• Publication date: July 1, 2011

New York's Best Detectives Tackle Its Worst Criminals Law & Order: SVU: A Risk Worth Taking

In the manner of the successful forensics drama CSI, the Law & Order franchise has evolved from one extremely popular television series into many similarly acclaimed endeavors that maintain a familiar theme and format.

In the manner of the successful forensics drama CSI, the Law & Order franchise has evolved from one extremely popular television series into many similarly acclaimed endeavors that maintain a familiar theme and format. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit follows a fictional NYPD precinct whose detectives focus primarily on sexually oriented crimes. Like its predecessors, SVU frequently borrows from prominent and recent criminal cases and personalities. Season 5 for example features a character resembling real-life hate-monger Fred Phelps and references a Virginia educator with an incredibly unique neurological ailment.

Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and his partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) headline the program. Stabler is a former Marine with an impeccable, near-perfect closure rate; Benson was molested as a child, and subsequently identifies with victims. Olivia's total, arguably unhealthy dedication to detective work inhibits her from forming romantic relationships. Both detectives are friends, though inevitable banter and tension does occur.

Stabler and Benson are assisted by FBI forensic psychiatrist and criminal profiler George Huang (B.D. Wong), former homicide detective Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek), conspiracy theory aficionado Sergeant John Munch (Richard Belzer), and street smart detective Fin Tutuola (rapper Ice-T).

In the season premiere Stabler and Benson are dumbfounded when multiple individuals claim involvement in a pregnant woman's kidnapping. In a later episode a psychiatrist is nearly killed, and detectives believe a patient is the culprit. Due to doctor-patient confidentiality however, she refuses to incriminate her attacker. Midseason a mutilated body belonging to a suspected serial rapist leads to a search for his killer, and potentially additional information about his crimes and possible victims.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been a consistently top rated program, currently entering its thirteenth season with no immediate end in sight. The series has earned countless award nominations, and garnered both a Golden Globe and Emmy.

Year: 2003-04

Duration: 60 minutes

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Starring:

Christopher Meloni

Mariska Hargitay

Richard Belzer

Ice-T

B. D. Wong

Dann Florek

Created By: Dick Wolf

Rating: TV-14