The following is an unofficial list of episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit that have been ripped from the headlines.

Season 1

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Payback Inspired by crimes committed during the Bosnian genocide, which included rape and sexual assault.
4 Hysteria The Victor Gant case.
5 Wanderlust Ripped from the pages of the book Lolita.
7 Uncivilized The Nathan Leopold/Richard Loeb case.
9 Stocks & Bondage The Martin Frankel case.
15 Entitled The David Berkowitz (a.k.a. "The Son of Sam") case.
18 Chat Room Based on true stories of pedophiles using chat-rooms to lure out their victims.
22 Slaves

Season 2

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
2 Honor Based on the belief of "honor killing".
5 Baby Killer The Kayla Rolland case.
8 Taken The Disney World fake rape case.
12 Secrets The Roseann Quinn case and the Looking for Mr. Goodbar novel.
15 Countdown The Gary Ridgway (a.k.a. "The Green River Killer") case.
18 Manhunt The Leonard Lake/Charles Ng case.
20 Pique Based on the sexual paraphilia piquerism.
21 Scourge The Jack the Ripper case.

Season 3

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Repression
2 Wrath Based on wrongful convictions in the U.S.
4 Rooftop
5 Tangled The Charles "Chuck" Stuart case.
6 Redemption The Albert DeSalvo (a.k.a. "The Boston Strangler") case.
8 Inheritance Based on the controversial debate on the impact of genetic predisposition versus environmental upbringing on the nature of violence.
10 Ridicule
14 Counterfeit The Craig Peyer case.
15 Execution
17 Surveillance The Susan Wilson case.
22 Competence Based on the case of Annette R., a mentally handicapped rape victim.
23 Silence The Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandals.

Season 4

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Chameleon The Aileen Wuornos case.
3 Vulnerable The Kristen Gilbert case.
6 Angels
7 Dolls
8 Waste
9 Juvenile Based on the ongoing debate about trying juveniles as adults in high-profile cases.
10 Resilience The Fred West/Rosemary West case.
11 Damaged The Tammy Homolka case.
13 Rotten The Abner Louima case.
15 Pandora
  • The commercial sexual exploitation of children in the Czech Republic.
  • Major worldwide police operations in 1999 cracking down on child pornography websites, including Operation Avalanche.
16 Tortured The Jerry Brudos (a.k.a. "The Shoe Fetish Slayer") case.
19 Appearances The JonBenét Ramsey case.
20 Dominance The Wichita Massacre.
21 Fallacy Based on the lives and social difficulties of transgender people.
24 Perfect
25 Soulless The Jesse Pomeroy case.

Season 5

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
2 Manic
3 Mother The Margaret Bean-Bayog case.
4 Loss
5 Serendipity The John Schneeberger case.
7 Choice The legality of drinking alcohol while pregnant.
8 Abomination
9 Control The John Jamelske case.
10 Shaken Based on the criminality of inducing shaken baby syndrome.
12 Brotherhood Based on the ongoing issue of hazing rituals committed by fraternities.
13 Hate
  • The Larme Price case.
  • The ongoing nationwide trend of hatred and paranoia towards Muslims that followed the September 11 attacks.
14 Ritual The "Adam" murder case.
15 Families Ripped from the play Fool for Love.
17 Mean The Shanda Sharer case.
19 Sick The Michael Jackson sex abuse allegations case.
20 Lowdown Based on the phenomenon of "being on the down low" in the African-American community.
22 Painless The Usenet newsgroup.
23 Bound The Charles Cullen case.
25 Head
  • The case of an unidentified British male teacher who developed pedophilic urges due to a tumor in his brain.
  • The Mary Kay Letourneau case.
  • A scene was inspired by the Carlie Brucia case, in which NASA used video enhancement technology to solve the crime.

Season 6

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
3 Obscene The main characters are based on shock jocks Howard Stern,
Don Imus, and Bubba the Love Sponge.
4 Scavenger
6 Conscience
7 Charisma
12 Identity The David Reimer case.
14 Game
16 Ghost
18 Pure
19 Intoxicated The Valessa Robinson case.
22 Parts Based on illegal organ trafficking.
23 Goliath Based on the controversial administration of Mefloquine to soldiers deployed to Iraq.

Season 7

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
3 911 Inspired by the story of a hoax 911 call made by "Jessica", an eighteen-year-old girl claiming to be aged four and a witness to a crime.
5 Strain The Matthew Shepard case.
6 Raw
7 Name The "Boy in the Box" case.
8 Starved The Terri Schiavo case.
9 Rockabye The epidemic of fake abortion clinics across the U.S.
10 Storm Based on Judith Miller's controversial refusal to disclose her source.
12 Infected Based on controversial research that suggests witnessing gun violence causes people to be more likely to commit acts of gun violence themselves.
14 Taboo The Holly Ashcraft case.
16 Gone The Natalee Holloway case.
17 Class The Elizabeth Paige Laurie cheating scandal.
18 Venom The Raymond Levi Cobb case.
19 Fault The Joseph Edward Duncan III case.
20 Fat Based on the lawsuits against McDonald's filed by Jazlyn Bradley and others.
21 Web The Justin Berry case.
22 Influence The Tom Cruise anti-psychiatry comments controversy.

