Category Archives: Character Review

Law & Order SVU Character Review: Mike Dodds

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes time to choose a career, some of us choose to go into the family business. This may lead to taking advantage of a family connection to move up the professional ladder. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mike Dodds (Andy Karl), is a second generation policeman. His father is Chief Dodds (Peter Gallagher. He got the job with SVU because of his father.

Dodds temporarily becomes second in command and then the head of SVU when Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is removed from her post. Though he does not get to his position by merit alone, he proves his worth as a policeman.

Like many police officers, Mike Dodd’s dies a hero’s death. He is fondly remembered by his colleagues as a top rate cop.

To sum it up: Though Dodds receives a hand up from his father, he still earns his stripes and the respect from his colleagues. It’s one thing to get a leg up because of your family, however, one must still earn their stripes. As a character, Dodds stands out because he knew that his father helping him only went so far. He had to go the rest of the way himself.

For that alone, I think that makes him a memorable character.

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Law & Order SVU Character Review: Declan Murphy

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Some jobs require everything from us. Nothing else matters, except work. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Declan Murphy (Donal Logue) is first introduced to the characters and the audience while undercover. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is at the height of her gambling addiction and is unaware that Declan is undercover. After that case is closed, he is moved the SVU where he is temporarily assigned as the commanding officer.

During this time, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is caught up in her finale battle with William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber). By the time the battle is won, Declan has decided that his skills are best used in undercover and Benson rises to the commanding post of SVU.

To sum it up: In the annals of SVU, Declan Murphy is one of the most intense characters. Though fans have seen or heard of some part of the home life of most the characters, Murphy is a character whom we know only of by his work life. By that alone, his work ethic is respected, even if his methods are unorthodox. But even unorthodox methods cannot undo a work ethic the results in getting cases closed.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Melinda Warner

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to criminal investigations, science may provide a clue that otherwise may remain buried. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) is the medical examiner that the SVU squad turns to when all other avenues have been traveled upon.

A veteran of the Air Force, Dr. Warner is often the rational face of science when emotions and messy human behaviors prevent the detectives from closing the case.

To sum it up: when human emotion and human messiness gets in the way, science provides a way out. Dr. Warner’s knowledge and medical abilities are the logical science that works hand in hand with the humanness of crime fighting that helps to put the bad guys or girls in jail.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Dani Beck

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Sometimes, we have to be reminded of what and who we have to appreciate them. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dani Beck (Connie Nielsen) was Olivia Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) temporary replacement while she was undercover.

A widow of a police officer and a cop in her own right, Beck has a different perspective on the cases they are investigating than Benson’s longtime partner, Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni). Depending on the case, Beck either becomes too involved or becoming traumatized. It goes without saying that her inexperience in the SVU does not help her do her job.

Adding to the tension is the romantic chemistry between her and Stabler. They share a kiss, but the romance does not go beyond the kiss. After taking in an abused child who nearly burns Beck’s house down, she decides that returning to her previous position within the NYPD is best thing for her.

Note: there is usually a video in this spot, but I could not find a video that works for this post.

To sum it up: In our busy daily lives, it’s easy to take certain things and certain people for granted. It’s harder to just be grateful and appreciate who we have and what we have. Though Dani Beck is not on SVU for very long, her presence reminded fans why we loved and still love Benson and Stabler as a duo.

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Law & Order SVU: Character Review: Alexandra Cabot

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

It would be easy if life was black and white. But life is not black and white. There are shades of grey that contain complications, human failings and other stumbling blocks. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, DA Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) has a difficult job. She has to follow the law and prosecute the accused while advocating for the victims.

The moral center of the SVU, DA Cabot represents the tough choices that she and her colleagues have to make. At times, Cabot had to put aside her own feelings or slightly bend the letter of the law to ensure that the accused is found guilty and send to jail.

To sum it up: DA Cabot tries to do what is right. But sometimes doing what is right is not exactly legal or moral. In those instances, one must make a choice. As a character, fans remember her because of those shades of grey. A boring character lives in a black and white world. A human character with flaws, hopes and desires lives in a world of grey. It is that grey that brings in the audience and keeps them coming back for more.

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Law & Order SVU Character Review: Peter Stone

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to one’s career choice, many are influenced by their parents or other family members. But going into the family business is not as easy as it seems. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, District Attorney Peter Stone (Phillip Winchester) is a second generation District Attorney. His late father, Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) was also a New York City District Attorney.

D.A. Stone’s introduction to the characters and the audience is via his father’s funeral. He became the District Attorney after the previous D.A. Barba (Raul Esparza) resigned. Like many new relationships, there was some initial tension with the SVU detectives, who were used to Barba and his perspective of the law. But that tension disappeared as Stone became another member of the team.

Over the course of his time with SVU, Stone revealed more about himself than his knowledge of the law. He had a promising career in baseball before an injury forced him to change professions. He has a sister who lived with mental illness, she died in his arms during a police shootout.

In the courtroom, Stone is a professional, but he is also imperfect. He is accused of rape, but the charges are lifted when the real rapist, a friend of Stone’s is arrested. He also was able to take down a rapist who his father was not able to. In his final character arc, he put his career on the line to stage a prosecution in order to win what seemed to be in an unwinnable case. When his plan is revealed, Stone resigned. His heart and his morals were in the right place, even if he stepped over an ethical boundary.

