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The Best Season Finale On Law & Order: SVU

"Law & Order: SVU" towers over the "Law & Order" franchise, and has run for over 500 episodes and 23 seasons. In fact, "SVU" is one of the only shows that can boast of being syndicated through the inaugurations of four United States presidents. The series' epic success also means that if fans of the crime procedural want to rank each season finale, they have nearly two dozen episodes to choose from.

In keeping with the show's tone, some finales are extremely tense and dramatic, even placing team members in grave danger. While the show delivers intriguing and disturbing episodes throughout each season, "SVU" finales are often impactful in hopes of making viewers feel like they need to tune into the next season.

There's been some debate among fans, but this is still, to date, the best season finale of "Law & Order: SVU" to ever air on NBC.

A criminal uses the detective's secrets against them

The Season 8 finale, "Screwed," is arguably the finest conclusion to a year's worth of episodes to date as it makes the main characters part of the dramatic narrative. One Redditor hales it as the best "SVU" finale: "The rising tension in the squad put me on edge. I loved how everyone finally had to face consequences for the things that they've done." The episode incorporates the secret misdeeds of characters like Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) into the story, as all of them must be held accountable for their actions during Darius Parker's (Ludacris) trial.

This includes Benson covering for her brother Simon Marsden (Michael Weston), Stabler helping his daughter, Kathleen (Allison Siko), beat a DUI charge, and Fin Tutuola's (Ice-T) activities while undercover. Darius, Fin's stepson, uses the questionable actions of each detective to discredit them during the trial and gets acquitted in the process.

In an amazing final montage, with music playing over the sequence, each officer is punished in one way or another. Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) and Benson are called into hearings, Fin must disown his stepson for good, and Stabler watches as Kathleen is arrested. 

Other high-ranked season finales include Zebras and End Game

Other finale episodes of "Law & Order: SVU" are among fan favorites. Two Redditors selected Season 10's "Zebras," which uses a red herring suspect to hoodwink the audience until the last few minutes as their ultimate finale, with one post even saying, "[It's] just so full of everything you want from an episode ... from a deranged murderer to nifty plot twists."

Other highly-enjoyed finales included "End Game," the Season 20 closer that put recurring villain Rob Miller (Titus Welliver) behind bars for good. One Reddit user emphasized that the episode was "very satisfying." Yet another user cast themselves further back to the show's beginning for their favorite finale, praising how "disturbing" the finale episode "Slaves" was. The number of episodes fans listed in the comments speaks to how consistent the show has been, always knowing to end seasons with the kind of incendiary case that will bring audiences back in the fall.