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Nightmare Fuel / Law & Order: Criminal Intent

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Even though Law & Order: Criminal Intent is considered Lighter and Softer (in comparison, anyway) to its older sisters, it still has some very haunting moments.

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     Season 1 
  • The fate of the victim, a Mafia Princess-turned-successful author, in "Maledictus". As if her murder wasn't enough, the way her body was disposed of was pretty gruesome: not only was she decapitated and her head was sent to her publisher's office to be discovered by the unsuspecting and horrified employees (and with the necklace she bought with the money for her "new book" shoved in her mouth), but the rest of her body was dissolved in acid and then hurled into a river, unlikely to be found.
  • What happened to the missing young woman in "Yesterday"; she had been missing since going on a date back in 1983 and upon finally being discovered buried underneath the basement of a house, what was once a beautiful blonde (as seen in the picture in her "missing persons" file) was now a rotten, dust-covered skeleton with ratty blonde hair attached.
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     Season 2 
  • The episode, "Dead", registers as this. In addition to the Victim of the Week's graphic death, but we learn that his workplace, a funeral parlor, had a dark secret; they would steal the bodies that were brought to them for embalming/cremation and then sell the relatives fake ashes while keeping the bodies themselves hidden away. Later in the episode, detectives unearth the bodies in various stages of decomposition. It gets worse: The crematorium part of the episode, where the owner had resorted to burying the bodies on the premises, because the oven had broken down and he couldn't afford to have it fixed? It was Ripped From The Headlines!
  • The episode, "See Me". The killer, a optometrist who is "treating" homeless men with schizophrenia by blinding them or greatly damaging their eyes through dangerous experiments to get rid of their illness-induced illusions has close-ups of these experiments. However, what keeps the killer from being completely unsympathetic is that at the end of the episode, we learn that he's schizophrenic as well, and while he ended up doing serious harm to his patients, he was genuinely (if extremely misguidedly) trying to help them. He winds up hospitalized instead of imprisoned.
     Season 4 
  • The episode "Want". It was based on the Jeffrey Dahmer case, so that should tell you something. One of the victims survived, but suffered "permanent" damage to her speech and cognitive functioning. The doctor tells them the victim has a hole in her head, likely created by a common household drill. Not only that, but her spinal fluid was hypertonic (diluted), and she had slight scalding on her brain tissue. In the word of Eames, "He drilled a hole in her skull, and poured hot water on her brain." Oh, yeah, the killer also ate part of one of his victim's calf muscles like an everyday meal.
  • "The Posthumous Collection" already was filled with rather disturbing deaths with the victims being killed and then photographed as a part of "art", but the one suspect's past is rather disturbing as well: after his father died when he was a young boy, he was left to the mercy of his mother, grandmother and three older sisters, who were all abusive towards him. His one older sister (who by the way was interviewed by the detectives while imprisoned for manslaughter) even recalled how she and her sisters used to do all sorts of vicious things to him, including scalding him with hot water, feeding him spoiled food and tying him to a bed and mercilessly beating him. This is made all the more horrible by the woman not only recalling the torture of him fondly but that his own mother and grandmother did nothing to stop it, with them saying that since he's a boy, he could handle it. Even Goren pointed out to him that he needed his father to protect him from these monsters.
     Season 5 
  • "Slither" has a unsuspecting couple at a party one moment, then in the ensuing madness of the next few days, they end up exposed to a human head in the party host's refrigerator, held hostage and heavily drugged, which caused the wife to end up a full-blown addict and the husband dead of a hot dose.
  • The homicides in "The Healer" are among some of the most horrifying in Criminal Intent history. When an apartment's super comes with a neighbor to the residence of two college-aged sisters to see why they haven't been answering calls, they find both girls lying dead on their respective beds and mummified in plastic wrap. The creepy music heard during this scene (and throughout the episode) doesn't help matters. Even worse, although the women were poisoned before going into the cocoons, it's later discovered that they both were still alive after being placed inside of them. After being led to a young woman who allegedly practiced voodoo/witchcraft (and Logan expressing doubt about her "powers") he soon finds himself with a mysterious rash that he had no idea how he contracted it. Turns out, he was poisoned by a candle she dipped in ivy and tricked him into picking up.
     Season 6 
  • The beginning of "Blasters" has a young man being tortured then hanged by a group of mafiosos while he pleads for his life. That was already bad enough, but what really makes it worse is how his body is left on top of a overlooking cliff in a public park, to the point that it's not found until a rock climber stumbles upon his now-bloated, decomposed corpse. Then, he is taken to the morgue as a John Doe and was only seconds away from being put into an unmarked grave in potter's field. Later on, Logan and Wheeler arrive in the nick of time to save the victim's friend from receiving the same fate. Essentially what saved the guy, other than the two of them getting there fast enough, was his height.
  • "Blind Spot" has its fair share. First, Eames returns to find her bird dead, only to turn around and be knocked out and kidnapped. Then, while being held captive, not only is she threatened by the killer while tied up and blindfolded, but has to sit idly by while the killer tortures the other victim for hours before they're killed. It's any wonder that she was able to escape the ordeal, but we still see the remnants of the torture chamber, including a table that's splattered with the victim's blood.
     Season 7 
  • "Untethered" has Goren deciding to go undercover without authorization at a prison upstate to both rescue his nephew and to investigate the recent, mysterious death of an inmate there. Not only is the poor guy's Sanity Slippage on full display here (and it may or may not be an act), but he nearly dies after being strapped to a table in solitary confinement and denied water for more than two days.
    • The follow up episode, "Purgatory" is just as bad. As he waits to be reassigned to the force, he is given a (legitimate) undercover job to investigate a couple of DirtyCops. In addition to Eames, who was investigating another case that connected to her partner's secret job, almost shooting him in the head, but upon getting back to work and while still reeling from the fallout from his actions throughout the season, namely from both the aforementioned "Untethered" and "Amends" (where he forced a fellow officer to admit that his identification of the man who killed another officer was invalid and caused the man to be kicked off of the force), Goren opens his drawer and discovers a dead rat inside of it.
  • "Neighborhood Watch" is a rather unsettling example. A young man who is a registered sex offender suddenly disappears after word gets out of what he did note  and his remains are soon found in a river, decapitated (and unlike the previous episodes "Maledictus" and "Slither", it's his body that's found) with a very crudely done hatchet job to remove it. And this isn't a one-and-done deal, either: we are forced to see the poor guy's mutilated body several times throughout the episode. Worse, none of the people who harassed/vilified him had actually done the murder, but rather someone else completely: a Sociopath who killed him just to know what taking a life felt like.
  • "Frame" begins with Goren horrified to find that his older brother Frank was murdered by being pushed out of a window, his mentor, Declan Gage, was poisoned and he had received someone's heart in the mail. He initially believed that it was that of his long-missing nephew, Donny, and that Nicole Wallace had killed him in a convoluted plot for revenge since her one-time Morality Pet, Gwen Chapel from "Grow", was dying. Turns out, the heart belonged to Nicole herself, having been killed by Declan to get them all out of Goren's life. Furthermore, he because infuriated that Dr. Rodgers had revealed to Captain Ross about his true paternity, so angry that he confronted her in her lab while she was working on a recent murder victim. Seeing Goren angry is not something to be undertaken:
    This is my life! And you promised me that you would keep it a secret! YOU PROMISED ME!!
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     Season 10 
  • The victim's death in "Icarus", who died via a broken neck by falling on the stage in a freak accident. In front of an entire audience.
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