Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 15, Episode 5 of NBC's "Law and Order: SVU," titled "Wonderland Story."
In a rare joyous opening, the whole unit gathers at a bar to celebrate Sergeant John Munch (Richard Belzer). Last week's episode delivered the heartbreaking news that Munch would be moving on from SVU after more than a decade of dedication to the unit.
Munch arrives at the bar in style wearing a white tux with black bow tie, but still sporting his classic tinted glasses. All of the detectives share a few words, mostly comical. Olivia recalls her first impression of Munch -- assuming he was a traffic officer or maybe post office security -- before realizing he worked in SVU. Fin reminds us of Munch's propensity for conspiracy theories, seeing as Munch still maintains that Oswald never fired a shot, and Hoover had a gay hit squad.
What will we do without Munch's miserly complaints, humorous solutions, and snide comments about his ex-wives?! (In fact, a couple of his exes are actually present at his goodbye party, so if you ever doubted their existence, they are real). We learn Munch will be joining the D.A.'s office as a special investigator -- hopefully this means occasional cameos. But it wouldn't be an "SVU" episode without a new case to break the narrative. Olivia and Amaro head out to solve a rape case, so we temporarily bid Munch goodbye. Dun dun.
The case: Sarah Walsh has been raped ... again. She woke up naked with all of her clothes on the floor and a bloody ear, a tear where her earring used to be. The last thing she remembers is that she met her friend Nicole and her fiancé Matthew at a bar in the Meatpacking District. While she only remembers having one drink, she can barely remember stumbling out of the bar. Since her last rapist walked free, Sarah is convinced he was responsible this time as well.
After further questioning, Detectives Tutuola and Rollins learn Michael was at work and then at dinner with his mother the night of the rape. The rape kit comes back: no semen, no DNA. Amaro notes that the timeline doesn't add up because he would have had to get all the way to Manhattan somehow. But Olivia remains unconvinced. Dun dun.
The oblivious friend: We pay Nicole a visit. Apparently Sarah left her a message, but she didn't call her back yet because she's been busy planning her wedding or something equally lame. She didn't see Sarah flirting with any guys at the bar. Before leaving Sarah around 11, she gave her a pocket watch, which serves a pass to a super exclusive underground party. All Sarah had to do was give the watch to a man standing on a certain corner who would then lead her to the secret location. And of course, because all hipsters love Louis Carroll, the pocket watch is engraved with a passage from Alice in Wonderland, "Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which way do I take?' she asked."
The re-victimized victim: After tracking her first rapist's GPS, Amaro and Liv officially tell Sarah that her he was not her attacker this time. Realizing she was raped twice by two different men, Sarah blames herself. Olivia assures her it's not her fault, but Sarah tells them to leave. Dun dun.
The party: Rollins and Fin go undercover to scope out the underground hipster party scene. Even with a hat and flannel, the pair just don't quite blend into the sea of hip youths. Luckily, no one seems to notice. After giving the pocket watch to a stranger on the street, they're led to a roof overlooking a crowd of dancing youngsters. This sight is enough for Rollins to call it in. They question everyone at the party, including a young man who claimed to be at the Hamptons that night ...
The second suspect: After speaking with a promoter at the club, Fin finds footage of Sarah being carried out by a young man, Internet millionaire Cameron Tyler. The same young man they interviewed at the party. Twist!
Putting it all together: Amaro and Olivia arrive at Sarah's apartment to tell her the new development only to be greeted by none other than Cameron Tyler himself. We learn that Cameron is Matthew's best friend and Sarah and Nicole both catered some of his parties. He says he rode in a cab with Sarah back to her apartment, but didn't walk her into her apartment. No he can verify his whereabouts. Meanwhile, Liv shows Sarah the photos of Cameron carrying her, but Sarah continues to say he was "just being nice."
Apparently, this is not Cameron's first sexual assault accusation, but the victim conveniently dropped the charges after somehow funding her own business in the Hamptons.
A second victim: The detectives pay Nicole a little visit to learn more about Cameron. But Nicole claims he was a life saver -- she blacked out at a 4th of July party and almost got fired the next day for being late. Luckily, Cameron came to the rescue and took care of it. But what happened at the party? She thinks she just drank too much and fell down. She even tore her earlobe. Just like Sarah. The next day Cameron came to her house and took care of her.
Knowing Nicole is now one of Cameron's victims, Olivia doesn't want her to find out the truth, perhaps she's better off forgetting. Captain Cragen overrides Liv's concerns reminding her they're police officers, not social workers. Against Liv's better judgement, she tells Nicole everything she knows. Nicole pieces it all together. She was drugged. Raped. And then Cameron tried to swoop in to save the day, just like what he's doing with Sarah. Upset, but determined, Nicole agrees to wear a wire.
The trap: With the Detectives watching on a monitor nearby, Nicole confronts Cameron as he arrives home. She tells him she's pregnant, but the baby isn't Matt's because they have been chaste throughout their relationship. She pinpoints the date of conception to be around the date of his party, insisting he give her a complete list of guests for DNA testing. Realizing he has no way out, Cameron caves -- OK, yes he did sleep with her, but she was drunk and flirty. He's not Ghandi, he reminds her. He tells her not to worry, Matt doesn't have to know. There's a knock at the door. The police rush in and arrest him.
The verdict: Nicole and Matt still plan to get married. Matt blames himself for introducing them. In classic "SVU" fashion, Cameron walks by Matt while he's talking to a detective. Matt tries to attack him, but the detectives hold him back. After nearly being attacked by his former best friend, Cameron is still feeling pretty confident in his alibi. But there's a problem. He has a downfall. The same downfall as so many perps before him. He kept trophies. And the police found them. Rollins shows him a bag full of all of the earrings he ripped from the ears of his victims. They've got him.
Liv goes for a stroll with Sarah. Even knowing Cameron will be behind bars for a long time to come, Sarah doesn't see how anything will change. After all, there are still men out there. Liv opens up, revealing that she has been assaulted twice as well, and she blames herself sometimes too, but she reminds Sarah that it's just a feeling and not a fact.
Goodbye Sergeant Munch: As Munch packs up a box of all of his things, Cragen comes by to shake his hand. "You've had one hell of a run, Sergeant Munch." Once the captain leaves, and Munch is all alone in the office, he has a brief flashback to his earlier days. The phone rings. Munch initially answers the call saying "Homicide," harkening back to his days on "Homicide: Life on the Street," before correcting himself. After listening to the caller, he says, "I'll get you a detective." No longer a detective himself, he packs his things and heads off.
"Law and Order: SVU" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.