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"In the City of Seattle, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories." ― The opening narration by Steve Zirnkilton.

Law & Order: Seattle is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, and a spin-off of the long-running crime drama Law & Order. Created and produced by Dick Wolf, the series premiered on NBC on September 26, 2012.

Set in the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle, Washington, the series follows the same two-part approach as the original series, but like previous Law & Order spin-offs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent, it also allows significant development for the series characters. In each episode, the first half-hour focuses on elite detectives and their captain in the Seattle Police Department as they investigate a crime (usually murder); the second half focuses on the prosecution of the defendant(s) by the Seattle District Attorney's Office, while D.A. Investigators assist the post-arrest police investigations to make sure the prosecution is run smoothly. In the style of the original Law & Order series, episodes are often "ripped from the headlines" or loosely based on real crimes that have received media attention.


Current Cast


  • Gary Oldman as Senior Detective Jeffrey Doyle (Season 1-present)
  • Ross Lynch as Junior Detective Chris Kensington (Season 1-present)


  • Paula Patton as Executive A.D.A. Mikka Von (Season 1-present)
  • Alimi Ballard as A.D.A. Dwayne Kafka (Season 1-present)
  • Jonathan Togo as D.A. Investigator Bertrand Shelby (Season 1-present)
  • Dylan Sprayberry as D.A. Investigator Ben Clark (Season 4-present)
  • Judd Hirsch as District Attorney Peter Felsenthal (Season 1-present)


  • Sela Ward as Professor Melinda Doyle (Season 1-present)
  • Debby Ryan as Elizabeth Doyle (Season 1-present)
  • Joey Bragg as Steven Doyle (Season 1-present)
  • Tracie Thoms as Bethany Kafka (Season 1-present)
  • Rowan Blanchard as Madison Kafka (Season 1-present)
  • Skai Jackson as Henrietta Kafka (Season 1-present)
  • Jim Parsons as Councilman George Ellsington (Season 2-present)
  • Sarah Paulson as M.E. Jessica Harper (Season 2-present)
  • Chris Elliott as Tommy Easton (Season 2-present)

Former Cast

  • Gwyneth Paltrow as D.A. Investigator Esther Betancourt (Season 1-3)
  • Holt McCallany as Mitchell Betancourt (Season 1-3)
  • Ng Chin Han as Lieutenant Andrew Lee (Season 1-4)
  • Cindy Cheung as Anna Lee (Season 1-4)
  • Jimmy O. Yang as Sean Lee (Season 1-4)
  • Aaron Yoo as Eddie Lee (Season 1-4)
  • Allen Evangelista as Johnny Lee (Season 1-4)
  • Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Layla Lee (Season 1-4)
  • Hank Chen as Justin Lee (Season 1-4)
  • Holland Roden as Junior Detective Stella Rhodes (Season 3)
  • Robert Carlyle as Acting Lieutenant Harold Drucker (Seasons 4-5)
  • Finn Wittrock as Detective Antonio Wells (Seasons 4-5)


Season 1 (2012-2013)

1. Depraved Heart (09/26/2012)

Detective Jeffrey Doyle receives a new partner, Chris Kensington, as he investigates the death of a teenager who had been shot in a robbery gone wrong. However, a twist emerges in the case, and E.A.D.A. Mikka Von is left wondering about the necessity of charging the defendant (Cameron Boyce) with depraved-heart murder.

NOTE: Inspired by the 1946 Commonwealth v. Malone case

2. Revenge (10/03/2012)

Doyle and Kensington deal with a horrific crime scene after a single mother, her young daughter, and their neighbor are found murdered. Their investigation leads them to a man (Peter Lewis) who had been convicted of raping one of the victims but was paroled early without the woman's knowledge. Due to the outrageous nature of the case, District Attorney Peter Felsenthal contemplates filing charges against an inexperienced social worker who helped get the defendant paroled early.

NOTE: Inspired by the Charles Rodman Campbell and Arthur Shawcross cases

3. Hate (10/10/2012)

A Muslim woman is found stabbed to death in an alleyway, and Doyle and Kensington initially believe the murder to be a hate crime. However, as they dig deeper, they focus on the victim's husband (Faran Tahir) and earn the outrage of the local Muslim community in the process.

NOTE: Inspired by the murder of Shaima Alawadi

4. Family (10/17/2012)

Doyle and Kensington investigate the death of a girl adopted from Ghana and focus on the victim's adoptive parents as suspects. The case becomes controversial when the suspects claim they were misled by methods advocated in a controversial parenting book. Meanwhile, the prosecution sheds light on Von's troubled childhood.

NOTE: Inspired by the death of Hana Grace-Rose Williams

5. Grunge (10/24/2012)

The lead singer of a grunge rock band is shot dead during a concert, leading Doyle and Kensington to suspect a delusional former fan. However, as the case progresses, they find another, more likely suspect: the leader of a rival cover band (Josh Brolin).

