Boyka in 2005
Boyka in 2007
|Linda Boyka ("Nachalnik")|
|Portrayed by||Brenda Wehle|
Linda Boyka was a woman from Eastern Europe who worked at a community centre assisting individuals who wished to stay in the United States. In 2007, it was discovered this job was merely a front and that Boyka was actually "Nachalnik" (Russian for "boss"), the secretive puppetmaster of a brutal human trafficking ring.
Boyka's trafficking ring had operated for years importing girls from Europe to America for forced prositution. The port of Philadelphia was used as a hub, presumably because of easy access to other cities including Washington D.C., New York, and New Jersey. People like Roy Gardocki, the foreman at the Harrison Marine Terminal, were bribed to look the other way when containers with girls were brought in.
Few knew Nachalnik's true identity, but she (or "he", as most people assumed) was well-known and feared for her brutality. Girls who attempted to resist had the soles of their feet burned with cigarettes, which kept them from walking. Even her own employees feared her. Kiril, a middleman who transported the girls, later suggested people who asked about Nachalnik would "disappear".
All the while, Boyka continued her cover job at the community centre. In May of 2005, a longeshoreman named Mike Chulaski came in with a fifteen year-old girl named Lena Golovnka. The day before, Mike had stumbled onto one of the containers full of girls, including a very sick Lena. After nursing her back to health, he had taken her to the community centre to get help for her to stay in the country legally.
Boyka, in her clerical role, informed them that Lena did not qualify to remain in the country and would be deported to the Ukraine. Despite Mike's attempts to reassure her, Lena made a phone call and snuck out. She'd been told Kiril had a job waiting for her, but had no idea what this "job" was.
Mike tracked down Kiril and bribed him to give the location of the house, then bribed another of Boyka's girls, Kateryna Yechenko, to take him to Lena's room. Mike tried to help her escape, but Boyka had burned Lena's feet, leaving her unable to walk. It was then that Boyka walked in and recognized Mike from the community centre, then had her muscled bodyguard Yuri forcibly eject Mike from the house.
Hours later however, Boyka found Mike still banging on the door, demanding to talk to Boyka. When Boyka finally let him in, Mike tried to bargain with her. Boyka needed a "young one" like Lena and was unwilling to give her up, suggesting Mike take Kateryna instead. Mike was adamant however, and finally offered her $50,000 for Lena. Boyka was hesitant but agreed. She sent Kiril to the Starlight Motel for the exchange. Kiril however, would not return, and Mike was later found bludgeoned to death at the motel. Boyka assumed Kiril had betrayed her and taken the money himself.
Two years later, in 2007, one of Nachalnik's girls, a Jane Doe, would be found dead in the river. Noting the cigarette burns on her feet, the FBI linked her to Nachalik, whom they had been building a case against for years. ADA Alexandra Thomas approached Philly's Homicide Squad to see if they had any related case, which led to them reopening Mike's case.
Detectives Lilly Rush and Scotty Valens came to the community centre to question her about Mike and Lena's visit. Boyka simply told them Lena had run off to find Kiril. When Scotty and Kat Miller questioned Kateryna (who had since escaped herself), however, she revealed Nachalnik's true identity.
Boyka was taken into custody and questioned about Mike's death. When Lilly and Lieutenant John Stillman brought up Mike's murder and the burns on his feet, Boyka calmly explained that someone had framed her. She then explained about the deal Mike had made with her to buy Lena's freedom, and how Kiril was supposed to make the exchange.
Boyka remained smug and unconcerned when she was locked up for prostitution and conspiracy, suggesting she could still get to Kiril, even though he too was now in police custody.
Though it was later learned that Kateryna had killed Mike and framed Boyka, Boyka remained in prison, facing federal trafficking charges.