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Nightmare Fuel / Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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In the criminal justice system, there are crimes considered especially heinous and horrifying, for prosecutors, victims, and audience alike. These are the examples.

Heavy spoilers below.


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     Season 1 
  • Pretty much all of the episode "Stalked," but the last line really takes the cake:
    "Detective Stabler... how are Kathy and the kids?"
     Season 2 
  • The end of the episode "Honor", in which a mother who testified against her son for murdering his sister is found dead with a Slashed Throat, courtesy of her own husband. Hell, pretty much the whole situation surrounding the family in question.
     Season 4 
  • Tragically, this real life case is disturbingly similar to "Resilience", in which a father artificially inseminates his teenage daughter. There are double points for being based on the crimes of Fred and Rosemary West.
  • In a case of Ripped from the Headlines, it’s only natural that the episode "Damaged" be loaded with nightmare fuel, as it was based on the case of Karla Homolka. The very idea that a girl could be messed up enough to force someone else to rape and murder her own adopted sister is horrifying, but then you have the added disturbing layer when you remember that the girl in question was raped herself, to the point that she is a complete sociopath with no empathy and no trust for anyone. The details are different from the case that it was based off of, sure, but the core of the story is virtually identical. And terrifying.
     Season 5 
  • The episode "Home", where a mother is an extreme control freak over her home-schooled children.
  • "Mean":
    • A teenage girl is found dead in a car trunk, throat slit and with dozens of little cuts all over her body, which the medical examiner informs us were made while she was still alive, arms and legs bound, with tiny nail scissors—the attacker(s) had apparently been stabbing her with the scissors then opening them in the victim's flesh. And it turns out that the attackers were the victim's close friends, also teenage girls. And you want to know what's really scary? The episode is based on the real-life murder of Shanda Sharer, which was actually far more brutal in many respects, notably that the victim was kept trapped alive in the car trunk for many hours before the murder. The murderers eventually burned her alive. Might we add...the victim was 12.
    • When the teenage girls responsible for the attack are brought in to be interrogated, the ringleader eventually has a Villainous Breakdown when she hears that her friends are selling her out, pounding on the door and screaming at them to say it to her face.
    • The worst part: The dead girl was an Alpha Bitch who made another girl's life a living hell for years, sending her text messages about how fat she was and how she should kill herself. When the other members of her Girl Posse are sent to jail, the audience is led to think the victim will finally be left in peace, but another student stepped up to start bullying her in the Girl Posse's absence, and the victim snapped and shot her dead. As she's being arrested, the episode ends with her tearfully saying to Olivia, "They went to jail...and it didn't even make any difference. No matter what anybody did, it was never gonna stop." No other SVU episode has driven home as powerfully the message that school bullying is not, and never will be, harmless.
    • In between all that may have been the most extreme case of Adults Are Useless ever on network TV. The counselor saw the bullying as a "defense mechanism", an attempt to get a restraining order against the Alpha Bitch failed, and the parents were completely oblivious to their little angels' cruelty ("They were nothing but nice to that Agnes girl, and this is what they get?")
  • On the other side of the gender coin, "Brotherhood" was the first episode to introduce Tau Omega, a violent and misogynist fraternity whose members beat and sodomize their new pledges, secretly make recordings of girls having sex to sell as Internet porn, and get other girls drunk in order to rape them. They have an entire book filled with the horrific things they do to their pledges and advice on how to rape girls.
    Ledger entry: Spike a girl's beer with grain alcohol and watch her eyes roll over. Tell her she can sleep it off upstairs and let the games begin. Just make sure you dress her again when you're done.
    • Rob Sweeney, the fraternity brother in charge of hazing new pledges, is revealed to be a brutal sadist, so much so that even the fraternity leader (who wasn't exactly innocent himself) occasionally thought he was going too far. He took a pledge down to the basement, beat him with a paddle for 20 minutes straight, and then shoved it so far up his anus that he bled, insulting him the entire time and asking him if he was going to quit. He shows no remorse for his actions, remaining calm and coolly lying throughout the trial, only breaking down in tears when he is forced to read the Tau Omega ledger on the witness stand and reveal what he did.
    Entry: Pledge Kathy was being a weenie tonight, so we showed him what we do to weenies. He'll crap blood tomorrow, but we'll make a man out of him yet. I kicked the pledge and I burned him with my [cigarette], but he still wouldn't break. So I took the paddle. And I jammed it into him. Dahmer said to stop, but I kept going until Pledge Kathy cried like a girl. Dahmer saw the kid was bleeding and he stopped me. Just like a bitch to be on the rag during initiation.