NOTE: Inspired by the 2004 Damageplan shooting and the murder of Mia Zapata

6. Halloween (10/31/2012)

Doyle and Kensington go on the hunt for a drunken driver (Paul Urcioli) who killed a woman and her two children in a hit-and-run while they were trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Von and A.D.A. Dwayne Kafka are thrust into a debate over the legal ethics of filing first-degree murder charges against the driver, who had a long history of DUI charges and suspended licenses.

NOTE: Inspired by the legal debate over filing first-degree murder charges for homicides caused by impaired driving

7. Needle (11/14/2012)

Doyle and Kensington catch an unexpected, high-profile murder case: the poisoning death of a businesswoman in the Space Needle's SkyCity restaurant. Their investigation leads them to uncover a series of shady business deals and misappropriations of funds.

8. Fallen (11/21/2012)

The massacre of four Seattle police officers in an Italian restaurant is connected to an earlier shooting attack on two officers in Olympia, and the entire police department struggles to figure out if the events are the work of a serial killer or a terrorist cell targeting police. As the statewide manhunt expands and more officers are attacked, Kafka finds a wedge being driven into his friendship with a civil rights attorney (Sterling K. Brown) who is vehemently anti-police.

NOTE: Inspired by the murder of Timothy Brenton, the 2009 Lakewood shooting, and the 2009 shooting of two Pierce County sheriff's deputies

9. Defense (11/28/2012)

Doyle and Kensington investigate the murder of a man who they believe may have witnessed another murder. They find a suspect (Jeremy Davidson), but when he turns up dead hours after posting bail, they zero in on the suspect's lawyer, New York defense attorney Dave Seaver (Michael Boatman), for that murder. However, the prosecution becomes complicated when the attorney begins suppressing important evidence by invoking attorney-client privilege.

10. Border (12/05/2012)

Doyle and Kensington travel to the Canadian border to hunt a man (Lou Sumrall) suspected of murdering his ex-wife. When the suspect is shot and killed by the victim's cousin (David Alan Basche), Von struggles to sway the jury from empathizing with the defendant.

11. Wild (12/12/2012)

A series of gang-rapes targeting Caucasian girls stirs up racial tensions throughout Seattle. As the trial against the suspects progresses, things escalate to a dangerous level when a deadly riot breaks out in front of the courthouse and spreads.

NOTE: Inspired by the Sydney gang-rapes in 2000 and the deadly Seattle Mardi Gras riot in 2001

12. Green (01/16/2013)

A brutal crime scene is discovered, involving a female jogger stabbed to death and a couple from Illinois shot execution-style. Doyle and Kensington initially suspect a stalker targeting the couple to be behind the murders, but forensic analysis later reveals that the jogger was the intended victim, targeted for her work with an environmentalist group.

13. Missing Person (01/23/2013)

A malnourished, mute child is found showing signs of being held in captivity for a long period of time. The SPD's investigation results in the reopening of a cold case involving a kidnapped teenage girl. They initially zero in on a registered sex offender as their prime suspect, but in the end, the department is hit with a horrifying twist. Meanwhile, the case takes its toll on Doyle's family life due to the impending anniversary of his sister-in-law's disappearance decades ago.

NOTE: Inspired by the Elisabeth Fritzl case

14. Exchange (02/06/2013)

The Seattle Police Department is put under pressure from the Chinese government to solve the deaths of two Chinese exchange students in a neighborhood known for its high crime rates. The case becomes even more complicated when Lieutenant Andrew Lee develops a personal connection with the victims' families.

NOTE: Inspired by the murders of Ming Qu and Ying Wu

15. Branch (02/20/2013)

A prominent corporate lawyer is found dead in his office from a staged suicide, and the SPD faces off against the family of the late New York DA Arthur Branch when a member is considered the prime suspect. The resulting trial forces Von and Kafka to bring up the toxic subject of a simmering feud between liberal and conservative ideologies in the U.S.

16. Torture (02/27/2013)

The seemingly random murder of a college student is linked to atrocities committed at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. As the trial gets underway, Von and Felsenthal find themselves clashing with Kafka when he admits his support for the Iraq War and insists on pursuing the maximum punishment for the defendant.

NOTE: Inspired by the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal

17. Devotion (03/20/2013)

When six members of a family are shot to death, with only one survivor (Susan Misner), Doyle and Kensington set their sights on a jilted ex-lover (Myk Watford) as their main suspect. However, they are met with a startling twist that turns the case over its head. Meanwhile, D.A. Investigator Esther Betancourt's husband Mitchell returns from a trip out of Seattle.

NOTE: Inspired by the 2007 Carnation murders

18. Bias (04/03/2013)

After a judge's chauffeur is fatally run over in a case of mistaken identity, Doyle and Kensington uncover a pattern of bias on the judge's part towards cases where the defendants are cops. As the manhunt for the driver (Anna Chlumsky) continues, Felsenthal faces off against the judge for his pro-police bias. Meanwhile, D.A. Investigator Bertrand Shelby notices suspicious bruising on his partner Betancourt's face.

