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Source: NBC

7 'Law & Order: SVU' Episodes That Were Based on Real-Life Crimes

By Pippa Raga

Like many Law and Order: Special Victims Unit episodes, tonight's plot is "ripped from the headlines." The show often draws inspiration from real-life true crime stores and other themes from the news. 

In anticipation of tonight's episode, "Dear Ben," we were inspired to dig through the SVU archives to bring you 7 episodes based on true stories, including this most recent one.

These are their stories. Dun dun!

[Warning: Some spoilers ahead]

1. "Dear Ben" (S30 E12) - The Golden State Killer

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Source: NBC

A cold case reopens after 25 years when Lt. Benson suspects recent attacks are the work of a career rapist who terrorized New York City in the '90s. But when ADA Peter Stone takes the reopened case, he doesn't realize his father Ben (Law and Order's first ADA, played by Michael Moriarty) had spent most of his career trying to nail down a suspect. For the sake of his father's legacy, Stone is determined to use any means necessary — including online DNA kits — to solve the case.

The premise is very reminiscent of the Golden State Killer. Suspect Joseph James DeAngelo was brought into custody after ancestry DNA led investigators to his door. The story also includes touches from other serial crimes, like signs reminiscent of the Zodiac Killer and writing on the wall, à la Helter Skelter.