SVU recreated the spin-off, this is a parallel series to the war horse Law & Order. The only character in common between the shows is the peripheral character of Captain Cragen (Dan Florek) who commands the squad (as he did in L&O) but he is not a main character, more like a sounding board for the other character to come to.
This series focal point has always been Detives Stabler and Benson (the incredible Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay) with Detectives Munch and Tutuola (Richard Belzer and Ice-T) as the back-up detectives. B.D. Wong returns as the forensic psychologist and Diane Neal comes back for a second season as the departments ADA.
This season has the following 23 episodes:
Birthright - A kidnapping uncovers a scandal at a fertility clinic (probably inspired by the UCI scandal). Future Oscar Nominee Abigail Breslin and Lea Thompson guest.
Debt - The investigation of a disappearance of a mother and daughter lead to illegal immigration and forced prostitution. Ming-Na and James Hong guest.
Obscene - There is an alleged rape of a 16 year old TV star but was it set in motion by a shock jock. China Beach's Dana Delany and Michael Boatmen guest.
Scavanger - A serial killer has the crew scavangering the city for clues to his identity before he takes his next victim. Anne Meara and Elizabeth Franz guest.
Outcry - When a teenage girl is found beaten and tied up who raped her, college students as she stated, her stepfather who Benson believes or some one else. Blair Brown and Michael O'Keefe guest.
Conscience - Detectives get played by the murder suspect and then by the victim's father. Peter Reigert, Kyle McLachlan and Novella Nelson guest.
Charisma - A cult is protecting their leader a serial con artist and forger who has turned to murder and pediophilia. Another China Beach Alum, Jeff Kober guests.
Doubt - It's a he said, she said rape investigation. Benson initially taking the girl's side and Stabler the professor's side. But as the investigation proceeds, they both change their opinions. Bill Campbell and Mariette Hartley guest.
Weak - After a fight with Stabler, Benson turns to a former officer, now a psychiatrist, to help solve the serial rape of disabled women. Amanda Plummer and Mary Stuart Masterson guest. (This episode won SVU its first Emmy)
Haunted - Fin is reunited with his son while saving two other children.
Contagious - When a girl is examined after a car crash, it is discovered that she had been molested. Out of fear she blames her soccer coach and this snowballs when other team members also accuse him. Daniel Hugh Kelly guests.
Identity - The investigation of the death a gang member who fell off a building takes a strange twist when a tagger confesses but the physical evidence points elsewhere. Charlyne Woodard and Peter Firth guest.
Quarry - When the body of a seven year old boy is found, the team tries to link it to a convicted serial killer. John Savage guests.
Game - The grisly murder is blamed on a video game. Barry Bostwick guests.
Hooked - The body of a girl is found with her older cousin's ID. It turns out that she had an online hookup with an older man. But he too is found dead.
Ghost - Alex Cabot returns to testify against the drug dealer who sent her into hiding. Stephanie March returns.
Rage - Stabler gets a second chance to nail a child molster but will his hatred blow the case? Matthew Modine and Anne Pitoniak guest.
Pure - A psychic comes forward to help with the investigation but are the clues because he is psychic or the kidnapper? Martin Short guest.
Intoxicated - A statutory rape charge results in murder of the mother. Cathy Moriarity and Glenne Headley guests.
Night - When a young woman is found raped and dead, the trail leads to a leading family. This is a crossover episode with L&O: Trial by Jury. Angela Lansbury, Alfred Molina guest. With crossover guests Bebe Neuwirth, Kirk Acevedo and Rita Moreno. (This creates another Oz reunion with Meloni.)
Blood - A baby is tossed out of a car window. During the investigation, Benson and Stabler link it to drug dealer who turns up dead. (A side story Stabler intercedes when his daughter is picked up for drunk driving. This will haunt him later in the series.) Melinda Dillion guests.
Parts - A woman's head is found in a junkyard. Oscar winner Marlee Matlin guests.
Goliath - When two police officer's show strange behaviour, it is discovered that they were both given the same drug in Afghanistan. Novak takes on the US Government.
This season SVU won its first Emmy Award - Guest Performer - Amanda Plummer and receive two additional nominations Best Actress - Mariska Hargitay (her first and she wins next season) and Guest Performer - Angela Lansbury (when will she ever win?)
Mariska Hargitay won the show's only Golden Globe for this season.
This is one of television's best series and a great season to boot!