The BEST Episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Network: NBC

As acting commander of the SVU, Sergeant Olivia Benson is a seasoned veteran of the unit who has seen it all. She leads with empathy and professionalism, all the while dealing with her difficult past as a product of rape, and her future as mother to a young child, both of which influence the way she relates to each victim in need of help.

Her Negotiation

#1 - Her Negotiation

Season 14 - Episode 24 - Aired May 22, 2013

The detectives uncover a shocking theory as they work to learn the identity of a man Rollins arrested for exposing himself in the park; Detective Benson finds herself in mortal danger.

star 8.52
235 votes
Directors: Norberto Barba
Writers: Julie Martin, Warren Leight
Heartfelt Passages (2)

#2 - Heartfelt Passages (2)

Season 17 - Episode 23 - Aired May 25, 2016

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.

star 8.13
724 votes
Directors: Alex Chapple
Writers: Warren Leight, Julie Martin

#3 - Screwed

Season 8 - Episode 22 - Aired May 22, 2007

Darius Parker (Ludacris), 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

star 8.10
167 votes
Writers: Judith McCreary
Deadly Ambitions

#4 - Deadly Ambitions

Season 14 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 20, 2013

The SVU squad tries to keep Detective Rollins' sister safe from her abusive boyfriend when she turns up beaten and pregnant; when Rollins is forced to take drastic action, an internal affairs investigation begins.

star 8.10
202 votes
Directors: Jim McKay
Writers: Warren Leight, Julie Martin, Peter Blauner, Kevin Fox

#5 - Fallacy

Season 4 - Episode 21 - Aired Apr 18, 2003

Benson and Stabler try to prove self-defense when a rape victim kills her attacker. Events take an unusual turn when they find out that the victim is a pre-operative transsexual.

star 8.09
152 votes
Writers: Barbie Kligman

#6 - Ghost

Season 6 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 22, 2005

When a wealthy couple is found dead in their home, Benson and Stabler soon realise that their deaths are connected to a drug smuggling ring. Eventually the road leads back to the same drug dealers who forced a former assistant district attorney into hiding, and Alex Cabot comes home to face her enemies.

star 8.07
165 votes
Directors: David Platt
Writers: Amanda Green
Justice Denied

#7 - Justice Denied

Season 13 - Episode 17 - Aired Apr 11, 2012

A closed rape case of Benson's is reopened because of it's similarities to a new case, and the possibility of wrongful imprisonment surfaces. As Benson's work is questioned, tension develops between her, ADA Haden and Bayard Ellis.

star 8.06
168 votes
Directors: Michael Slovis
Writers: Stuart Feldman, Warren Leight
Born Psychopath

#8 - Born Psychopath

Season 14 - Episode 19 - Aired Apr 3, 2013

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.

star 8.05
222 votes
Directors: Alex Chapple
Writers: Julie Martin, Warren Leight
Psycho Therapist

#9 - Psycho Therapist

Season 15 - Episode 10 - Aired Jan 8, 2014

When Detective Benson faces Lewis in the courtroom, the stress causes setbacks in her recovery; Benson is forced to reveal secrets.

star 8.05
262 votes
Directors: Michael Slovis
Writers: Warren Leight, Julie Martin
Official Story

#10 - Official Story

Season 13 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 18, 2012

Benson and Amaro must work around a resistant victim when the CEO of a military contractor is assaulted.

star 8.05
165 votes
Directors: Michael Smith
Writers: Peter Blauner

#11 - Zebras

Season 10 - Episode 22 - Aired Jun 2, 2009

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.

star 8.04
185 votes
Directors: Peter Leto
Writers: Amanda Green, Daniel Truly
Beast's Obsession

#12 - Beast's Obsession

Season 15 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 9, 2014

Benson is assigned a 24/7 security detail when William Lewis escapes from prison and starts killing again; Benson must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to save a child's life.

star 8.04
266 votes
Directors: Steve Shill
Writers: Warren Leight, Julie Martin
Daydream Believer (3)

#13 - Daydream Believer (3)

