A pregnant woman (Tricia Paoluccio) is attacked and has her fetus ripped from her womb. Detectives Benson and Stabler quickly look for the baby hoping he's still alive. The woman's husband (John Ritter) seems shocked, but it is soon discovered she may have had an affair with a construction worker (Bobby Cannavale). The resulting trial has ADA Alex Cabot trying to argue that the fetus had a right to live without treading into the controversial territory of reproductive rights.
A six-year-old boy is abandoned by his mother (Elpidia Carrillo) in an emergency room after having been shot. Detectives Benson and Stabler look for his missing family members in order to find his shooter (Louie Leonardo) while Munch attempts to get through to the boy's ten-year-old brother (Jean-Luke Figueroa). Eventually, it becomes clear that the whole family is in danger.
A five-year-old girl is found viciously beaten to death in foster care. Detectives Benson and Stabler investigate her complicated family ties. They learn the girl's birth mother (Erika LaVonn) always tried to get back her daughter from the foster mother (Kathleen Wilhoite) and foster grandmother (Piper Laurie). They then investigate her introverted foster brother (Colin Fickes). Captain Cragen manages to reach out to him with the help of a video game.
A young wife's body is found after what seems to be an erotic asphyxiation accident. Detectives Benson and Stabler follow her link to a male stripper (Pete Starrett). He reveals their link was that he was recently gang raped by her and her two female lawyer friends, Amelia Chase (Diane Neal) and Pam Adler (Paige Turco) after the three women handcuffed him to a bed during a bachelorette party. ADA Cabot follows People v. Liberta (1984) and sues the women for this non statutory female on male rape. The investigation of one of the women, Pam Adler, then reveals the suicide was in fact a murder, as the victim planned to come clean and expose her fellow rapists.
The search for a serial rapist leads to a suspect who was himself a product of rape, and whose father was convicted of that crime. The young man's attorney blames his genetics as the reason for his actions.
A shooting outside of a gay bar leads the detectives to the victim's family, which includes a bitter feud with his parents, and his wife's involvement in pornographic movies.
When arriving party guests find a prominent doctor murdered and his wife raped, the investigation starts with his estranged son and a former patient, then moves to his mistress and her neighbor and the realization that the wife was the intended victim.
Stabler is teamed up with John 'Hawk' Hawkins to capture a serial rapist/murderer whom Hawk originally convicted years earlier. The more investigation done, the more unlikely it becomes that the convicted culprit was innnocent. Hawk is then at a crossroads about his life and his prestige as an officer.
When a baby is abducted from her mother (Kerri Green) in a grocery store, Detectives Benson and Stabler are led to Mark Sanford (Bruce Altman), a private adoption lawyer with dubious business practices. The investigation of the adoption service opens up a twelve-year-old case originally handled by Sgt. Max Greevey and Don Cragen involving the missing child (Ian Cronin) of a murdered woman. Captain Cragen teams up with Munch to solve the case.
When an HIV-positive male with a record of assaulting underage girls is discovered in a sexual clincher with a young woman on a rooftop, the detectives are determined to put him back inside. After a series of rapes and murders that cannot be traced to him, though, they begin to wonder if they've been looking the wrong way.
After therapy uncovers repressed memories of abuse and fearing her seven-year-old sister is currently being molested, an eighteen-year-old girl brings charges of rape against her father who winds up murdered when those charges are dismissed.
The detectives investigate three murders that seemingly have with no connection to each other, but each one has ties to Benson's previous cases and the detectives worry that Benson is the intended target.
Observed by an FBI psychiatrist, the detectives uncover a horrifying motive for the slaying of a software company employee by a fired colleague when they learn of the suspect's true relationship with his overbearing mother.
The team searches for a serial killer (Richard Thomas) who justifies his crimes with paranoid religious motivation set on by a rapidly deteriorating medical condition. Even though she knows that he has been driven to kill, his wife (Karen Allen) begs the prosecutors to show leniency because of his condition.
