The Best Episodes of Law & Order

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2018

"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." Filmed entirely on location in New York, the realistic program looks at crime and justice from a dual perspective. In the first half-hour, Detective Cyrus Lupo and his new partner, Detective Kevin Bernard, investigate crimes and apprehend suspects under the supervision of their precinct lieutenant, Anita Van Buren. In the second half-hour, the focus shifts to the criminal courts as Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Cutter and the Assistant District Attorney Connie Rubirosa work within a complicated justice system to prosecute the accused under the guidance of the newly appointed District Attorney Jack McCoy.

Aftershock

#1 - Aftershock

Season 6 - Episode 23

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 7.95
83 votes
Writers: Janis Diamond
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Invaders

#2 - Invaders

Season 16 - Episode 22

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 7.90
77 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: Richard Sweren, David Wilcox
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Refuge (2)

#3 - Refuge (2)

Season 9 - Episode 24

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

star 7.89
67 votes
Writers: Rene Balcer
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Refuge (1)

#4 - Refuge (1)

Season 9 - Episode 23

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 7.84
77 votes
Writers: Rene Balcer
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Gunplay

#5 - Gunplay

Season 15 - Episode 5

After Green goes undercover to gather evidence on the gun dealers who murdered two detectives during a buy-and-bust, McCoy is able to connect the hit men to the attorney who paid them to avenge the death of his gun-running stepson at the hands of the same detectives during a similar buy-and-bust several years earlier.

star 7.81
67 votes
Writers: William N. Fordes, Lois Johnson
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Heart of Darkness

#6 - Heart of Darkness

Season 16 - Episode 13

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 7.80
61 votes
Directors: Richard Dobbs
Writers: Carter Harris
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C.O.D.

#7 - C.O.D.

Season 14 - Episode 24

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

star 7.80
69 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: Richard Sweren, Marc Guggenheim
Cost of Capital

#8 - Cost of Capital

Season 16 - Episode 16

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

star 7.79
62 votes
Writers: Tom Smuts, Rick Eid
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Pro Se

#9 - Pro Se

Season 6 - Episode 21

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 7.79
81 votes
Directors: Lewis H. Gould
Writers: I.C. Rapoport, Rene Balcer
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Rubber Room

#10 - Rubber Room

Season 20 - Episode 23

Series finale. A terrorist threatens students.

star 7.79
108 votes
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Public Service Homicide

#11 - Public Service Homicide

Season 17 - Episode 5

When Carl Mullaly is discovered murdered in his apartment, Green and Cassady learn that he had recently been profiled on HardFocus, a tabloid talk show that exposes sex offenders who are caught via the ScumWatch website. With an eight-year-old girl as the only eye witness, detectives arrest the murderer, but McCoy and Rubirosa soon learn that HardFocus is a lot more involved than they claim.

star 7.78
70 votes
Writers: Chris Levinson
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Fluency

#12 - Fluency

Season 15 - Episode 14

Fontana and Green are baffled by a series of flu-related deaths until they discover that the victims were given fake vaccine. McCoy goes after the con man who distributed the vaccine for murder.

star 7.78
69 votes
Directors: Matthew Penn
Writers: Nick Santora
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Competence

#13 - Competence

Season 5 - Episode 6

When Lt. Van Buren is the victim of an attempted holdup by two teens, she fires her gun and kills one of them, and the detectives are faced with the fact that she shot an unarmed child in the back.

star 7.78
100 votes
Directors: Fred Gerber
Writers: Michael S. Chernuchin, Mark B. Perry
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Mammon

#14 - Mammon

Season 15 - Episode 12

The investigation into the murder of a wealthy husband leads to the uncovering of a conspiracy involving infidelity and greed and leads to one defendant attempting to evade justice by killing the other.

star 7.78
72 votes
Directors: Jace Alexander
Writers: William N. Fordes, Douglas Stark
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Magnet

#15 - Magnet

Season 16 - Episode 14

Fontana and Green arrest a fellow student after a young man is murdered, but McCoy faces a tough adversary when he tries to prosecute the crime.

star 7.78
58 votes
Directors: Adam Bernstein
Writers: David Black
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Life Line

#16 - Life Line

Season 16 - Episode 5

Police turn their attention to the murder of an undercover reporter, but realise that the killer isn't as guilty as he appears.

star 7.76
72 votes
Writers: Greg Plageman
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Over Here

#17 - Over Here

Season 17 - Episode 21

The detectives link the deaths of two homeless men to the war in Iraq.

star 7.75
52 votes
Writers: William N. Fordes
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Enemy

#18 - Enemy

Season 15 - Episode 10

The prosecution of a drug trafficker responsible for a stash house massacre is hampered when McCoy discovers that the defendant claims diplomatic immunity, and has been working as an undercover operative aiding the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

star 7.74
69 votes
Directors: Richard Dobbs
Writers: Alfredo Barrios Jr.
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Showtime (3)

#19 - Showtime (3)

Season 7 - Episode 17

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 7.73
82 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Ed Zuckerman, Gardner Stern, Rene Balcer
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Old Friends

#20 - Old Friends

Season 4 - Episode 22

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 7.72
93 votes
Writers: Joshua Stern
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Damaged

#21 - Damaged

Season 8 - Episode 22

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 7.72
75 votes
Writers: Janis Diamond
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Choice of Evils

#22 - Choice of Evils

Season 16 - Episode 15

After the body of a teenage boy is found dead in a warehouse, detectives use DNA to connect the boy to a convicted rapist and serial killer, then to the boy's mother, Allison Ashburn, the convict's ex-wife. While trying to solve Danny's murder, Fontana and Green learn that he recently got his girlfriend Tina pregnant, and his mother had seen him recently when she had given him money despite having claimed she hadn't seen him for months. Allison finally admits that she murdered her son after the police arrest her new husband John, but claims she did it to save the world from her son, whom she was convinced would become a monster just like her father. Borgia and McCoy face an uphill battle trying to convict the perfect soccer mom.

star 7.71
63 votes
Writers: David Wilcox
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Remains of the Day

#23 - Remains of the Day

Season 17 - Episode 11

After Michael Jones dies in his mother's hospital room with no immediate explanation, his mother Ashley accuses her former husband's adult children, Miles and Hillary Foster, who are fighting her for control of their father's substantial fortune. The autopsy rules out the Fosters, and points Green and Cassady in the direction of illegally harvested donor bones, which Jones had received in a transplant eighteen months prior. McCoy and Rubirosa struggle to prosecute the case after it becomes clear the only way they will get the evidence they need is to test another young man who received bone grafts from the same woman who had given Michael Jones his legs.

star 7.71
73 votes
Writers: David Wilcox
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Monster

#24 - Monster

Season 8 - Episode 24

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 7.71
76 votes
Directors: Ed Sherin
Writers: Richard Sweren, Rene Balcer
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Hindsight

#25 - Hindsight

Season 16 - Episode 21

Fontana and Green are called in to investigate when Green's former replacement, Nick Falco, is suspected of murdering a young woman he had spent the night with.

star 7.71
58 votes
Writers: Chris Levinson
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