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The Best Episodes of Law & Order

Every episode of Law & Order ranked from best to worst. Let's dive into the Best Episodes of Law & Order!

In cases ripped from the headlines, police investigate serious and often deadly crimes, weighing the evidence and questioning the suspects until someone is taken into custody. The district attorney's office then builds a case to convict the perpetrator by proving the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Working together, these expert teams navigate all sides of the complex criminal justice system to make New York a safer place.


Top Episode Highlight

The best episode of "Law & Order" is "Aftershock", rated 9.1/10 from 835 user votes. It was directed by Martha Mitchell and written by N/A. "Aftershock" aired on 5/22/1996 and is rated 0.3 point(s) higher than the second highest rated, "Pro Se".

  • Aftershock
    9.1/10 835 votes

    #1 - Aftershock

    Season 6 Episode 23 - Aired 1996-05-22

    After Briscoe, Curtis, McCoy, and Kincaid witness the execution of a criminal they brought to justice, their unique reactions to the event culminate in personal tragedies for each of them.

    Director: Martha Mitchell

    Writer: N/A

  • Pro Se
    8.8/10 510 votes

    #2 - Pro Se

    Season 6 Episode 21 - Aired 1996-05-08

    The investigation into multiple homicides at a clothing store leads to the arrest of a schizophrenic who presents McCoy with a formidable opponent when he decides to represent himself.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Invaders
    8.8/10 437 votes

    #3 - Invaders

    Season 16 Episode 22 - Aired 2006-05-17

    The family of a man who once turned his customers into the police is slain, and the ensuing fracas pits McCoy against a corrupt D.E.A. agent.

    Director: Matthew Penn

    Writer: N/A

  • Couples
    8.7/10 417 votes

    #4 - Couples

    Season 13 Episode 23 - Aired 2003-05-21

    Briscoe and Green catch four murders and a kidnapping on the same day, and get handed confessions in each case.

    Director: David Platt

    Writer: N/A

  • Bodies
    8.7/10 440 votes

    #5 - Bodies

    Season 14 Episode 1 - Aired 2003-09-24

    While investigating the death of a teenaged girl, the detectives stumble on a pattern of crimes that indicate they are after a serial killer. The suspect, however, puts the prosecutors through an ethical ringer when he discloses his attorney's knowledge of the victims and their whereabouts.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A

  • Refuge (Part II)
    8.6/10 359 votes

    #6 - Refuge (Part II)

    Season 9 Episode 24 - Aired 1999-05-26

    McCoy and Carmichael risk violating the civil liberties of witnesses when they are forced to jail them in order to safely continue their investigation.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A

  • Identity
    8.6/10 387 votes

    #7 - Identity

    Season 14 Episode 6 - Aired 2003-11-05

    When a man is found murdered shortly after depositing almost $400,000 in his savings account, the investigation into the source of funds reveals that the victim ran an identity theft scam which left an elderly man homeless and impoverished.

    Director: Jace Alexander

    Writer: N/A

  • Rubber Room
    8.6/10 429 votes

    #8 - Rubber Room

    Season 20 Episode 23 - Aired 2010-05-24

    Detectives search for an anonymous blogger who has posted plans to blow up a school. Lt. Van Buren struggles to keep her personal issues private.

    Director: René Balcer

    Writer: N/A

  • Refuge
    8.5/10 347 votes

    #9 - Refuge

    Season 9 Episode 23 - Aired 1999-05-26

    A shootout between a motorist and the police leads to the discovery of a gruesome Russian mob killing --- and a traumatized boy who was an eyewitness to the murder.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A

  • Indifference
    8.4/10 504 votes

    #10 - Indifference

    Season 1 Episode 9 - Aired 1990-11-27

    During the investigation into the death of a little girl in a respectable, middle-class family, Greevey and Logan uncover a myriad of family secrets involving abuse, molestation, and murder.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: Robert Palm

  • Prince of Darkness
    8.4/10 375 votes

    #11 - Prince of Darkness

    Season 3 Episode 8 - Aired 1992-11-18

    Cerreta poses as a weapons dealer to help Stone build a case against a Columbian hit man, but the deal takes an unexpected turn, resulting in bloodshed.

    Director: Gilbert M. Shilton

    Writer: N/A

  • American Dream
    8.4/10 331 votes

    #12 - American Dream

    Season 4 Episode 8 - Aired 1993-11-09

    A skeleton unearthed at a building site resurrects one of Stone's old cases, and brings him face to face with the tenacious, brilliant culprit, who is seeking a new trial.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A

  • Old Friends
    8.4/10 338 votes

    #13 - Old Friends

    Season 4 Episode 22 - Aired 1994-05-25

    A truck hits a pedestrian and the investigation reveals the victim's link to a baby-food company in which a new partner has connections to the Russian mob.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Showtime
    8.4/10 337 votes

    #14 - Showtime

    Season 7 Episode 17 - Aired 1997-03-27

    The trial of Eddie Newman begins but the prosecution's chances of conviction are hampered by a "dream team" of defense attorneys, Gorton's personal pressures on Ross, the public questioning of the relationship between Curtis and Lisa Lundquist, and a surprise accusation.

