Category Archives: Character Review

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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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Dominick Carisi Jr

*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.

If there is anything that gets us in trouble, it is inexperience and the inability to control our emotions.

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, that inexperience and the inability to control one’s emotions was the introduction to one of the newer members of the squad, Dominick Carisi Jr. Carisi is of Italian-American descent. Born and raised on Staten Island, he comes a tight knit and complicated family.

Over time, his inexperience and lack of ability to control his emotions was tempered, though certain cases brought out his lesser qualities. Looking to the future, Carisi started taking night classes at Fordham University to earn his law degree. Adding knowledge of the law helps him professionally, but the joke is that DA Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) is not always pleased with Carisi’s interjection.

To sum it up: When a television program is only for as long as SVU has been on, the interjection of new characters and new emotions is needed to shake up both the narrative and the characters. Carisi, as a character, because of his inexperience and quick temper, was the shakeup that SVU needed. Though it sometimes got him in trouble, he has matured into a character that is beloved both by the other characters and the fans alike.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Odafin “Fin” Tutuola

*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.

There has always been the debate on whether it is better to see the world in black and white or color. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (played by actor and musician Ice-T), sees his world and his job as black and white. That view came from his early upbringing on the streets of New York City. As a young boy, he watched as the city rioted after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and saw his mother killed by one of his father’s business rivals.

As a cop first in narcotics and then in special victims, Fin sees the world as black and white. If the accused is guilty, then he or she deserves whatever punishment they receive. This point of view often led him to clash with his colleagues, who saw the shades of grey in the cases they were assigned. Outside of work, Fin sought to keep his private life and his job separate. But he eventually opened up to his partners, who became as close as family.

To sum it up: Sometimes a character is defined by his or her point of view. Fin sees his world and his job as black and white. Which is fine, because that works for the character. But there is also more to him than just a cut and dry perspective on the law. He has a big heart for those who he cares about and is willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: John Munch

*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.

Sarcasm and cynicism, when doled out properly, is a wonderful thing.

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the sarcasm and cynicism usually comes from Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer). Munch is a believer in conspiracy theories and is more than willing to share his opinions with his colleagues. The character originally started out on Homicide: Life on the Street before transferring to SVU. Like all of the detectives on SVU, Munch has had several partners. His longest lasting partner was Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), the street smart former narcotics detective who balanced out the wise ass that is John Munch.

Though no one would say that Munch is outwardly sentimental, he is known to have occasionally worn his heart on his sleeve, especially when the victims are children. He also is a firm believer in individual rights and once in a while may cross a moral boundary when he believes that it is the right thing to do.

To sum it up: Not every character has to be sunshine and light. There is something to be said for a well placed sarcastic remark or a cynical question. Munch’s cynicism reminds the audience of the reality of that world, may bring out a question or two and perhaps make them laugh. Fans of SVU still love Munch not only for his sarcasm, but also for his heart and his convictions. When all of those characteristics are tied together, they present a portrait of a man who is flawed, deeply human, but goes out of his way to do what is right.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Olivia Benson

*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.

I know that it is sounds cliche, but what does not kill you makes you stronger. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, this concept is personified by Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Conceived by rape, Benson was raised by an alcoholic single mother who abused her. As a police officer, she is sympathetic to the victims and hard as nails on the accused because of her past. She is also the yin to Elliot Stabler’s (Chris Meloni) yang, her first partner. Their good cop, bad cop chemistry was one of the keys to their success in catching the perpertrators.

But Benson has also had a few lumps along the way. William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber) is obsessed with her. He kidnaps her, tortures and nearly rapes her, but Benson is able to undo her bonds and defend herself. She also again nearly raped while undercover and was the unofficial foster mother of several children before adopting her son.

Like many women, Benson is delicately balancing motherhood and work. In her position as Lieutenant, she is often akin to a mother bear. She has to ensure that her squad does their jobs while occasionally dolling out tough love.

To sum it up: Olivia Benson has been through the ringer several times. While others might have crumbled under the emotional weight of the same experiences, Benson came out harder and stronger. Though she still bears the scars, she does not let them stop her.

As a character, Benson is an inspiration. In spite of what she has gone through, she continues to be strong for herself, her son and her squad. It is that strength had kept the SVU fanbase in raptures for twenty years and hopefully for many years to come.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Elliot Stabler

The new characters I will be reviewing are…the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

*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 we arrive home after a long day of work, we want to be able to relax and leave work at the office. But for some, work sometimes bleeds into their home and personal life. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) is a New York City police officer who is assigned to the Special Victims Unit. Stabler is a husband, father and former Marine whose late father was also a police officer.

Though he has done well in his chosen profession, he has his moments. Particularly when he is in a mood, which can hinder what is considered to be the lawful method of receiving a confession from a suspect. This is where his partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), comes in. She is able to calm him down so they can proceed with the case and not create a hindrance when the accused is put on trial.

He has long simmering anger issues, which complicate both his home and work life. These anger issues eventually lead him to the decision to retire and focus on himself and his family.