  • The final episode of the season "Head", is pure nightmare fuel. An exemplary principal, with a husband and son, is driven to extreme sexual compulsion and pedophilia via a brain tumor. The tumor grew on the principal's orbifrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls judgement, impulse control and social behavior. Because of its presence, the teacher literally could not stop herself from raping her student. Though it is removed by the end of the episode, there is no guarantee that someday the tumor won't grow back. Imagine if one day, you suddenly found yourself dealing with urges you couldn't control, urges that horrified you and went against your very being, and you had no choice but to act on them due to a compulsion you couldn't understand. The scariest part about this episode? Its based on a true story.
     Season 6 
  • With already one episode based on Karla Homolka ("Damaged" in season 4), the show decided to make matters worse a few years later with "Pure". The short version is a teenage girl goes missing, a Canadian man played by Martin Short pretends to be a psychic and "sees" thing about the case that no one would know. Of course she's later found dead, he did it because she was a virgin (whereas his wife was not) and in unearthing the crime, its motive and the couple's history, it's learned that a year earlier, the "couple's" baby was stolen from his biological mother...who the wife brutally murdered and then cut the baby out of her stomach.
  • "Quarry". The detectives suspect that a convicted pedophile is responsible for the murder of a little boy. He promises to talk if he can be allowed to see his trophies. The detectives find a storage locker full of what looks like a hundred baseball caps taken from his victims. Adding to the horror, he's able to remember the name of every victim and the date of his assault, talking in a whispery, dreamy voice that makes it clear that he's getting off on the memory. It's thoroughly sickening demonstration both of the proliferation of these guys and the fact that they are genuinely aroused at the thought of hurting children.
     Season 7 
  • "Raw" centers around a shooting at an elementary school, injuring multiple students and killing one. The family of one of the injured students had just moved to the city a month prior and didn't know anyone in the area yet, and when the shooters' motivations come to light later, it's implied that their daughter wasn't meant to be a target of the shooting at all. The parents of the boy who was killed in the shooting had recently adopted him, thinking they were saving him from a terrible life in foster care, only for him to be murdered on a playground. The latter gets even worse at the end of the episode; it turns out that the parents were the ones who organized the shooting so that they could get money from the life insurance policies they took out on him — and they weren't even neo-Nazis themselves, just willing to ally with whoever they could find to do their dirty work. They literally adopted an innocent child just to have him murdered for the money.
  • What happened to Cora, a suspect's wife in "Starved". She was an longtime alcoholic and bulimic who went into cardiac arrest and ended up in an irreversible coma while her husband and her mother fought over her decision to die. Even worse, she Dies Wide Open while comatose where her eyes were open and blinking, but were unresponsive to anything around her.
  • "Influence": A teenage girl with bipolar disorder goes off her meds and tries to kill herself in a car accident, injuring six people and killing another girl, who dies from massive internal injuries. Dr. Warner later states that she was trapped under the car for 20 minutes and was likely conscious the entire time.
  • "Web": This whole episode, complete with Back Story, provides a lot. A woman's husband molested their eleven-year-old son, and was sent to prison. Their son didn't cooperate during therapy because of being extensively groomed. Four years later, her younger son comes forward to say he's being molested, too. They initially suspect the father, recently released from prison, but it turns out that it's actually his brother — the older son — who made child pornography of it. The mother convinces SVU to let the older brother come home for one night so he'll flip on the consumers of the porn. Instead, he's abducted and brutally beaten by one of them. Beginning to end horrible.
  • The perpetrator in "Fault" is basically Nightmare Fuel personified. He's a sexual sadist who once tortured a boy so severely that even decades later, the victim was afraid to leave his house, he kills three people to kidnap the family's two young children, and then he kills one of the kids (in front of the other one, no less) just to stick it to the detectives. Luckily, it's stated that he was so busy eluding the cops, he didn't have the chance to do anything directly to the surviving child (though what she witnessed and the fear it would have triggered in her was likely enough to scar her for life).
