In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.
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A high-profile activist suspects her sister has been kidnapped by a hate group. Garland and Benson push for change with NYPD brass. Kat gets some good news.
An old murder case of a teenage girl is reopened, when Detective Lake is caught in a gunfight and wounded by the case's former investigator, Detective Mary Kralik. The shooting leaves Kralik dead, and Lake's uncooperative answers lead to confusion in the squad room. The case intensifies when Lake escapes from the hospital, and takes hostage the original case's only witness, Celina Cruz. The SVU squad is left to revisit the original murder case, as Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler search for Lake and his hostage.
Firefighters are called to put out a fire in a burning brownstone, and among the debris uncover a pregnant woman's body, Jenna Ludlow. Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson are called to the scene and question the victim's affluent fiancé, PJ Bartlett. Interrogating Barlett and his family proves to be a challenge, as Attorney Trevor Langan represents the family and is trying to cover their mistakes all over the country. But when an affair between Ludlow and her fiancé's father, Peter Bartlett is revealed, the detectives unveil a web of family secrets including conspiracies, sex, and blackmail.
When restaurant manager Dwight Lomax is caught molesting a female employee, he claims that he was following orders from a Detective Milgram over the phone. As detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler delve into the case, they discover Detective Milgram was a hoax by engineer, Merritt Rook. Rook later turns his trial into a media circus by using the courtroom as a soapbox. Rook's courtroom antics set him free, and with a group of followers, detective Benson and Stabler fall prey to another one of Rook's psychological schemes leaving the SVU department vulnerable.
When money manager Jeremy Grandon is found murdered in his loft, detectives Benson and Elliot Stabler initially suspect troubled teenager, Freddie Ramirez. A hidden video camera leads the detectives to the victims secret lover, Lincoln Morse, a star-studded pro- football player whose agent, Gary Lesley, may go too far in protecting his client's persona. Morse's history of memory loss brings defense attorney Rebecca Balthus into the case, while Detective Benson finally finds a boyfriend, Kurt Foss, an editor at the Ledger who unfortunately clashes with her detective work.
When Ashley Tyler is found raped and beaten in a local community garden, Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler initially suspect her drug-dealing uncle, Rick Tyler. After the rape kit identifying the rapist goes missing, a crooked prison guard comes under suspicion. Detective Benson puts herself in great danger as she goes undercover as a prison inmate to catch the predator.
The robbery of fertilized embryos from a sperm bank call for Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler to track down the thief. Clues from the clinic's security tape lead Benson and Stabler to a long list of suspects including James and Victoria Grall, two publicity-hungry extremists. The detectives race against the clock to find the missing embryos, but that isn't the only clock that's ticking - Olivia considers her own fertility and the possibility of motherhood.
When David Zelinsky shows up to school visibly beaten and sexually assaulted, Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler look to David's tutor and his Rabbi for answers. The investigation soon leads to one of David's troubled classmates, Jack Trembley, as more victims begin to come forward. The case quickly turns into a media circus as Trembley's attorney, Roxana Hickey, uses it as an opportunity for her own self-promotion.
Woman's body is found murdered in a park alongside a man with a bullet in his head - Detective Benson and Special Agent Cooper join forces and suspect "The Woodsman", a serial killer Cooper has tried to catch for years. Detective Chester Lake and Benson begin to question Cooper's true motives when the male victim is later identified as "The Woodsman".
Park Avenue socialite Shelby Crawford's body is found in NYC'S Central Park, and Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliott Stabler initially suspect her wealthy boyfriend. But when Shelby's priceless earrings turn up in a pawnshop, the detectives realize someone wants to cash in on her death. While questioning former classmate Josie Mayes, Benson and Stabler are led to Cole and Cassidy, the leaders of a homeless community.
When a polygamist's wife is killed, the Nigerian national fears his testifying in a separate crime may have led to his wife's murder. Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler investigate only to find a website exposing potential witnesses to the other crime leading the SVU to believe that his cultural tradition may be the root cause of his wife's murder.
When a family's nanny is found gruesomely murdered, the obvious suspect is her Internet love interest, "Casanova". But it isn't long before Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler suspect the nanny's employers may have a few dark skeletons in their closet. The investigation leads to a case of murder and infidelity, which is further complicated when Stabler's own family suffers a tragedy that leaves Stabler's unborn child in serious danger.
A young girl's death seems to be linked to the world of ultimate fighting, but after questioning Kona and his girlfriend, the evidence trail leads Detectives Chester Lake and Odafin "Fin" Tutuola to two young brothers who have more than a few skeletons in their closet. When the brothers are arrested, tension brew within the SVU.
When Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler discover a kidnapped girl in the trunk of a stolen rental car, they are led to her abductor; a violent, schizophrenic artist named Saul Picard. Picard's rage seriously injures Elliot, and the trial drives A.D.A. Casey Novak to face not only a complicated case on temporary insanity, but her own dark past as well.
When a college student is found murdered, Detectives Benson and Elliot Stabler recognize the body's mutilation as a "copycat" of serial killer Robert Morton. Cecilia, the last person to see the victim alive, suddenly goes missing herself. In a race to find Cecilia alive, the detectives seek out Morton and discover his loyal following, including one twisted man whose comic book series glorifies Morton's murders. The comic books are the key to finding Cecilia, but the investigation angers Morton's followers and Detective Benson find herself in serious danger.
When a private school teacher is found stabbed to death, the detectives link her case to a victim's center, where she was working with an Iraqi man- his story helped uncover some major military secrets, which may have led to her demise.
Ben Nicholson finds his wife Corrine beaten into a coma, and the only witness is their mentally challenged daughter, Katie. Because of Katie's sensitive mental condition - the detectives are reluctant to have her testify. Detectives Olivia Benson, Elliot Stabler and Dr. Huang work with Katie, and begin to piece together the night of the beating and some of Corrine's well-hidden secrets.
When 15 year-old Shane Mills is diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, he claims he caught it from his teacher, Sarah Trent who supposedly seduced him. Sarah argues Shane raped her. Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler search further into both Sarah and Shane's lives and uncover some dark secrets.
Kristi McGarrett is raped by her sister's boyfriend, Dan Friedich, while her sister Rachel goes missing. Friedich remains a suspect, while Detective Benson and Stabler use Rachel's "avatar" to track down the kidnapper before time runs out.
Janis Donovan turns in a powerful performance as a woman with multiple personalities who may have abused and fatally harmed her daughter. As Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler dig more deeply into the case - with initial resistance from Dr. Henry Carlisle -- Donovan continues to present even more personalities along with a harrowing twist to the case. For the detectives, it's a race against time to find the infant, while adjusting to sweeping changes in the SVU - a result from poor decisions made by the detectives that have spilled over to the squad.