parlor named Yashimi recognizes the tattoo on Nina’s arm from a photograph. He tells Fin and Rollins that the tattoo was his favorite. He tells them that he saw Nina 6 months ago.

He then gives them a lead about who might have done the elf ears on Nina. At the guy Seth’s place, they find cylinders filled with Nitrous Oxide, and face masks. The guy tells them that he did suggest that Nina modify her ears, but didn’t carry out the operation. Fin arrests the guy for questioning. Meanwhile, Olivia and Nick pay a visit to Dr. Gene Brightman. The doctor recognizes Seth as his receptionist Jess’s ex-boyfriend. The doctor says with Seth anything is possible, when asked if Seth might have stolen a nitrous tank from his office. Nick tells the doctor that Jess is gone. Later Nick and Olivia inform the captain that Jess is not answering her cell phone, and has disappeared. They then question Seth after showing him the photographs of Nina’s body. Seth tells them that his girlfriend Jess performed the operations for the elf ears. He tells them that Nina can be found at the Mermaid Hotel, as its ‘freak night’ there. He tells them that they would need a password to get in.

Fin and Rollins then enter the party using the password. Inside they see guys and girls with the freakiest of tattoos and piercings, mingling with each other. A girl with elf ears tells them that Jess did her operation and that she is the best. NYPD then raids Jess’s location of operations while she is performing the procedure on one of her clients. They then see that she doesn’t have one leg. She is then questioned about Nina’s death. Jess tells them she lost her leg to bone cancer when she was 15. The team then find out that heavy duty anesthetics were ordered in the last 6 months by one Dr. Hal Brightman. Turns out Hal Brightman is a psychiatrist. The doctor tells Olivia he never ordered the anesthetics, although it was ordered on his prescription pad. He tells them that the particular anesthetic that was ordered can be used for recreational purposes, and some of his patients who are into substance abuse could be using it.

He also says that he knows Jess, who works for his brother. He then tells them that he and his brother share an old country house. He tells them that for emergencies he takes along his prescription pad with him to the country house, and that is where the theft might have taken place. They then call in Gene Brightman for questioning, as they feel he is in some way involved. He then confesses to Nick and Olivia that he sometimes takes his boyfriend Paul to the country house. He also maintains that he is completely innocent. Gene then tells them that Jess was a patient of Hal for a long time, and might still be going to him. Jess tells Rollins and Fin that she hasn’t seen Hal for years. Jess then reveals to them that she started feeling better after some time, but Hal didn’t want to let her go. He kept telling her that she wasn’t ready and had more work to do.

Fin then tells Jess that Hal’s mother had lost her leg in a car crash when he was a kid. She is shocked to hear this and recollects the time when Hal had come into the office when Nina was there, as she had caught an infection because of the ear operation. Nina had pulled back her hair to show Jess her ear and Hal kept staring at it. Later the team brainstorm and arrive at the conclusion that Hal is the culprit, but they decide to question Hal in a way where he would be led to believe that, the cops think Gene is the culprit. Hal is then questioned about what could have led Gene to do what he did. Hal as expected come out with the truth and explains to them that, it could have something to do with their mother having a car accident when they were kids.

He then tells them that his mother after the accident was depressed all her life. He then tells them that Jess’s sexuality might have awakened Gene’s obsession. Olivia in reply informs Hal that Gene is gay. Rollins and Olivia then tell Hal that he is the one who is the real culprit, after confronting him with all the facts. He then breaks under the questioning and confesses to what he did with Nina, and also tells them that the overdose of anesthesia was an accident. Hal then tells them that there are other girls who he has carried out a procedure on. He then takes them to the room where he used to operate on the girls. There were 6 girls in all whose legs he had amputated; all except Nina are still alive. He paid all the girls who he carried out the procedure on. He is then arrested and taken away. The episode ends at this point.

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Warning: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit season 13 episode 22 guide may contain spoilers
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