'Law & Order: SVU': Defendant Dies After Courtroom Heart Attack in Tragic Ending

In this week's heartbreaking episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a tragic story reached a sad conclusion when one of the defendants suffered a heart attack in the courtroom.

In "Alta Kockers," Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her team investigated the murder of young author Bobbi O'Rourke (Calhoun Koenig) who was really the front for Benjamin Edelman (Wallace Shawn). When they went to the home where O'Rourke's IP address originated from, they discovered that Ben and his brother, Joseph (Judd Hirsch) were the people who lived there.

The two men were hoarders, and it appeared they had not left the home since the 1970s. The two even used offensive language. While using a warrant, the team found their mother's body locked in a trunk. The autopsy discovered that their mother had cancer and they killed her using a pillow.

During the investigation, Benson realized that the book published under O'Rourke's name had to be written by someone sexually abused as a young boy. The stories were too realistic and personal. Benson confronted Ben about it, and he eventually described being abused by a counselor.

Separately, Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) interviewed Joseph, who revealed he was abused as well. The two never told each other what happened. They also refused to tell their parents.

Although the two men were now in their 80s, Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) still took them to trial for the murder of their mother. During opening statements, Joseph got up and admitted to killing his mother. As he spoke, he suffered a heart attack. He died at the hospital.

After learning that his brother died, Ben admitted he should have told Joseph about being sexually abused as a young boy.

The sad ending had fans at home in tears.

"The only times I can recall scenes getting to me like this is season 5 Loss (huge Cabot fan), and season 6 Charisma when the children are found dead in the house. Judd Hirsch & Wallace Shawn broke my heart," one longtime SVU fan tweeted.

"The brothers were trying to protect each other. Neither of them told the other what happened. So heartbreaking," added another fan.

"That was a phenomenal episode. Hit me so hard and I'm currently still emotional. Stellar performances by Judd Hirsch and [Wallace Shawn]," another viewer wrote.

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New episodes of Law & Order: SVU air Thursdays on NBC at 10 p.m. ET. However, the next new episode does not air until Jan. 10.

Photo credit: NBC