Sunday, November 16, 2014

On The Air: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999)

Dick Wolf began his Law & Order franchise in 1990. As Law & Order itself was halfway through its 20 year run (1990-2010), Wolf added a second series, which is the only one keeping the franchise going.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been an NBC fixture since 1999, though the series has moved around the schedule quite a bit in recent years. Not only that, but cable cousins Cloo & USA are playing the reruns into the ground with relentless marathons, especially on the weekends on USA. Then again, Law & Order was likewise played to death on TNT, and now on WE.

Second generation star Mariska Hargitay is the only original cast member left as we're now into season 16. Her character, Det.-Sgt. Olivia Benson, now has a new team to work with, as all the fan favorites have left in recent seasons, including Fin (Ice-T), and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). Benson was promoted to Sgt. last season, after Capt. Don Cragen (Dann Florek) retired. The beat simply goes on. The stories, sometimes ripped from the headlines, cover recurring themes such as domestic violence, rape, murder, and child porn.

Hargitay is also the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, the group behind the "No More" ad campaign, which now includes some NFL players, including the Giants' Eli Manning. I'd not be surprised to see those ads air during current episodes of SVU. Here's a sample intro, from season 7 (2005-6):

SVU has attracted big name guests in recent years, including Carol Burnett and Robin Williams, the latter playing a villain in a turn similar to his film, "One Hour Photo". Luckily, I don't think we'll ever see tabloid magnets like the Kardashians ever appear, but then......

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

It's really time this show was retired.

No offense to Hargitay, but TV shows really shouldn't be measured in generations. This show should have called it quits nearly a decade ago. How many variations on rape crimes can one show make? Besides, I loved Elliott Stabler and John Munch and the show just isn't the same without them.

hobbyfan said...

Law & Order itself lasted 20 years, but NBC'd be pushing it if they tried to get SVU to reach that plateau too.

Yes, the plots get repetitive, even the fact-based eps taken from news stories. I think charisma has a lot to do with the longevity of the show......