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What Happened on the Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Finale? (DETAILS)

A call with Stabler and a shot detective? The Season 25 finale of SVU was an explosive watch.

By Jessica White

The Season 25 finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit hit the ground running with a serial rapist case that had Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her squad scratching their heads. 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC and Peacock.

Benson is never at ease until a case is closed, and while some perps leave dead giveaway trails, the squad's latest suspect demanded a full-on manhunt. As a new Trial District Chief made her way to the NYPD, all eyes were on Benson's squad to see when justice would be served. It wasn't a simple task, but it was an exhilarating end to a historic season of SVU.

RELATED: Law & Order: SVU Season 25: Details

Learn what happened during the Season 25 finale of Law & Order: SVU, below:

Captain Olivia Benson on Law And Order Svu Episode 2513

What happened during Law & Order: SVU's finale?

Read the official logline for SVU's Season 25 finale, below: 

Season 25, Episode 13 ("Duty to Hope"): "The SVU searches for a pattern assailant before his crimes escalate to murder; Fin must contend with a suspect's aggrieved son; Carisi is pressured to close the case quickly to ease public concern."

Captain Olivia Benson on Law And Order Svu Episode 2513

What was the main case on Law & Order: SVU this week?

The episode kicked off with Benson and the squad hosting a conference with the NYPD to relay details about a suspect who had assaulted four women in six months. The perp used a coat hanger to bind his victims, later assaulting them with his firearm, earning the suspect the moniker "The Wire Hanger Rapist." 

It was up to Benson to make a speedy arrest. This initiative was further rushed with the arrival of the new Trial Division Chief, Heidi Russell (Kate Loprest), who after barging in on the conference, informed the NYPD that there was pressure on this investigation. Benson continued by explaining the perp targets single women and unscrews lightbulbs to fake power outages. 

"And, he's still escalating," Benson said before the detectives got started. After connecting with Russell, the squad heard back about another victim named Ariel who was hospitalized. Her attack matched their perp's MO, and after checking out the scene, the SVU discovered a fingerprint on a glass door, strangely located on the outer edge. 

The fingerprint came back with a hit on Billy Hedges, a sanitation worker with a record. Hedges was previously arrested for groping a woman on the dance floor, however, the victim didn't move forward with the charges. After bringing him in for questioning, Hedges adamantly denied any involvement, telling the detectives he was never with Ariel. But, with a wretched alibi ("I was home alone") and a fingerprint hit, the signs pointed to Hedges assaulting Ariel. After he was positively ID'd within a photo lineup by Ariel, it seemed like the logical conclusion.

That said, proving Hedges' connection to the previous four victims was virtually impossible. Despite this, after Russell heard about the fingerprint hit, she rushed the investigation, encouraging Sonny Carisi (Peter Scanavino) to "take the win." Hedges was promptly sent to trial for Ariel's assault, where he pled not guilty. After learning his bail was set at an astronomic rate and that he was going to Rikers to await a high-stakes jury trial, Hedges began to think. He negotiated a plea deal with Carisi for seven years. 

Of course, just as Hedges was sent off to Rikers, the SVU heard about another victim matching the MO of the wire hanger rapist. The suspect was still out there, and he seemed to want to prove that the NYPD messed up. The media fallout was pandemonium as reporters swarmed Benson and Fin (Ice T) about arresting the wrong man. 

After the rough day, Fin headed home for the night. While taking the trash out after work, Fin received a shocking visit from Hedges' young son, Toby, who held him at gunpoint. Furious over his father's wrongful imprisonment, he insisted on shooting Fin to show how much he loved his father. Luckily, Fin was only grazed, and the boy panicked upon realizing what he'd done. Knowing he was the only one who could prove Hedges' innocence, Fin told Toby to never speak of the shooting to anyone. After a non-protocol ditching of the gun and a quick trip to the hospital, Fin was ready to get Toby's dad out of jail.

Meanwhile, Benson learned that the sixth victim, Sara, noticed the assailant drop his gun holster as he fled the scene. While waiting for DNA evidence on the holster, the detectives got creative while looking into the fingerprint evidence that led to Hedges' arrest. After Fin and Carisi visited Hedges at Rikers, Hedges remembered that he had a string of jobs a few years back, a home renovation gig included. After checking out the manufacturer for the glass door, the detectives confirmed Hedges was the one to install Ariel's door, with his fingerprint remaining. 

The squad officially had reasonable doubt and cause for dropping the charges. Even better, Benson got a DNA hit on the gun sheath belonging to an ex-marine named Glenn Duncan. Duncan was dishonorably discharged for assaulting a fellow marine. Benson then brought in the two victims back to ID Duncan. Ariel felt horrible about the initial false ID, but Sara got a better look at the perp. With the second round of photo IDs, both women chose the same assailant: Duncan. 

It all came down to tracking and arresting Duncan. It was a tense scene as Benson and the officers arrived at Duncan's residence to find the ex-marine positioned with a firearm at his window. Duncan began raining bullets down on the cops, leading to several hits. Even worse, Duncan locked his girlfriend Jane inside so that "they could go out together," rather than being in prison for the rest of his life. After some impressive maneuvers by Benson and ceaseless courage from the squad, the officers broke into the apartment, took down Duncan, and saved Jane. 

Back at the precinct, Jane informed the detectives about a trove of underwear she found that Duncan had kept. She'd previously believed that Duncan was simply cheating on her and that the garments belonged to his mistresses. This evidence was the perfect ticket to proving Hedges' innocence and Duncan's guilt. 

With the case confidently closed, Fin took Hedges' son to Rikers upon his father's release to reunite the family, giving his son a stern lecture on never touching a gun again. The episode ended with a moment we'd all been waiting for — a conversation between Benson and Stabler. As Bensler caught up over the phone, it seemed the SVU Captain was finally at peace after a whirlwind series of investigations. It was a thrilling end to a historic season of SVU.

Ada Dominick Carisi Jr and Captain Olivia Benson on Law And Order Svu episode 2513

Were there any notable guest stars in the Law & Order: SVU finale? 

The Season 25 finale features several powerhouse guest stars. The episode began with viewers meeting Carisi's new boss and Trial Division Chief, Heidi Russell, played by Kate Loprest. She's already kicking up some dirt within the NYPD. 

On the investigation side, we saw visits from Amber Stonebraker and Paloma Dominguez as survivors Ariel Bradford and Sara Gomez. Other notable guest stars include Spenser Granese as red herring Billy Hedges, Max Malas as Toby Hedges, Eric Olsson as our perp Glenn Duncan, and Katie Housley as Jane Emery.

After the case was closed, Benson paid a visit to the Flynn family for a special birthday, catching up with Maddie Flynn (Allison Elaine), Eileen Flynn (Leslie Fray), and Peter Flynn (Zack Robidas). 

RELATED: Law & Order: SVU Season 25 - Premiere Date, Cast, Details

The terrifying predator behind the serial abductions, Richard Kincaid, was played by Larry Pine. His daughter Hannah was played by Laurel Castillo. 

Benson and Fin Look into the 27-Year-Old Cold Case of Sykes' Missing Sister | Law & Order: SVU | NBC

When can I watch the Season 25 SVU finale on Peacock? 

The Season 25 finale of Law & Order: SVU is available to stream at 6 a.m. E.T. on Friday, May 17 on NBC.com and Peacock