Investigation into the death of a young boy leads to a gambling ring.
Tropes in this episode:
- Ambiguous Ending: Who shot and killed Hank? Nicky or Sandra? Not that it matters.
- Age-Gap Romance: There is only a decade between Hank and Sandra, but this is often treated as if it's very surprising and gives Sandra a reason to lie.
- Asshole Victim: No one mourns Hank after he abused Nicky and Sandra repeatedly and forced Nicky to beat Ethan to death.
- Bittersweet Ending: Hank is dead, Nicky and Sandra are free, but a little boy is still dead and Nicky will have to live with the guilt of killing him (albeit under duress).
- Boom, Headshot!: How Hank is killed.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: 13 year old Nicky (even though he didn't want to) was forced to beat up a 10 year old Ethan, and Nicky was protesting not to fight Ethan. Nicky easily beat Ethan to death.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Subverted. Benson only appears twice in this episode, and Stabler fills her in on Hank's death when Nicky initially confessed.
- Useless Bystander Parent: Sandra, although she may grow out of it by the end of the episode, or she may not, depending on whether it was her who killed Hank.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- Nicky was forced to hurt a 10 year old Ethan by Hank.
- Hank hits Nicky too, especially if Nicky loses a fight. Hank hit Nicky after Stabler secretly gave Nicky his business card.
- Would Hit a Girl: Hank also beats Sandra as well, but she doesn't press charges because he hits her where it's not possible for anyone to see.
- Villain of the Week: Hank Roberts.