Season 8

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Informed The Earth Liberation Front.
4 Uncle The Andrew Goldstein case.
6 Infiltrated The Natascha Kampusch case.
8 Cage The Candace Newmaker case.
9 Choreographed The Amal Graafstra and Jennifer Tomblin RFID chips controversy.
11 Burned The Roger B. Hargrave case.
13 Loophole
15 Haystack Based on Melinda Duckett's suicide after an interview with Nancy Grace.
17 Sin The Ted Haggard scandal.
18 Responsible Based on the epidemic of underage drinking and the people who supply them with alcohol.
20 Annihilated
21 Pretend The Treva Throneberry case.

Season 9

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Alternate
2 Avatar Based on the online video game Second Life.
3 Impulsive
5 Harm The Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal.
6 Svengali
7 Blinded Based on capital punishment laws in Louisiana, which at the time allowed the executions of violent pedophiles.
10 Snitch Based on the website.
11 Streetwise The Manson family case.
13 Unorthodox
14 Inconceivable
15 Undercover Based on prison rape in the U.S..
16 Closet Based on the story of Justin Fashanu.
17 Authority

Season 10

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
2 Confession The Jack McClellan case.
5 Retro The controversial HIV/AIDS denialism community.
6 Babes
8 Persona A New York Magazine interview with Leslie Crocker Snyder.
9 PTSD The Maria Lauterbach case.
10 Smut
11 Stranger
14 Transitions Based on the lives and social difficulties of transgender people.
15 Lead Based on the concerns of high lead levels in toys during the 2007 Chinese export recalls.
17 Hell
19 Selfish
20 Crush

Season 11

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
3 Solitary Inspired by the psychiatric effects of solitary confinement in prison.
4 Hammered
5 Hardwired The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).
7 Users Based on the legality of administering ibogaine in the U.S.
9 Perverted Based on the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics by Israeli-based lead author Dan Frumkin.
10 Anchor
11 Quickie
12 Shadow The Lizzie Borden case.
13 P.C. A main character is inspired by civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton.
16 Witness Based on the high rate of sexual violence in the Congo.
18 Bedtime The Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. (a.k.a. "The Grim Sleeper") case.
19 Conned The Mary Kay Letourneau case.
21 Torch The Cameron Todd Willingham case.
22 Ace The "shadow counsel" invocation.

Season 12

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Locum
2 Bullseye The Kim Sa-rang case.
3 Behave
  • Based on the nationwide rape-kit backlog.
  • The Helena Lazaro case.
6 Branded Ripped from the pages of the Millennium book series.
10 Rescue The 2010 Duke University faux sex thesis controversy.
11 Pop Inspired by the "fight club" phenomenon caused by the book and film of the same name.
12 Possessed The "Slave Company" threat used to subjugate Colleen Stan.
13 Mask
  • The controversial "sex addiction" diagnosis in the psychiatric world.
  • Ripped from the pages of the book Lolita.
16 Spectacle Based on the bystander effect phenomenon.
17 Pursuit
18 Bully The suicide of R. Budd Dwyer during a televised press conference.
22 Bang The recent uproar about reproductive abuse.
24 Smoked The ATF gunwalking scandal.

Season 13

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Scorched Earth The Dominique Strauss-Kahn case.
2 Personal Fouls
3 Blood Brothers
4 Double Strands The Darrin Fernandez case.
7 Russian Brides The "Boris and Natasha" bride scams.
9 Lost Traveler
10 Spiraling Down
12 Official Story The Jamie Leigh Jones case.
15 Hunting Ground
16 Child's Welfare The Jaycee Dugard case.
18 Valentine's Day The Laurie Ann Martinez fake assault case.
19 Street Revenge The Rain City Superhero movement.
21 Learning Curve The Latin King Goonies homophobic beating case.
23 Rhodium Nights

Season 14

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1-2 Lost Reputation/
Above Suspicion
The Anna Gristina and Jason Itzler escort rivalry.
3 Twenty-Five Acts Ripped from the pages of the book Fifty Shades of Grey.
4 Acceptable Loss Based on the arrests of several barcode pimps in Spain.
5 Manhattan Vigil The Etan Patz case.
7 Vanity's Bonfire The John Edwards extramarital affair scandal.
8 Lessons Learned
9 Dreams Deferred
12 Criminal Hatred The Herb Baumeister case.
13 Monster's Legacy The Penn State child sex abuse scandal.
14 Secrets Exhumed The Sherri Rasmussen case.
16 Funny Valentine
18 Legitimate Rape Based on Todd Akin's controversial statement about "legitimate rape".
20 Girl Dishonored
22 Poisoned Motive
23 Brief Interlude The Sarai Sierra case.
24 Her Negotiation The Nelson Clifford case.

