The BEST Episodes of Law & Order

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2020

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
203 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
143 votes
Directors: Richard Dobbs
Writers: Eddie Feldmann, Rene Balcer

#4 - 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 7.87
143 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Rene Balcer, Richard Sweren

#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
205 votes
Writers: Janis Diamond
American Dream

#6 - 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 7.85
227 votes
Writers: Sibyl Gardner
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 7.84
152 votes
Directors: Jace Alexander
Writers: Jill Goldsmith, Matt Witten

#8 - 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 7.79
96 votes
Writers: Michael S. Chernuchin

#9 - 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

#10 - 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
187 votes
Directors: Don Scardino
Writers: Janis Diamond, Michael S. Chernuchin
Refuge (1)

#11 - 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
142 votes
Writers: Rene Balcer

#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
116 votes
Writers: Matt Witten

#13 - 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 7.76
206 votes
Writers: Michael S. Chernuchin

#14 - 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 7.75
154 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Michael S. Chernuchin
Rubber Room

#15 - Rubber Room

Season 20 - Episode 23 - Aired May 24, 2010

Series finale. A terrorist threatens students.

star 7.74
282 votes
Teenage Wasteland

#16 - 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 7.72
167 votes
Writers: Aaron Zelman, Barry Schindel

#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 7.72
127 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: Marc Guggenheim, Richard Sweren
Old Friends

#18 - 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 7.71
183 votes
Writers: Joshua Stern
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
123 votes
Writers: Jeremy R. Littman, William N. Fordes
Knock Off

#20 - Knock Off

Season 19 - Episode 5 - Aired Dec 3, 2008

A revered sheriff becomes a possible conspirator in a case involving a murdered tourist.

star 7.71
167 votes
Writers: Matt McGough, William N. Fordes
Bad Faith

#21 - 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 7.70
149 votes
Directors: Dann Florek
Writers: Rene Balcer

#22 - 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
222 votes
Writers: Rene Balcer, William N. Fordes

#23 - Damaged

Season 8 - Episode 22 - Aired May 6, 1998

The case of a teacher's shooting uncovers a vendetta involving the rape of a mentally challenged coed by three students, whose attorney claims they weren't aware of her condition.

star 7.69
137 votes
Writers: Janis Diamond
Cost of Capital

#24 - 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
Heart of Darkness

#25 - Heart of Darkness

Season 16 - Episode 13 - Aired Jan 18, 2006

A journalist's suicide becomes suspect after Green and Fontana find evidence at the scene suggesting that it wasn't a suicide after all.

star 7.69
119 votes
Directors: Richard Dobbs
Writers: Carter Harris