NBC’s Law & Order franchise chronicles the life and crimes of the elite Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Producer: Dick Wolf
Writer: Amanda Green
Director: Peter Leto
Season 8 Episode 20 "Annihilated" original air date May 8, 2007
This is a detailed “narrative” written by www.acandyrose.com of the Episode 20, Season 8 Titled, “Annihilated” Law & Order: Special Victims Unit aired 05/08/07.
A young woman is found dead, rape and murdered in her apartment in Manhattan. Apparently the cleaning lady shows up but doesn't find out right away so she starts cleaning the apartment using cleaners and bleach so if there is any evidence she's already cleaned it up. Then she finds the woman's body in her bedroom laying on the bed.
Police are called and they find out the victim is engaged to be married but finds it strange that there are no photos of her fiancée in the apartment but her parents tell the police that her fiancée has a secret life, apparently he says he's a CIA agent so often he couldn't be at events with their daughter and that is why there are no photos of him because he was camera shy..
The victims name is Cynthia, 33 years old, rape homicide. Neighbors say she's quiet, home-body type, works as a secretary for an insurance company. The police find out the victims neck was snapped, what they call classic (??) technique. Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) says it's a silent way to kill somebody in hand to hand combat. They found a condom on the floor. Time of death is determined sometime between 9 and midnight the night before. They found no forced entry through front door but bedroom window was open so speculation is the killer used the fire escape. No prints found on the window.
Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) finds a new wedding dress in the closet and questions where the groom is as they see no photographs of the victim with a man. Victim's calendar on the wall showed she was getting married a week from Saturday.
The Victim's parents and LE are watching video of the victim at her engagement party. They discover that the victim's fiancée didn't attend his own engagement party, apparently he told the bride-to-be that he had an emergency that came up at work. The detectives question that seems strange and then the parents tell them the fiancée works for the government and the father says "That's why my daughter is dead." The father then tells them the fiancée a CIA Agent in an Anti-Terrorism Unit. The mother says her daughter wasn't suppose to tell them but she told her because the mother was getting suspicious. Detectives learn the fiancées name is Stephen. The victim's mother said Stephen would never let them take a photo of him but the mother snapped one at Christmas time when he wasn't looking. The parents then tell the police that their daughter was getting death threats from some Islamic group and the father says they killed his daughter.
The detectives want to find this Stephen. The mother of the victim says he was suppose to met them in Hawaii for the wedding. Detectives want to know how to reach Stephen but all the parents have is his cell phone number. From the cell phone voice mail message, LE learns the guys name is Stephen Dashel (Dylan Walsh). LE also finds out it's a prepaid cell phone and can't be traced. Upon further investigation, they learn that a Stephen Dashel who does works for the CIA is listed as missing in action in Afghanistan since 2003. So who is this other Stephen Dashel?
LE tries to track Dashel down but the CIA refuses to give any information on him. Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) calls in a favor from a friend in the CIA who leads him in the right direction to locate the fiancée. They get a break and discover Dashel's prepaid cell phone is loaded every Monday morning from the same location in Staten Island, the "6 Eleven Deli Inc. & Grocery."
LE visit the "6 Eleven Deli Inc. & Grocery" and finds out from showing a photo to the clerk that this Stephen Dashel comes in every morning with his dog, "Muffin," a big Golden Retriever. The clerk at the deli doesn't know where this Stephen lives but he does know where the dog lives !!
Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson show up at "Muffins" house and several children come running out the front door followed by a blonde woman. They ask if Stephen Dashel lives there and the blonde woman tells them nobody lives there by that name. She tells them they are the "Royces" and she calls to her husband to come outside. Mr. Royces comes out introducing himself as Malcolm Royce (Dylan Walsh) who is identical to the man in the photo using the name Stephen Dashel. The detectives tell him he's a dead ringer for Stephen Dashel.
