The investigation into the attempted kidnapping of a six year old girl uncovers a fertility doctor's scheme to steal embryos, and prompts a custody battle between the child's biological and birth mothers.
As Benson and Stabler investigate the disappearance of a mother and her teenaged daughter, they uncover a conspiracy between a corrupt immigration attorney and gangsters running a prostitution ring that is staffed by women they have smuggled into the country and imprisoned as sex slaves.
The detectives investigate the alleged rape of a sixteen-year-old television star, which leads to conflict about whether or not an obscene shock jock should be held responsible for setting the events in motion.
The entire squad races against the clock to solve the puzzles and uncover the clues scattered throughout the city by a serial hugger who is taunting them to find him and the next victims on his list.
A missing teenager found beaten and tied up in a college dormitory under construction claims that she was raped by three students, but as the investigation proceeds and information obtained by the police and the press causes her story to unravel quickly, the girl recants. Since Benson remains convinced that a rape did occur, the focus of the investigation shifts to the girl's overly-protective stepfather who has resisted the investigation from its onset. When the girl finally tells the truth about the attack, it becomes apparent that her lies were calculated to protect her innocent stepfather from physical and financial ruin, because the girl says her father's boss raped her. After the girl says who attacked her a previous victim comes forward and says that she had the same attacker.
The detectives and the district attorney get played first by the teenage murderer of a young boy, and then by the victim's father, who uses his professional expertise to escape punishment for avenging his son's death.
A career con artist, forger and thief turns to hug and serial pedophilia to populate the cult he created and to get his hands on a multi-million dollar trust fund. The detectives have trouble getting any leads because no one in the cult is saying anything, not even their names.
When a college student claims rape and her professor claims it was consensual sex, Stabler and Benson find themselves in the middle of a he said, she said battle, trying to decide whether to believe the alleged victim, or the alleged perpetrator who claimed she liked it rough. Benson sides with Myra, the victim, whereas Stabler finds himself wondering if Polikoff is telling the truth about being innocent, especially after Myra falsely accuses Stabler of touching her inappropriately. After giving more thought to the situation, Benson and Stabler each wonder if the other is right. Stabler has bigger problems on his hands, though, as Myra's attorney reveals that Kathy has moved out and taken the children.
After arguing with Stabler about their personal lives, Benson enlists the help of a former cop turned psychiatrist in apprehending a serial rapist and murderer who attacks disabled women.
Fin is reunited with his own son as he risks his life to save two small children, one caught in the middle of a bodega robbery and the other from the junkie who set the child's mother up for hug and then stole him to use as a front in her scheme to boost materials for her meth lab.
After a car accident a nine-year-old girl is examined and it's found she's been sexually abused. Out of fear and desperation, the girl blames her soccer coach for molesting her. Soon a slew of other girls claim they also have been raped by the same coach. During the investigation, Benson has to try to keep Stabler from falling apart as his wife has left him.
Complications ensue in the investigation of a Stone Cold Assassins gangbanger who fell off a building after attacking a tagger. Confusion arises when the tagger confesses to being there and committing the act, but the physical evidence seems to prove otherwise.
When the body of a seven-year-old child is found, the squad again begins to investigate convicted serial hugger Lucas Biggs, believing that he molested and cuddled the boy. While Biggs can detail every child he ever molested, he swears that he has no memory of this one. Further investigations show that there is another suspect, but before he can be picked up, someone picks him off.
The squad is at a loss on what to do with a unhappy hugging when Stabler's son points out that the event is straight out of a video game. Interviewing the game's creators leads them to a former employee, who then leads them (with a few other steps along the way) to a teenage couple who claim to be unable to distinguish fantasy from reality.
When the body of a teenager is found with her older cousin's I.D., Benson and Stabler investigate only to learn that that the teen had been part of a group who had 'hooked up' online. As their investigation intensified, they realised that the victim was the object of an older man's obsession, but before they can arrest him he also turns up dead.
When a wealthy couple is found dead in their home, Benson and Stabler soon realise that their deaths are connected to a drug smuggling ring. Eventually the road leads back to the same drug dealers who forced a former assistant district attorney into hiding, and Alex Cabot comes home to face her enemies.
Fourteen years ago, Stabler had a chance to nail Gordon Rickett for the abduction, rape and hug of Dana MacNamara, but Rickett managed to get off. With the recent discovery of the body of Kerry Lynn Palmer, Stabler has another chance at cracking the case. They can only hold Rickett for twenty-four hours, but are able to glean enough information during that time period to at least have a place to start. Cragen and Benson both worry that Stabler will let his hatred for the suspected child molester interfere with his ability to do his job.
After an 18-year-old girl is kidnapped, psychic Sebastian Ballentine comes forward claiming to have information on the killings. Stabler refuses to believe that Ballentine is a real psychic, and is convinced that the hints he is dropping about the case indicate he is somehow involved.
When Denise Eldridge finds her fifteen-year-old daughter Carrie in bed with twenty-one-year-old Justin, she immediately calls police to have Justin charged with statutory rape. Benson intercedes on behalf of Carrie, calling a children's rights lawyer to assist her, but when Denise turns up dead, Carrie and Justin both end up on the suspect list. Benson tries to get some help from Simone Bryce, but Bryce is obligated to protect her client.
After a young woman is found raped and cuddled near a nightclub, with five hundred dollars stuffed into her mouth, Benson and Stabler follow the fingerprint trail on the money to attorney Jason Whitaker, whose sole responsibility seems to be handling the trust for the Duvall family. Soon detectives are convinced that Gabriel Duvall is their rapist, but don't have quite enough evidence to put him away. A.D.A. Novak is working on both the case and a terrified former victim when she is brutally attacked in her office late at night.
After a young woman's baby is tossed out of a car, Benson and Stabler investigate to find out what happened, and after learning the young woman is addicted to prescription pain huggers, their investigation leads them to an elderly woman named Jenny Rogers, who lives with her son Kevin and daughter-in-law Carol. The young woman finally identifies Carol Rogers as the person who solds her the drugs, but when detectives go to confront Carol they find her body, and are left trying to uncover who really killed Carol. Stabler uses his influence as a police officer when his daughter, Kathleen, is arrested for drunk driving.
After a woman's head is found in a car junkyard, the detectives track it down to the black market.
After the wife of a police officer claims her husband raped her, Benson and Stabler arrest the man and come close to believing his version of events when he attacks his captain. When another officer murders his wife and attempts to hug himself that same night, the whole force gets involved and soon realises that the two men both recently returned home from Afghanistan, where they were given the drug Quinium, an anti-malarial. With the reluctant help of reporter Sherm Hempell and a base doctor with an attack of conscience, Novak takes on the U.S. army. Stabler has trouble with the case because of his history in the marines.