Ice-T, Mariska Hargitay, and Peter Scanavino in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
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Best Law & Order SVU episodes

May 13, 2022
NBC

Best Law & Order SVU episodes

Now wrapping up its 23rd season, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” has become one of the most well-known staples in the crime-drama genre. It’s the first spinoff of the original “Law & Order” series, loosely based on a specific precinct of the New York City Police Department. “SVU” usually deals with sex crimes, child abuse, missing children, domestic violence, and crimes against the elderly. As seen in many “SVU” episodes, however, the detectives also find themselves occasionally tackling homicides, drug trafficking, hate crimes, burglaries gone awry, and even terrorists.

Mariska Hargitay—who plays Detective-turned-Captain Olivia Benson—is often hailed as the reason for the show’s immense popularity. The Emmy Award-winning actress has starred in every season since the show’s inception in 1999, with no sign of slowing down. Another fan-favorite is rapper Ice-T—who plays Odafin “Fin” Tutuola—who joined the show in season two. Ice-T ended up loving the role so much that he is still on the show to this day. And Elliott Stabler—Benson’s partner played by Christopher Meloni—still remains one of the greatest mysteries in the series’ history after his random season 13 departure and shocking return to begin “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” (Though Hargitay certainly has a theory about what keeps the two tethered to one another, despite such a hiatus.)

With a notable cast of characters who grew and evolved with the show, viewers find themselves not only drawn to the cases that are the focus of each episode, but also the personal stories of the detectives. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of the crimes, the “SVU” writers are known for tackling current-day controversies surrounding sexual violence in a unique and thoughtful way. The show is also notable for being the longest-running prime-time live-action TV series that is still on the air today, and show creator Dick Wolf has no plans of stopping the show’s epic run anytime soon.

After over 500 memorable episodes and countless cameos—think Serena Williams, Martin Short, Whoopi Goldberg, and James Brolin, just to name a few—Stacker is taking a trip down “SVU” memory lane by listing the 50 best episodes in the show’s history. The rankings are based on IMDb data as of April 2022, and ties were broken by votes.

Read on to see which legendary episodes made the list and what iconic stories they featured.

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Helen Slater in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
1 / 50
NBC

#50. Families (2004)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Season 5, episode 15
- Director: Constantine Makris

This memorable episode taps into two crime tropes and melds them together seamlessly: a possible, terrifying incest case and a teacher-student romance. “SVU” often uses its B-story to throw off any guesses the audience may have on who committed the crime. As the detectives begin to uncover some surprising family secrets, teen heartthrob Aidan (Patrick Flueger) comes into focus. Before finding out just how he’s involved, you may recognize him from “Chicago P.D.,” a show that Flueger will go on to star in 10 years after this episode airs.

2 / 50
NBC

#49. Nocturne (2000)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Season 1, episode 21
- Director: Jean de Segonzac

From the very first season, “SVU” not only tells the stories of criminals and victims, but takes a look at these characters from a psychological point of view. The center of this episode is piano teacher Larry Holt (Kent Broadhurst), who is seen as a hero in the neighborhood for teaching piano to underprivileged kids and giving them a chance at having a future. However, the SVU detectives quickly discover that Holt has another side to him when he’s all alone with his students. In order to convict him, Stabler, Benson, Detective John Munch (portrayed by Richard Belzer and featured in over 15 seasons), and Detective Monique Jeffries (played by Michelle Hurd and featured during the first two seasons of the show) must convince one of Holt’s star students to testify against him. However, Evan (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) is a complicated character, and his actions elicit strong emotional responses from a few of the detectives.

Abigail Breslin in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
3 / 50
NBC

#48. Birthright (2004)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Season 6, episode 1
- Director: Arthur W. Forney

Every “SVU” victim has a different story, and this particular star is very recognizable. It’s Abigail Breslin of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Zombieland” fame playing a 6-year-old who is going through the most stressful time of her young life. Surrounding the attempted kidnapping in question are the mothers of Breslin’s character, Patty Branson, and a fertility doctor who is making things very complicated for the family. Breslin gives a deeply emotional performance in a scene with Detective Benson when she comes to terms with the reality that her family is not always out to protect her.