LE locates a file on Malcolm Royce. He's 38 years old, employed as a convention planner, has a wife and three kids and appears to be who he says he is in that life but LE also realizes he’s the same man using the name Stephen Dashel pretending to be a CIA agent and lied to bride-to-be Cynthia (the murder victim in Manhattan). The Detectives take him to headquarters and questioning him. They show him the photo Cynthia's mother gave them of whom they believe is Stephen Dashel and they ask him if this double life is a full time job or just a weekend gig for him.
Det. Elliot Stabler informs Malcolm that his fiancée Cynthia is dead. Malcolm acts shocked and asks how did it happen. They ask him where he was Wednesday night and he asks them if they think he did it. He said he couldn't hurt Cynthia because he loved her. He says he loves his wife also and he couldn't give either of them up and that's why he pretended to be a CIA agent. Malcolm tells the detectives that he was with his kids on Wednesday night because that night is his wife's book club meeting and he takes the kids to "Pizza Please" because that's their favorite place.
Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson go to "Pizza Please" to verify Malcolm's story. The waiter does remember Malcolm and his kids being there and says they come in every Wednesday night. She doesn't remember when they left that Wednesday but she said they close at 11:00pm. The detectives tell her to look for his credit card receipt and that shows 9:27pm when Malcolm left the restaurant. They also find that the driving time from the restaurant back to his house is 15 to 20 minutes. Police still think Malcolm had time to take the kids home and still go back out to Manhattan and kill Cynthia.
The investigation continues and LE discovers Royce's car made a late night round trip to Manhattan Wednesday night. The detectives confront Malcolm again. Malcolm insists that he didn't drive into Manhattan Wednesday night, that he put the kids to bed, watched some TV and then went to sleep. Det. Olivia Benson tells Malcolm the E-ZPass records show he went over the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn at 10:32, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel into Manhattan at 10:50pm. and returning 90 minutes later. Malcolm said he's being framed. Det. Olivia Benson show him the paperwork and he says they got the wrong license plate number. Malcolm said he was using the Minivan because he had the kids and that his wife had the Honda with that license plate number.
Malcolm says it doesn't make sense, that his wife Lindsey's book club meets in Staten Island, a couple miles from their house so why would she be in Manhattan. Malcolm doesn't know what time his wife got home because he says he went to bed at midnight and she wasn't back yet. Police ask if his wife knew about his affair with Cynthia and he said no but then he thinks that maybe she found out and says she has been moody for a couple weeks. Malcolm is detained at the police station so he doesn't warn his wife while Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson can go and talk with her.
LE head for the Royce residence. Malcolm's wife doesn't give them a good reception because they told her Malcolm was having an affair. They want to know where she was on Wednesday and she say the book club. Then they question her about going into the city at 10:30pm that night and she gets smart mouthed back with them asking if that is a crime. The wife then goes into a hostile attitude that she has three kids, a husband who is only there one night a week to call her own so after the book club she wasn't ready to come home so she said she went out for a drink. The detectives question her that she drove 45 minutes for a nightcap to a bar. She starts yelling saying that she's sick of Staten Island, sick of car pools and juice boxes and soccer games and she wanted a little glamour.
About this time the school bus arrives with the kids and Malcolm's wife is still upset so Det. Elliot Stabler tells Mrs. Royce that he'll go out and get the kids for her. While outside by the bus, the detective begins talking to the youngest boy who tells him that his mother is mad at his father because he's sick because she said he got a dirty whore ! Apparently his mother didn't tell him that, he over heard his mother telling her best friend, Millie Lefkowitz. Det. Stabler asks the boy where this Millie Lefkowitz lives and the boy says by his school. Suddenly Malcolm's wife comes out the front door of the house and tells the detectives to leave and says she is not talking in front of her children.
Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson show up at Millie Lefkowitz house who lives in Staten Island. Lefkowitz tells the detectives that Malcolm's wife was crushed when she found out he was cheating on her. She said Lindsey had three kids in four years, had breast cancer which she beat, had a hysterectomy, cracked up and spent time in a nut house and now she found out her husband is cheating a couple weeks ago. Lefkowitz said Lindsey found out from a hotel confirmation in Hawaii so she called the travel agent and found out Malcolm booked the honeymoon suite under a phony name. The detectives ask if the phony name was Stephen Dashel and Lefkowitz said yes. Lefkowitz suggested to Lindsey not to bother confronting Malcolm and to just file for divorce but Lindsey told her that was out of the question because they were Catholic. Millie Lefkowitz told the detectives that Lindsey told her she would make him pay.
The two detectives head back to the Royce residence. The house is dark and the dog, "Muffin" is on the front porch barking at them. They have a bad feeling and discover the front door is ajar. They go into the house calling out to Mrs. Royce. They find each of the three children, Drew, Tyler and Jennifer murdered and they find Mrs. Royce laying on the bedroom floor also murdered. Mr. Royce (Malcolm) is laying in the bed wounded moaning "help me, help me."
The detectives suspect it's straight forward murder/suicide and that each child was shot in the head and then Malcolm's wife Lindsey killed herself. Malcolm is rushed to the hospital but it turns out that he's going to pull through. The detectives show up at the hospital to talk to him. Malcolm tells the detectives that he woke up and that Lindsey was standing over him and that she had a gun and that she put it to his forehead and that he grabbed it and she pulled the trigger and he thought he was dying. He said he heard more gun shots but he couldn't move then asks about his kids and the detective tells him they are gone. He starts crying and then asks about Lindsey and the other detective tells him she took her own life. Malcom is all emotional and starts crying again.
Upset over seeing a mother and her children murdered, Detective Elliot Stabler goes to see his own children and apparently their mother where he spends the night. He then gets a cell call to return to the Royce residence. The crime scene investigators are at the house and proceed to explain that the trajectory of the bullet, if Malcolm Royce was hit the way he claimed his wife shot him is not correct. The CSI has Det. Stabler lay on the bed and places the trajectory gun beam at his chin and angle it up towards his own forehead and the light string points directly to the bullet hole in the wall behind the bed. They then realize Malcolm was lying and that he killed his wife and children and then shot himself so as to just graze his forehead.
Detective Elliot Stabler heads for the hospital to talk to Malcolm and discovers he's out of his bed and the nurse says he went for a smoke up on the roof where all the staff goes when they smoke. The detective goes to the roof and finds Malcolm standing on the very edge of the roof ledge looking over the edge as he's smoking a cigarette. It's apparent that he's planning on jumping off the roof but the detective talks him out of it. The minute that Malcolm finally gets down off the ledge the Detective Elliot Stabler handcuffs him and tells him he's under arrest for the murder of his wife and children.
Back at police headquarters, Dr. George Huangan (B.D. Wong) is telling the detectives that family annihilaters are the ultimate narrcists, that they are usually men who lead average lives, who lie to make themselves sound more important. Another detective mentions that Stephen Dashel fits the bill because Stephen Dashel was everything that Malcolm Royce is not. Dr. George Huangan explains further that once they are threatened with exposure they can not bare the shame.
Another detective asks the doctor how do they live with a woman and kids all those years and take care of them, protect them and then one night blow their brains out. Dr. George Huangan tells them that the narrcists believes he's the only one who counts.
Malcolm Royce is in the interrogation room when Detective Elliot Stabler enters. Malcolm is still denying he killed his family but Det. Elliot says he knows Malcolm did. Malcolm brings up that he was wounded but the detective tells him that he did more damage shaving that morning and also says that Malcolm had him fooled at first. Det. Elliot tells Malcolm that forensics proves that the wound he had was self inflicted. The detective wants Malcolm to tell him exactly what happened that night.
