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Now is the best time to catch up on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. And don’t worry if you can’t binge all 23 seasons this second — we’ve curated a list of some of last year’s most buzzworthy episodes to get you ready for Season 24, coming to NBC Sept. 22 and streaming next-day on Peacock.
“And the Empire Strikes Back” (Season 23, Episode 1) + “Never Turn Your Back on Them” (Season 23, Episode 2)
So much happens in the two-part season opener that you need to see it, so you’re not wondering later, “Wait, where’s [insert two super-spoilery names here]…?” It also features a cameo from Detective Elliot Stabler. Granted, he’s on the phone, but still. Stabler!
“The Five Hundredth Episode” (Season 23, Episode 6)
It’s only fitting that the 500th episode should focus on the character who has been in almost all of them: Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay has only missed a handful of episodes since SVU started in 1999). The “case of the week” serves as a launching pad for a number of Benson-centric flashbacks, including the long-standing influence of her mother.
Watch "The Five Hundredth Episode" on Peacock
“They’d Already Disappeared” (Season 23, Episode 7)
Detective Joe Velasco (Octavio Pisano, who’s elevated to main cast in this episode) partners up with Rollins to investigate the disappearance of a teenage sex worker. Following a lead to an abandoned building, they discover something horrific. As Benson says, you never get used to it.
Watch "They'd Already Disappeared" on Peacock
“People vs. Richard Wheatley” (Season 23, Episode 9)
It’s time for Carisi to try Richard Wheatley, while Benson finds herself at odds with a friend who steps in to defend Kathy Stabler’s murderer. Expect to see Elliot Stabler in this crossover that carries over to Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2, Episode 9: “The Christmas Episode.”
Watch "People vs. Richard Wheatley" on Peacock
“Promising Young Gentleman” (Season 23, Episode 15)
Any SVU fan knows – and Benson will attest — that there’s “a lot of history” between the squad and Hudson University. In this episode, the college is the site of a sexual assault crime so heinous, Carisi is able to add hate crime charges to the case. Fortunately, the new Hudson president pledges to work better with the police going forward. Let’s hope so.
Watch "Promising Young Gentleman" on Peacock
“A Final Call at Forlini's Bar” (Season 23, Episode 22)
In the Season 23 finale, a longtime victim of domestic violence winds up at the defendant's table in court, accused of a violent crime herself. Rollins surprises Carisi with a formidable opponent at trial, and he and Benson are rattled for different reasons — Carisi, because Rollins goes behind his back, and Benson, because of all the… feelings.
Watch "A Final Call at Forlini's Bar" on Peacock