A Russian woman assumes her twin's identity when the sister is mistakenly killed in her stead.
The details of a kidnapping are similar to a series of rapes and murders that may link the crime to a serial killer.
The creator of an internet web site that assists runaways is taken hostage by a distraught father desperate to find his missing daughter.
The beating of a young man uncovers a dangerous male escort service where the boss may have reasons for sending her staff on potentially deadly dates.
The female cop who trained Benson is brutally assaulted during a routine patrol call. When SVU investigates, the woman is less than cooperative. Internal affairs gets involved and it quickly becomes apparent that there is nothing simple about the case.
he SVU detectives have 72 hours to save a little girl who has been taken by a serial killer. Their best leads lie in the memory of a young girl who previously escaped her captor. Unfortunately, the girl's traumatized mother refuses to allow the detectives to talk to her daughter as she wants to protect her from any further stress.
Stabler and Benson suspect parental neglect may have led to the tragic death of the son (Paul Tiesler) of two famous singers (Christine Andreas), leading them to fear for their little girl Ashley (Hayden Panettiere). Benson realizes that the career-obsessed parents are ignoring Ashley and that her desperate cries for attention have led to a pattern of physical injuries. When Benson pushes the case further, the parents' reaction puts her job in jeopardy.
Sex offenders, whose names and identities are public record due to Megan's Law, are the victims of a serial killer. SVU investigates and immediately assumes that one of the victims is carrying out some sort of vigilante justice.
A teen gymnast is found molested and murdered. The prime suspects are her overbearing coach and the male team booster with whom she was having an affair.
College girl Kelly D'Leah is raped during a frat party, but can't remember anything that happened. The detectives find that she had a date rape drug in her system, leaving the squad with many suspects and accomplices. They ultimately discover that the boy who had sex with Kelly (Zak Orth) was unaware that she had been drugged.
he truth behind the alleged rape of a woman by her police officer husband comes to light when a history ofis uncovered. Monique Jeffries leaves the squad and files a discrimination suit against the NYPD.
The case of a seventeen-year-old rape victim during the opening festivities of a luxury family friendly hotel takes a strange turn when her immediate family tries to keep the scandal quiet by preparing a lawsuit. Detectives soon realize that the girl isn't as innocent as she pretends to be, especially when an innocent manager gets caught up in her scheme. Benson struggles to deal with her mother's death.
In a story ripped from the headlines, a 7 year-old boy shoots his 6 year-old classmate. Aside from grappling with the political and emotional fallout of the event, the SVU detectives must also track down how the little boy got the gun in the first place. The trail leads to neighborhood drug dealers.
A woman is raped and murdered and a man is stabbed in a local store. The detectives investigate two of the mentally ill people she had recently befriended as well as the recently released ex-con/stabbing victim who pins the murder on one of the mentally ill. The SVU detectives learn it was the ex-con, but will Cabot be able to convince the mentally ill man, who witnessed the crime, to take his medication in order to be lucid while testifying against the convict?
A rape victim who was unable to identify her attacker becomes a vigilante bent on exacting the revenge on her tormentor that she was unable to achieve earlier.
An abused 7-year-old girl lies comatose while Benson and Stabler try to figure out which member of her dysfunctional family is responsible for her state.
Because of the results of their psychological evaluations, detectives Stabler and Jeffries are in danger of losing their jobs, and they will have to undergo further evaluation and submit formal explanations to an investigation commission.
The vicious assault of an Afghan diplomat's daughter uncovers clues that may suggest ancient traditions justify "honor killings" when a child goes against time-honored values.
Tensions mount between the detectives when a man is put on trial for raping and murdering a mother and child. Meanwhile, Elliot's wife Kathy announces she is pregnant, and Det Chester Lake joins the SVU staff.
When mother and daughter are brutally raped and murdered, it seemed too much for Warrants Officer Detective Dani Beck (guest star Connie Nielsen) to handle as she begins to crack under the pressure. However, when their number one suspect, Andrew (guest star Jerry Lewis), turns out to be detective Munch's (Richard Belzer) Uncle, the case twists into something that none of the Special Victims Squad had imagined.
