Eventually the good guys discover Shepard's little tryst with the stowed away victim. (Why don't they ever just admit this stuff in the first scene? It saves the taxpayers so much money.) Shepard's alibi of attending his 17-year-old daughter's soccer game at the time of fell through, and blammo. He's a murder suspect.
On the whole, McCormack did pretty well as Shepard. Then again, Vance Shepard was just a heterosexual Will Truman with weaker father skills and fewer obnoxiously-voiced friends. It was right in his wheelhouse.
The add-on prosecutor that is A.D.A Sonya Paxton (Christine Lahti) showed some claws when she rattled Shepard's "augmented" assistant into breaking down more of his alibi the night of the murder, which was probably the first time I've seen Paxton actually do something worth smiling about. But then her character lost me again after railing on and on about how sugardaddyism (my own word) is basically glorified prostitution and should be punishable by law as such. It's one of those micro-dicussions the L&O brand loves to interject from time to time. Partnered detectives, for example, would find out (gasp!) they don't agree on abortion! And you probably disagree with the fictional people too. You're like one of the gang!.
But it sounds like they're going to try and grow Paxton's character as a theory-based lawyer (i.e., stopping ironclad confessions she thinks could get suppressed at trial) who starts seeing some pretty nasty real world experiences, thereby earning the SVU's trust. They're going to make me empathize with this woman, and I can already tell I'm not going to like it, but at the same time I will.
Actor/comedian Robert Klein returns as lawyer Dwight Stannich, a small role he also portrayed last season in "Ballerinas" as the lawyer for the Birdie Sulloway, played by Carol Burnett. Nothing really to write home about him, as he's only in two scenes. But he is Robert Klein, dadgummit.