     Season 8 
  • In "Dependent", a lawyer's family becomes the target of extremely ominous threats, including swastikas spray painted on the door, garbage left on the doorstep, and the family cat being stolen, dismembered, and returned to the house in pieces (we only see a photo of the boxes it came in). To top it all off, they got a letter from a guy whose case the lawyer lost, threatening to burn his house down, rape his wife and daughter, and kidnap his son.
  • In the episode “Burned” we get to hear if not see the true pain and suffering a burn victim must endure. We don’t see much of Valerie Sennet after she was set on fire, but we can see her face tense up in fear as the burn ward staff turn on the water sprinkler for her debridement treatment. The doctor treating her says that it will be a very painful debridement and that he doesn’t expect her to survive. We then see the detectives leave the burn ward while Valerie shrieks in agony as her burned skin is literally ripped off her by water sprinklers.
     Season 9 
  • A suspect who was trying to evade capture in the episode "Fight" ends up falling into a trash compactor and the detectives, after failing to gain the attention of the operator of the compactor, listen helplessly as he is screaming and pleading to be let out and is eventually crushed to death. Granted, he was a bastard, but it's still such a horrible way to die.
  • The fate of the young girl who spoke out against the leader of her gang of homeless children in "Streetwise". When we see her autopsy photo, we see that both of her eyes have been gouged out and her face was nearly cut in half at the mouth.
  • "Signature" is about a Serial Killer who rapes and tortures his victims for days, which by itself (and with the description of the injuries on the victims) is Nightmare Fuel. Special mention has to go to the discovery of his Torture Cellar. A table covered with blood and various torture instruments, a filthy bathtub use for dry-drowning, a television playing a tape of a victim being tortured over and over again for psychological effect...and a still-living victim trapped underneath the table, tortured to the point where she has gangrene. One of the most horrific uses of And I Must Scream, a Fate Worse than Death and Cold-Blooded Torture on primetime TV. And it's mentioned he has done this to twenty-four victims.
  • The episode "Undercover" is chockfull of Nightmare Fuel. Olivia nearly gets raped by a prison guard captain. It's a cat and mouse scene with Liv trying her best to fight for her life. Unfortunately, Liv gets overpowered and the unspeakable would've happened if it weren't for Fin making the save.
  • The Mind Rape games that Elliot and Olivia go through at the hands of Merritt Rook in "Authority". First, Rook tricks Olivia into submitting to him by telling her he's got a bomb and will detonate it if she doesn't obey him. Later, he tells Eliot that he's got Olivia and takes him to a houser that has two rooms separated by a wall and a window. In one of the rooms, we have a bound Olivia whom we can see through said window, and Rook says he's gonna torture her with electricity. To prove it, he closes the window and blocks it with a fold, then presses a button and we hear a female's scream. Which means, he is actually doing it. Then, he keeps pressuring, browbeating and trying to verbally bitchslap Elliot for some of the creepiest last moments of the whole franchise. Elliot doesn't break down, though, and then Rook reveals that the screams were recorded and the newly-released Olivia is unharmed. While it's a relief, it doesn't take the fright from the "torture session" away. In hindsight, the scariest part might be that when Elliot said to Rook "I don't abuse my authority" he actually believed it.
  • Robert Morten is a convicted serial killer and rapist who saw his crimes as art and told a young woman (the episode's perp) to kill for him. His affable yet chilly demeanor is truly unnerving; what's worse, he has a fandom of sorts who loves and idolizes him. The way he speaks of having sex with the young woman he charmed/brainwashed is more than enough to give one a shiver.
     Season 10 
  • In "PTSD", Olivia suffers from the eponymous disorder as a consequence of the near-rape experience from season 9's "Undercover". It comes to a head when, while trying to break up a fight between two soldiers (one suspected of killing a female soldier and her unborn child) beating each other, Olivia hits her head and, without realizing it, comes mere moments away from shooting the suspect in the head.
  • "Hothouse":
    • A teenage prodigy is abusing Provigil to help her study. Olivia finds one of her notebooks — her handwriting starts out neat but gets smaller and smaller and turning the next page reveals a chaotic mess of words scribbled all over, called hypergraphia. Way scarier than it sounds.
    • She later has a psychotic breakdown in the interrogation room that puts most serial killers to shame. "I just wanted to talk to her, that's all. And take the next ferry back. But she screamed at me! Why was I following her? She called me a loser! She said I was pathetic and dumb and that I was only at Morewood [their elite prep school] because my family is rich, that I'd never be able to make it on brains alone like her! She tried walking away, and so I grabbed her arm, and she pushed me! So I jabbed her chest with my pen, and she pushed me again! And so I pulled her hair, and I slammed her head into the railing, OVER! AND OVER! AND OVER AGAIN!"
