Top Ten Television Shows (American) – #3

1. The Newsroom
2. Frasier
3. Law and Order: SVU
4. Criminal Minds
5. Golden Girls
6. House
7. Gilmore Girls
8. Gray’s Anatomy
9. Suits
10. Saved by the Bell vs. Boy Meets World

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Somewhere in my childhood, I began watching (SVU). I actually don’t remember the exact moment or situation. However I believe it was on one of my mother’s weekly visits to my gran during which I was left to my own devices and found the television on USA (the channel) showing SVU. There is a vague image with this likeness in my mind, and I’m going along with it.

As the name suggests this series, which has been running for nineteen years, deals with bringing justice to victims of crimes of a sensitive nature especially those involving children, the disenfranchised, and sex-oriented crimes. The series highlight various aspects of the justice system: its loopholes; the advances in technology (and science) which undermines and advances it; the individuals and groups who assist in its progress or work against it; and every step of the journey to justice from making reports, to serving time. But that’s not all, I did say nineteen years and counting, right?

In addition to the above, the series deals with the cycle of abuse: short, and long term effects; signs, and symptoms; as well as the psychological side in relation to both victim and abuser. It deals with physical, sexual, mental, and drug abuse. I am sure I haven’t listed everything, but you get the gist: it is a heavy series dealing with heavy issues.

In the earlier episodes a few jokes could be found here and there as the characters teased playfully. However with the progression of time they have lessened drastically and are generally limited to being small pokes at Detective Munch, a Jewish three-time divorce who after retiring from the force decides to return to work with the newly formed SVU. He continued to be a source of jokes due to his point of view which veers in the direction of conspiracy theories. Munch retired from the force once again but has returned as a godfather type to help members of his squad out of their troubles with the justice system.

Yes, you read that correctly. The series is littered with the inevitable collision of the casts personal and private life such as: Detective Tutuola’s murderous stepson; Detective Stabler’s bipolar daughter, her multiple bouts with the law and his fight to keep her slate clean, his marital struggles, and his terrible temper; Detective Benson’s inner turmoil of being daughter of a rapist; Captain Cragen’s recovery as an alcoholic; and also the newer cast who have all got faults and cracks of their own.

Though Detective Benson is the only remaining detective from season one I felt it necessary to mention them since they were with the show for fourteen or fifteen years. There’s no denying that they all brought the show to the level it’s at today.

The series has changed with the times. There is no need to actually watch the episodes to determine which is new or which is old. A still-life shot of the office is enough. The lighting tells you clearly, as does the interior decoration. In the earlier days the office looked dark and dingy, and you could not discern whose desk was where really. As the seasons expanded so has the space between there desks. You can now clearly see their stations and the paths between.

Image of cast from earlier season
From L-R: Dean Winters, Ezekial Dann Florek, Marsika Hargitay, Christoper Meloni, Michelle Hurd, and Richard Belzer


From L-R: Ice-TMariska HargitayPeter ScanavinoKelli Giddish, and Raúl Esparza


Since I began watching SVU in my childhood I have no recollection of them before. However, familiar faces are in no way sparse due to the guest star list which boasts the likes of Martin Short; Mike Tyson; Hilary Duff; Robin Williams; Jennifer Love Hewitt; Mark-Paul Gosselaar; Lea Thompson; and many many more.

For a look at sex crimes through the lens of a realist be sure to check it out.


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