4 / 50
NBC

#47. Smoked (2011)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Season 12, episode 24
- Director: Helen Shaver

In an emotional episode that will end up flipping the core partnerships in SVU, the detectives must investigate the shooting of a woman—who was about to testify in a rape trial against a high-profile hairstylist—in front of her daughter. Benson, Stabler, and the victim’s daughter Jenna (Hayley McFarland) all believe that the hairstylist, Luke Ronson (Andrew Howard), is responsible for the shooting, even though he has an alibi. As the detectives’ investigation takes them to a homeless shelter, a smuggling ring, and a complicated conspiracy to commit murder, the end of the episode—and the season—is one that no one sees coming.

5 / 50
NBC

#46. Savant (2007)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Season 9, episode 4
- Director: Kate Woods

A young girl diagnosed with Williams syndrome—a developmental disorder that attacks multiple functions within the body—observes an attack that leaves her mother beaten and in a coma. Because she is the only witness to the attack, detectives first suspect and try to interrogate the victim’s husband. But with the man’s legal team using the Patriot Act to keep him from testifying, the young girl must be questioned in order to find out what happened.

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6 / 50
NBC

#45. Ballerina (2009)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Season 10, episode 16
- Director: Peter Leto

A mysterious shooter is responsible for the death of three people, one of them being dancer Tisa Flores. The investigation into Flores’ background leads detectives to a skeevy building owner who owns numerous strip clubs, but the real focus of the show is the tight-knit relationship between the building owner’s wife and the man she calls her nephew. Carol Burnett guest stars as the elegant but mysterious Birdie Sulloway; one scene of the episode even features a clip of Burnett dancing on screen in her titular comedy-variety show.

7 / 50
NBC

#44. Charisma (2004)

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Season 6, episode 7
- Director: Arthur W. Forney

SVU is called by a hospital to investigate the life of a pregnant 12-year-old girl (Melanie Cramer, played by Holliston Coleman) who’s staying there. Benson discovers that the girl has a husband, who is the leader of a religious cult and has impregnated a number of his female followers. The detectives must try to break through to at least one of these women in order to protect Cramer and the rest of the children who reside within the cult.

Kelli Giddish and Charlotte Cabell in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
8 / 50
NBC

#43. Post-Graduate Psychopath (2021)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 22, episode 14
- Director: Norberto Barba

This is an escaped-convict fantasy, except the perpetrator hasn’t escaped—he’s released after aging out of juvenile detention and is out to get the people that put him there in the first place. The episode flashes back to 2013 to remind viewers just who Henry Mesner (Ethan Cutkosky) is and how different he may or may not be after years of doing time. Detective Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is forced to revisit an unsettling moment for the Special Victims Unit.

Ice-T and Richard Belzer in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
9 / 50
NBC

#42. Manhunt (2001)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 2, episode 18
- Director: Stephen Wertimer

We know that “SVU” takes inspiration from real cases, and this one had fans speculating that the perps were based on Leonard Lake and Charles Ng. The notorious robbers-turned-serial killers reconnected even after being caught, and many of their victims were their own friends or family members. On this “manhunt,” detectives Munch and Tutuola struggle to capture the two men they’re after, and keep them captured after Canadian authorities launch a legal dispute.

10 / 50
NBC

#41. Poison (2004)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 5, episode 24
- Director: David Platt

Towards the end of a frightful season, “SVU” plays some inside baseball and focuses on drama between departments. Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak (Diane Neal) has her eye on a judge that may be responsible for the outcome of the unit’s most recent case. The episode begins to prove that Novak is not all talk, she’s about justice even when the case is already closed. And that means questioning the power of those with the most influence.

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Ice-T and Jim Gaffigan in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
11 / 50
NBC

#40. Countdown (2001)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 2, episode 15
- Director: Steve Shill

The tactic of time limits in “SVU” starts early on in the show’s run with “Countdown,” pushing the team to its near limits with 72 hours to catch a dangerous rapist with multiple victims. Comedian Jim Gaffigan makes an unlikely appearance as a suspect and delivers in one of the show’s famous questioning scenes at the precinct. This episode is all about numbers—how much time the detectives have left, and how many victims there actually are.