To sum it up: Stepping into the career shoes of one’s parent or family member has it’s own set of challenges. But D.A. Stone is not one to simply stand in his late father’s shadow. He is a brilliant lawyer in his own right and thoroughly human.

Which is why fans still appreciate him, even if his time on SVU was all too brief.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Dr. George Huang

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Not every character can be the main character. Sometimes, a supporting character, who comes and goes as needed, is just as important as the main character. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dr. George Huang (B.D. Wong) is not always on screen. But his input and advice in helping to solve the crime is as important as the detectives in the field.

Originally on loan from the FBI, Dr. Huang joined the SVU as the resident psychiatrist. Though he initially did not get on well with the detectives, the edges smoothed out as he became a respected member of the team. His job is to understand and explain the psychological motives of the victims and the accused to his detective colleagues.

However, there are cases in which Dr. Huang does not agree with the choices of the detectives or the D.A. This occurs when he agrees with the mental health diagnosis stated by the accused and their legal representation.

To sum it up: As a character, Dr. Huang stands out because even though the audience does not see him as often as the other characters, he is important. As writers, we have to remember that every character is important, regardless of whether they are the main character or a supporting character. It’s important to give them the spotlight, even if the spotlight is temporary.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Captain Donald Cragen

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When one is in a management position, it is sometimes akin to being torn in two different directions. He or she is responsible to their bosses, but they also must be there for their staff. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) was in charge of the Special Victims Unit for fifteen years.

In his line of work, Captain Cragen has a lot on his plate. His detectives are working to solve some of the most gruesome cases in New York City. But if something goes wrong, NYPD brass and the Mayor’s office are only a phone call away.

There are some bosses who are content to sit behind their desk, dictate work from behind their computers and let their staff do the grunt work. But Captain Cragen is not one of those bosses. He is fully involved in each case, providing support to his detectives and in some cases, going into the field. Though going into the field and going undercover is dangerous, he is if nothing else, dedicated to his work.

To sum it up: For many fans, Captain Cragen will always be one of their favorite SVU characters. His mixture of professionalism, dedication, patience and once in a while being a tough boss is what makes him memorable. It would have been easy to write him as the stereotypical manager who is either too hard or too soft on his detectives. But because he is soft when he needs to be and hard when he needs to be, that is why we love him.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Nick Amaro

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In an ideal world, our past would stay in the past. We learn from our mistakes, but we don’t let those mistakes guide us in the present. But we don’t live in an ideal world. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Nick Amaro’s (Danny Pino) past is complicated, to say the least.

As a boy, he and his mother escaped to Miami to get away from his abusive father. Though they had a tentative reconciliation later in life, the relationship between father and son was never ideal. Neither was the marriage to his ex-wife, Maria (Laura Benanti). The marriage ultimately failed due to lack of communication and mistrust. After things cooled, Maria asked if Nick would follow her to California, for their daughter’s sake. But Nick declined. Outside of his marriage, Nick also has a son from an ex-girlfriend.

Nick’s past also has a way of intruding into his job. He was the first partner that Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) had after the departure of her longtime partner, Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni). The initial stages of their relationship were not easy, but they worked through it eventually.

At work, Nick had some uneven patches. He is known to act rashly, put his foot in his mouth and shoot first (and ask questions later). This lack of professionalism led to a brief demotion before returning to the squad. At the end of his narrative, he was studying for the Sergeant’s exam and hoping to move up the corporate ladder. But when he is told that his past is the barrier to the promotion, he has a breakdown which leads to his retirement and eventual move to California.

To sum it up: Our pasts do not dictate our present. But, if we are not careful to learn from our mistakes, we will continue to make them. Nick Amaro never quite learns from his mistakes. His continual mishaps forever alter his life, both in the personal sense and the professional sense.

As a character, the fans remember Nick because of these mistakes and his attempts to make up for those mistakes. It is that human characteristic that makes us love him, in spite of his flaws. That is why we remember Nick Amaro.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Amanda Rollins

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have personal demons. The question is, do we let these demons rule us or do we find a way to live as best we can in spite of these demons?

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is one of the newer members of the the SVU. Originally from Georgia, she transferred to the NYPD in 2011. Initially, she was a little wet behind the ears, but experience soon kicked in.

Amanda does her job well, but she has her demons. She has been known to drink more than she should, has dealt with a gambling problem and has a younger sister who adds more to Amanda’s plate than is needed or asked for. While in therapy, she spoke of her tumultuous childhood and the impact it had on her as an adult. If all of that was not enough, she was taken advantage of sexually by a former boss.

But like anyone who has battled personal demons, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if one is willing to do the hard work. Amanda is the mother of two darling little girls who have changed her life for the better.

To sum it up: it takes a strong person to not only fight their personal demons, but to win. Amanda has won, at least for now. Personal demons have a way of staying with us, no matter how old we get. It is just matter of choosing to let them control us or we control them. As a character, Amanda is an inspiration because she survived the battle with her demons. If she can do that, so can the rest of us.

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