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The Best Episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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

In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.


Top Episode Highlight

The best episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is "911", rated 9.3/10 from 2316 user votes. It was directed by Ted Kotcheff and written by N/A. "911" aired on 10/4/2005 and is rated 0.3 point(s) higher than the second highest rated, "Loss".

  • 911
    9.3/10 2,316 votes

    #1 - 911

    Season 7 Episode 3 - Aired 2005-10-04

    Benson is on her way out for the evening when a call comes in from a little girl who says she's all alone. While trying to draw the girl out, Benson is drawn deeper into the little girl's life, and although the other officers begin to suspect the whole thing may be some sick joke, Benson is convinced that the little girl is the real deal. By talking to Maria, Benson is able to ferret enough information from her so that they have a place to start, but Maria's captor has an affinity for electronics and has done everything he can to make sure that no one can find the little girl he bought and paid for.

    Director: Ted Kotcheff

    Writer: N/A

  • Loss
    9.0/10 1,299 votes

    #2 - Loss

    Season 5 Episode 4 - Aired 2003-10-14

    A female undercover agent for the DEA is raped and murdered, leading to a complicated investigation and the arrest of a suspect highly connected with a Colombian drug cartel. This is the toughest case of Cabot's career as she is faced with death threats on herself and her family along with pressure to yield the case to federal authorities.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A

  • Undercover
    9.0/10 1,486 votes

    #3 - Undercover

    Season 9 Episode 15 - Aired 2008-04-15

    After a woman was found raped in a garden, Benson and Stabler realize that the case goes much deeper because of the victim's mother, drugs, and the realization that a corrections officer is involved. Benson decides to go undercover at the same prison where the mother is, putting herself on the other side of the fence.

    Director: David Platt

    Writer: Mark Goffman

  • Authority
    9.0/10 1,907 votes

    #4 - Authority

    Season 9 Episode 17 - Aired 2008-04-29

    An engineer plays a series of mind games with Benson and Stabler.

    Director: David Platt

    Writer: Neal Baer

  • Behave
    9.0/10 1,457 votes

    #5 - Behave

    Season 12 Episode 3 - Aired 2010-09-29

    A woman who has been raped multiple times is afraid to leave her house. The issue of unopened rape kits will see Detective Olivia Benson travel from New York City to Los Angeles.

    Director: Helen Shaver

    Writer: Jonathan Greene

  • Heartfelt Passages (2)
    9.0/10 1,255 votes

    #6 - Heartfelt Passages (2)

    Season 17 Episode 23 - Aired 2016-05-25

    When the investigation of Corrections Officer Gary Munson deepens, he and his union take drastic actions that threaten the lives of ADA Barba and the SVU squad.

    Director: Alex Chapple

    Writer: Warren Leight, Julie Martin

  • Conscience
    8.9/10 1,463 votes

    #7 - Conscience

    Season 6 Episode 6 - Aired 2004-11-09

    The detectives and the district attorney get played first by the teenage murderer of a young boy, and then by the victim's father, who uses his professional expertise to escape punishment for avenging his son's death.

    Director: David Platt

    Writer: Roger Wolfson

  • Raw
    8.9/10 1,524 votes

    #8 - Raw

    Season 7 Episode 6 - Aired 2005-11-01

    After a six-year-old boy dies in a school shooting, detectives trace the gun used back to a white supremacist's gun shop. Munch and Tutuola both face hatred and prejudice from the major suspects in the case, but their investigation soon takes them from the man who pulled the trigger back to the gun shop owner, who makes no bones about his hatred of anyone who isn't white.

    Director: Jonathan Kaplan

    Writer: N/A

  • Shadow
    8.9/10 1,274 votes

    #9 - Shadow

    Season 11 Episode 12 - Aired 2010-01-13

    When a rich and powerful couple with political connections is found murdered in their bedroom, Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler decide to speak to the deceased couple's daughter, Anne, for more information. After hearing Anne's account of a nefarious man who has been following her, the detectives soon discover that Anne's supposed stalker is none other than Detective Ash Ramsey of the Special Frauds division. Convinced that Anne killed her parents for their money, Ramsey becomes suspicious of Anne's business manager and is led to believe that he helped her steal money from the foundation she runs. When blackmail and embezzlement come into play, the detectives find that their lives may be at risk over a girl with some serious parent issues.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Dreams Deferred
    8.9/10 1,200 votes

    #10 - Dreams Deferred

    Season 14 Episode 9 - Aired 2012-12-05

    A man goes on a killing spree, but he has links to a prostitute that Benson encountered in an earlier investigation, so the FBI contacts SVU for information.

    Director: Michael Smith

    Writer: Warren Leight, Julie Martin

  • Surrender Benson
    8.9/10 1,466 votes

    #11 - Surrender Benson

    Season 15 Episode 1 - Aired 2013-09-25

    The SVU squad searches for Detective Benson and her abductor.