Kelli Giddish in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
12 / 50
NBC

#39. Gambler’s Fallacy (2014)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 15, episode 17
- Director: Alex Chapple

Diving into the personal life of Detective Rollins, her fellow coworkers find out how her cases bump up against her own morals when she strikes a deal with the managers of a gambling establishment. All of the characters truly value their jobs for different reasons. For Detective Benson, she always seems to have a personal connection with victims. For Rollins, who appears much later in the series, we see just how far she will go not to lose the job she loves—even if it means hitting rock bottom.

Richard Belzer, Dann Florek, and Kelli Giddish in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
13 / 50
NBC

#38. Above Suspicion (2012)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 14, episode 2
- Director: Michael Slovis

As a continuation of the season 14 premiere, this episode provides fast-paced twists and turns that are truly unpredictable. The highly respected Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) is the victim of a setup that becomes increasingly difficult for Detective Benson to unravel, and puts one character (Dean Winters’ Detective Brian Cassidy) in grave danger after an incident of friendly fire. The conspiracy not only involves regular civilians, but cops as well.

Diane Neal in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
14 / 50
NBC

#37. Mean (2004)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 5, episode 17
- Director: Constantine Makris

This episode is truly a fan favorite, partially because of the memorable and punchy acting of the schoolgirls at the center of the crime. After a girl’s body is found in the trunk of a car, Benson and Stabler’s murder investigation actually turns into an inquiry into school bullying. The episode is loosely based on real-life cases in California in 1989 and Indiana in 1992.

Jason Cerbone and Dann Florek in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
15 / 50
NBC

#36. Lost Reputation (2012)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 14, episode 1
- Director: Michael Slovis

As the part one of the previously mentioned “Above Suspicion,” this episode sets up Chief Cragen’s arrest for an alleged murder, and later much more. This episode challenges the audience’s opinions and expectations of respected characters—Cragen being one of the longest-standing cast members and most respected in the world of “SVU.” As the show subverts expectations, viewers wonder if he’s really the upstanding leader he’s been made out to be.

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16 / 50
NBC

#35. Hardwired (2009)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 11, episode 5
- Director: David Platt

A young boy’s strange behavior leads his mother to discover that the child was sexually abused by his stepfather. The case seems to be open-and-shut, but the defendant complicates things when he offers to give up the pedophile advocacy group he is part of in order to avoid the charges.

Reymond Wittman in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
17 / 50
NBC

#34. Ghost (2005)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 6, episode 16
- Director: David Platt

ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March) is back from the dead (witness protection, actually) to relive some serious trauma and testify against the person who put her into hiding in the first place. After connecting the dots of a gruesome murder, the detectives find some damning evidence connected to Cabot’s “death” as well.

Mariska Hargitay in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
18 / 50
NBC

#33. Manhattan Transfer (2016)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 17, episode 17
- Director: Alex Chapple

One of “SVU’s” most consistent tropes is starting the episode off with the crime the audience thinks they’re watching, only to throw a completely different set of crimes in Detective Benson’s face. In “Manhattan Transfer,” the crew is focused on underage prostitution and sex trafficking, as well as the so-called upstanding citizens who could be involved—including a priest.

19 / 50
NBC

#32. Ridicule (2001)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 3, episode 10
- Director: Constantine Makris

The death of a young woman takes a back seat as this episode progresses due to Benson and Stabler discovering that the victim had taken part in the rape of a male stripper with her friends. This often-forgotten acknowledgment of men being victims of rape as well is only slightly hindered by the fact that the wrong amendment was cited by one of the judges regarding gender equality protections.

Treat Williams in a scene from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
20 / 50
NBC

#31. Spiraling Down (2011)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 13, episode 10
- Director: Alex Chapple

Any “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” fan will recognize the actor playing a lawyer in this episode. Andre Braugher, known as Raymond Holt from the comedy cop show, plays a rigorous defense attorney representing a former football player—who may be suffering from concussion-derived diminished capacity—accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.

