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"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
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Index 143 reviews in total 

117 out of 144 people found the following review useful:

Best one in the L&O Franchise

Author: canadianfreak_17 from Guelph, Canada
18 November 2004

I have never one been that big of a fan of the original Law & Order. I would watch it for time to time and it was an alright show but never really had anything jump out at me to make it one of my can't miss shows. Then this show came on. I watched this show when it premiered back in 1999 and was impressed from the get go. Sure it followed the basic premise of it's original cousin but was much more loose on it's format and execution. Some episodes hardly ever involve the court room at all where the original week in week out follows a distinct pattern. First half hour is the law then the next is the order. This show although does sometimes follow the same pattern like i mentioned it is much more loose in how it executes it. Mariska Hartigay is excellent as her portrayal of Det. Olivia Benson. The whole cast as a whole is magnificent. Now I know a lot of people will disagree with me that this show is in no way better than the original but for me it is. It has given me something that the original never did.

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115 out of 146 people found the following review useful:

an excellent show, absolutely stunning

10/10
Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
3 March 2005

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is one of the best and most underrated shows on TV. It stars Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler, a tough-as-nails detective who makes his hatred of pedophiles and child molesters well known many times throughout the show. He has another side, a vicious side, that Criminal Intent's Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) lacks. I'm very pleased that he's been nominated for an Emmy. Mariska Hargitay won an Emmy for her performance as Olivia Benson, another fantastic detective. Benson has more edge than CI's Alex Eames (Kathrine Erbe), but is revered for her ability to communicate to troubled witnesses and gouge confessions out of suspects. Her life is put in danger at least twice a season, yet she continues to be strong. Next is the sarcastic detective Jon Munch, played by the excellent comedian Richard Belzer. Munch may seem annoying at times, but his ability to relate to witnesses is excellent, and he plays the "good cop, bad cop" role very well. The final detective is Finn Tutuola, played by former rapper Ice-T. Ice-T plays the character reasonably well, but I think we'd all like to see a meaner side of him. He was very good in the episodes entitled "Rage," and "Rooftop". They are led by Don Cragen, played by Dann Florek, and Cragen is as good a captain as any, as Florek reprises his role he held on "Law & Order" for a few years. Adam Beach recently joined the show, bringing something new to the table in youth and his almost 'surfer dude' approach to detective work. The ADA now is Casey Novak, played by Diane Neal, who could be better, but she gets the job done. She's been better of late, and the contrast between her and her predecessor is really helpful to the show. Her predecessor, Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) was great also. The team is also aided by an FBI psychiatrist, George Huang (BD Wong), who aids them in finding out the true horrors of a person, witness or suspect. His best performance was in the episode called "Coerced." The members of this unit investigate sexually based crimes (rape, rape-homicide) and child based crimes (school shootings, child abuse, child molestation). The show has had extraordinary guest stars, from evil (Johnny Messner, Reg Flowers, Asio Highsmith, Jeff Kober) to touching (Leland Orser, Jerry Lewis) to lost (Brittany Snow) to famous and legendary actors (Jerry Lewis, Dean Cain, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Henry Winkler, Robin Williams, Matthew Modine, Alfred Molina, Cynthia Nixon, John Ritter). This is a truly great show that not only shows the line of work in this graphic department, but shows the emotional stress a detective goes through. 10/10

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93 out of 115 people found the following review useful:

Maybe the best crime-series at the moment and very underrated I feel

Author: stamper from The Netherlands
25 January 2005

When I am communicating with other people interested in crime series it is remarkable how many people seem to watch either CSI or CSI: Miami or both. Rarely (actually never) have I heard talk about this show, unless I brought it up myself and ended up discussing it with them. Of course I do not know the situation in America and other countries regarding this show, but I feel it is very underrated in the Netherlands. Of course this has a lot to do with it's programming spot. While CSI is usually on Saturday's at 8:30 or 9:30 p.m. and CSI: Miami on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m., SVU's spot has been Sunday's around 11p.m. for quite some time now. That's hardly what I call a prime time spot. Just to compare I looked up the share's of those 3 shows on the internet. CSI has a share of 26 in the US and 17,5 in the Netherlands. For CSI:Miami these numbers are 15,0 and 13,2 and for SVU they are 17,0 and 7,7. This doesn't mean much, but once bring the number of households into it, it gets a lot clearer. CSI has about 18,6 million viewers in the US while CSI:Miami and SVU have 10,5 and 11,9 viewers respectively. In the Netherlands these figures are 1,175 million; 910 thousand and 370 thousand. This means that SVU has less than one-third of the viewers CSI has and MUCH less than half the viewers CSI: Miami has. In America SVU has two-thirds of the viewers of CSI and about 10% more than CSI:Miami. In my opinion this has a lot to do with the extremely bad programming spot SVU has gained in the Netherlands and the fact that the program is not advertised as vigorously as the two CSI's, for I feel it cannot have anything to do with it's quality.

