When a woman dressed in a formal gown is found murdered and gruesomely disfigured in an elevator shaft, the death seems to be linked to an underground group of thrill-seekers. After discovering another murder victim with similar injuries and manner of death, the detectives realize that both crime scenes precisely mirror the covers of a line of cult comic books/graphic novels. The books' author bases his work on the murders committed by notorious serial killer Robert Morton, who has been imprisoned for his crimes for several years, so it appears that a copycat is beginning a new reign of terror.
As the investigation progresses, the detectives encounter many fans of Morton, including a woman who claims to be his fiancee and Cecilia, a friend of the second decedent who was the last person to see her alive. One night, Cecilia frantically calls Detective Benson for assistance, and when the detectives arrive at her workplace, they discover another cover replica in blood on the floor, and Cecilia is missing. As they regroup at the station to plan a strategy for finding her, a pizza is delivered to Benson--but she didn't order it. Detectives Tutuola and Lake tell her they'll take it, but when they toss it onto a desk, it explodes, sending the station into chaos and injuring many (including Tutuola and Lake). Undeterred, Benson works feverishly to uncover details of the crime, and the evidence leads her to find Cecilia bleeding and nearly dead. When she is taken to the hospital, Benson visits her, but is told in no uncertain terms that she will no longer receive Cecilia's assistance in solving the crime. Later, Cecilia's doctor reveals that the girl's wounds were self-inflicted, and Benson obtains a search warrant from ADA Novak to search Cecilia's apartment. Benson and Stabler find a box of correspondence between Cecilia and Morton, and as they read the letters, it becomes clear that Cecilia is in love with Morton and likely committed the murders to show her devotion to him.
The hunt is on to find Cecilia before she kills again. She is apprehended and brought to trial, and her lawyer attempts to claim a defense of "not guilty by mental disease or defect" due to Morton's hold over the girl. As the case stalls, Novak solicits Morton to testify against Cecilia, but the only deal she can offer him is a move to a federal prison for better living conditions. When he agrees, she puts him on the stand. However, Morton's story ends up working in Cecilia's favor as he explains that he never told her to kill or gave her instructions on how to do so, and that each "artist" has his/her own way of "creating beauty" with the female body. But just when it seems that Novak is beginning to flounder in her arguments against the girl, Novak receives an epiphany--she shows Morton the pictures of the staged crime scenes. He examines them carefully and declares that there is no artistry involved in them, and that he is not impressed by them at all. This causes Cecilia to have a breakdown in court, and she is dragged out screaming, "But I love you!" and "I did it for you!" all to no avail . . . she is convicted of the murders and sent to a psych ward.
However, the episode is not finished yet! Two more fantastic plot twists cap off an already action-packed storyline.
First, on the way out of the courtroom, Novak meets Morton as he is being packed onto the paddywaggon on his way to federal prison. He mocks her and asks how she liked his work in the trial, baiting her to see if she'll rescind her part of the deal. She responds by congratulating him on his move to the federal penitentiary--as requested--and points out that his new digs will be Florence SuperMax, a facility that houses its prisoners in complete solitary confinement and on permanent lockdown, with no mail (from fans or anyone else!), no phone calls, and in short, no outside contact for the rest of his life. And then, as he gasps in horror and exclaims, "But we had a deal!" she tells him, "We do, and it's a masterpiece. How do you like MY work?!"
And finally, Benson is speaking to Stabler on her phone as she heads home, and they add up the last pieces of the puzzle when they determine that neither Cecilia nor Morton could have sent the pizza bomb to the station, so it must have been the comic book guy. As Benson enters her apartment, she is attacked by said comic book author and stabbed in the chest. She somehow manages to struggle enough to throw him to the ground, where she beats him senseless with a hardback that was sitting on her table--essentially "throwing the book at him," I suppose <=]