19. Angelic (04/10/2013)

When a Seattle Medical Center doctor is murdered in his office, the SPD realizes he was killed by an Angel of Death trying to cover up his killings, which may have spanned over a decade. However, the case takes a complicated turn when another victim dies while the prime suspect, a sociopathic orderly, is in custody. By the end of the episode, Shelby learns that Betancourt has been taken to a hospital.

NOTE: Inspired by the Charles Cullen and Donald Harvey cases

20. Mayday (05/01/2013)

When five people are killed in a horrific arson fire, Doyle and Kensington are quick to track down the arsonist, a prestigious arson investigator. However, when their suspect is suddenly killed by radiation poisoning, Von and Kafka suspect an elaborate cover-up by a highly controversial, Kansas-based low-cost carrier airline that employed one of the arson victims. Meanwhile, Shelby becomes suspicious of Betancourt's claims that she fell down a staircase and secretly investigates Mitchell.

NOTE: Inspired by the John Leonard Orr case, the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning case, and the ValuJet Flight 592 crash

21. Wiped (05/08/2013)

Doyle and Kensington struggle to interrogate a homeless man (Charlie Day) with retrograde amnesia when forensic evidence indicates he may have witnessed (or perpetrated) a murder. At the end of the episode, Shelby is confronted by an overprotective Mitchell.

22. Reciprocal Discovery (05/15/2013)

The body of a woman is found in her apartment, and Doyle and Kensington narrow down a list of suspects to none other than Mitchell, who once had an affair with the victim. However, Von and Kafka's prosecution proves to be difficult due to Mitchell being the Washington deputy attorney general, presiding a number of high-profile cases, and a former prosecutor with Felsenthal. By the end of the episode, Mitchell is exonerated as the killer, but he is fired from his job and Betancourt gets a restraining order against him.

NOTE: Inspired by the Thomas Capano case

Season 2 (2013-2014)

1. Capital Offense (09/25/2013)

Doyle and Kensington hunt down an ex-convict (John Magaro) suspected of attacking two women, one of them fatally, in a local church. The sadistic and callous nature of the crime shakes the faith of Doyle, a devout Catholic. Meanwhile, the case provokes a discussion in the Seattle District Attorney's Office about capital punishment in Washington state.

NOTE: Inspired by the James Homer Elledge case

2. Center (10/02/2013)

As the SPD scours through the Seattle Center for a missing seven-year-old girl from Canada, they butt heads with a popular local newspaper that appears to always be one step ahead of them. Meanwhile, Betancourt initiates divorce proceedings with Mitchell.

NOTE: Inspired by the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the News International phone hacking scandal

3. Amplifier (10/09/2013)

When a Caucasian man is beaten to near-death by a group of African-Americans, the SPD endures racial tensions as they track down suspects. Things become even more heated for the detectives when a civil rights activist (Selenis Leyva) clashes with a conservative local shopkeeper (John Turturro) whose business was the site of the attack.

NOTE: Inspired by assaults that occurred following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin

4. Sound (10/16/2013)

The discovery of a body floating in the Puget Sound leads Doyle and Kensington to a mentally unstable suspect (Jordan Lage) suffering from tinnitus. The case brings up bad memories for Von, whose aunt was afflicted with mental illness.

5. Parental (10/23/2013)

After the SPD closes the case of a woman killed in a hit-and-run, they are thrust into an escalating custodial battle between three families: the biological family of the victim's child, the victim's wife (KaDee Strickland) and her family, and the victim's homophobic family from Idaho. Things escalate even further when gay Councilman George Ellsington (Jim Parsons) personally involves himself in the series of events, after which a shooting and kidnapping occurs.

6. Downfall (10/30/2013)

Doyle and Kensington investigate when a washed-out Hollywood actress is found dead in a local hotel from an apparent drug overdose. However, as they dig deeper into the victim's social life, they find a long list of enemies.

NOTE: Inspired by the life and legal troubles of Lindsay Lohan

7. Wrong (11/06/2013)

When a series of rapes shows similarities to the work of a serial rapist who operated during the 1990s and was supposedly already captured, the SPD must figure out if it is the work of a copycat or they got the wrong man. The case takes a personal toll on Doyle in particular, since he was the lead investigator in the original case.

NOTE: Inspired by the Tim Cole case

8. Elite (11/13/2013)

When a prostitute is found dead in a high-end hotel room, Doyle and Kensington are led to an international escort agency, and then an elite society of politicians and corporate businessmen whose careers would be utterly destroyed if word of their use of the escort agency gets out.

NOTE: Inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal and the Emperors Club VIP escort agency

9. Art (11/20/2013)

The stabbing death of an art critic leads Doyle and Kensington to a struggling artist (Paolo Costanzo) who is on a downward mental spiral. Meanwhile, Von starts dating a local artist with an unexpected connection to the case.

10. Overreaction (11/27/2013)

When a woman (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) mistakes an innocent male jogger for her stalker and fatally shoots him, she is left to deal with the repercussions while Doyle and Kensington search for the real stalker. Meanwhile, Betancourt comes to believe Mitchell has sent someone to stalk her.