Season 15

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Surrender Benson The Nelson Clifford case.
2 Imprisoned Lives The Ariel Castro case.
3 American Tragedy
4 Internal Affairs
5 Wonderland Story The Andrew Luster case.
6 October Surprise
7 Dissonant Voices The Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.
8 Military Justice The Air Force sexual assault pamphlets/Louise Slaughter scandal.
9 Rapist Anonymous The Jodi Arias case.
10 Psycho/Therapist The Gillian Guess case.
11 Amaro's One-Eighty The Ramarley Graham case.
12 Jersey Breakdown The "kids for cash" scandal.
13 Betrayal's Climax The rape of a Chesterfield teen by MS-13 gang members.
14 Wednesday's Child The recent epidemic of the disrupted adoption practice, in which adopted children are given up via Internet chat-rooms, and the abuse that occurs in the process.
15 Comic Perversion
16 Gridiron Soldier
18 Criminal Stories The Tawana Brawley rape allegations.
19 Downloaded Child Based on the story of "Amy Unknown".
20 Beast's Obsession
22 Reasonable Doubt
23 Thought Criminal The Gilberto Valle case.
24 Spring Awakening

Season 16

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
2 American Disgrace
3 Producer's Backend The Bryan Singer sexual abuse allegations.
4 Holden's Manifesto
5 Pornstar's Requiem The Belle Knox controversy.
6 Glasgowman's Wrath The Slender Man stabbing case.
8 Spousal Privilege The Ray Rice case.
9 Pattern Seventeen Based on the nationwide rape-kit backlog.
10 Forgiving Rollins The Russell Williams case.
11 Agent Provocateur The James Franco flirt controversy.
13 Decaying Morality
14 Intimidation Game
15 Undercover Mother
16 December Solstice The death of Casey Kasem.
17 Parole Violations The legal scenario of female-on-male rape.
18 Devastating Story
19 Granting Immunity
20 Daydream Believer
21 Perverted Justice The Chaneya Kelly case.
22 Parents' Nightmare Based on a Lincoln County, Missouri family's staged kidnapping of their son to educate him about "stranger danger".
23 Surrendering Noah

Season 17

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1-2 Devil's Dissections/
Criminal Pathology
3 Transgender Bridge
4 Institutional Fail The Nixzmary Brown case.
5 Community Policing
6 Maternal Instincts The Stefan Arzberger case.
7 Patrimonial Burden The Duggar family scandal.
9 Depravity Standard The Etan Patz case.
10 Catfishing Teacher The Kristen Cunnane case.
12 A Misunderstanding The "Senior Salute" rape case.
13 Forty-One Witnesses The Kitty Genovese case.
14 Nationwide Manhunt
15 Collateral Damages Based on Operation Delago.
16 Star-Struck Victims The Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations.
17-18 Manhattan Transfer/
Unholiest Alliance
19 Sheltered Outcasts Inspired by homeless shelters that cater to sex offenders.
20 Fashionable Crimes The Terry Richardson sexual assault allegations.
22-23 Intersecting Lives/
Heartfelt Passages
The Daniel Holtzclaw case.

Season 18

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Terrorized
2 Making a Rapist
3 Imposter The Jared Rohrig case.
4 Heightened Emotions Based on the story of Suzy Favor Hamilton.
5 Rape Interrupted The People v. Turner case.
6 Broken Rhymes Inspired by the controversy over gender-neutral bathrooms for transgender people.
8 Chasing Theo The Melissa Brannen case.
9 Decline and Fall The Donald Trump sexual misconduct allegations.
12 No Surrender The ongoing concern about sexual assault in the U.S. military.
13 Genes
  • Based on the controversial debate on the impact of genetic predisposition on the nature of violence.
  • The Paul Cox case.
16 The Newsroom The Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment scandal.
17 Real Fake News
18 Spellbound
  • The Michael Fine case.
  • The Geoffrey Shaw case.
19 Conversion The "corrective rape" hate crime.
20-21 American Dream/

Season 19

Ep# Episode Title Real Life Incident(s)/Case(s)
1 Gone Fishin' The capture of Andrew Luster.
2 Mood The Jemma Beale case.
3 Contrapasso Ripped from the pages of the Millennium book series.
4 No Good Reason Inspired by 13 Reasons Why.
5 Complicated Inspired by the story of Arthur J. Hutchins, Jr., a boy who posed as a victim in the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders.
8 Intent The assaults of Christy Mack and Corey Thomas committed by Jonathan Paul "War Machine" Koppenhaver.
10 Pathological The Dee Dee Blancharde case.
11 Flight Risk
12 Info Wars
13 The Undiscovered Country

See Also