After the wife (Amy Landecker) of a police officer (RE Rodgers) claims her husband raped her, Benson and Stabler arrest the man and come close to believing his version of events when he attacks his captain (Ronni Lieberman). When another officer (Brian Hutchison) murders his wife and attempts to kill himself that same night, the whole force gets involved and soon realizes that the two men both recently returned home from Afghanistan, where they were given the drug Quinium, an anti-malarial. With the reluctant help of a reporter (Jon Bernthal) and a base doctor with an attack of conscience (John Dossett), Novak takes on the U.S. Army.
This episode provides examples of:
- Boom, Headshot!: One of the two police officers who are suffering from Quinium shot himself in the head. He miraculously survives.
- Broken Pedestal: Stabler's faith in the U.S. Military is shaken due to the entire Quinium ordeal.
- Downer Ending: Due to Dr. Trainer backing out of his testimony, the main characters failed to ban the production of Quinium. The episode (and season) then ends with them watching returning soldiers from Iraq and wondering who among them took the drug.
- Harmful to Minors: One of the two police officers who are suffering from Quinium shot himself in front of his son.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sherm Hempell may come off as a self-absorbed Intrepid Reporter, but he genuinely wants the public to know about the dangers of Quinium and is concerned about the military's welfare.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Benson and Stabler first considered that their cop suspect might having an affair with his female partner. Turns out said partner is a lesbian.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Invoked by the wife of the cop suspect, claiming that Benson and Stabler are siding with her abusive husband due to their shared profession.
- Refuge in Audacity: Novak subpoenas the Secretary of Defense, much to her boss's horror.
- Season Finale: The show's sixth.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Before discovering Quinium, the main characters first assumed that their perp cop was suffering from PTSD from Iraq.
- Would Hit a Girl: The first suspect, who beats his wife, later beats his chief when he learns she'll send him to therapy.