11. Contagious (12/11/2013)

The Pacific Northwest is struck with a meningitis outbreak, which affects, among hundreds of others, Lee's children. The outbreak is traced back to a private compounding pharmacy, which leads to a high-profile prosecution by Von and Kafka.

NOTE: Inspired by the New England Compounding Center meningitis outbreak

12. Jane (01/15/2014)

Efforts to identify a severely burned Jane Doe found in 1982 are finally successful, uncovering her identity as Doyle's long-lost sister-in-law. As a result, the SPD reopens the case into her strange disappearance and quickly becomes the center of national media attention.

NOTE: Inspired by the murder of Tammy Vincent and Pauley Perrette's involvement in the investigation

13. Seconded (01/22/2014)

When the gunman behind a horrific shooting rampage throughout Seattle is shot dead by a Good Samaritan (Mike Pniewski), the SPD believes they have an open-and-shut case. However, things become complicated and an escalating political debate is revisited when the Seattle District Attorney's Office uncovers a disturbing twist.

NOTE: Inspired by the 2012 Seattle café shooting spree, Wayne LaPierre's controversial remark about armed citizens being able to stop mass shooters, and the Dendermonde nursery attack

14. Serenade (02/05/2014)

Von and Kafka struggle to build a case against a famous country singer (Jason Aldean) for the rape and murder of a female fan. Things become even more difficult for them when the suspect starts trying to seduce Von, almost successfully, in a bold effort to avoid conviction.

NOTE: Inspired by the Michael John Braae case

15. Public Service (02/19/2014)

Doyle and Kensington reluctantly pursue a bestselling author-turned-spree killer (Mads Mikkelson) targeting violent registered sex offenders, but then get caught up in a dangerous situation. The prosecution becomes difficult for Von and Kafka due to the victimology and the defendant's sympathetic backstory.

NOTE: Inspired by the life and legacy of Stieg Larsson, the Jack Abbott case, the Stephen Marshall and Michael Anthony Mullen cases, and the debate over the constitutionality of sex offender registries in the U.S.

16. Juvenile (02/26/2014)

A woman and her new boyfriend are shot and killed, while her son goes missing, leading Doyle and Kensington to suspect the woman's ex-husband (Tahmoh Penikett) of being behind the crimes. However, the case takes a turn when forensic evidence indicates the son might have committed the murders. Due to the ambiguity of the evidence, Von and Kafka are forced to try both the boy and his father.

17. Confidence (03/05/2014)

The SPD tracks down a charming, elusive con artist (Michael Peña) who may have killed a client when she saw through his scam. Von and Kafka's case against the suspect becomes challenging when it is revealed that Lee's wife Anna was one of his scamming victims.

18. Strikeout (03/12/2014)

Doyle and Kensington investigate the murder of a homeless man who was once a star baseball player. Though they initially suspect another homeless man, they uncover a scandal that would affect the reputation of several other baseball players.

NOTE: Inspired by the murder of Rod Craig

19. Violated (03/19/2014)

When two high-school students are accused of raping a fellow classmate during a party, the SPD uncovers a secret but horrifying culture of rape, bullying, and hazing at their high school. After several suicides and a murder are linked to the school's haphazard policies, Von and Kafka resort to prosecuting not only the students, but also teachers and even the school superintendent. Meanwhile, Doyle becomes concerned for his son Steven, who is a student at the high school. By the end of the episode, the school itself becomes a crime scene.

NOTE: Inspired by the Steubenville High School rape case, the suicides of Rehtaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott, and the Chardon High School shooting

20. Error (04/02/2014)

Felsenthal deals with a personal crisis when the granddaughter (Yara Martinez) of a childhood friend becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a man who was accidentally released from prison, after he was convicted of murdering her father and brother.

21. Motherly (04/09/2014)

Doyle and Kensington work overtime to hunt down the men responsible for a series of increasingly violent carjackings throughout Seattle. The case heats up when the suspects shoot three children in front of their mother (Wendy Hoopes), killing two and critically wounding the third. Though the SPD manages to catch all of the suspects before the body count rises, Von and Kafka uncover something even more sinister about the investigation.

NOTE: Inspired by the Diane Downs case

22. Tower (04/30/2014)

A disgruntled ex-employee (Christopher Amitrano) takes hostages at the Columbia Center, and Lee is forced to appeal to his narcissistic and grandiose personality during negotiations. Meanwhile, Shelby is shaken when he learns that his cousin (Brit Morgan) is among the hostages.

NOTE: Inspired by the 1996 Honolulu hostage crisis and the 1996 KOIN Tower hostage crisis

23. Eastbound (Part 1) (05/07/2014)

When a couple is found shot dead in Seattle's Lincoln Park, Doyle and Kensington head to Spokane when forensics indicate the victims were murdered by a serial killer active there. As the case progresses, Doyle finds clues that indicate the killer may also be responsible for the death of his recently discovered sister-in-law. The episode, and the season, ends on a cliffhanger when Kensington is kidnapped by the killer (Chris Elliott) while in the process of saving a would-be victim (Kiersey Clemons).

