‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Consider These Episodes Essential for Stabler

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

When it comes to “Law & Order: SVU,” there are some pretty crucial episodes when it comes to introducing its characters. One of those characters is Detective Elliot Stabler. Fans took to Reddit to discuss their episode choices for an introductory course to Stabler.

The post that starts the thread lists the “Law & Order: SVU” episodes “Rage,” “Risk,” and “Ripped.” In “Rage,” Stabler has to constantly check his emotions as he’s faced with a killer he let slip through his fingers years before. He interrogates the guy for hours, determined to get him on murder. The killer knows Stabler inside and out and tries to get in his head by analyzing him throughout the interrogation.

In “Risk,” Stabler goes undercover as a white-collar coke dealer and eventually has to shoot a guy who pulls a gun on him. It was Stabler’s first on-screen kill, and when Benson asks him if seeing a shrink helped at all with the aftermath, he says “not much.”

In “Ripped,” the son of Stabler’s old partner comes under fire for attacking his classmate while on steroids. The father is on steroids as well, and in a rage beats his son for “being a failure.” Stabler steps in and punches his former partner unconscious. Then, he breaks; he goes to Dr. Hendrix, where she makes him talk about his father. This is the first look we get into Stabler’s messy childhood. His father was abusive and didn’t accept anything less than perfection. Stabler cries for the first time on-screen in this “Law & Order: SVU” episode.

‘Law & Order: SVU:’ The Elliot Stabler Crash Course

Another fan mentioned the “Law & Order: SVU” season 7 episode “Name.” In this episode, Stabler teams up with a young CSU tech, Millie Vizcarrondo, to solve a nearly 30-year-old murder. The fan claims that this is a good episode to see how Stabler gets on without Benson.

He works well with Millie, and the two bond a little over feeling unloved by their fathers. In Stabler’s case, his father was abusive, but in Millie’s, she felt that her father was more interested in finding a young boy’s killer than he was in raising her. They solved the murder that had plagued Millie’s father for 30 years, though, and shared a quiet moment at the unnamed gravesite.

Additionally, the mentioned the “Law & Order: SVU” season 1 episode, “…Or Just Look Like One.” There’s a moment that Stabler shares with his wife Kathy that shows the lighter moments in their house, before the separation and the drama. Stabler invites his wife out for dinner, and when Maureen complains, he tells her that she isn’t invited. It’s a cute little moment of Stabler being cheeky with his family, before everything comes crashing down around him.