Detectives Goren and Eames investigate the discovery of a woman's body on the banks of the Bronx River. The woman appears tied and carefully wrapped in a plastic tarp, and they learn that she was reported missing 20 years previously. Her well-preserved body shows signs that she was subject to substantial physical torture before being killed. Chemical residue on the body leads Goren and Eames to the basement of the house in which she had originally been buried, and later to a drug addicted man whose parents owned the home. When the junkie ends up murdered as well, the detectives focus their investigation on his college classmate, a former chess master who is now a successful and control-oriented mechanical engineer, known to suddenly disappear for a while from his family. The man, who has a history of drugging and sexually assaulting women, could be linked to two earlier rape cases with similarities to the murder. The case takes a major turn when Goren confronts him during an interrogation.