A dying lung cancer pateint (Guest star Brian Dennehy) makes a deathbed confession to Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). His riveting story reveals a string of crimes that took place several decades ago, including the murder of his partner and also how he took his partner's daughter to raise as his own.
Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) pay a visit to The New Souls Church, where Reverend Jeb Curtis (guest star Tim Daly), his wife Hannah (guest star Kathy Baker) and their remaining nine children are mourning the death of a military son in Afghanistan. They seem like a loving family from the outside, but things are not what they seem. Hannah provides the detectives with a taped conversation of the Reverend that leads the SVU to come after a different suspect.
Dets. Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Beck (Guest Star Connie Nielsen) are unable to build a rape case against a suspect until Guest star Leslie Caron comes forward. Collected evidence leads detectives to a surprising suspect, Martin Trenway (guest star Charles Shaughnessy, a distinguished lawyer. Charges are pressed against him, but later dismissed due to insufficient evidence. However, a difficult and an emotional meeting with an older French woman Lorraine Delmas (guest star Leslie Caron) is able to break open the case.
Stabler and Benson are forced to dive in to the world of underage drinking when a death leads to high school binge parties and a mother (Laura Leighton) who not only supplies booze to her daughter (Sarah Drew)'s friends but sleeps with one of those friends (Hunter Parrish) as well.
Ken Randall (guest star Ernest Wadell) is the resident adviser at the University where one of his students is raped. The skittish girl and her parents do not want to talk to the police, but after a socialite is attacked by someone who fits the matched description, Fin begins working with Brooklyn SVU Detective Chester Lake (guest star Adam Beach) who is convinced they are looking for the same guy. As the investigation deepens, the trail leads to a medical clinic and an unusual suspect played by Henry (guest star Kal Penn), the son of a doctor who works there.
When Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) investigates a rape case outside her jurisdiction, she finds herself being questioned by local Police Captain Julia Millfield (guest star Kim Delaney) and although she gets some answers, some are difficult to accept. Benson also needs to talk to police psychologist Dr. Rebecca Hendrix (guest star Mary Stuart Masterson) about some of her actions that have led to tensions with Detective Stabler (Chris Meloni).
FBI agent Star Morrison (guest star Marcia Gay Harden) reappears on the scene, where alleged rape victim Haley (guest star Kristen Bush) refuses a rape kit. Benson learns that Haley is an FBI informant whose ex-boyfriend is a radical environmental rights advocate. In order to foil the group's terrorist activities, Benson goes undercover to further investigate.
A photograph of a dead boy found in an anonymously delivered envelope leads Dets. Fin (Ice-T) and Munch (Richard Belzer) to the apartment building that houses the crime scene. The investigation reveals the building supervisor has spent a lot of time with the boy in the picture, and he falls under suspicion. The case takes a physical toll on Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), the victim (guest star Marquis Rodriguez), and the boy's mother (guest star Karen Olivio) as they all start to have similar medical issues. Their symptoms appear to point to the same origin, which unearths a corporate conspiracy and cover-up.
An overzealous reporter (Kali Rocha) accuses a new mother (Ashley Williams) on television of kidnapping and trying to kill her baby. This turns out to be the last straw for the despondent woman, who promptly commits suicide. Although everyone is under suspicion, including the mother and her ex-husband (Pablo Schreiber), the case takes an unusual emotional toll on Detective Stabler who is drawn into the line of fire by the kidnapper (Dana Ashbrook) and his mother (Marian Seldes).
Detective Olivia Benson (Emmy-winner Mariska Hargitay) is torn by two important cases as she continues her undercover work with an eco terrorism group. Det. Benson still deep undercover in Oregon as "Persephone James" is called upon by ADA Novak (Dianne Neal) to help present evidence that will strengthen the case against a brutal rapist. This case will have a dramatic impact on Benson's critical work in Oregon, but intimately, her testimony in the rape trial will lead her back to the Special Victims Unit.