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21 / 50
NBC

#30. Townhouse Incident (2016)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 17, episode 11
- Director: Nick Gomez

This episode starts with Olivia Benson’s babysitter, Lucy, realizing something seems off at the townhouse where the other family she works for lives. Benson goes to investigate, only to end up as a hostage of three robbers trying to score some cash from the family. Benson must navigate a tense situation on her own, while making sure to protect the two young children in the house from being gunned down by the robbers.

Katherine Moennig in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
22 / 50
NBC

#29. Fallacy (2003)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 4, episode 21
- Director: Juan José Campanella

Handling transgender issues in television is complicated, and “SVU” handles this story of gender and sexuality with bravery. This episode touches on not only the difficulties that transgender people go through, but the complications of existing in a society that only acknowledges two genders—including in the way we structure our bathrooms and our jails. The dangers that transgender people face on a daily basis are real, and characters in this episode depict how far they might have to go to protect themselves.

23 / 50
NBC

#28. Persona (2008)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 10, episode 8
- Director: Helen Shaver

Benson, while investigating the claims of a domestic abuse victim, unearths another cold case involving a woman (played by Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn) shooting her alleged rapist. Will she let it go, or reopen old wounds in search of the truth?

24 / 50
NBC

#27. Design (2005)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 7, episode 2
- Director: David Platt

Benson manages to save a suicidal pregnant woman from killing herself, but there’s more to April Troost than she claims. Can Benson find the truth while also protecting April? Bobby Flay and Lynda Carter make guest appearances on this episode.

25 / 50
NBC

#26. Signature (2008)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 9, episode 12
- Director: Arthur W. Forney

Tasked with hunting down a serial killer known as the Woodsman, Benson and Detective Chester Lake (played by Adam Beach, an SVU detective for two seasons) enlist the help of an FBI agent, Lauren Cooper (guest star Erika Christensen). However, as the case progresses, cracks begin to appear in Cooper’s tough veneer, and her true relationship to the case is revealed.

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26 / 50
NBC

#25. Locum (2010)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 12, episode 1
- Director: Arthur W. Forney

“Locum” deals with a young girl who Detectives Stabler and Benson learn has a distressing relationship with her parents. Anyone with a complicated family history is advised to stay far away unless you’re willing to confront some painful themes throughout the course of the episode.

Christopher Meloni and Isabel Gillies in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
27 / 50
NBC

#24. Paternity (2007)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 9, episode 9
- Director: Kate Woods

“SVU” borrows from all-too-common catfishing stories in this episode featuring an online persona. The B-story is the real star here: Detective Benson is in danger, along with Detective Stabler’s pregnant wife following a car accident.

CCH Pounder and Allison Siko in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
28 / 50
NBC

#23. Swing (2008)

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Season 10, episode 3
- Director: David Platt

This episode takes an interesting look at Detective Stabler’s life, particularly his mother and daughter. It’s usually the victims that need psychiatric help, but this time Stabler faces the fact that his own kin is in danger. CCH Pounder (known for “Avatar”) makes an appearance as the recurring character, Carolyn Maddox.

Wallace Shawn, Mariska Hargitay, Judd Hirsch, and Kelli Giddish in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
29 / 50
NBC

#22. Alta Kockers (2018)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 20, episode 10
- Director: Alex Chapple

This interesting episode title is a variation of the Yiddish phrase “alter kakers” or “old men.” To fit that theme, the director centers the story on two old brothers with very unusual habits. Film lovers will easily recognize Wallace Shawn (of “Princess Bride” and “My Dinner with Andre” fame) in this one—an actor made famous by his recognizable goofy voice and smile—as well as Judd Hirsch from ’70s hit show “Taxi.”