NOTE: Inspired by the Robert Lee Yates case

Season 3 (2014-2015)

1. Westbound (Part 2) (09/24/2014)

As Doyle goes on the trail for the serial killer who kidnapped Kensington, Kensington himself must fight for his life and for those on the murderer's hit-list. At the end of the episode, Doyle receives a disappointing update about his sister-in-law's case.

2. Aftermath (10/01/2014)

As Kensington continues to deal with the aftermath of his kidnapping and attempted murder, he and Doyle investigate the murder of a promising college student. Two suspects (Tyler Posey and Ian Nelson) are arrested, but Kensington beats one in custody, complicating Von and Kafka's case.

3. Slide (10/08/2014)

A geologist who had been reported missing for six months is found buried alive, leading Doyle and Kensington to track down a vengeful suspect (Daniel Stewart Sherman) who claims to have been traumatized by his harrowing experience during an infamous, devastating mudslide. As a result, Kensington, still reeling from the trauma of his kidnapping, finds himself empathizing with the suspect.

NOTE: Inspired by the 2014 Oso mudslide

4. Nemesis (10/15/2014)

When a neo-Nazi (Eric Stoltz) kills the head of a Jewish community center in broad daylight, Felsenthal strives to prosecute not only the murderer, but the leader (Reed Birney) of the neo-Nazi group that the suspect was a member of. When Felsenthal starts bending the law to ensure the neo-Nazi leader is convicted, Von decides to have Shelby and Betancourt do some digging of their own, and they make a startling discovery.

NOTE: Inspired by the Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting committed by Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr.; the National Socialist Movement political party; the 1977 National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie case; the 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio case; the 1941 Milk Wagon Drivers v. Meadowmoor Dairies, Inc. case; and the white supremacist David Duke

5. Overload (10/22/2014)

Doyle and Kensington find themselves investigating five different cases in one week: the disappearance of an African-American boy, the death of a motorist from a rock being thrown at her windshield, the apparent thrill-killing of a male stripper, a dispute between two former coworkers turned deadly, and finally, the murders of three young boys in an apparent home invasion. The overload of cases eventually causes Kensington to snap from the strain of it, resulting in another unarmed suspect being beaten. As a result, he is forced to take a leave of absence and undergo a mental health exam, while Doyle receives a temporary new partner, Detective Stella Rhodes (Holland Roden).

NOTE: Inspired by the disappearance of Charles Bothuell V, the fatal Interstate 75 rock-throwing case, the murder of Troy LaFerrara, the 2012 Empire State Building shooting, and the Aaron Schaffhausen case

6. Compassion (11/05/2014)

As part of Rhodes's first homicide case, she and Doyle suspect a hate crime when an LGBT rights activist is found dead from beating and strangulation. However, they are hit with a twist when their prime suspect turns out to be the husband (Jon Cryer) of Councilman George Ellsington. This forces the SPD and the Seattle District Attorney's Office to face off against the city council as they try to protect the reputation of their most esteemed member.

7. Moratorium (11/12/2014)

The Seattle District Attorney's Office revisits the capital punishment debate when a psychopathic registered sex offender (Adam Trese) is arrested for the horrific murders of three young boys, and the public calls for his execution despite the moratorium placed on the sentencing. Meanwhile, Rhodes, repulsed by the extremely heinous nature of the case, fears of succumbing to the same outrage and cynicism that nearly cost Kensington his career.

NOTE: Inspired by the Westley Allan Dodd case, the February 2014 capital punishment moratorium placed on capital punishment in Washington state, and the Gary Plauche case

8. Remnants (11/19/2014)

An arson fire at a crematorium that accidentally killed a janitor also uncovers a human skeleton, leading the SPD to juggle between solving the arson case and a 50-year-old cold case. Their cases are suddenly merged, however, when an unlikely link comes up.

9. Gray (11/26/2014)

Doyle and Rhodes tackle a complicated case when a University of Washington student accuses her classmate of raping and impregnating her, despite evidence indicating she did not ask him to stop at the time of the sexual act. As the investigation progresses and continues to disprove the rape allegation, all the while ruining the reputation of the accused, Doyle finds himself at odds with his wife Melinda, a professor at the university who is siding with the accuser. Meanwhile, Rhodes bonds with the accuser and finds an ulterior motive behind the false allegation.

NOTE: Inspired by the controversial term "gray rape"

10. Retribution (12/10/2014)

After an alarming YouTube video surfaces, foreshadowing a killing spree in Seattle, Doyle and Rhodes double their efforts to identify the user and potential targets. They close in on a mentally unstable suspect, which triggers a standoff that threatens Rhodes's life.

NOTE: Inspired by the Elliot Rodger case

11. Hurt (01/14/2015)

As Rhodes continues to recover from last episode's ordeal, she and Doyle investigate the murder of a woman planning to run for the State Senate. Meanwhile, Betancourt finds herself apparently being stalked by Mitchell again.

