When a young boy named Henry Morton wanders away from a party and is found dead in an alley from suffocation and other mistreatment, the case leads to the discovery of it being the work of a young boy named Jake O'Hara.
It is soon discovered from a trip to Jake's summer camp that Jake is a sociopath, having no remorse whatsoever for his actions. When word reaches the judge while Jake is in Family Court, the judge rules that despite this new evidence, there is no way to bump the case to the adult court without throwing it out and letting Jake walk. News of Jake being a sociopath hits Henry's father, Dr. Brett Morton, so hard, Elliot has to take him out of the courtroom to try and calm down, but when Jake emerges and gives a fake, unsympathetic apology to him, Dr. Morton snaps, grabs the service pistol from a passing bailiff, and shoots Jake, before being restrained by Stabler and the bailiff he took the gun from, while others secure the area and draw their own pistols as Olivia rushes to the aid of Jake as Jake's mother looks on in horror at what happened.
Despite the best efforts by doctors, Jake dies of his gunshot wounds, and now Dr. Morton faces prison time for his actions, but there's a problem: Did he act as a grieving father, or out of pure instinct to stop Jake from killing again?
After the best efforts by Novak and the defense attorney to convince the jury as to whether Dr. Morton should face second-degree murder charges, or was acting out of grief, the jury vote "not guilty", thinking that Dr. Morton's actions were out of grief, and not intentional, and that Jake deserved what he got.
However, after the trial, when Brett speaks to Stabler and Novak, it turns out that his actions were in the right state-of-mind, but then explains to them that there was one big difference between him and Jake O'Hara: Jake would have killed again, but Dr. Morton never will.
This episode provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: The episode begins with a child suddenly disappearing despite the mother being in the vicinity. Said child later turns up dead. The episode also deals with having a sociopath child.
- And Starring: "Special Guest Star Kyle MacLachlan", plus the guest starring lineup ending "With Tamara Tunie as M.E. Dr. Melinda Warner".
- Asshole Victim: Jake O'Hara brutally murdered Dr. Morton's young son and mentally taunted the doctor himself after it was found that he'd walk on the murder charge. Dr. Morton may have been in the wrong, but no one will mourn Jake.
- Beware the Nice Ones: At first Dr. Morton is actually sympathetic towards Jake despite the latter's role on his son's death. But when it's revealed that it's not an Accidental Murder like Jake made it seem...
- Enfant Terrible: Jake O'Hara is a pre-teen sociopath who has history of violence and murder.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Jake claims that what happened with Dr. Morton's son was an Accidental Murder.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The reaction of Dr. Morton, Casey, and the detectives when they realize they've been played by Jake into trying him as a juvenile (meaning a much lighter sentence) but it's too late to go back on that decision.
- Outliving One's Offspring: What drives the entire episode.
- Papa Wolf: The moment Jake's true nature and role in his son's death are revealed, Dr. Morton goes apeshit for Revenge and to ensure Jake does not kill anyone else.
- Sympathetic Murderer: Dr. Morton may be wrong about putting justice on his own hands, but the person he killed was a massive Asshole Victim.
- Initially appears to be the case with Jake himself, though it turns out to be an act. Dr. Morton even buys it, convincing them to try Jake as a minor; his My God, What Have I Done? upon realizing the truth is a large part of what leads him to kill Jake.
- You Killed My Father: Inverted. It is Dr. Morton who is pissed as fuck for the murder of his son and wants Revenge.