    Director: Michael Smith

    Writer: Warren Leight, Julie Martin

  • Manhunt
    8.8/10 895 votes

    #12 - Manhunt

    Season 2 Episode 18 - Aired 2001-04-20

    The details of a kidnapping are similar to a series of rapes and murders that may link the crime to a serial killer.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Dominance
    8.8/10 1,250 votes

    #13 - Dominance

    Season 4 Episode 20 - Aired 2003-04-04

    A quadruple homicide with sexual overtones is just the start of an intense rampage of a serial killer that brings a homicide detective into the mix. As the entire squad races against time to prevent further victims, the evidence uncovers a horrible situation of incest and abuse.

    Director: Steve Shill

    Writer: N/A

  • Scavenger
    8.8/10 1,356 votes

    #14 - Scavenger

    Season 6 Episode 4 - Aired 2004-10-19

    The entire squad races against the clock to solve the puzzles and uncover the clues scattered throughout the city by a serial killer who is taunting them to find him and the next victims on his list.

    Director: Daniel Sackheim

    Writer: N/A

  • Fault
    8.8/10 1,233 votes

    #15 - Fault

    Season 7 Episode 19 - Aired 2006-04-04

    A manhunt ensues when Victor Paul Gitano, a recently released sex offender, kidnaps two children after killing the rest of their family. Benson and Stabler pursue Gitano only to find their own relationship challenged as both experience opportunities where they put their personal relationship ahead of their job. After having her throat slashed, Benson requests for a new partner when she hears what Stabler has to say about their relationship and their job.

    Director: Paul McCrane

    Writer: Michele Fazekas

  • Screwed
    8.8/10 1,286 votes

    #16 - Screwed

    Season 8 Episode 22 - Aired 2007-05-22

    Darius Parker, goes on trial for the rape and murder of a woman and her 14-month old child. The case brings Fin under fire from the media and even has Munch and Stabler at odds. Novak prosecutes the trial that brings Stabler and Tutuola, among others, to the stand. Many previous stories are brought into the trial.

    Director: Arthur W. Forney

    Writer: Judith McCreary

  • Alternate
    8.8/10 1,453 votes

    #17 - Alternate

    Season 9 Episode 1 - Aired 2007-09-25

    Benson and Stabler investigate a suspected child abuse case only to learn that the woman who reported it is the real case.

    Director: David Platt

    Writer: Neal Baer

  • Liberties
    8.8/10 1,075 votes

    #18 - Liberties

    Season 10 Episode 21 - Aired 2009-05-19

    A favor for a judge who is hearing a harassment case sends Stabler and Benson to interview a death-row serial killer in order to determine the fate of his son.

    Director: Juan José Campanella

    Writer: N/A

  • Zebras
    8.8/10 1,388 votes

    #19 - Zebras

    Season 10 Episode 22 - Aired 2009-06-02

    A murder in Central Park that involves a tourist puts the SVU on high alert, but when the suspect they've brought in for questioning escapes, Munch has to reach out to an ex-wife in an effort to prevent another killing that's closer to home.

    Director: Peter Leto

    Writer: Daniel Truly

  • Born Psychopath
    8.8/10 1,252 votes

    #20 - Born Psychopath

    Season 14 Episode 19 - Aired 2013-04-03

    The SVU detectives investigate after a school nurse notices multiple injuries on a young girl; Detective Amaro tries to bond with his recently discovered son.

    Director: Alex Chapple

    Writer: Warren Leight, Julie Martin

  • Her Negotiation
    8.8/10 1,078 votes

    #21 - Her Negotiation

    Season 14 Episode 24 - Aired 2013-05-22

    The detectives uncover a shocking theory as they work to learn the identity of a man Rollins arrested for exposing himself in the park.

    Director: Norberto Barba

    Writer: Warren Leight, Julie Martin

  • Alta Kockers
    8.8/10 933 votes

    #22 - Alta Kockers

    Season 20 Episode 10 - Aired 2018-11-22

    The investigation into a promising new author’s death leads to a decades-old secret kept between two reclusive brothers.

    Director: Alex Chapple

    Writer: Michael S. Chernuchin

  • Countdown
    8.7/10 927 votes

    #23 - Countdown

    Season 2 Episode 15 - Aired 2001-02-23

    The detectives become a little edgy after working around the clock to find an abducted girl when clues point to a serial murderer and rapist who kills his victims on the third day. After trapping the killer, they are prepared to give him the death penalty until they find out that one of his victims was never found and he offers her location as a plea bargain.

    Director: Steve Shill

    Writer: N/A

  • Mean
    8.7/10 1,024 votes

    #24 - Mean

    Season 5 Episode 17 - Aired 2004-02-24

    The conviction of a group of sociopathic high school bullies who turned on one of their own escalates into even more violence and death in their exclusive private school.

    Director: Constantine Makris

    Writer: N/A

  • Poison
    8.7/10 881 votes

    #25 - Poison

    Season 5 Episode 24 - Aired 2004-05-11

    A young girl is in a coma after ingesting detergent and her mother is suspected of poisoning her. A biased judge makes the case hard to prosecute which leads to an investigation into his past.

    Director: David Platt

    Writer: N/A