12. Disappeared (01/21/2015)

When an elderly couple is killed and their grandchildren kidnapped, the SPD immediately suspects the children's father (Scott Adsit), currently on trial for the suspicious disappearance of his wife, of orchestrating the crimes from behind bars. While the search for the children intensifies, the Seattle District Attorney's Office faces off against the son-in-law, an experienced attorney, as they try to pin him for multiple murders. Meanwhile, Shelby becomes concerned when Betancourt starts stocking up weapons in preparation for a possible attack by Mitchell.

NOTE: Inspired by the murder of Janet March; and the disappearances of Nathan O'Brien, and Alvin and Kathryn Liknes

13. Outlaw (01/28/2015)

A middle-aged father suffering a midlife crisis is murdered, and the crime is connected to an infamous motorcycle gang. As a result, the SPD sends Doyle undercover to infiltrate the gang and find potential suspects. Meanwhile, Shelby hires a private investigator (Thomas Gibson) to tail Mitchell, and comes to a startling realization.

NOTE: Inspired by the Hells Angels motorcycle gang

14. Gospel (02/04/2015)

Rhodes's troubled and highly complicated past with religion comes to light when a delusional man (Mandy Patinkin) brutally murders a random child, claiming that God had ordered him to do so. At the end of the episode, she leaves the precinct and Kensington rejoins.

15. Breath (02/11/2015)

The discovery a graduate student strangled to death in an alleyway leads Doyle and Kensington to the world of erotic asphyxiation. Meanwhile, Kafka begins to suspect his wife Bethany of being unfaithful.

16. Culmination (03/04/2015)

When three people are shot and killed in an apartment, Doyle and Kensington realize that one of the victims is Mitchell's new girlfriend, and that the spiraling Mitchell may be targeting the women in his life, including Betancourt, and their families. As the body count rises, Betancourt is struck with a horrific family tragedy. The manhunt abruptly ends when Mitchell is found shot dead, but Felsenthal finds himself prosecuting Betancourt when witnesses place her at the crime scene. At the end of the episode, Betancourt is acquitted of all charges, but she resigns from her post as D.A. Investigator.

NOTE: Inspired by the 2011 Grand Rapids, Michigan, shooting spree

17. Native (03/11/2015)

Von and Kafka are forced to reopen centuries-old wounds when a member (Moses Brings Plenty) of the indigenous Duwamish community in Seattle becomes a suspect in the ritualistic murder of a Caucasian civil rights activist.

18. Intrusion (03/25/2015)

An Iraq War veteran (Stephen Gregory) is shot and critically wounded after bypassing a security checkpoint and illegally entering Seattle City Hall. When the man is connected to a murder, Doyle and Kensington search for a motive and a possible connection to terrorism. Meanwhile, Von must go against her anti-war beliefs and convince a jury to not believe the suspect's defense that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder induced by his experience in a war-zone.

NOTE: Inspired by the White House intrusion incident committed by Omar J. Gonzalez

19. Commitment (04/08/2015)

While investigating the stabbing death of an IRS auditor, Doyle and Kensington initially suspect an anti-government activist (John Knox) of being behind it. However, after searching through the victim's notes, they shift their suspicions on one of their own officers (David Keith), who may be living a double life.

20. Sleazy (04/22/2015)

The murder of a former marketing executive for a high-profile movie studio in Los Angeles is initially linked to his unscrupulous methods by Doyle and Kensington. Meanwhile, Von deals with a recent family tragedy.

NOTE: Inspired by the David Manning reviews hoax

21. Unidentified (04/29/2015)

Following a small citywide panic, a young girl's dead body is found in a homemade, helium-filled gas balloon shaped to resemble a flying saucer. The search for the girl's parents leads Doyle and Kensington to a strange new religious movement, and then to a secretive offshoot that could possibly be endangering more children for free publicity.

NOTE: Inspired by the Colorado "balloon boy" hoax case; the Raëlian movement; the Morristown, New Jersey, UFO hoax case; and the 1997 Heaven's Gate mass suicide

22. Ab Extra (Part 1) (05/06/2015)

Doyle finds himself crossing paths with Stella Rhodes again as he and Kensington investigate the rape and murder of a stripper. The SPD initially narrows down the list of suspects to a boyfriend who is already married (Damian Young), and a client with a disturbing past (David Warshofsky). However, the case takes a sudden and dangerous turn when they learn the victim's workplace was actually a front for an illegal brothel with connections to a number of powerful local and state politicians, and that the owners are suspected mobsters currently under the FBI's microscope.

NOTE: Inspired by the James Randall case, the life of Frank Colacurcio, Sr. and the "Seattle crime family", and the 2003 and 2006 "Strippergate" scandals in Seattle

23. Ab Intra (Part 2) (05/06/2015)

The prosecution of suspected mob boss Luca Carano (John Michael Bolger) for murder begins, and Von, Kafka, and Felsenthal all find their lives at risk. The case is jeopardized after a failed attempt on Kafka's life by his own dentist (Joe Mantegna), and things eventually end in tragedy for Doyle following a courtroom shootout.

