Sarah Logan's story on Law & Order: SVU Season 1 Episode 20 "Remorse" was a sad one altogether -- she was a reporter who was killed by a bomb after she shared her own rape during her news show. But what made us cry was that she was one of the few people that the ordinarily aloof and cynical Munch felt comfortable around and he was going to go to dinner with her right before she was killed.
An accidental shooting leads to tragedy.
On Law & Order: SVU Season 2 Episode 5 "Baby Killer", Stabler remarked that gang-owned streets were as violent as the Gaza Strip at the end of this tragic story and he was right. The child in question shot a little girl by accident after feeling threatened by a gang member who had killed his family while he hid in a closet, only to be killed himself because of racial tension related to the shooting.
Adoptive parents' worst nightmares.
The idea of thinking your baby is dead when he isn't is sad enough, but for that child to grow up with another family and then have to be removed from the only home he'd ever known because of a kidnapping he didn't remember is heartbreaking. That's exactly what happened on Law & Order: SVU Season 3 Episode 3 "Stolen".
A mother's addiction has horrific consequences.
Law & Order: SVU Season 4 Episode 7 "Dolls" was a scary, horrific story involving a pedophile who killed children after raping them, but when a victim's mother realized she was partially to blame for her daughter having been taken by this monster, it went from terrifying to heartbreaking.
Cabot's guilt over a transgender defendant's fate.
SVU was one of the first shows to tackle transgender issues on Law & Order: SVU Season 4 Episode 21 "Fallacy". It was bad enough that a woman was facing prison time for killing the man who raped her, but Cabot's guilt over sending her to prison, where she'd be housed with men and possibly become a victim of violence again over it, compounded the tragic circumstances of this story.
Munch's emotional reaction to an assisted-suicide case.
Munch was a fascinating, complicated character whose cynicism hid his sensitivity, and that made his guilt over his father's suicide on Law & Order: SVU Season 5 Episode 22 "Painless" even more powerful.