Season 16 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 29, 2015

Benson and Voight lead their teams in the investigation of a rape/murder case that is frighteningly similar to a case from New York a decade ago. When forced to release their main suspect, the Chicago PD joins the SV Unit in New York in pursuit of Yates. (We Called Her Jellybean (1) aired on Chicago Fire, season 3, episode 21. The Number of Rats (2) aired on Chicago P.D., season 2, episode 20.)

star 8.03
320 votes
Dreams Deferred

#14 - Dreams Deferred

Season 14 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 5, 2012

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.

star 8.03
217 votes
Directors: Michael Smith
Writers: Julie Martin, Warren Leight
Internal Affairs

#15 - Internal Affairs

Season 15 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 9, 2013

When Officer Michael Groves ends up in a psych ward after leveling accusations at the 12th Precinct, Internal Affairs asks the team to help investigate.

star 8.02
282 votes
Writers: Kevin Fox
Military Justice

#16 - Military Justice

Season 15 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 13, 2013

A military officer who was gang raped refuses to cooperate with the SVU for fear of damage to her reputation; Amaro asks his ex to help dig up information on the case.

star 8.02
253 votes
Directors: Tom DiCillo
Writers: Lawrence Kaplow
Gambler's Fallacy

#17 - Gambler's Fallacy

Season 15 - Episode 17 - Aired Mar 12, 2014

When Rollins strikes a deal with the managers of a gambling club in order to protect her job, she ends up drawing the suspicion of Benson and Tutuola.

star 8.01
236 votes
Directors: Alex Chapple
Writers: Julie Martin, Warren Leight, Kevin Fox
Monster's Legacy

#18 - Monster's Legacy

Season 14 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 6, 2013

When a janitor violently attacks a coach, the SVU team connects the janitor's behavior to a history of sexual abuse; the detectives find more victims of the same predator -- including a prisoner (Mike Tyson) on death row.

star 8.01
198 votes
Writers: John P. Roche, Warren Leight, Julie Martin
Downloaded Child

#19 - Downloaded Child

Season 15 - Episode 19 - Aired Apr 2, 2014

After a single mom is arrested for leaving her young daughter alone for days, Sgt. Benson suspects the woman may have been abused in her own childhood.

star 8.01
232 votes
Directors: Adam Bernstein
Writers: Jill Abbinanti, Julie Martin, Warren Leight
Spring Awakening

#20 - Spring Awakening

Season 15 - Episode 24 - Aired May 21, 2014

Amaro must face the consequence of his reckless behavior; when an online ad for escorts leads to the rape and robbery of tourists, Benson discovers she has a connection to one of the suspects.

star 8.01
213 votes
Directors: Norberto Barba
Writers: Warren Leight, Julie Martin, Kevin Fox
Double Strands

#21 - Double Strands

Season 13 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 12, 2011

A family man is suspected of being a serial rapist in a string of assaults stretching across several states. Mounting evidence points to his guilt, but detectives research his past and begin to believe his pleas of innocence.

star 8.01
209 votes
Directors: Fred Berner
Writers: John P. Roche
Girl Dishonored

#22 - Girl Dishonored

Season 14 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 24, 2013

As the SVU detectives investigate the alleged rape of a sorority pledge, drunken students, and conflicting accounts complicate matters.

star 8.01
216 votes
Directors: Holly Dale
Writers: Robert Brooks Cohen, Warren Leight, Julie Martin

#23 - 911

Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 4, 2005

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.

star 8.00
209 votes
Directors: Ted Kotcheff
Writers: Patrick Harbinson

#24 - Scheherazade

Season 8 - Episode 10 - Aired Jan 2, 2007

Stabler heads to see terminal cancer patient Judson Tierney after a request from his parish priest, and soon realizes that Tierney has a story that he is dying to tell but only wants to tell to his estranged daughter. With Benson keeping an eye on Tierney, Stabler looks into the man's past and learns that he was once involved in a series of unsolved bank robberies, and that he has been keeping a secret about his daughter for over twenty years.

star 8.00
163 votes
Directors: David Platt
Writers: Amanda Green
Manhattan Vigil

#25 - Manhattan Vigil

Season 14 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 24, 2012

The kidnapping of a young boy reminds Cragen, Munch and Benson of a unsolved case from 13 years earlier.

star 8.00
220 votes
Writers: Peter Blauner