NOTE: Inspired by the Glennon Engleman case and the Fulton County Courthouse shooting

Season 4 (2015-2016)

1. Fail Mary (09/30/2015)

When a football referee is brutally murdered by a mob, Doyle and Kensington pinpoint the motive to a two-year-old controversy involving the victim. Though the SPD brings in multiple suspects, Von and Kafka find themselves focusing on one (Michael Kelly) who may have had a personal motive for the murder. Meanwhile, Doyle continues to recover from the courtroom shootout, while Shelby gets a new partner in the form of novice Ben Clark.

NOTE: Inspired by the 2012 Packers–Seahawks officiating controversy

2. Faith (10/07/2015)

Von becomes increasingly determined to convict a couple (Gary Basaraba and Marg Helgenberger) for the murder of their disease-afflicted daughter, who they refused to have a doctor treat due to their strong Christian faith. As the prosecution becomes a heated commentary about the freedom of religion, Von starts bending the law in the hopes of securing a conviction, all the while earning the ire of a fundamentalist Christian organization. Meanwhile, Shelby becomes irritated by Clark's extreme ambitions.

NOTE: Inspired by the Kara Neumann case and the Westboro Baptist Church

3. N-Chant (10/14/2015)

A frat boy is found dead from a drug overdose, but M.E. Jessica Harper puts Doyle and Kensington on the case when she also finds signs of strangulation. The subsequent investigation uncovers a history of racially discriminatory incidents on the part of the victim's fraternity. They are then led to a suspect (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) whose son (Daniel Kaluuya) was the target of bullying by the victim. Meanwhile, Shelby clashes with Clark after it is revealed that he was once a member of the same fraternity.

NOTE: Inspired by the 2015 University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon racism incident, other racial incidents involving the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and the Black Lives Matter movement

4. Personal (10/21/2015)

Lee's ability to lead his precinct is questioned after he nearly jeopardizes the investigation into the murder of a family friend's daughter, allegedly committed by her boyfriend who then assumed her online identity in an effort to cover it up.

NOTE: Inspired by the murder of Shao Tong

5. Lineage (10/28/2015)

The search for suspects in the robbery and murder of a drug dealer leads Doyle and Kensington to a young man (Josh Hutcherson) whose father (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and grandfather (Brett Cullen) are infamous convicted murderers. Von and Kafka must deal with the man's defense that he was programmed to kill due to his genes.

NOTE: Inspired by the Francis Weaver case and the controversial debate on the impact of genetic predisposition on the nature of violence

6. Thirst (11/04/2015)

After the naked body of a beloved high-school cheerleader is found in a swimming pool, Doyle and Kensington trace her last 24 hours to a charismatic nightclub owner (Josh Dallas) with a sexual preference for teenage girls. However, as the SPD continues to find evidence against their suspect, they come across two wealthy sisters (Saxon and Brighton Sharbino) who hold dark secrets about the victim.

7. Impairment (11/11/2015)

The SPD investigates a horrific murder that initially appears to have been the culmination of an escalating workplace rivalry. However, as they dig deeper, they find and arrest a suspect (Raphael Sbarge) with a low IQ. Due to the brutal nature of the crime, Von and Kafka must decide if he should be prosecuted or confined to a mental institution. The case is then jeopardized when Clark tries to help the defendant, upon which Shelby learns about his new partner's personal life.

8. Now (11/18/2015)

A seemingly random, violent mass shooting at a rave after-party leaves several dead and injured, and Doyle and Kensington hunt for a mentally unbalanced gunman (Jason Clarke) before he hurts more people. Meanwhile, Von and Kafka grapple with the suspect's startling motive, as well as the controversies surrounding Seattle's underground rave culture.

NOTE: Inspired by the Capitol Hill massacre

9. Checkmate (12/02/2015)

Von and Kafka face off against a brilliant chess player (Jeff Goldblum) suspected of murdering his longtime rival five years ago. Things become complicated when it is revealed that the suspect's lawyer (Kelly Hu) is also Shelby's new girlfriend.

10. Story (12/09/2015)

A disgraced magazine reporter is found raped, stabbed and slashed to death, and strung up at her former workplace in a macabre public display. The SPD immediately centers their investigation on a circle of potential suspects who were falsely accused of rape in a controversial discredited article written by the victim. However, as tensions rise in the city and citizens start taking matters into their own hands, Kensington learns a startling truth.

NOTE: Inspired by the suicide of Bill Sparkman, the "A Rape on Campus" story, the Central Park jogger case and the related controversy on Donald Trump's full-page newspaper advertisements, and the Jeffrey Willis and Kevin Bluhm case

11. Grand (01/13/2016)

The murder of an up-and-coming entrepreneur who owned a successful new hotel chain leads Doyle and Kensington to an ambitious fellow businessman (Richard Edson) who may have felt threatened by the victim's rise to fame. However, Von and Kafka's prosecution is jeopardized by a seemingly minor error on Clark's part, which damages Felsenthal's trust in him. Meanwhile, Lee learns that his middle son Eddie was arrested for speeding.