The thing that makes SVU stand out so much in opinion, is that the stories depicted are very realistic and heart felt. I personally appreciate it very much, that there are no cheap attempts to make you cry by extending dramatic scenes or underscoring them with sad music. Mostly the sad parts happen quite suddenly and are relatively short. Maybe that's just another 'trick' to get you to cry without being as obvious as many soap opera's. TO me though, it makes the stories appeal much more life-like and truly gut-wrenching and sad.

Also all of the characters are good. If you watch long enough, you can get bits and pieces of information on everyone of them, thus discovering what makes them tick. I must admit that the series has changes it's emphasis a bit in recent years. In the first year there were numerous episode's that featured theme's or events from the investigator's home environment (especially Stabler's). This trend has somewhat diminished over the years, yet you can still see each individual's background shining through into their work ethics. One thin I really had to get used to was Richard Belzer's (Det. John Munch) role getting smaller. It seems to me that in the first few years of the series he was present much more and he made much more cynical remarks, something I really enjoyed. But overall the series has not changed for the worse, for I feel it has actually improved. While a few years ago I'd given this series an 8 out of 10 I'm much more inclined now to rate it even higher. What I've come to appreciate these last 2 or three years, were the additions of Ice-T (Det. Fin Tutuola), B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang) and Stephanie March (A.D.A. Alex Cabbot) to the team. Stephanie March's character provides the viewer not only with an insight to what the D.A's job is, but her involvement in the series also shows what difficult decisions need to be made at times when the victim becomes the pursued or when a suspect cannot legally be brought to justice. Huang's intense involvement lately is in my opinion the biggest and best evolution the series has undergone (up until now). Not only because there have been few if any series which placed the work of the forensic psychiatrist is in the spotlight, but also it is much more realistic than for instance the media's depiction of profilers in The Silence of the Lambs or the TV-series Profiler. Also I think it is good (in addition to being very interesting) to show the public that not every offender is purely bad, but there is often much more when you go beyond the surface. As for Ice-T's character, I think he really completes the mix in the show, as the tough street cop. Him and Belzer are an ideal couple, just like Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni).

The reasons, I personally feel SVU is the best crime series on the tube at the moment, are easily summarized. It has very much diversity, it offers insight into the psyche's of both victim's and perpetrators and it is realistic in every aspect.

9 out of 10

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84 out of 109 people found the following review useful:

Well-done

Author: Jack "Rainman" Oates
16 February 2004

Quality is the foundation that "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is based upon. With compelling storylines, great performances and a first-rate cast; "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" radiates from the screen each hour it is on every night. Dick Wolf has combined quality writing with quality casting in the second of three series' in the "Law & Order" franchise.

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, Dann Florek, B.D. Wong and Richard Belzer all share one thing in common: they star in one of finest series on television.

Mariska, Chris, Ice-T, Dann, B. D. and Stephanie March are a well-rounded cast that bring great depth to their characters and compliment each other very well. Furthermore, the cast portray their characters so well that I have to remind myself that they are actors not detectives.

Quality writing and outstanding performances set "Law And Order: SVU" apart from the other dramas on television. Each episode is riveting, written with intelligence, and character driven. It is a privilege to watch "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

The writers' ability to draw viewers in and make them care about the involving storylines and characters help to make "Law & Order: SVU" one of the finest legal series on television.

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60 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

a drama worth watching

Author: Michael Sibley
25 June 2004

Quality is the foundation that "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is based upon as it illuminates from the screen each hour it is on every night.

Dick Wolf has combined quality writing with quality casting. Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, Dann Florek, B.D. Wong and Richard Belzer all share one thing in common: they star in one of finest series on television.

Mariska, Chris, Ice-T, Dann, B. D. and the now departed Stephanie March are a well-rounded cast that compliment each other well. Furthermore, the cast is so good portraying their characters that I have to remind myself that they are actors not detectives.

Quality writing and outstanding performances set "Law And Order: SVU" apart from the other dramas on television. Each episode is riveting, written with intelligence, and character driven. It is a privilege to watch "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

The writers' ability to draw viewers in and make them care about the involving story lines and characters help to make "Law & Order: SVU" one of the finest legal series on television. EVERYONE MUST WATCH.

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46 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Incredibly Solid Show

Author: Shari (AfricanVenus84@aol.com) from United States
22 April 2004

I hear on tv that apparently America's favorite Law and Order is the original. I personally think this is the best one out of all of them. It tackles some pretty intersting sides of society and humanity within an hour. I've been watching it for awhile and fell in love with the cast. They all have that hard edge that comes from doing a job like their's. Marishka is great and Ice-T is amusing. The storylines are very interesting and groundbreaking. In my classes, I've heard about the Down-Low phenomenon amongst black males in the U.S. This is the first show, aside from Oprah, that dealt with this issue. I was amazed and pleased that they'll take on any topic within their framework. Their guest cast should be praised as well. They have a great casting director. I don't know about their history with Emmy nominations, but they should definitely be in the running. The show has a very easy going nature despite the hardness of the cast that works well and acted beautifully. It gives a real look at society's imperfections and discriminatory ideologies. Nobody on the show is perfect and even the lawyers manipulate the law beyond the usual scope people think they do. Instead, they are manipulating it to see justice done and not avoided. I would urge anyone to watch this show. Give it a look.