When an assailant rapes his victim twice, Dets. Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Beck (Guest star Connie Nielsen) link the case to victims of multiple rapes. Based on the timeline of those subsequent attacks, Dr. George Huang (B. D. Wong) suspects the rapist has one disturbing motive for these crimes. Tensions flare between the detectives as they make a difficult decision to help bring in the dangerous perp.
Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is called upon to help in an investigation regarding her brother Simon Marsden (guest star Michael Weston). She finds herself caught in the investigation of her brother between Police Captain Julia Millfield (guest star Kim Delaney) and FBI Agent Porter (guest star Vincent Spano). Benson believes her brother is innocent, but this case is starting to threaten her career, as she digs deeper into the case she uncovers family secrets.
The Sennet couple (guest stars Blair Underwood and Michael Michele) will stop at nothing to get custody of their daughter Tessa (guest star Tiffany Evans). Dets. Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Benson (Mariska Hargitay) are given the difficult assignment of sorting through the lies and deception in a classic "he said, she said" case that ends up leaving one of the parents in a grave medical state.
Dets. Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Fin (Ice-T) investigate when two high school kids, Connor (Guest star Daniel Farcher) and Janey (Guest star Betsy Hogg), disappear from a field trip to a museum. They later discover Connor was attempting a fake kidnapping plot, and Janey has gone off with the family's much older driver. In this episode,
A former rock star appears on a national talk show and gets on a soapbox about the abuse of psychiatric drugs, while an unstable young woman who loses her virginity goes off her prescribed medication, gets behind the wheel of a car -- and mows down 10 people. As these highly charged events are played out, the argument about prescribed "meds" is challenged.
When Dets. Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Benson (Mariska Hargitay) speak to the girls grief-stricken parents they discover her fiancée, a CIA agent named Stephen Dashiell (guest star Dylan Walsh), had been threatened by terrorists -- they believe this may have been a professional hit. Their difficult search for Dashiell leads them to a perfect suburban family - and then a tragedy - one that pushes Stabler to face new truths about his own family.
A band of teenaged siblings attack and sodomize a teenaged girl (guest star Tricia Mara), who is a gifted piano student at a prestigious high school in Harlem. When Medical Examiner Warner (Tamara Tunie) identifies the attackers as overweight, Detective Stabler (Chris Meloni) and his one-time partner, Detective Lucius Blaine (guest star Anthony Anderson, "Hustle & Flow"), track down the brothers -- who claim they attacked the victim to avenge an attack on their morbidly obese brother (Omar Benson Miller).
An eight-year-old boy (Jack Vignone) propositions a male classmate. When Stabler and Tutuola are called in, they learn that the boy's older brother (Connor Paolo) was molested by their father (Tim Hopper). DNA tests reveal that a pattern of abuse has infected the family with the older brother running his own pornography site. The webmaster goes missing and Ruben Morales (Joel de la Fuente) joins the detectives in their search. His own guilt about his nephew's rape by an online predator colors his judgment when dealing with one of the suspects.
Tutuola's son Ken Randall (Ernest Waddell) calls Benson for help after he is picked up in an alley late at night. He claims that he was looking for a corpse after overhearing a man talk about murdering a woman and dumping her body. Although Tutuola and his ex-wife (Lisa Gay Hamilton) are sure that Ken is not a killer, they are puzzled about why he refuses to take a DNA test. Tutuola suspects that this has something to do with Ken's cousin, Darius Parker (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) who has a long criminal record. When Ken eventually submits his DNA, it reveals a shocking family connection. Darius confesses to having murdered the woman and her baby but he is clever enough to get this confession thrown out. He vows revenge upon the family that has been humiliating him for his entire life.
