After 21 years, sex offender Ray Schenkel is released from jail. Retired officer William Dorsey who initially locked him up, is convinced he'll offend again and begs Detectives Benson and Stabler to put him away for good. Stabler goes undercover to see if Dorsey is correct and in doing so befriends Schenkel, posing as a sex offender on parole and earning his trust. As the investigation unfolds, Stabler sets Schenkel up, but this time he doesn't take the bait. When Stabler's cover is blown, the investigation is not only compromised, but Stabler finds his life in danger.
A distraught and pregnant April Troost, is found on a ledge threatening to commit suicide. After being talked down, she confides in Benson that she has been raped, and her unborn child is a product of that crime. Troost accuses Barclay Palmer, a handsome, wealthy and successful business man, of the crime. Although Palmer denies involvement, DNA tests prove he is the father. The case goes to trial, but when it becomes evident that Troost is willing to settle for money, her credibility diminishes and Benson and Stabler become suspicious of her story.
Disturbing 911 call from nine-year-old Maria Recinos is forwarded to Detective Olivia Benson. Recinos is calling for help from a room she claims to have been locked in for days. The detectives put a trace on the cell phone she is using, however it turns up multiple phony leads due to manipulation of the signal, which leaves detectives confused. As the case progresses, Benson eventually convinces Recinos to divulge crucial clues, including the name of her captor. Recinos will only talk to Benson, and just as she is getting closer to finding her, the cops question the case and are now concerned that it could be a prank. Benson knows this is real, when the phone goes dead, Benson realizes that she is losing time and needs to act quickly on what little information she has if she is going to save this girl's life. Ch
When a 17-year-old high school student is brutally attacked by one of her classmates on campus, Detectives Stabler, Benson and Fin investigate Luke Breslin the prime suspect. When asked about attacking his friend, Breslin becomes enraged and attacks Det. Fin but when later questioned, he claims to have no memory of attacking anyone. Meanwhile, Stabler realizes that Breslin is the son of his former partner Pete Breslin and Detective Cragen suspends Stabler after he makes a number of unprofessional choices in trying to go easy on his friend's son. As the investigation continues, Stabler tries to help both Breslin and his son, but begins to lose control because of his own rage. Stabler turns to Dr. Rebecca Hendrix for help coping with his own anger issues.
Man is found murdered execution style in the window of his workplace, and above him the word Killer is written. A stamp on his hand leads Detectives Benson and Fin to a gay circuit club, also a methamphetamine hangout. Detectives Benson and Fin scan the ID's of the guests who were at the club and during the investigation, Fin discovers his estranged son Ken Randall was also there. As the case continues, Detective Fin confronts his son and Medical Examiner Warner confirms that the victim Robin Weller had the deadly and contagious new strain of AIDS which is becoming an epidemic. When Weller's boyfriend, who also carried the deadly strain of AIDS, is also found murdered, eyes turn toward Gabriel Thurman an activist trying to stop the spread of the disease. The case goes to trial and Thompson's attorney Carolyn Maddox, tries to sway the jury that her client's actions were justified.
Detectives Benson and Stabler investigate a school shooting, where three children are shot. When one African-American child dies, detectives follow critical clues and are lead to believe the crime was racially motivated. As the case progresses, Detectives find evidence that the rifle used in the killings is linked to a gun store, which also serves as the headquarters for a white supremacist group: Revolution Aryan Warriers. Detectives discover that Star Morrison, and the store owner's 14-year-old son Kyle both keep Nazi paraphernalia in the basement of the shop. DNA from the rifle leads detectives to the person they believe is the killer and when the case goes to court shots are fired inside the court house by group members and a major twist is revealed.
When construction workers pour the sand into a newly made playground and discover the remains of a young boy, Detective Stabler teams up with CSU tech Millie Vizcarrondo to investigate,which leads them to resurrect a cold case where four boys disappeared 30 years earlier. As the investigation unfolds, new forensic evidence surfaces but no progress can be made solving this case until Anna surfaces, claiming her stepfather Robert Sawyer was the killer.
When a series of rapes is linked to a speed-dating service, Detective Benson goes undercover and discovers Mike Jergens is the assailant. As the case progresses, Jergens' insecure girlfriend Cora Kennison - an alcoholic and bulimic - becomes an unwilling pawn as both Benson and attorney Minerva Grahame-Bishop seek to persuade Kennison to testify for their respective sides - despite her mother's insistence that her daughter is too fragile. Kennison opts to marry Jergens in the hope that spousal privilege will save her from taking the stand, but since the rapes occurred before they married, she is still forced to testify. Distraught, Kennison drinks to excess, leaving her in an irreversible coma, and her fate in the hands of her husband.
When Lauren Westley is found badly beaten and taken to a New York hospital, it is discovered she's a runaway from Virginia whose father Philip Westley has been in the city searching for her. Detectives discover that Westley was 24 weeks pregnant and due to her injuries, suffered a miscarriage. As the investigation unfolds Detectives Benson and Stabler question Wayne Meredith a teenager from Westley's high school who is the father of the baby. Westley and Meredith ran away to New York seeking the help from an abortion clinic. When the case goes to court, Meredith's attorney, Sophie Devere, tries to defend Meridith's actions but new evidence is introduced questioning the credibility of the abortion clinic and whether the doctor there was ultimately responsible for West's injuries.
Detectives Benson and Stabler aggressively pursue a child molester who kidnapped three young sisters from New Orleans after their parents were killed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- but their efforts to secretly locate the third child are compromised by an ambitious reporter. However, a far greater problem looms as the New York cops butt heads with federal authorities after the suspect is discovered to have deadly anthrax that could result in a full-blown epidemic.