Mariska Hargitay and Dean Winters in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
30 / 50
NBC

#21. Her Negotiation (2013)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 14, episode 24
- Director: Norberto Barba

Combine one of the most shocking season finales ever, a five-star performance from the cast, and an unpredictable suspect—and you get one of the most incredible threads in “SVU” history. This episode introduces William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber), who turns a routine arrest into a snowballing history of terrifying crimes. Little does the precinct know, Detective Benson is next. Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”) guest stars.

31 / 50
NBC

#20. Liberties (2009)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 10, episode 21
- Director: Juan José Campanella

“Liberties” is one of 23 episodes directed by Oscar-winning director Juan José Campanella, a man who has no lack of experience crafting eerie plotlines. Campanella is the mastermind behind creepy crime-based mysteries such as “The Secret in Their Eyes” and “Cannibals.” In this episode, Detective Stabler gets a strange request from a judge to interview the convicted serial killer he just put away, and to find the judge’s long-lost son, who was kidnapped 30 years ago. These cases end up being connected in the most unsuspecting way.

32 / 50
NBC

#19. Fault (2006)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 7, episode 19
- Director: Paul McCrane

Benson and Stabler track a recently released sex offender who has kidnapped two children. The fate of those children’s lives—as well as the two detectives’ professional relationship—hangs in the balance.

33 / 50
NBC

#18. Born Psychopath (2013)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 14, episode 19
- Director: Alex Chapple

When a school nurse finds bruises and marks on a little girl’s body that the little girl claims to have been done by a monster, the SVU squad looks further into it and finds a unique and eerie psychopath. Numerous references are made to “The Twilight Zone” episode “It’s a Good Life” (1961), such as Fremont High School—named after “the monster” Anthony Fremont in the show.

34 / 50
NBC

#17. Dominance (2003)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 4, episode 20
- Director: Steve Shill

This episode’s case begins with the detectives zeroing in on a quadruple homicide that occurred during a dinner party, and it gets increasingly more disturbing from there. Tony award-winning actor Frank Langella (“Frost/Nixon”) guest stars along with Ian Somerhalder (“Vampire Diaries”) and Jason Ritter (“Raising Dion”).

Christopher Meloni and Allison Siko in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
35 / 50
NBC

#16. Screwed (2007)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 8, episode 22
- Director: Arthur W. Forney

In easily one of the best celebrity cameos in “SVU” history, rapper Ludacris plays Darius Parker, Detective Tutuola’s nephew. It’s a season finale that puts almost all of the precinct in danger—especially Benson, who has to go face-to-face with internal affairs as a result of Darius’ plans to take the whole crew down.

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36 / 50
NBC

#15. Identity (2005)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 6, episode 12
- Director: Rick Wallace

Part of this episode explores the topic of gender identity, and the subject is played out in the story with an incredibly unexpected twist. The main suspect in a case of sexual assault is dead, so the detectives are left to deal with the evidence his sister presents.

37 / 50
NBC

#14. Zebras (2009)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 10, episode 22
- Director: Peter Leto

Because of a mistake made by Crime Scene Unit tech Dale Stuckey (Noel Fisher), a killer goes free. This leads to more killings, putting more and more people at risk. This episode features guest roles by Carol Kane and Judith Light.

38 / 50
NBC

#13. Alternate (2007)

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Season 9, episode 1
- Director: David Platt

Cynthia Nixon is known for her portrayal of Miranda Hobbes in “Sex and the City.” Her character in this episode is Janis—a woman with multiple personalities—who is looking for her missing child. But when her mental illness starts to worsen—along with multiple deaths occurring in her family—the detectives find this case even harder to solve.

Patricia Arquette, Mariska Hargitay, and Danny Pino in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
39 / 50
NBC

#12. Dreams Deferred (2012)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Season 14, episode 9
- Director: Michael Smith

This episode takes a closer look at the lives of prostitutes in New York City, particularly ones that know the game inside and out to the point where they could be the cops themselves. Oscar winner Patricia Arquette plays Jeannie Kerns, a sex worker at the center of the crime they are trying to solve. Later, things become more about her personal life—and what can be done to save her.