To sum it up: We all have light and dark in us. We all have those moments when all of our emotions bleed together and we say and or do something that will later on require some sort of act of contrition. It takes a mature person to realize this and take the necessary steps to work on themselves.

As a character, Stable is fascinating. He is a devoted husband, father and police officer. But he also has a temper and unresolved emotional issues that sometimes complicate his life. It is the light and the dark, which from my perspective as both a fan and a writer, that is absolutely fascinating dichotomy to explore.

Though he stepped off the SVU stage nearly a decade ago, the fan base is drawn to this dichotomy that is Elliot Stabler.

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Late Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Kate Lockley

Dearest readers, I apologize for the late post. The pull of Independence Day was just too strong.

On an administrative note, this will be the last character review post I write about the characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The next group of characters I will be writing about are….you will have to come back next week and find out.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

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 Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is something to be said for a healthy dose of skepticism. It keeps us sane when the impossible happens and we need to process what has just happened.

On Angel, the skeptic is Detective Kate Lockley (Elizabeth Rohm). A member of the LAPD, she is ignorant of the supernatural world that exists around her. She meets Angel (David Boreanaz) while investigating a murder, thinking that he may be a potential suspect. But she doesn’t know that Angel is trying to find the killer. Her obsession with him as the killer grows the point in which she breaks into Angel Investigations and starts to search the site without a warrant. This leads to a scuffle with the real killer in which Angel saves her and Kate is able to give justice to the victim’s loved ones.

Angel is cleared of all charges and they become sort of partners. But Kate does not know that Angel is a vampire. When her father is killed by a vampire and she learns who he really is, Kate goes on a quest to rid Los Angeles of the supernatural. Then a resurrected Darla (Julie Benz) decides to drink her way through the denizens of Los Angeles. Believing that Angel is responsible for the murders, she goes to arrest him, but lets him go because she knows that she knows that he can stop this crime.

The skeptic becomes a believer to the nth degree, but her obsession gets her fired. She nearly dies from an overdose of pills and alcohol, but Angel arrives in the nick of time to revive her. Their relationship ends with the belief that there is someone watching over them and protecting them as they fight against the forces of evil.

To sum it up: Kate works as a character because she is the eyes of the audience. While the other characters are well versed in the supernatural world, Kate only knows of the non-supernatural world. Her exposure opens her eyes and eventually teaches her acceptance, which often comes after a few bumps and bruises. Viewers remember Kate because of this journey and her eventual understanding that there is often more than meets the eye.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Connor

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

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 Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

One of the marks of adulthood is making the conscious or unconscious decision to break away from your parents and how you were raised. The grey area of this decision is that as much as you may want to break away from your parents, they are always with you.

On Angel, that break is represented by Connor (Vincent Kartheiser). Born to two vampires, Angel (David Boreanaz) and Darla (Julie Benz), he was not raised in the typical happy family life.

Initially taken care of by his father and the rest of the gang at Angel Investigations, Connor is kidnapped and raised by Daniel Holtz (Keith Szarabajka) and raised in another dimension. Taught to hate his father, Connor has superhuman abilities and is not afraid to use those abilities.

Returning to Earth, Connor is now a teenager and is intent on killing Angel. But Angel, like many good parents, forgives his son, even after Connor tries to drown him and watches him from a distance. He also, like many young men, falls in love. The woman he falls in love is Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter). She becomes pregnant and both are manipulated by a cosmic entity bent on destruction.

To save his son’s life, Angel agrees to take over the running of Wolfram & Hart. Connor’s memories are wiped and replaced with that of a normal childhood. Though his memories are briefly returned to him, Angel tells him to go back to his foster parents and live as any young man would.

To sum it up: Though Connor tries to run from his past and his parentage, he can separate himself from the fact that he is Angel’s son. By the time the series ended, Connor found peace with himself, his past and his father. As fans, we remember Connor because we understand his inclinations and though we may have grown past that stage of life, we can easily remember going on that same path.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: The Master

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

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 Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In every science fiction and fantasy program, there has to be a big bad. This character represents all of the evils of this fictional world. The ultimate goal of the hero or heroine is to stop this big bad. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, the first big bad is the Master (Mark Metcalf).

The Master is an ancient vampire who leads a centuries old order of vampires. Relying on ritual and prophecy, he knows of the existence of the Slayer. Forced into the Hellmouth, his goals are two fold: kill the Slayer and destroy humanity. Unable to leave his prison, he sends his vampire minions to find victims and create new vampires.

He feeds by proxy. Sending Luke as his “emissary” to the world above, the Master feeds when Luke feeds. But Buffy continues to get in his way, staking Luke and saving lives. When they finally meet, it is a battle that tests both Buffy and the Master. Buffy wins, but not before being killed by the Master and then resuscitated by her friends.

To sum it up: every villain thinks they they are right, that their actions are entirely correct. On BVTS, the Master believed that his perspective and his world was the correct way to live. The humans were incorrect and therefore, they had to go. A good villain is committed to their cause 150% and will do anything to achieve their goal. The Master, if nothing else, is committed to his goal, which makes him the perfect villain and the perfect foil to the Slayer.

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