Law & Order: SVU: Blast

Saturday 26th September 10.15pm

The seventh season of the ‘Law & Order’ spin-off following New York’s elite special victims unit continues. This week, ME Warner finds herself in the firing line when a girl is abducted on her way home from school. Warner is tasked with delivering the ransom to the kidnapper, but a botched meeting threatens to derail the case.

Stabler responds when a young girl named Carly Hunter is snatched in the street, bundled into a black van and driven away. Initial clues implicate a paroled sex offender in the crime, but the man plunges to his death while attempting to escape police. When the kidnapper’s van is then recovered with a pool of blood inside, DNA evidence clears the dead suspect of any involvement in the crime – which means Stabler pursued the wrong man.

ME Melinda Warner reports that the blood in the van is that of Carly Hunter. She determines that the girl had a nosebleed brought about by leukaemia. “With treatment, Carly has a good chance of survival – but you gotta find her,” she tells Stabler.

Warner pays a visit to the Hunters to break the news of Carly’s illness. At that moment, the couple receive a phone call from the kidnapper. With his voice electronically disguised, the man tells the Hunters to await further instructions. “If you call the police, we’ll kill her,” he says. The kidnapper then demands to know who Warner is. Realising the man must have the flat under surveillance, Warner explains that she is a doctor and that Carly is sick. “No one else comes in,” says the kidnapper. “You will be watched.”

The Hunters are determined to abide by the kidnapper’s rules, but Warner calls Stabler to apprise him of the situation. Stabler and a team of cops slip into the apartment dressed as delivery men. Keeping away from the windows, they make sure the flat is clear of listening devices and prepare to formulate a plan. But the kidnapper confounds Stabler by insisting that Warner deliver the $300,000 ransom. “I can take care of myself,” Warner assures the detective.

Warner drives to the appointed location for the ransom drop. She is about to retrieve Carly from the kidnapper’s clutches when a security guard interrupts. The kidnapper takes fright and flees with Carly in his car. For Stabler, this is proof enough that Carly’s abductor is a novice. “We’re not dealing with some professional,” he says. However, Stabler is equally convinced that the abduction is personally motivated – and that Mr Hunter is keeping something from him.

The police determine that the kidnapper has Carly stashed away on the west side of Manhattan and are able to identify the location as a disused storage yard. Stabler finds a severely ill Carly inside and rushes her to hospital. The girl will make a full recovery, but it is clear from her testimony that the kidnapper knew her. Mrs Hunter confesses that the guilty party must be her estranged 23-year-old son, Daniel. The Hunters kicked the drug-addicted Daniel out of their house when he was 18. “We couldn’t save him, so we cut him out of our lives,” Mrs Hunter explains.

Stabler and Warner head to the bank where Mr Hunter works. He admits that he was still in touch with Daniel and occasionally gave him money without his wife’s knowledge. “I couldn’t cut him off. He’s still my son,” he says. But when Daniel’s demands became excessive, Mr Hunter was forced to turn him down – provoking Daniel’s desperate act. Their conversation is then interrupted when Daniel walks into the bank with a machine gun and holds everyone hostage. Can Stabler and Warner defuse the situation before someone gets hurt?

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