Larry Moore, aka the Woodsman, is the main, later to be revealed, posthumous antagonist of "Signature". episode 9.12 of Law & Order: SVU. He is a serial killer who kidnaps, rapes, tortures, and murders young women. His horrific actions are what the plot of an episode is driven by.
Larry Moore was born in New York City, approximately 40 years before “Signature”. From an early age he displayed psychopathic tendencies and signs of being a sadist, though his parents were primarily unaware of this. He was also known to have spent a lot of time with his aunt Helen, often visiting her during summers to help with her gardens and clean Central Park of litter. They would also spend time at the docks to see the ships leave. In truth, Moore enjoyed the sounds the ships made, planning to one day use them to hide the screams of his victims as he tortured them. During one summer visit to his aunt, while cleaning trash in Central Park Moore sexually assaulted a fee of the girls he was working with prompting him to being sent to prison, but due to him being a juvenile at the time, the record was expunged. After his release, his parents and aunt believed him when he said that the girls were lying about assaulting them, though this would later prove to be false. Sometime after Larry’s parents’ passing, Helen became more aware of her nephew’s sinister nature and developed a fear of him, as well as a secret knowledge of the evil he was capable of. This prompted Moore to threaten and attack his aunt (possibly sexually) leaving her traumatized and secretly living in fear of him. After this incident Moore lost contact with his aunt and began making his plans for his killing spree.
By his 20s, Moore became a maintenance Park Ranger for Central Park as a cover for his killings. He would use his uniform to dupe young women and then kidnap them. He then bring them to a warehouse he purchased at a New Jersey port, where he would horrifically torture them both physically, sexually, and psychologically before finally finishing them off by water-boarding . He would then dump their bodies in remote areas of Central Park, with no one suspecting him due to his status as a Park Ranger. By the time of “Signature”, Moore had killed at least 22 women (maybe more). As his killings increased, the FBI became aware of Moore, dubbing him the “Woodsman”.
In order to deal with the Woodsman, the FBI assigned Dr. Karl Tilman to profile and capture him. However, Dr. Tillman’s efforts met with increasing failure and as the number of victims grew his sanity began to deteriorate, leading him to eventually commit suicide. As a result, Dr. Tillman’s protege and daughter figure, Special Agent Lauren Cooper, became obsessed with finding and killing Moore. Picking up from where Dr. Tilman left off, Cooper was able to finally deduce Moore’s identity, then stalked him, hoping to find and rescue his latest victims. Then while dumbing the body of his 23rd victim, a young litter cleaner named Kate Barrow, Cooper assault Moore, using the same gun Dr. Tilman used to kill himself. Cooper interrogated Moore knowing full well that he had another young woman held-up somewhere, attempting to rescued her. However, despite being interrogated with a gun to his head, Moore sadistically refused to tell her where his victim was, despite knowing full well that doing so meant his death. Filled with rage, Cooper executed Moore with a gunshot wound to the head. In order to cover her tracks and find where the victim was, Cooper staged the scene, putting Moore’s body next to Kate Barrow’s. This made it look like Moore was an innocent jogger who was killed by the Woodsman when he accidentally discovered him dumping his latest victim.
All throughout his life, Larry Moore proved himself to be nothing short of pure evil. He was a clinically diagnosed psychopath: having utterly no empathy or remorse for his victims, a high IQ, skilled at lying and manipulation, possessing a strong ego, and an inability to feel fear. Even as a child Moore displayed psychopathic characteristics, including an utter lack of regard for others around him. While he was able to present a convincing facade of being a kind and caring young man, in truth, he was a very sadistic and violent child. This was shown when he sexually assaulted female park cleaners he was working with during his teen years. It was also heavily implied that Moore planned on being a serial killer ever since he was a teenager, as he alluded that the reason he liked to watch ships leave the docks because of the noise they made which would be loud enough to cover the screams of his future victims. While he was seemingly close and loving to his aunt Helen, in truth, he actually had no care for her and when she became aware of his true nature, he didn’t hesitate to hurt and threaten her. This shows that Moore had no care for anyone but himself; including his own family.
As the Woodsman, Moore violent tendencies and psychotic traits only intensified. He took extreme pleasure in torturing and eventually killing innocent young women, for no other reason than sheer sadistic amusement. In doing so, he had zero empathy for his captives nor any remorse for the multiple murders he committed, viewing all the women he killed as nothing more than living garbage. He did everything he could to make sure that his victims last days were as painful and horrifying as possible through unspeakable acts of physical and sexual torture as well as psychological abuse. Even when he was not in the warehouse where he kept his victims, he would keep a television playing recorded footage and audio of the previous women he killed as a way of installing further psychological agony to his other confined captive. The extent of Moore’s graphic torture upon his victims was so horrendous that even professional investigators, like Detectives Olivia Benson and Chester Lake, who had dealt with other sexual serial killers, to be mortified upon finding his torture chamber.
Moore was also a very egotistical individual as he liked to stand on hills over looking where he dumped his victims, as it made him feel like a god who controlled life or death. Despite his ego however, Moore had no real regard for his own life as well. When he was interrogated at gunpoint by Agent Cooper, he displayed no signs of fear and refused to tell her where he was keeping Amy, despite knowing full well that this would kill him. Perhaps Moore’s biggest personality trait was his sadism, as the entire motive for his killings was for the sheer pleasure he got from the screams of fear and agony from his victims. Dr George Huang theorized that had Agent Cooper arrested the Woodsman instead of killing him, he would have taken pleasure in the detectives frantic attempts to find and save Amy. Overall, both in life and in death, Larry Moore proved himself to be a purely evil monster who only brought pain, misery, trauma, and death to others.
- Unlike most sexual serial killers, who are often childhood victims of abuse or neglect by women, Moore had no such tragic background to explain his hatred of women. This could mean he only targeted women because he saw them as weaker than men and more enjoyable for torturing.
- Despite only being the antagonist for one episode and not appearing in person, only as a corpse, The Woodsman was arguably one of the most vial, depraved, sadistic, merciless, and evil criminals and killers to have appeared throughout the Law and Order franchise. His horrendous killings rival that of William Lewis and far surpass those of Nicole Wallace.