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These 16 Law & Order Episodes Were Shockingly Based On True Stories

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    Note: This story was originally published on Feb. 2, 2016.

    If you're not a big fan of classic Law & Order: Special Victims Unit or Law & Order , then you probably know someone who is. No lazy day off is complete without a mini-marathon. Thanks USA, Hulu, and Netflix for the never-ending reruns!

    But how much do they, or you, really know about the show, other than the obvious relationship goals that are Detective Olivia Benson and Detective Elliott Stabler?

    For instance, did you know that a good chunk of the primetime crime show is based on real-life crimes?

    We're walking you through 16 of the craziest episodes ripped straight from the headlines, starting with Season 1. There are a few spoilers, but we tried not to reveal any of the best plot twists. Consider this your “Fact or Fiction” guide for your next binge-watching spree.

    And to that whole beginning spiel, “The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event,” we say LOL. We all know that truth is stranger than fiction, so why shouldn’t the writers use some true crime reports to inspire the fictionalized crimes, and the offenders who perform them?

    Warning: Some of these real-life crimes are not for the faint of heart.

    These are their stories. Dun-dun.


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    Tanya Kach

    Plot: A powerful lawyer is accused of keeping his Romanian maid as a sex slave in his home.

    Real Crime: A Pittsburgh teen, Tanya Kach, was kidnapped when she was 14-years-old and kept as a sex slave for a decade. "About twice a week, in the dead of night, he led me down into a cellar with cold, concrete floors to take a shower," she told the press after her rescue.

    "Slaves" Season 1, Episode 22 of Law & Order: SVU

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    Fetal abduction

    Plot: A woman who is seven months pregnant is assaulted, and has her baby cut out of her body via a caesarean section.

    Real Crime: Unfortunately the 'fetal abduction' crime is not rare. The first case was recorded in 1987, with dozens more since. The episode could have been inspired by a number of similar attacks. Two years after the SVU episode aired, one of the creepiest incidents of fetal abduction occurred. In 2004, Lisa Montgomery arranged to meet up with a dog breeder near her town. When she arrived at the breeder's home, who was eight month pregnant, Montgomery attacked her and cut the baby, via a C-section, out of the woman's stomach. The victim was found dead, covered in her own blood, and the baby missing. Montgomery had meanwhile been faking a pregnancy, hoping to pretend the stolen baby was hers. She is currently on death row.

    "Monogamy" Season 3, Episode 11 of Law & Order: SVU

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    Grand Theft Auto & video game violence

    Plot: What starts with a brutal hit-and-run rape scene, slowly starts to resemble another scene — one from a popular video game among children. The episode explores the influence of violence on those who play a lot of video games, and their ability to distinguish between virtual reality and real-life.

    True Crime: In February of 2004, a boy in Alabama was arrested after he shot and killed three men, two of them police officers. This led to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the game "Grand Theft Auto" which lawyers blamed for the boy's behavior. The 18-year-old shooter, Devin Moore, was obsessed with the game. More recently, in 2013, another 20-year-old student attending school in Alabama, Zachary Burgess, was arrested in Louisiana after exhibiting reckless behavior while driving. He, too, blamed the "Grand Theft Auto" video game for his charge of kidnapping, nine hit and runs, and, of course, auto theft.

    "Game" Season 6, Episode 14 of Law & Order: SVU