A manhunt ensues when Victor Paul Gitano (Lou Diamond Phillips), a recently released sex offender, kidnaps two children (Steven Hinkle and Tristen Douglass) after killing the rest of their family. Benson and Stabler pursue Gitano only to find their own relationship challenged as both experience opportunities where they put their personal relationship ahead of their jobs. The partners are able to save one of the children but Benson requests a new partner, feeling that they have become too close.
Three students are charged with rape and murder in the disappearance of a teenage Canadian girl (Barbara King) who took a trip to Manhattan. Under questioning, two of them (Teddy Ick and Paul David Story) point the finger at the younger and more gentle suspect (Harry Zittel). Novak discovers that he is being set up and promises to protect him from the other two. Despite this he disappears after the indictment. With no body and only one witness left (Sandor Tecsy) who is in no shape to testify, the boys are released. After following disturbing evidence, which includes a bug in the office of Judge Donnelly (Judith Light) planted by a corrupt court officer (Maggie Siff), the detectives arrest the two predators for the murder of their scapegoat.
When a college girl (Tess Soltau)'s body is dumped in an area frequented by prostitutes, Stabler and Tutuola realize she had far more money than a student on financial aid should, and they learn that she was deeply involved in the world of online gambling and high stakes poker. Suspects include the victim's roommate (Trieste Kelly Dunn) who is seen wearing an expensive ring, an athlete (Mathew St. Patrick) from whom the ring was stolen and the victim's childhood friend (Will Estes). Stabler makes a special plea for the latter when stories of the young man's childhood are reminiscent of Stabler's own.
A college student (Schuyler Fisk)'s tale of rape and an unknown pregnancy becomes suspicious to the detectives when they learn that she has been linked to not one, but two abandoned newborns. A paternity test later reveals that her abandoned child was the result of incestuous relationship with her father (Veljko Ivanek), who is a local politician married to another woman (Alexandra Neil).
The body of a young woman is found and when Benson and Stabler delve into her private life, they learn that in addition to being a respected lawyer, she was also a stripper. Her co-worker at the club (Faina Vitebsky) is later found murdered as well. Surveillance footage and DNA evidence implicate the lawyer's boss (Chris Potter) who appears to live with a crippled wife (Rebecca De Mornay). Further investigation reveals that the wife is living a lie and that she exacts revenge on her husband by hiring a hitman (Holt McCallany) to kill his sexual partners.
When a bruised, bloodied and severely injured 12-year-old boy is dumped outside a hospital, Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler(Chris Meloni) are led to Charlie Monaghan (guest star Sasha Neulinger), a teenager seen beating the boy a week earlier at St. Victor's school. But the suspect's alibi proves unlikely when his 8-year-old half sister's (guest star Raquel Castro) own problems at school and tormented past at the hands off the injured boy surface. Meanwhile, the girl's legal woes are exacerbated when questions concerning legal guardianship and consent - and what constitutes fit parenting - come into play.
A single mother (April Nixon) is found dead in her apartment with her son (Malcolm David Kelley) hiding in the closet behind her body. The squad is able to link the woman's death to a philanthropist (Gordon Clapp) whose organization helps people get off the street. Detective Benson befriends the traumatized boy and tries to have him ID his mother's killer in a lineup. However, he IDs the wrong man and goes out of his way to make up for this by killing the suspect himself. A high profile case develops around charging a child with murder and his defense argues that his exposure to gun violence conditioned him to kill. Afraid of the precedent this could set, a firearms lobby files a civil suit.
When a series of rapes is linked to a speed-dating service, Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) goes undercover and discovers Mike Jergens (guest star Dean Cain) is the assailant. As the case progresses, Jergens' insecure girlfriend Cora Kennison (guest star Tina Holmes) - an alcoholic and bulimic - becomes an unwilling pawn as both Benson and attorney Minerva Grahame-Bishop (guest star Teri Garr) seek to persuade Kennison to testify for their respective sides - despite her mother's (guest star Veronica Cartwright) insistence that her daughter is too fragile. Kennison opts to marry Jergens in the hope that spousal privilege will save her from taking the stand, but since the rapes occurred before they married, she is still forced to testify. Distraught, Kennison drinks to excess, leaving her in an irreversible coma, and her fate in the hands of her husband.
Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) aggressively pursue a child molester who kidnapped three young sisters from New Orleansafter their parents were killed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- but their efforts to secretly locate the third child are compromised by an ambitious reporter. However, a far greater problem looms as the New York cops butt heads with federal authorities after the suspect is discovered to have deadly anthrax that could result in a full-blown epidemic.
Oscar Winner Marcia Gay Harden and Cody Kasch guest-star-Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) investigate a school shooting, where three children are shot. When one African-American child dies, detectives follow critical clues and are lead to believe the crime was racially motivated. As the case progresses, Detectives find evidence that the rifle used in the killings is linked to a gun store, which also serves as the headquarters for a white supremacist group: Revolution Aryan Warriers (RAW). Detectives discover that Star Morrison, (Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden) and the store owner's 14-year-old son Kyle (guest-star Cody Kasch) both keep Nazi paraphernalia in the basement of the shop. DNA from the rifle leads detectives to the person they believe is the killer and when the case goes to court shots are fired inside the court house by group members and a major twist is revealed.
A man is found murdered execution style in the window of his workplace, and above him the word Killer is written. A stamp on his hand leads Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Fin (Ice-T) to a gay circuit club, also a methamphetamine hangout. Detectives Benson and Fin scan the ID's of the guests who were at the club and during the investigation, Fin discovers his estranged son Ken Randall (guest-star Ernest Wadell) was also there. As the case continues, Detective Fin confronts his son and Medical Examiner Warner (Tamara Tunie) confirms that the victim Robin Weller had the deadly and contagious new strain of AIDS which is becoming an epidemic. When Weller's boyfriend, who also carried the deadly strain of AIDS, is also found murdered, eyes turn toward Gabriel Thurman (guest-star Brian Bloom) an activist trying to stop the spread of the disease. The case goes to trial and Thompson's attorney Carolyn Maddox, (guest-star CCH Pounder) tries to sway the jury that her client's actions were justified.
A disturbing 911 call from nine-year-old Maria Recinos is forwarded to Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Recinos is calling for help from a room she claims to have been locked in for days. The detectives put a trace on the cell phone she is using, however it turns up multiple phony leads due to manipulation of the signal, which leaves detectives confused. As the case progresses, Benson eventually convinces Recinos to divulge crucial clues, including the name of her captor. Recinos will only talk to Benson, and just as she is getting closer to finding her, the cops question the case and are now concerned that it could be a prank. Benson knows this is real, when the phone goes dead, Benson realizes that she is losing time and needs to act quickly on what little information she has if she is going to save this girl's life
The investigation of an impregnated twelve-year-old girl (Holliston Coleman) leads to a charismatic cult leader (Jeff Kober), who turns on his own followers and escapes as the detectives attempt to search his premises. Tracking him down proves difficult as the people with strong ties to him, including the girl's mother (Shannon Cochran), have been brainwashed. Due to unusual circumstances in the squadroom, Benson teams up with Munch in the ensuing manhunt.
After the wife (Amy Landecker) of a police officer (R. E. Rodgers) claims her husband raped her, Benson and Stabler arrest the man and come close to believing his version of events when he attacks his captain (Ronni Lieberman). When another officer (Brian Hutchison) murders his wife and attempts to kill himself that same night, the whole force gets involved and soon realizes that the two men both recently returned home from Afghanistan, where they were given the drug Quinium, an anti-malarial. With the reluctant help of a reporter (Jon Bernthal) and a base doctor with an attack of conscience (John Dossett), Novak takes on the U.S. Army.
A young woman (Lauren Hodges) reports that her baby has been tossed out of a car. Benson and Stabler learn that she is addicted to prescription pain killers and this leads them to an elderly woman (Melinda Dillon) who lives with her son (Matt Schulze) and daughter-in-law (Christine Elise). The young woman identifies the daughter-in-law as the one who sold her the drugs, but when the detectives go to confront her, they find the drug dealer dead. Stabler uses his influence as a police officer when his daughter, Kathleen, is arrested for drunk driving.