    • What's possibly even scarier is that the girl showed very few signs of being insane before the abovementioned rant happened. She wasn't a sociopath or a serial killer, she didn't come from a poor or abusive family, she had no Freudian Excuse like most criminals under 18 have on this show. She cracked from a combination of pressure to keep up her grades at her elite private school and the drugs she was taking to improve her performance, which caused her to stay awake for six days. It's terrifying to think that a few outside factors could drive even the most normal person to insanity.
    • How about the end of the episode?
    DA: "My next case. 15, raped and murdered his six year old step-sister. No remorse. Says he'd do it again. You want him out at 21 too?"
     Season 11 
  • In "Solitary", when a man placed on trial for tossing Elliot from the roof (he thought Elliot was coming to arrest him, although Elliot was actually about to tell him he'd been cleared) describes how spending nearly his entire sentence for a previous crime in solitary confinement drove him insane, Elliot decides to see if there's any truth to his claims by spending a weekend in the hole. What follows is a montage of Elliot getting a taste of how being locked up in a tiny cell with no human contact can be detrimental to one's mental well-being. The montage lasts about five minutes, but it feels a lot longer (not just for the viewer, either: Elliot goes off on the guard because he thought he'd been left in for a week instead of just two days).
  • The premise of the episode "Hammered" isn't anything out of the ordinary: a man wakes up and finds a bludgeoned and raped woman in his apartment and no memory of it because he'd been drinking. The Nightmare Fuel comes later when ADA Paxton has the crime lab make up a videotape showing the sequence of events in the killing, complete with realistic blood spatter, bloody hammer, and the unblinking, psycho-faced head of their main suspect, played by Noel Crane, photoshopped in.
     Season 12 
  • In the episode "Merchandise", after a car hits a 15 year old girl it's discovered that she was starved to the point of death as well as raped so that she was pregnant. Even worse? Her brother killed her by pushing her in front of the car, because she was trying to escape the human traffickers that had them because their "masters" would take out their rage at her escape on him and the rest of the children they were holding. Later when they actually start closing in on the traffickers, the bastards chain up the kids and force feed them poison so that they will be dead when the police arrive and unable to identify them. SVU has done human trafficking episodes before, but this one was horrifyingly deeper than usual, especially exploring the desperate mindset of someone who has been utterly deprived of their freedom and their sense of security from minute to minute.
  • The episode "Behave" has a truly terrifying premise. The victim, Vicky Sayers (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) has been raped, but Olivia later uncovers it's not the first time this man has raped her. In fact, he's been stalking her for the past fifteen years, all over the country, and has raped her four times in that time span. The detectives later discover that, because he's a shipping mogul, he has warehouses in over a dozen major cities, and has been doing this exact same thing to numerous women for years. And this isn't bringing into account his Stalker Shrine to every woman he's ever attacked that Olivia finds...
  • Good Lord, does the episode "Bully" have its fair share. A woman is found dead in her apartment, dead of a severed carotid artery which produced so much blood, it not only dripped down onto a blank canvas of an artist holding a show downstairs, but he then used a bucket of her blood to paint with. She was also shown to be sexually assaulted and her autopsy discovered she had an elevated blood alcohol level and that she was pulling out her own hair from stress, which she got from her job. Turns out, she was taping her boss, who in spite of presenting herself as a warm, "big sister" type to the victim, was in fact a workplace bully who screamed at and verbally abused her and her fellow employees and even slapped her around. After the world discovered what kind of a person she was, she held a press conference, blamed everyone else for her behavior and committed suicide by shooting herself in the head. Eventually, the real killer emerged as her "handsome" younger male employee who tried to get her to join the other coworkers in buying out their boss. He said that he just pushed her down in an argument, she fell onto a coffee table and cut herself on glass. What makes it worse, however, is the fact that in order to make it look like she had done it to herself, he then shoved the bottle of wine she had up the other end, which is a trick he learned from his mother, an alcoholic and former opera singer who did it to preserve her voice. Warner also told the detectives about it being an old trick used by teenaged girls so they don't get caught drinking that made Benson acted as an Audience Surrogate by saying "file that under 'Things-I-Never-Wanted-To-Know'."
