The BEST Episodes of Law & Order

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Feb 19, 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 7.96
141 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 7.90
201 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 7.89
142 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
141 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Rene Balcer, Richard Sweren
American Dream

#5 - 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 7.86
226 votes
Writers: Sibyl Gardner

#6 - 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
203 votes
Writers: Janis Diamond
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 7.82
150 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 7.77
133 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: David Wilcox, Richard Sweren

#9 - 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 7.77
94 votes
Writers: 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 7.77
141 votes
Writers: Rene Balcer

#11 - 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

#12 - 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

#13 - 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 7.75
114 votes
Writers: Matt Witten

#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 7.75
204 votes
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

#16 - 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
Teenage Wasteland

#17 - 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
166 votes
Writers: Aaron Zelman, Barry Schindel
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
182 votes
Writers: Joshua Stern
Cost of Capital

#19 - 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 7.71
119 votes
Writers: Rick Eid, Tom Smuts
Bad Faith

#20 - 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
148 votes
Directors: Dann Florek
Writers: Rene Balcer

#21 - 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 7.70
136 votes
Writers: Janis Diamond
Knock Off

#22 - 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 7.70
165 votes
Writers: Matt McGough, William N. Fordes
Heart of Darkness

#23 - 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
118 votes
Directors: Richard Dobbs
Writers: Carter Harris
Open Season

#24 - 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 7.69
100 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: Richard Sweren
Double Blind

#25 - 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 7.69
122 votes
Writers: Jeremy R. Littman, William N. Fordes