Benson and Stabler investigate the rape and murder of a woman found with a wad of money stuffed in her mouth. They trace the money to a lawyer (Bradley Cooper) handling the finances of a wealthy family. The woman (Angela Lansbury) demands that the detectives stay away from her son (Alfred Molina) even though they suspect that he preys on illegal immigrants who do not report the crimes out of fear of getting deported. The people are short on evidence until a Bosnian immigrant has the courage to come forward. Angry about exposing the fact that she was raped, her brother (Stelio Savante), an Islamic fundamentalist, brutally assaults ADA Casey Novak.
An eighteen-year-old girl (Molly Bea Spears) is abducted by a rapist, causing her family (Marianne Hagan and Taylor Spreitler) to offer a substantial reward for her safe return. A self-proclaimed psychic (Martin Short) comes forward claiming to have information and the girl is found dead shortly thereafter. Stabler refuses to believe that the man in the squadroom is a real psychic. As he drops hints and plays calculating mind games, it becomes increasingly apparent that either he or his wife (Mary Mara) is involved.
A fifteen-year-old girl (Danielle Panabaker) is caught about to have sex with her twenty one-year-old boyfriend (Jon Foster) by her mother (Cathy Moriarty), who demands that the police charge him with statutory rape, despite her daughter's objections. On their way to the hospital, Benson calls a children's rights lawyer (Glenne Headly) who interrupts the exam. This backfires when the mother is found brutally murdered and the young lovers are the prime suspects. The detectives try to piece together what led to the murder and discover a history of violence and alcohol abuse by the deceased.
A series of drug-related hits leads the detectives back to the notorious drug lord Cesar Velez. The detectives are left with one survivor (Reymond Wittman), a scared child whom the drug lords are trying to finish off. The gun used in the murders is linked to Liam Connors (Brían F. O'Byrne), one of Velez's top agents. Connors has a strong defense which almost gets him acquitted until Benson and Stabler arrest him for trying to kill ADA Alexandra Cabot a year earlier. Alex returns from witness protection to assist with the case.
The discovery of a body leads to a man (Matthew Modine) arrested by Stabler fourteen years ago. Stabler swears that he will not let him get away with rape and murder for a second time. The squad can only hold him for twenty-four hours, but after a visceral interrogation are able to glean enough information during that time period to have a place to start. Cragen and Benson both worry that Stabler will let his hatred for the suspected child molester interfere with his ability to do his job.
A rape / murder preceded by a vehicular assault against the victim is discovered to be a recreation of a violent video game called Intensity. Interviewing the game's creators leads the detectives to a former employee (Matthew Faber), who then leads them to a teenage couple (Seth Gabel and Trisha LaFache) who claim to be unable to distinguish fantasy from reality.
When the body of a teenager (Janae Kram) is found with an ID belonging to her older cousin (Jessica Dunphy), Benson and Stabler learn that she and her best friend (Hayden Panettiere) were sexually promiscuous. They later learn that she was an HIV-positive prostitute working for a porn director (Matt Malloy), and the object of an older man's obsession.
The body of a seven-year-old child reported missing in 1980 is found and the squad begins to investigate convicted serial killer Lucas Biggs (John Savage) who is on death row in Virginia. While Biggs can detail every child he ever molested, he swears he has no memory of this one. The squad learns that the boy was killed by one of Biggs' former victims (Terry Serpico) who, unbeknownst to his wife (Angelica Torn), lives a secret life as a child molester passing on the abusive habits he learned. Someone kills the suspect before he can be picked up. When a man (Michael Shannon) confesses to picking off a rapist, the detectives need to decide whether he committed the crime or whether he confessed out of trauma and shame.