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51 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

Best cop show on TV

Author: doglover_vet
7 March 2004

This is absolutely the best cop show on TV. There's less time in the court room and more with the detectives, which I enjoy. I think there needs to be more time with the detectives off the job. My favorite detective is Olivia Benson, the child of a rape who is played by Mariska Hargitay.Olivia is one of those detectives who would be really awesome if you knew her well, but you wouldn't want to get on her bad side. She is also very stubborn. She and Elliot Stabler (a family man played by Christopher Meloni) make a great team. Christopher and Mariska are great actors. I often forget that these are actors, not real people. I think Olivia should have a boyfriend. It might help her stop being so stubborn. This is just the best cop show ever to be on TV and I hope it stays on for a long time.

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54 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

A worthy follow-up

Author: mentalcritic from Southern Hemisphere
23 December 2004

Around 2000, Law & Order had become one of the longest-running television shows based on a fictional premise, although it still has a long way to go in order to catch up with the record holders. Such was the continued popularity of the series that creator Dick Wolf saw a market for a spin-off, and was obviously glad to oblige. Hence, over ten years after Law & Order burst onto the airwaves, Special Victims Unit was born, so to speak.

Of course, the show had a little problem finding its feet at first. This is only natural, even for a series spun off from a successful formula. The challenges Special Victims Unit faced included a major deviation from the normal Law & Order structure. The segment dealing with the trials of suspects was dispensed with, emphasising for the most part the efforts of the detectives to bring victims a sense of justice. As the series progressed, work with a District Attorney began to find its way into the plots, but in a manner more complementary to the work of the detectives.

As in any series, the key ingredient is finding sympathetic leads that the audience can relate to. Where the original Law & Order eventually found solid ground in the form of Jerry Orbach, Special Victims Unit more or less got this element right from the start. Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni play so well off one another that it is certainly going to make life difficult for the unlucky actors who get to replace them. Another side benefit of the reduction in emphasis on the legal dealings is that we get to see more of the personal lives of the detectives, without them necessarily having to be worked into the plot. Every now and again, insight into the impact the job has on Stabler's family life in particular is offered, and it works wonderfully.

The fundamental weakness in Special Victims Unit to date has been the supporting cast. Richard Belzer's schtick can get tiring, but adds the ironic comic touch (delivered so brilliantly by Orbach in the original series), which Meloni seems incapable of delivering. One has to wonder, however, whose bright idea it was to cast Ice-T as a replacement for one of the early detectives, as no matter how hard he tries to sound the part, one cannot believe him as a detective. Especially not one in this particular squad. The relative underdevelopment of most of the support characters does not help.

Another challenge faced with every episode of Law & Order in any form is to come up with cases interesting enough to grab the attention. The original series is faltering slightly on this score, but when it does succeed, it succeeds enough to more than make up for all the average stories. Special Victims Unit, on the other hand, sets a consistent level for each episode. Because of the extreme nature of the crimes being investigated, they each become alike for the most part. It is the little details that make the big difference. This is, of course, a much better deal than the other spin-off, where the stories are consistent in how uninteresting they are.

In all, Special Victims Unit is a well worthy follow-up to the original Law & Order. It is not recommended for sensitive viewers, but as an insight into the lot of those who have to clean up the mess in one of the modern world's most sexually violent societies, it works brilliantly. It even has potential to get better.

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32 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Great show!!

Author: Tanya Schulz (OliviaBensonSVU4) from San Diego, CA
15 July 2004

This is the BEST show! Mariska Hargitay (Detective Olivia Benson) and Christopher Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler) are great for the 2 parts and work so well together. The cases are based on real cases and if I didn't know they are all actors i'd say it IS real.

The show is my inspiration for wanting to join the NYPD sex crimes. I recently found out about sex crimes in my home town (San Diego, CA). I want to intern there before I go to NYC and join.

I have learned a lot about law and all that from the show. There was an episode about FAS (Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome) which became my topic for my health project. In general I learned about law and prosecution and it is a great show to watch! 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, EXCELLENT!

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28 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

SVU is absolutely the best crime show on TV

Author: Enrique Sanchez from Miami, FL
18 December 2005

First: And there is only one reason why I don't say that about CI(Criminal Intent) and that is because they do not offer D'Onofrio's partner, Katherine Erbe, some juicier involvement. Otherwise, I believe that both SVU and CI are the best in crime shows on TV.

CSI/CSI Miami has nothing on the wonderful grittiness, the compelling stories and the fabulous acting in both programs.

After every show, I let the breath I have been holding since the beginning of the hour. This programs pulls me through the ringer in so many ways not always mentioned, the legal implications of decisions made by the police, captains, the doctor, forensics, the ADAs, legal counsels and that horribly bitchy Judge Petrofsky.

Some of the stories contain conventional crime stories, but more than is normally frequent, the stories contain rather important issues, moral, psychological and legal.

So many good shows, this is the best crime show on TV.

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