12. M.W.W.S. (01/20/2016)

When a high-school student from the Netherlands is kidnapped during a graduation field trip, Doyle and Kensinton initially suspect a trio of locals led by a sociopathic sexual predator (Calum Worthy). However, the real kidnapper (Zoe Saldana) reveals herself and forces the SPD to reopen a cold case in exchange for the girl's safe return. Meanwhile, Clark tries to use the case in an effort to win back Felsenthal's favor, but his actions instead threaten to make things worse.

NOTE: Inspired by the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the Tyler Kost case, the murder of LaToyia Figueroa, and the controversial "missing white woman syndrome" phenomenon

13. Gangland (01/27/2016)

The SPD dives into a dangerous case when a violent shootout between two rival gangs leaves several dead, including an innocent bystander. Meanwhile, Lee tries to control Eddie, but finds himself overwhelmed by his son's uncharacteristically rebellious and secretive behavior.

14. Vendetta (02/10/2016)

A wealthy couple is shot and killed by a group of home intruders during a robbery, and their many children are left alive. As they investigate, Doyle and Kensington realize that one of the killers may be Curtis Vann (Alec Baldwin), a disgraced celebrity who was acquitted in a high-profile murder case from two decades ago. Since the case preoccupied the last years of her father's life, Von becomes determined to convict Vann at all costs.

NOTE: Inspired by the murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings; the deaths of Diana Spencer, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul; the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder case; and the 2007–2008 O.J. Simpson robbery case

15. Crash (02/24/2016)

As Von continues to deal with the aftermath of the Curtis Vann trial, she prosecutes a ring of symphorophiliacs responsible for a rash of deadly car crashes, including a particularly devastating one on a highway that killed multiple people.

NOTE: Inspired by the national epidemic of hit-and-run rashes in cities and the 1990 Interstate 75 car pileup in Calhoun, Tennessee; and ripped from the pages of the 1973 Crash novel and its 1996 film adaptation

16. Sixteen (03/02/2016)

The SPD joins a statewide search for a beloved teenage girl who disappeared while celebrating her sixteenth birthday. Despite the detectives following multiple leads, the case is eventually marked by a tragic and disappointing end. Meanwhile, Lee learns the shocking truth behind Eddie's evening activities, which could endanger his entire family.

NOTE: Inspired by the death of Molly Bish

17. Yi (Part 1) (03/16/2016)

When the SPD investigates the murder of a Chinese businessman with shady connections, Lee desperately tries to divert their attention away from the killers, a local branch of the Sun Yee On triad, in order to protect his family. However, when a suspicious Felsenthal starts to close in on the Sun Yee On, Lee is forced to choose between his family and his duty as a law enforcement officer when the killers order him to murder the District Attorney.

18. Lee (Part 2) (03/23/2016)

With the ambush on Felsenthal gone awry, and Shelby, Clark, and Kafka injured, Lee must deal with the consequences as he and his family go into witness protection. In the end, despite the combined efforts of the SPD and the Seattle District Attorney's Office to dismantle the Sun Yee On branch, the Lee family is struck with tragedy and Lee is forced to resign as lieutenant in order to go into hiding.

19. Coping Mechanisms (04/13/2016)

The SPD receives a temporary new lieutenant, Harold Drucker, as Doyle and Kensington investigate the murder of a lesbian author of children's books, and become involved in an escalating domestic situation. Meanwhile, Felsenthal confides in Von about his guilt over Lee's resignation and Clark's debilitating injury.

NOTE: Inspired by the James Kraig Kahler case

20. Feud (04/20/2016)

When the head of a popular animation studio is pushed out of a high-rise office window and killed, Doyle and Kensington learn about a recent feud between the victim and the head (Leslie Jordan) of a rival studio over their upcoming films. Meanwhile, Doyle gets into a bitter argument with Drucker after the latter insults Lee's leadership abilities, leaving his career in jeopardy.

NOTE: Inspired by the public feud between DreamWorks founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Pixar founder Steve Jobs and director John Lasseter over plagiarism allegations and scheduling conflicts regarding the animated films Antz and A Bug's Life

21. Imperfect (04/27/2016)

With Doyle suspended for three weeks following his argument with Drucker, Kensington is forcibly partnered with Drucker's charismatic nephew, Detective Stephen Wells, as they search for an elusive suspect (André Holland) who negligently caused a man's death while seeking alternative methods for medical treatment. Meanwhile, Clark returns to the job despite being hampered by complications from his injury.

22. Predator (Part 1) (05/04/2016)

Kensington is forced to face his fears head-on when the depraved serial killer who kidnapped him in Spokane, Tommy Easton (Chris Elliott), claims to have information on an apparent serial killer active throughout the Seattle metropolitan area. Meanwhile, Doyle secretly assists Kensington with the case by conducting his own private investigation, only to come across a startling revelation.

NOTE: Inspired by the Gary Ridgway case and Ted Bundy's involvement in the investigation, and ripped from the pages of the Hannibal Lecter book series and related media