In the world of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, many of the episodes are taken right from the headlines of newspapers. The writers of SVU often use current events as inspiration for the dark, gritty police procedural show that everyone loves to binge. If you’re looking for something to watch, you can also check out our list of other shows like Law & Order.

What is the best episode of Law & Order: SVU that is based on a real-life event? The fight between pop singer Rihanna and rapper Chris Brown in 2009 was the inspiration for “Funny Valentine.” Another episode, “Devastating Story,” was based on false claims about UVA that were made in Rolling Stone magazine.

Intimidation Game,” which is based on the Gamergate controversy of 2014, and “Scavenger” are also great episodes of SVU that are based on real events (based on the BTK serial killer case).

Before the screen goes black and the name of Executive Producer Dick Wolf appears, vote up the best Law & Order: SVU episodes that were taken from newspaper headlines.


‘Monogamy,’ Based On Lisa Montgomery & Bobbie Jo Stinnett

The Episode: A woman who was seven months pregnant, was found dead, and her baby had been taken out by a sloppy Cesarean section. Before it was too late, the detectives rushed to find the missing baby.

Real Life: Lisa Montgomery pretended to be pregnant online in 2004 so she could make friends with Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was also pregnant. Montgomery went to Stinnett’s house under a lie and took the baby before it was born. In 2008, she was found guilty and given a death sentence.


‘Imprisoned Lives,’ Based On The Ariel Castro Case

The Episode: The detectives try to get a young boy back to his family after they find him hungry and alone in Times Square. Instead, they find more people in need of help in a locked basement.

Real Life: Between 2002 and 2004, Ariel Castro dated three women: Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus. He used all three of them and made Berry have his child against her will. Castro held the three women captive in his home until 2013 when Berry got away and told a neighbor where they were.


‘Babes,’ Based On The Pregnancy Pact From Gloucester High School

The Episode: Benson and Stabler look into a pregnancy pact between four high school students after the body of a homeless man is found. One of the girls talked the mentally ill homeless man into helping her get pregnant, but her brother thinks they were forced to do so.

Real Life: In 2008, 18 girls from Gloucester High School in Massachusetts are said to have made a “pregnancy pact” in which they promised to get pregnant at the same time and help each other raise their babies. The idea for this part of the SVU episode came from a story about a girl who asked a homeless man to get her pregnant. Even though some parts of the real-life case have been called into question and people often talk about the “Juno effect,” which sounds like a moral panic from adults worried that the 2007 movie of the same name was encouraging teens to become parents, the principal of Gloucester High did say,

We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy.


‘Head,’ Based On The Mary Kay Letourneau Case

The Episode: A teacher takes advantage of her male students, and even though she has been arrested and given restraining orders, she ends up having a child with one of them. Later, a brain tumor is removed, and the desires stop.

Real Life: Mary Kay Letourneau was a teacher who fell in love with a student who was 12 years old. Even though Letourneau was found guilty of second-degree assault and had several restraining orders against her, the two of them had two daughters together. When her student turned 18, he went to court to get the restraining orders overturned, and in 2005, they got married. They were no longer together in 2019.


‘Gone,’ Based On The Disappearance Of Natalee Holloway

The Episode: Doug Waverly, Nick Pratt, and Jason King are arrested for the death of a 17-year-old Canadian girl on a school trip. At first, the judge drops the charges because there isn’t enough proof, but the SVU detectives are able to get confessions from them.

King says that he slept with her permission, but Pratt says that he did not. Waverley and Pratt killed her so she would stop talking. After he tells the truth, King goes missing for a few days until he is found dead. Even though the police never find the girl, they charge Waverly and Pratt with King’s death.

Real Life: In 2005, Natalee Holloway, a high school senior, went to Aruba for her graduation trip and never came back. Last seen leaving a nightclub with a Dutch exchange student, Joran van der Sloot, and two of his friends, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. The next day, she didn’t show up for her flight back home, and her packed bags and passport were found in her hotel room. Holloway was officially declared dead in 2012, but her case hasn’t been solved, and she’s still missing.


‘Smut,’ Based On The Andrew Luster Case

The Episode: A person who breaks the law over and over again uses drugs to knock out his victims so he can take them back to his place and use them. He says that all of the encounters are voluntary, but his victims have no memory of them.

Real Life: Andrew Luster was found guilty in 2003 of taking advantage of several women while high on GHB, even though they didn’t remember being hurt by him.


‘Blood Brothers,’ Based On The Arnold Schwarzenegger Scandal

The Episode: When Ella, who is 13, shows up pregnant at a Catholic high school, the detectives look into it. Arturo, a Hispanic boy, is her best friend. Arturo’s mother is a housekeeper who cleans the home of Andrew Raines, a well-known politician, his wife, and their son, Tripp. The police find out that Tripp got Ella pregnant, but they also find out that Arturo’s real father is Andrew Raines. Arturo kills Tripp after Tripp tries to get Ella to get rid of the baby. Tripp did this because he was mad that Andrew wouldn’t admit in public that he was Arturo’s father.

Real Life: Arnold Schwarzenegger, an actor and the former governor of California, had a secret child with one of the maids who worked in his home. This came out in 2011. Maria Shriver, his wife, left him. Schwarzenegger says it took him seven or eight years to realize that his housekeeper’s son, Joseph Baena, was his own child.