The Best Season Finale Of Law & Order

What makes a good season finale? Is it ending on a cliffhanger which makes fans want to tear their hair out waiting for a satisfying conclusion? Is it the tragic loss of a character that viewers have grown to love over the course of the series? Is it the satisfaction of catching the big bad evil guy and subjecting them to justice after several episodes or seasons of them eluding the law? If you're a fan of any crime drama, you've probably experienced and enjoyed many of these types of season finales while watching — especially if you're a fan of the "Law & Order" franchise.

The original "Law & Order" is an ongoing network crime drama which has been airing on NBC since 1990. It just wrapped up its 21st season in May, which means fans have experienced the emotional highs and lows of 21 different season finales. But which finale is the best of all time? It feels a little unfair to try and crown a winner while the series is still going, especially since Season 22 will feature the return of one of its most important stars and the addition of "Supergirl" alumnus Mechad Brooks. But if past fan chatter and viewer ratings are anything to go by, there's one clear winner which may be difficult — if not impossible — for future seasons to dethrone. Let's take a closer look at it. 

The Season 6 finale, Aftershock, is still shocking fans to this day

In this finale, Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), Kincaid (Jill Hennessy), Curtis (Benjamin Bratt), and McCoy (Sam Waterston) have to watch the execution of a criminal they all helped convict. Because none of the characters are sociopaths, witnessing the death of another human — whose death they are partly responsible for — is traumatic for them and leads them to act out in unhealthy ways. Curtis cheats on his wife with a young grad student. McCoy gets drunk in a bar and laments about his abusive childhood with some friendly strangers. Briscoe, a recovering alcoholic, falls off the wagon. But Kincaid's ending is the most tragic of all. She goes to the bar where both McCoy and Briscoe get drunk and ends up giving Briscoe a sober ride home. Ironically, right as the two are in the middle of an emotional conversation, they are hit by a drunk driver. This was the moment when Kincaid was killed off the series

Fans like @VeronicaAlcalaV are still talking about it and praising it as not just one of the best finales of all time, but one of the best episodes of the series. There's an entire Reddit thread about how impressive it was that the show did something so different by focusing on the emotional stories of the main characters for the first time. "Aftershock" still has a 9.1/10 on IMDb and many effusive reviews, including one from haley96 who, based on their personal experience with the criminal justice system IRL, confirmed that "the cops and lawyers who worked the cases were a mess the day of the execution. This episode nailed the emotional tone."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration websiteor contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).