The Best Law & Order Scene Is Finally Back on the Internet

The best Law & Order: SVU scene has finally made its triumphant return to YouTube.

Kyle MacLachlan, Mariska Hargitay, and Christopher Meloni on Law & Order: SVU.
Photo: NBC

Through its remarkable 25-season run, premier Law & Order spinoff Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has featured many classic moments.

From Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and Olivia Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) burgeoning chemistry to the ripped-from-the-headlines cases to basically everything Ice-T’s Fin Tutuola says, fans have had plenty of things to latch onto. And yet, one Law & Order: SVU scene stands tall above them all.

It’s the time that Twin Peaks‘ Kyle MacLachlan shot and killed a kid.

Actually, “Kyle MacLachlan shot and killed a kid” is somehow underselling it. It’s more accurate to say that Kyle MacLachlan breaks out of Elliot Stabler’s vice-like grip, tosses an innocent bystander aside like a rag doll, grabs a cop’s gun, and fatally shoots an 13-year-old who had just told him “I’m sorry for what happened, sir. I really am.”

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As you might imagine, Kyle MacLachlan’s out-of-context child murder had become a pretty popular meme on the internet. Or at least it was until NBCUniversal scrubbed it from its video and social accounts. But this only led to folks sharing bootleg copies of it as though preserving a great work after the collapse of society.

Thankfully, however, cooler heads appear to have prevailed at NBC and as of early February 2024, Kyle MacLachlan’s child murder is once again available in high definition on the official Law & Order YouTube page. You can watch it below in all its glory as part of a 10-minute recap of the episode in question. Note: the moment you’re looking for begins around the six-minute mark.

Never gets old, does it? Since NBC has blessed us with the return of an important artifact, we can at least repay the favor by providing some context to the clip. This moment comes from season 6 episode 6 “Conscience,” which first aired on Nov. 9, 2004. Though it’s funny to keep calling Kyle MacLachlan’s character “Kyle MacLachlan,” in reality the Blue Velvet star is playing psychiatrist Dr. Brett Morton.

Dr. Morton’s son Henry goes missing from a birthday party and his body is later recovered in a dumpster. Given the nature of the crime (and SVU‘s grim focus), investigators initially believe that Henry was abducted and killed by a pedophile. It turns out, however, that Henry was killed by his classmate Jake O’Hara (Jordan Garrett), who claims to have accidentally killed Henry because Henry was going to tattle on him for accidentally killing a cat. If that sounds like one too many accidental killings for one child to perform, that’s because it is. Jake is very clearly a sociopath, as evidenced by the fact that his parents sent him to a special rehabilitation camp.

Still, Jake eventually gets away with his crime, much to the chagrin of Dr. Morton who understands what Jake is due to his psychological expertise. When Jake is exonerated despite being caught in a lie, Dr. Morton freaks out and kills the kid. While SVU presents this as a morally gray choice, the YouTube comments reveal that this was a pretty popular decision all things considered.

YouTube commenter @yvonnetomenga5726: "I must have a major character flaw because I'm happy with the results of this episode. The killer is dead and the father goes free."

YouTube commenter @paulhoon7940: "Death of a child is always frowned upon, but this kid was evil. The father probably saved dozens of lives that would have been murdered."

Perhaps the most amazing thing about viewing this clip in context is that the moment that Kyle MacLachlan kills a child somehow isn’t even the end of the episode. Yes, this Law & Order: SVU installment continues on for a third act in which Dr. Morton is tried for murder and is ultimately found not guilty. He then gets to share his own villain’s monologue with Stabler, admitting that he knew he was going to kill Jake and concludes with the absolutely cold “There’s one big difference – Jake would have killed again. I won’t.”

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The magic of having this clip back means that we don’t have to worry about any of that. All we need is Kyle MacLachlan shooting a kid over and over again.