When a bruised, bloodied and severely injured 12-year-old boy is dumped outside a hospital, Detectives Benson and Stabler are led to Charlie Monaghan, a teenager seen beating the boy a week earlier at St. Victor's school. But the suspect's alibi proves unlikely when his 8-year-old half sister's own problems at school and tormented past at the hands off the injured boy surface. Meanwhile, the girl's legal woes are exacerbated when questions concerning legal guardianship and consent - and what constitutes fit parenting - come into play.
When a woman is found shot to death in her apartment, Detectives Benson and Stabler discover 14-year-old Nathan Phelps, traumatized and hiding in the closet. The investigation leads the detectives to Ted Carthage, the head of a charity organization, and whose voice Nathan recognizes as belonging to the man who shot his mother. Without a positive I.D., Carthage is released, but later found dead - shot by Nathan. A.D.A. Novak must prosecute Nathan and attempts to give him a break when his attorney Sophie Devere finds a study that suggests people who witness gun violence are more likely to commit acts of violence themselves. But their plan to settle with a plea is disrupted when a gun manufacturer's advocacy group catches wind of the defense, fearing legal implications.
When an eight-year-old girl is kidnapped on her way home from school and DNA tests on the blood found in the abductor's abandoned van reveal she has leukemia, M.E. Warner visits the girl's family to inform them of her findings. No sooner does Warner deliver the diagnosis than she's drawn into the kidnapper's deadly game when it's clear he has the family's apartment - and its occupants - in his sights and no cops are to be involved.
When a newborn baby boy is discovered in the trash, Detectives Benson and Stabler use a bar t-shirt found at the scene to trace the crime back to a well-to-do college co-ed. At the precinct, the girl collapses and is treated for a potentially lethal post-conception complication, where she then admits to Benson that she had been raped and was unaware that she had been pregnant prior to the birth. The girl soon loses sympathy when it is also discovered that the girl had been connected to another abandoned newborn a year later, but was never arrested - and that the girl is the daughter of a city councilman. At the trial, Dr. Huang's diagnosis of postpartum psychosis sets the stage for the defense - but it's soon discovered other factors are at play when the father of both abandoned babies is revealed.
When the body of a young woman is found murdered in her apartment, Detectives Benson and Stabler discover she's a successful attorney - and stripper, which is apparently unknown to her fiancé and boss, Tessa McKellen. Later, tape from a student crew filming the night of the murder reveals the victim was with Linus McKellen, Tessa's husband - whose sperm was found in both the victim and her friend and fellow stripper, also found murdered. The investigation is further complicated when it's revealed the killer entered both apartments from outside windows, leading the detectives to suspect the crimes could also be tied to Tessa's corporate work.
Three teens -- Jason King, Doug Waverly and Nick Pratt -- are suspected of foul play when high school student Jennifer Durning disappears after a night of partying. Nick and Doug's wealthy parents and their attorneys argue the plan was for Jason to lose his virginity to Jennifer before the other two had consensual sex with her -- but Jason got greedy. Jason agrees to testify, but when he disappears, Judge Donnelly has no choice but to dismiss the case. A.D.A. Casey Novak becomes suspicious because without Jason's testimony there's no case against the other boys. Attorneys Dave Seaver, Oliver Gates and Monica Bradshaw represent the teens.
Hudson University co-ed, Caroline Pereira, dependent on financial aid, is found murdered with an unexplained influx of cash. Caroline's wealthy roommate, Gloria Kulhane, is found with one of Caroline's rings, making her a suspect as the two were not friends. Detectives Benson, Fin and Stabler, have several theories about her murderer and their motive and investigate the various suspects; the roommate, her childhood friend, and someone connected to a heavily trafficked website where Caroline was selling term papers for cash.
Detective "Fin" Tutuola is torn between his family and "the system" when his son Ken Randall is roughed up and arrested for digging in a vacant lot late at night. Detectives Stabler and Benson question Randall who claims he was drawn to the site after overhearing a stranger's murder confession while out with his troubled cousin Darius Parker. The story is weak, prompting suspicion and a deeper investigation that leads to an unsolved double homicide - and the realization Randall and Parker have more in common than Tutuola even suspected. Lisa Gay Hamilton guest stars as Tutuola's ex-wife Teresa Randall.
Solid investigative work leads the detectives to a violent repeat sex offender Jeremy Paul Wilson who was recently released back onto the streets. Wilson, a cold blooded murderer and pedophile, is in possession of a cache of hunting knives, has kidnapped two children and has nothing to lose. The manhunt for Wilson brings Dets. Fin, Benson and Stabler to a bus terminal where a violent and emotional showdown with Wilson takes a dangerous turn.
Band of teenage siblings attack and sodomize a teenage girl, Jessica Delay, who is a gifted piano student at a prestigious high school in Harlem. Through help from Medical Examiner Warner who identifies the attackers as overweight, Det. Stabler and his one-time partner Det. Lucius Blaine track down the siblings, who claim they attacked Jessica to avenge an attack on their morbidly obese brother Rudi. After the case goes to trial, there is a hollow victory for the "winner" due to the enormous health issues facing the teenager.
A mother (Dana Eskelson) is devastated by the revelation that her 8-year-old son (Jack Vignone) has been sexually abused years after her ex-husband was sent to prison for molesting her older child, whose DNA now implicates him in his brother's case.
In SVU's season seven finale, former rock star Derek Lord goes on a national talk show and lectures about the abuse of psychiatric drugs. Meanwhile, an unstable young woman Jamie Hoskins, who loses her virginity, goes off her prescribed medication, gets behind the wheel of a car, and mows down 10 people. As these events are played out in a highly charged way, the argument about prescribed "meds" is challenged.