The BEST Episodes of Law & Order

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jan 1, 2021

Network: NBC

"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories." "Law & Order" is a blended police procedural and courtroom drama created by Dick Wolf. The structure for the one-hour show is a two-part approach: The first half focuses on NYPD homicide detectives investigating a crime—often derived from a real-life headline—and apprehending a suspect. The second half takes place in the courtroom, with the district attorney prosecuting the defendant.

Caviar Emptor

#1 - Caviar Emptor

Season 14 - Episode 23 - Aired May 12, 2004

When a caviar importer is murdered the day after his wedding to a much-younger woman, the large pool of suspects includes his new wife, his children, and his chief competitor, each of whom has a compelling motive for committing the crime.

star 7.93
142 votes
Directors: Richard Dobbs
Writers: Roz Weinman
Pro Se

#2 - Pro Se

Season 6 - Episode 21 - Aired May 8, 1996

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.

star 7.91
205 votes
Directors: Lewis H. Gould
Writers: I.C. Rapoport, Rene Balcer

#3 - Harm

Season 9 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 3, 1999

Briscoe and Curtis investigate a possible homicide while probing the assault of a retired divorce attorney.

star 7.88
144 votes
Directors: Richard Dobbs
Writers: Eddie Feldmann, Rene Balcer
American Dream

#4 - American Dream

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 9, 1993

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.

star 7.87
231 votes
Writers: Sibyl Gardner

#5 - Aftershock

Season 6 - Episode 23 - Aired May 22, 1996

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.

star 7.86
210 votes
Writers: Janis Diamond

#6 - Monster

Season 8 - Episode 24 - Aired May 20, 1998

During the search for a pedophile who raped a 10-year-old, a snitch offers Briscoe a chance to avenge his daughter's death. Meanwhile, Van Buren learns that her job is in jeopardy; McCoy is ordered to appear before a disciplinary committee because of his conduct in a DUI case; and the increasingly political Schiff worries that the rape case may adversely impact his reelection bid.

star 7.86
147 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Rene Balcer, Richard Sweren
Born Again

#7 - Born Again

Season 12 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 6, 2002

The investigation into the death of an 11-year-old girl uncovers the possible culpability of the child's mother and a rebirthing therapist.

star 7.85
155 votes
Directors: Jace Alexander
Writers: Jill Goldsmith, Matt Witten

#8 - Invaders

Season 16 - Episode 22 - Aired May 17, 2006

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.

star 7.78
135 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: David Wilcox, Richard Sweren

#9 - Seed

Season 5 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 15, 1995

A routine investigation into a woman's death leads Briscoe and Logan to a fertility doctor guilty of unethical practices, but who cannot apparently be touched because of confidentiality rules, and patient reluctance to talk.

star 7.77
193 votes
Directors: Don Scardino
Writers: Janis Diamond, Michael S. Chernuchin
Refuge (1)

#10 - Refuge (1)

Season 9 - Episode 23 - Aired May 26, 1999

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.

star 7.76
143 votes
Writers: Rene Balcer

#11 - Chosen

Season 13 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 15, 2003

The murder of a bookie with a high-class clientelle leads the detectives to arrest his partner. Charged with first-degree murder, his attorney puts forth an unusual defense strategy that turns the trial into a political statement.

star 7.76
155 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Michael S. Chernuchin

#12 - Punk

Season 9 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 25, 1998

The murder of a corrections officer leads detectives to a women's prison where a guard was linked to an inmate Carmichael put away on drug charges and a confrontation with defense attorney Danielle Melnick.

star 7.76
117 votes
Writers: Matt Witten

#13 - Smoke

Season 13 - Episode 24 - Aired May 21, 2003

Briscoe and Green are assigned to a case involving an eccentric comedian who may have killed his young son by dangling him off a ledge.

star 7.76
99 votes
Writers: Michael S. Chernuchin

#14 - Rage

Season 5 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 1, 1995

A Wall Street broker accused of murdering his mentor uses the defense of "black rage" in court.

star 7.74
212 votes
Writers: Michael S. Chernuchin
Old Friends

#15 - Old Friends

Season 4 - Episode 22 - Aired May 25, 1994

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.

star 7.73
186 votes
Writers: Joshua Stern
Rubber Room

#16 - Rubber Room

Season 20 - Episode 23 - Aired May 24, 2010

Lupo and Bernard race against time to find a student posting internet blogs threatening to blow up a school.

star 7.73
285 votes

#17 - C.O.D.

Season 14 - Episode 24 - Aired May 19, 2004

Briscoe bids farewell to the 27 as the prosecution of two women for killing each other's husbands comes to a successful conclusion.

star 7.71
128 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: Marc Guggenheim, Richard Sweren
Open Season

#18 - Open Season

Season 13 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 20, 2002

A defense attorney who managed the acquittal of the defendant in the attempted murder of a cop is gunned down outside a Manhattan restaurant. The detectives start with police officers in the precinct of the injured officer, then to his brother, before they are led to a white supremacist who is part of a national network. McCoy is faced with the unlikely prospect that the defendant's attorney, his friend of 20 years and a friend of the slain lawyer, played a part in the murder of a Florida district attorney following the defendant's arrest. McCoy is able to make a deal that perserves the integrity of his adversary, but not without a cost.

star 7.71
103 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: Richard Sweren
Double Blind

#19 - Double Blind

Season 7 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 6, 1996

The murder of a janitor in a university laboratory building leads back to a student employee whose participation in a drug study may have prompted the crime.

star 7.71
127 votes
Writers: Jeremy R. Littman, William N. Fordes

#20 - Guardian

Season 5 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 11, 1995

After the body of a young female junkie is identified as the daughter of a wealthy family, Briscoe and Logan try to find out who left her to die in the yard of a day-care center.

star 7.70
229 votes
Writers: Rene Balcer, William N. Fordes
Teenage Wasteland

#21 - Teenage Wasteland

Season 11 - Episode 12 - Aired Feb 7, 2001

The beating death of a restaurant owner leads Briscoe and Green to thrill-seeking teenagers; McCoy and Lewin are forced to decide how young is too young for the death penalty.

star 7.70
169 votes
Writers: Aaron Zelman, Barry Schindel
Bad Faith

#22 - Bad Faith

Season 5 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 26, 1995

Logan relives unhappy childhood memories when a friend is found dead, a presumed suicide, until the investigation reveals recent contact with a former priest, with a history of pedophilia.

star 7.69
154 votes
Directors: Dann Florek
Writers: Rene Balcer
Cost of Capital

#23 - Cost of Capital

Season 16 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 8, 2006

The case against a high powered executive accused of killing her lover rests on the executive's estranged husband and unstable teenage daughter.

star 7.69
120 votes
Writers: Rick Eid, Tom Smuts

#24 - Showtime

Season 7 - Episode 17 - Aired Mar 27, 1997

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 surpise accusation.

star 7.69
152 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Ed Zuckerman, Gardner Stern, Rene Balcer

#25 - Helpless

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 4, 1992

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

star 7.69
254 votes
Directors: James Frawley
Writers: Christine Roum, Michael S. Chernuchin