     Season 13 
  • In "Lost Traveler," in the last few minutes, it's revealed who the killer is: a seemingly ordinary teenage girl. What's bone-chilling about the scene is how calm she is throughout. She seems mildly annoyed at worst. When asked why she killed the boy and framed Mark for it, she simply replies, "Why not?" Brr.
  • In "Theatre Tricks," at a club devoted to "embracing sexual freedom", one of the performers is raped onstage while dozens of people watch, thinking it's part of the show even as she screams for help.
    • It gets even worse when the truth comes out; despite the victim having multiple creepy men in her life (including a guy spying on her with cameras planted throughout her home that she never knew about), it turns out the real mastermind behind the attack was her female roommate and best friend whom she'd grown up with. She set up a fake e-mail address for the victim and a profile on a hook-up site, then contacted the judge she knew (through the site) had a thing for roleplaying rape fantasies in public, pretending to be the victim and setting up a "scene" at the theatre performance. The friend was angry that the victim always seemed to have things go right for her because she was more physically attractive, including getting the part in the theatre production that the plain-looking roommate had been sleeping with the director for. The most chilling thing? When the victim asks how on earth her best friend could do this to her, she replies without a single shred of remorse, "It's about time something bad happened in your life."
  • "Official Story" includes a montage of witnesses and members of the squad being horrifically brutalized and threatened by the head of a military contracting company. One of his female employees was brutally gang raped by five of his men; he had her locked under armed guard in solitary confinement while she was suffering from internal injuries, then covered up the assault. The victim's father is knifed five times in prison; the victim herself is undressed, groped, and essentially assaulted a second time by three of the CEO's thugs; a drunk veteran who was a witness to the cover up is killed via alcohol poisoning while under protection; and Benson's house is trashed. If that wasn't bad enough, a thug calls Amaro's house, talks to his DAUGHTER, and threatens his wife, who is about to be redeployed.
     Season 14 
  • "Vanity's Bonfire": The character of Dia Nobile, a mentally unstable photographer who became a Yandere for Kent Webster, a married lawyer she had an affair with, befriending his daughter to get information on their family. When Kent's father had a lawyer place the baby girl, Tessa, with adoptive parents, Dia began plotting to take her back, stalking the parents and decorating her own loft to look exactly like Tessa's bedroom, eventually kidnapping her, which begins the plot of the episode. Notably, unlike most SVU villains, she's not a sadist or a sociopath playing games for her own amusement. She has convinced herself beyond all reason that Kent wants to leave his wife and daughter to form a new family with her and baby Tessa. When Kent rejects her, she punishes him by leaking details of their affair to the press, on the day of his and his wife's anniversary (which she was almost certainly aware of, considering her stalking habits). She is utterly lost and delusional, clinging to a fantasy that can never be real, and willing to destroy two other families to fulfill her selfish desires. Even her voice is high-pitched and strangely childlike, adding to her image as a Psychopathic Womanchild. It makes one wonder what happened in her past to make her so deranged...
    • On the side of Tessa's adoptive parents, there's a lot of Adult Fear to be had. Imagine that you and your husband have a baby through a surrogate mother. A few months later, your baby girl is kidnapped in broad daylight by a complete stranger who claims to be her biological mother. Then you find out that not only is your daughter actually this woman's child, but is not even biologically your child and was conceived from a completely different set of parents. On top of that, it turns out your lawyer faked your adoption papers without telling you and there's a chance that this crazy woman might actually get custody of your daughter on a technicality, leading the judge to order your child temporarily remanded to foster care until things can be sorted out. Thankfully, Dia is dead by the end of the episode, meaning that Tessa was likely returned to her adoptive parents, but we never actually see the outcome...
  • In "Born Psychopath", 10-year-old Henry has no soul, pushing his younger sister down the stairs and slicing his mother's hand open with a knife. He then tries to kill his sister and locks his mom in the laundry room, then goes to his friend's apartment, ties him up and drowns his dog in the bathtub (we only get to see its leash draped over the faucet), after that he takes a five-year-old hostage with a gun and shoots Amaro, who is thankfully saved by his bulletproof vest. When Rollins asks him why, he tells her that he wanted to see if she would melt from the inside out and he thinks he didn't do anything wrong. Just before the credits he fakes tears and says the's sorry but he very quickly drops the act, and it's very clear to see that this kid is beyond help. It's a scary thought to think that your kid could be a heartless, soulless monster. Even Huang was freaked out by this kid.note 
  • "Girl Dishonored": Tau Omega returns, this time when three of their members are convicted of raping a girl. The detectives discover that the fraternity is known as "The Rape Factory" around campus, when they discover many more victims who were forced to keep quiet by the administrators, who sweep Tau Omega's crimes under the rug to preserve the college's reputation. During the trial, the prosecution presents as evidence a T-shirt made by Tau Omega that displays a drawing of a hogtied and gagged woman in a bikini and the words "We don't take no for an answer!"