    Director: Edwin Sherin

    Writer: René Balcer, Ed Zuckerman, Gardner Stern

  • Red Ball
    8.4/10 310 votes

    #15 - Red Ball

    Season 16 Episode 1 - Aired 2005-09-21

    A young girl is abducted in broad daylight, and the only link to the girl is an ex-convict who wants a deal before he's willing to talk.

    Director: Matthew Penn

    Writer: David Wilcox, Dick Wolf

  • Criminal Law
    8.4/10 304 votes

    #16 - Criminal Law

    Season 16 Episode 9 - Aired 2005-11-23

    The deaths of three women with the same name lead Fontana and Green to the nine-year-old conviction of Leland Barnes, who had shot and killed his wife in an office full of people. With two of the three witnesses against him dead and Jack McCoy on the hit list, the detectives struggle to determine how Barnes, who has been in prison the entire time, got someone on the outside to kill the only people who could keep him in jail. The investigation leads them to Leland's two sons, with surprising results.

    Director: Edwin Sherin

    Writer: David Wilcox

  • By Perjury
    8.4/10 292 votes

    #17 - By Perjury

    Season 19 Episode 9 - Aired 2009-01-14

    The murder of the plaintiff in a high-profile lawsuit against a major airline leads detectives to a defense attorney (Dallas Roberts) who is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his big payday.

    Director: Darnell Martin

    Writer: N/A

  • Last Dance
    8.4/10 195 votes

    #18 - Last Dance

    Season 23 Episode 5 - Aired 2024-02-22

    When a woman is found murdered in Central Park, evidence points to two frequent park-goers: a street vendor and a tech billionaire. In the face of extreme political pressure, McCoy takes drastic action to make the case.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Helpless
    8.3/10 366 votes

    #19 - Helpless

    Season 3 Episode 6 - Aired 1992-11-04

    Dr. Olivet accuses her gynecologist of rape, but Stone finds his case in trouble when he discovers that Olivet tape-recorded the crime.

    Director: James Frawley

    Writer: Christine Roum

  • Corruption
    8.3/10 344 votes

    #20 - Corruption

    Season 7 Episode 5 - Aired 1996-10-30

    Curtis, angered by the attitude of an old colleague of Briscoe's, looks beyond the findings of an IAB investigation and turns up evidence of police corruption that puts the DA's office into competition with an ambitious judge and Briscoe under investigation for stealing evidence from a police lockup.

    Director: Matthew Penn

    Writer: N/A

  • Double Down
    8.3/10 320 votes

    #21 - Double Down

    Season 7 Episode 19 - Aired 1997-04-16

    The cops' best hope of finding a kidnapped hired car driver alive is one of the armed robbers who grabbed him after a job, but the immunity deal he demands in return would effectively preclude his prosecution for the shooting death of an off-duty cop, placing McCoy in a difficult position as he seeks to placate the cops, who want the guy prosecuted, and the kidnapped man's wife, who wants every avenue of saving her husband explored.

    Director: Arthur W. Forney

    Writer: Shimon Wincelberg

  • Terminal
    8.3/10 324 votes

    #22 - Terminal

    Season 7 Episode 23 - Aired 1997-05-21

    The cops uncover a man with a secret second life as they try to learn who opened fire on a group of people disembarking from a party cruise, but his guilt or innocence becomes almost a second thought as Schiff goes toe to toe with the governor and the States Attorney General over the decision to seek the death penalty.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A

  • Blood
    8.3/10 395 votes

    #23 - Blood

    Season 8 Episode 7 - Aired 1997-11-19

    The paternity of a black baby given up for adoption by a white mother might provide a clue to her murderer but it also unearths some long buried family secrets.

    Director: Jace Alexander

    Writer: N/A

  • Agony
    8.3/10 335 votes

    #24 - Agony

    Season 9 Episode 5 - Aired 1998-11-04

    After the detectives find a murdered postman and a woman who was left for dead in her apartment, the investigation leads to a serial killer and a surprise.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: Kathy McCormick

  • Killerz
    8.3/10 434 votes

    #25 - Killerz

    Season 10 Episode 2 - Aired 1999-09-29

    Briscoe and Green believe a 10-year-old is responsible for a child's death, and McCoy wants her isolated to stop any future fatalities.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A