Even the most die-hard fans of Law & Order: SVU can admit that sometimes, it can be too disturbing to handle. Granted, the show is about the Special Victims Unit and the “heinous crimes” they fight, but sometimes the atrocities they deal with are a little too much for television. It can be pretty intense watching Olivia Benson and the squad fighting sex crimes, so sometimes it’s nice to remember it’s just a TV show... kind of. Unfortunately, many SVU episodes are “ripped from the headlines,” which means they’re inspired by real-life crimes. Yeah. A surprising amount of the horrific incidents on the show are either based directly off or inspired by actual cases. So, here are 20 of the most bone-chilling, real-life crimes ever depicted on Law & Order: SVU.
In the “Gridiron Soldier” episode of Law & Order: SVU, the team encounters a case of hazing gone horribly wrong. When Winston Duke is being scouted for the fictional Hudson University football team, his luck pretty much ends there. What starts as seemingly-innocent hazing and messing around goes south when the team blindfolds Duke and has a man perform oral sex on him without his consent. In a fit of homophobic rage, he ends up punching a gay man at a bar. Many could argue that this episode was a lot like the Miami Dolphins hazing incident, in which older team members bullied a new member, Jonathan Martin, to the point of suicidal thoughts. He eventually quit the team, and a full-scale investigation into the harassment was launched.
Name-dropping terms like, "This is a #MeToo witch hunt," and portraying an inspiring protest at the end where many women come forward about their experiences with sexual assault, the season 21 premiere was a very of-the-moment episode that proves that Time's Up in Hollywood and SVU's version of New York.