     Season 15 
  • All the episodes surrounding the character William "The Beast" Lewis are filled with Nightmare Fuel. His character makes an appearance in a total of 4 episodes, highly unorthodox for a non-regular character in this series. Lewis is a sadistic, psychopathic Serial Rapist/spree murderer/serial kidnapper and his entire existence seems to be dedicated to moving from place to place looking for new victims to rape and torture. He consistently manages to elude police and is skilled at manipulating the criminal justice system to work in his favor. He has no remorse for any of his actions and does not seem to fear death (Lewis actually literally dies and comes back to life several times.) He proudly boasts about the heinous crimes he's committed (often while smiling) and his rape victims range from teenaged girls to elderly women. His long list of victims include Olivia Benson. He is shown assaulting her both on and off-screen and nearly rapes her twice; the first time he is interrupted and the second time he stops when Olivia refuses to give him the satisfaction of showing any sign of any fear or emotion whatsoever. Lewis meets his demise by eventually committing suicide right in front of Olivia in the last few seconds of the episode "Beast's Obsession".
  • The entire episode "Beast's Obsession" the episode starts off with serial rapist/murderer William Lewis escaping from prison, recklessly raping, torturing, and killing innocent people and he later takes a 12-year-old girl hostage as his main goal is to have a final showdown with Olivia. The last 10 minutes are without a doubt the most graphic and disturbing; Lewis is physically shown sexually assaulting Olivia, first touching between her legs and her backside and later grabbing her breasts and forcefully kissing her. (At one point while she's forcefully bent over a table he undoes Olivia's pants and although it's not shown onscreen, it's implied that he touches her privates as well). He seems intent or raping her in front of his young hostage but appears to be displeased at Olivia's stoic response and changes his mind. Lewis finally forces Olivia into playing Russian Roulette with him, and they take turns putting a pistol with only one bullet to their heads and pulling the trigger. In the remaining last minute, Lewis tells Olivia to say "goodbye" implying that he is finally going to kill her but in the end he puts the gun to his own head and commits suicide. The episode ends with his blood splattering onto Olivia's face as she stares in horror.
     Season 16 
  • The premiere, "Girls Disappeared," has a terrifying montage of witnesses to a gang-rape and murder being picked off. A pimp gets shanked in prison nine times by three men, a 14-year-old hooker is shot along with her john, a hitman is executed by lethal injection in a prison hospital ward, and then:
    "This is Sergeant Benson, Manhattan SVU! Shots fired at De Witt Clinton Playground!"
  • "Holden's Manifesto":
    • The titular antagonist. Imagine a boy you didn't go out with as a kid waiting 10 years and letting his hatred and anger grow, going on a killing spree of anyone who didn't go out with him, even people he never even asked out. Some of the names on his list are of people he knew in kindergarten. What's really scary, however, is the fact that he continually justifies himself into a camera using logic that a lot of people in the real world use out of frustration at no one going out with them. And if that wasn't enough, everything he says is in a threatening/comforting tone of voice to really up the levels of nightmare fuel.
    • The climax in particular is nail-biting, as Rollins has to rely only on The Power of Acting and her clever but incredibly risky manipulation of Holden to save the hostages, Amaro, and herself. Even when Rollins appears to have the upper hand, it's still terrifying because there's not a whole lot preventing Holden from snapping and just shooting her. And right when it appears she may be able to disarm him, he's very suddenly killed by a sniper's bullet, so suddenly it almost counts as a Jump Scare. And the blood splatters all over Rollins. Ick.
    • Are you a teenage girl or young woman, or the parent of a teenage girl or young woman? If so, this episode will terrify you. Things like this happen in real life with disturbing frequency, so seeing it on the screen, with so much screentime given to the antagonist, is Paranoia Fuel incarnate.