Malcolm's story changes and he says he was asleep and that the gun shots woke him up. He says he ran to check on his children and that he found what his wife had done to them. He said it was horrible and that he was in shock. He said then he heard another shot and he came into their bedroom and his wife Lindsey was on the floor. The detective asks him why didn't he call 911. Malcolm said they were all dead and that he couldn't go on without them so he laid back down and he put the gun to his head and he pulled the trigger and then after that he must have blacked out. The next thing he remembered the police were there.
Det. Elliot points out to Malcolm that his story doesn't make sense because the gun was not in his hand but was on the floor by his wife. Malcolm said he's Catholic and that suicide is a sin and he wanted to be buried by his children so he threw the gun over by his wife Lindsey.
The detective ask him about the gun, whose was it. Malcolm said it was his and that he bought it a couple years before because there had been a lot of break-ins. When asked where he kept it, he said in his study in a locked box so the kids wouldn't find it. When asked if he had ever fired it, he said he took lessons at the gun club.
Malcolm tells the story again that he was asleep and he didn't know what woke him. The detective reminds him that a 44-caliber handgun when fired indoors make a hell of a noise and that forces Malcolm to admit he was awake after that first shot. Det. Elliot asked what he did after the second shot. Malcolm said he got up and went into the boys room and saw them. Det. Elliot asked if Lindsey was there and Malcolm said he didn't know, that she must have been in Jennifer's room. Det. Elliot asked Malcolm where was he when he heard the third shot. He said he was still in his son's room. He said he went out in the hallway and that Lindsey was there with the gun in her hand. When asked what he did, Malcolm said he couldn't remember. Det. Elliot gets in Malcolm's face asking what he did next and Malcolm said he yelled at his wife and then she went back into their bedroom and he followed her.
The detective asked Malcolm did he just stand there then and watch his wife kill herself and Malcolm was getting flustered and said he tried to get the gun and the cop said, "you grabbed the gun and you shot her" and Malcolm said yes. The detective said, "I know, Jennifer's dead, Tyler's dead, Drew's dead, that bitch took everything from you, you had every right to shoot her!" and Malcolm yelled out, "Yes, yes, I killed her!"
Detective Elliot Stabler asks Malcolm, "Isn't it good to tell the truth?" Malcolm says yeah. The detective asks him why did his wife kill his children. Malcolm says to punish him for cheating on her. The detective tries to get Malcolm to talk about Cynthia and the affair and all the reasons why a man who is married for many years gets bored with the daily life and wants adventure. Malcolm senses the cop wants him to admit he killed Cynthia but Malcolm yells out that he didn't kill her and then continues to yell that if Lindsey hadn't been jealous none of this would have happened.
While Detective Elliot Stabler and Malcolm are in the interrogation room, another detective reports that he found a collection of spy novels plus a manual titled the "assassins manual" that details on how to poison and also had a very detailed chapter on how to break a person's neck. The cop doesn't say where he got the books and manual but assume they came from Malcolm's house so speculation is that this proves Malcolm killed Cynthia. But they are still trying to find out how Malcolm could have drove the car into the city that night. They also found Malcolm's prints were on the key to the lock box the gun was kept in and his wife Lindsey's prints were not on the key so they knew that the wife did not get the gun out of the locked box.
The other detectives feel they have proof now that Malcolm killed his wife and children so they ask Det. Elliot to step out of the interrogation room so they can tell him what they found but Elliot locks the door instead and then gets in Malcolm's face to get him to admit he killed his family. Det. Elliot gets rough with Malcolm who screams out that the detective is trying to kill him because the detective had him in a head lock in the locked interrogation room. While holding Malcolm and making him think he was going to break his neck, Det. Elliot asks Malcolm if he enjoyed watching his children suffering and Malcolm said they didn't suffer because he put sleeping pills in the children's juice. Det. Elliot asks if he did the same with Cynthia and Malcolm screams out "Yes!" He said he didn't want them to wake up.
Malcolm then said he had to do it because everything was falling apart and if he went to jail then who would take care of his family. As the detective is walking away you can hear Malcolm yelling from the interrogation room that he had to do it, he had to save his family!