40 / 50
NBC

#11. Shadow (2010)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Season 11, episode 12
- Director: Amy Redford

“SVU” is often known for some of its nonsexual crime cases, this being one of them. In a complicated mix of money, fraud, and connections, Benson and Stabler are tasked with finding out who murdered a well-known couple.

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41 / 50
NBC

#10. Scavenger (2004)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Season 6, episode 4
- Director: Daniel Sackheim

An active serial killer leaves clues throughout the city for the team to find in order to stop him from taking his next victim. Once the detectives have the suspect in the interrogation room, he tells them his latest victim is buried alive with only 15 hours of air from an oxygen tank.

42 / 50
NBC

#9. Conscience (2004)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Season 6, episode 6
- Director: David Platt

In this episode, a teenage boy murders his 5-year-old neighbor. After he’s revealed to be a sociopath, the 5-year-old’s father takes drastic steps to resolve the case, while detectives try to unwind the teenager’s history of abuse.

43 / 50
NBC

#8. Surrender Benson (2013)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Season 15, episode 1
- Director: Michael Smith

This season opener picks up exactly where the show left off at the end of the previous season—with Benson kidnapped, beaten, and tied to a chair at the hands of rapist William Lewis (played by Pablo Schreiber). It doesn’t take long for the other SVU detectives to realize that Benson is missing and that Lewis is responsible. As the detectives trace Lewis’ steps through stolen cars and additional victims, Benson fights for her life.

44 / 50
NBC

#7. Raw (2005)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Season 7, episode 6
- Director: Jonathan Kaplan

In this chilling episode, a sniper shooting leaves numerous kids wounded and one dead on a school playground. Though extensive witness interviews fail to give the detectives a viable lead on the shooting suspect, the sniper rifle gets traced back to a dangerous neo-Nazi group. The sniper’s trial ends in a horrific way, a detective gets seriously injured, and shocking secrets about the shooting and one of the group’s members are revealed.

45 / 50
NBC

#6. Authority (2008)

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Season 9, episode 17
- Director: David Platt

Robin Williams makes a special appearance for the 200th episode of the series as an unstable man who wants to play out the Milgram experiment in real life—testing people’s responses to authority by making them commit heinous acts.

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46 / 50
NBC

#5. Heartfelt Passages (2016)

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Season 17, episode 23
- Director: Alex Chapple

“SVU” is no stranger to hostage situations, and the one involving corrections officer Gary Munson in this episode is no exception. If you happen to rewatch the episode and find Munson a little too lovable to be an intimidating antagonist, that may be because you recognize him as Brad Garrett, the face of fan-favorite Robert Barone in “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

47 / 50
NBC

#4. Loss (2003)

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Season 5, episode 4
- Director: Constantine Makris

This is Assistant District Attorney Cabot’s last episode starring in the main cast before the new ADA Casey Novak (Diane Neal) takes over. Novak, Cabot, and the detectives are involved in a tense case surrounding undercover agents and Colombian drug dealers, but they must be careful to bring down the entire drug ring before the dealers can get to them.

48 / 50
NBC

#3. Behave (2010)

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Season 12, episode 3
- Director: Helen Shaver

Vicki Sayers (guest star Jennifer Love Hewitt) ends up in the hospital after being raped and beaten. Throughout the investigation, detectives Benson and Stabler discover that she’s been beaten and raped by the same attacker since she was 16 years old.

49 / 50
NBC

#2. Undercover (2008)

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Season 9, episode 15
- Director: David Platt

The rape kit of a teenage girl who was brutally assaulted goes missing. Her mother is in jail during the investigation, and Benson and Tutuola go undercover to investigate the corrections officers at the facility. An episode not for the faint of heart, Benson’s physical and emotional strength are put to the test—and might change her forever.

50 / 50
NBC

#1. 911 (2005)

- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- Season 7, episode 3
- Director: Ted Kotcheff

A young girl’s call to 911 leads SVU detectives to discover she’s a child pornography victim. As Benson struggles to find out the girl’s location and save her life, she learns more and more about the young girl in hopes of calming her down and rescuing her from the perpetrator.

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