  • "Glasgowman's Wrath":
    • It's Law & Order's take on The Slender Man Mythos, which features two teenage girls stabbing one's younger sister and then blaming the eponymous Glasgowman. As the squad investigates, the girls reveal that the older sister was seemingly forced into the act by her friend, who had delusions of Glasgowman. The friend is sent to a psychiatric facility, and the older sister is given a free pass. It seems as though the two were telling the truth, and they'll get the help they need. But at the very end, on the elevator after the trial, as the friend and the older sister stand side by side in the elevator in front of Carisi, he notices them make a pinky promise behind their backs...
    • The images drawn of Glasgowman are quite disturbing, even if the artist that created the character is pretty clearly harmless, if a bit anti-social and quirky.
    • Perry, the crazy friend, is practically the walking embodiment of Troubling Unchildlike Behavior. Early on, another mom mentions that she goes through a lot of babysitters (and later mentions that there's something "off" about her), and when the detectives check her social media page, they notice that she and Mia, the older sister, seem to be each other's sole confidantes, talking to each other and absolutely no one else. She spins an elaborate story about Glasgowman stabbing Zoe, the little sister, and kidnapping her and Mia, and when it's proven false, she rants in the interrogation room about how Glasgowman commanded her to spill "innocent blood" and how she stabbed Zoe, killed a cat (which she believed to be Glasgowman) and then stabbed herself. Even when asked on the witness stand if she knew that stabbing Zoe was wrong, she instead rambles about how Glasgowman is coming back to kill them all.
    • At the end, even though Mia knows that Perry is insane and tried to murder her little sister, she's still in league with her, as shown by the pinky promise they make at the end. Earlier, the detectives mentioned that she has no other friends who she talks to except Perry. From the looks of it, she's so desperate not to be alone that she'll do anything to keep her only friend, even if that friend is clearly a danger to others. Which is scarier: Mia putting her friendship with a serial-killer-in-the-making above her younger sister's safety...or the possibility that Mia might actually hate her sister to the point of allowing Perry to kill her?
  • "Spousal Privilege"
    • Admittedly, one of their better ones as it illustrates one of the many reasons why it's really hard to leave a domestically abusive situation. A woman (Paula) is constantly making excuses for her husband so she doesn't lose her family even if it means dealing with a shiner every now and again. The audience and detectives clearly see right through her defenses and can see she is literally stuck in a hell in which she and her son either gets battered and beaten by an abusive man who pays for everything and handles the bills; or doesn't and not only has no way to take care of herself but also puts her son's health in jeopardy. Once he's convicted, the cops are sure they've done the right thing but now have no answer for what Paula and her son is supposed to do at this point. With decent subtlety, the show illustrates that many victims are stuck in situations beyond their control with no chance to change anything.
  • "Intimidation Game":
    • A woman who married rich is developing a video game and a gang of misogynistic gamers take offense to this. Starting with simply sending threats to her and assaulting her female employees, when she makes the announcement of her game, they abduct her on stage, causing a black out as a distraction. Then it gets even more depraved; the gang make and post videos of them beating the woman, raping her and forcing her to call herself a slut and deny her love for her husband. They see it all as a game and consider each video posting a form of "leveling up". When the police finally catch them, they have her wrists taped to a gun and set a trap for her to fire. Even when the gang's leader is killed and the rest are arrested, the poor woman is so broken by the experience, that as far as she's concerned, they won. As much as people love to mock this episode (the bad writing did not help), it's not at all hilarious for women gamers and those in the games industry who have experienced harassment in real life.
    • The woman getting "Swatted" is quite scary considering how often people who stream video games online have fallen victim to swatting themselves. Also considering past incidents with SWAT teams (like the one that seriously injured a baby with a flash grenade after going to the wrong house), it's not farfetched that a SWAT team could potentially kill someone who happened to fall victim to a swatting prank.
    • Someone already had. Gamers have been using the SWAT teams for what they consider pranks and not understanding the severity of what they're doing. For the records, on average, SWAT is not the team you call for diplomacy. If anything, they're called in when diplomacy fails. They're the "shoot first" division because that's their lives on a daily basis. Now imagine you're sitting down enjoying a game and all of a sudden you got a team of officers breaking into your house armed to the teeth ready to blow your head off because of an "anonymous tipster" who can really amount to a sore loser in a video game. Imagine actually being killed over a video game.
  • When any of the main characters undergo a gratuitous amount of violence, such as Novak's attack.


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