Complications ensue in the investigation of a gangbanger who fell off a building after the victim that he tried to rape bit him in self-defense. When Detectives Benson and Stabler are sure that they have found the victim (Reiley McClendon), his twin sister (Reiley McClendon) admits to biting the gangbanger even though the bite came from someone who was chromosomally male. The twins are shocked at the revelation that their parents (John Bolger and Hillary Bailey Smith) tried to raise one of them as a girl after a botched circumcision. Investigation reveals more regarding the ulterior motive of a doctor (Peter Firth) to prove that nurture supersedes nature.
In their investigation of a serial rapist, the detectives enlist the help of a former cop turned psychiatrist (Mary Stuart Masterson) in order to reach out to a paranoid schizophrenic (Amanda Plummer), who remembers being attacked by the perpetrator but is unable to express her account of it.
A medical exam of a nine-year-old girl (Jennette McCurdy) who survived a car accident with her parents reveals that she was a victim of sexual abuse. Out of fear and desperation, she ends up blaming the wrong suspect (Daniel Hugh Kelly), leading to a rash of false accusations against him by other girls.
After a woman's head is found in a car junkyard, SVU detectives track it down to the black market. This journey exposes them to the tragic lives of people who die waiting for kidney transplants. Through the organ dealer (Marc Grapey), Stabler and Munch learn that the parents (Kevin Carroll and Cherita Armstrong) of a dying boy (Tyler James Williams) broke the law to get him on the fast track to receiving a kidney. The two begin to feel like they cost an innocent person his life until someone close to Munch (Marlee Matlin) makes a sacrifice.
When a college student (Shannyn Sossamon) claims rape and her professor (Billy Campbell) claims it was consensual sex, Stabler and Benson find themselves in the middle of a "he said, she said" battle. The argument indirectly reveals that Stabler has become separated from his wife. Stabler initially believes the professor but changes his mind when he sees him manipulate his daughter (Carolyn Miller). Benson initially believes the student but changes her mind when she stages a suicide attempt to gain sympathy. Unsure of where blame lies, they make their way to the courtroom to hear the jury's verdict.
A missing high school student (Amanda Seyfried) is found at a construction site, claiming that she was raped by several men in uniform. In what becomes an increasingly fraught investigation, Benson and Stabler have to deal not only with the media frenzy surrounding the case, but also with the girl's changing account of the events.
The five-year-old son (Michael and Max Illes) of a psychiatrist (Kyle MacLachlan) disappears from a birthday party, and is later found dead by the police. As the detectives investigate, the pool of suspects gradually shrinks, until the evidence eventually points in an unexpected direction (Jordan Garrett).
The SVU squad races against the clock to solve the puzzles and uncover the clues scattered throughout the city by a taunting copycat serial killer (Doug Hutchison). With the help of his mother (Anne Meara), the squad is able to save a survivor of the original crime.
A teenage actress (Maggie Grace) is raped while sleeping in her trailer. The producer (Nestor Serrano) of the show, which features sexually suggestive content, suspects that the rape was orchestrated as part of a media decency campaign led by a protective mother (Dana Delany). The SVU discovers that it was her son (Ricky Ullman) who committed the rape because he thought it would impress a radio shock jock (Lewis Black). This leads to two trials focusing on the influence and power of entertainment media.
A child abandonment incident prompts Benson and Stabler investigate the disappearance of a mother. They learn from her sister that she made a deal with human traffickers to have her teenage daughter smuggled to New York from China. It is revealed that the teenage immigrant has been forced into prostitution and that her life is being used as a bargaining chip by the gangsters to avoid prosecution. When the squad captures the gang's leader, Detective Stabler is able to get help from one of his junior members by convincing him that the bright future he was promised is a lie. After arresting a corrupt immigration attorney, the NYPD finally learns where the captive women are being held. Detective Stabler arrives just in time to keep the promise he made.
A young woman appears to be raped and left for dead, but she was trying to kill herself, and when she succeeds, the woman who helped her is put on trial.
A spy cam in a bathroom uncovers the molestation of a 12-year-old boy by his high school principal, but the explanation for her behavior is quite shocking.