Tag Archives: John Munch

Late Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Brian Cassidy

*I apologize for the delay, life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*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.

Finding one’s path in life is not easy. It requires one to take chances, not knowing if your going in the right direction or you have taken a mis-step. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) is just trying to find his way. Like many who are trying to find their way, he makes a few mistakes.

Cassidy is one of the younger members of the SVU squad. Though he is dedicated to his job, he has a long way to go before he is the ideal SVU detective. The gravity of the cases he works on often stretches him emotionally, sometimes forcing him to react inappropriately. It takes his older and experienced partner, John Munch (Richard Belzer), to calm him down and teach him to become a better detective.

If the pressure of work was not enough, Cassidy’s long time crush and one night stand with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) does not end well. This leads to an explosion in which he realizes that working as an SVU detective is not the right path for him and asks for a transfer.

But this is not the end of Cassidy’s time with SVU. He comes back 12 years after the transfer and nearly sends his former boss, Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) to prison for prostitution. He also starts dating Olivia secretly and it seems like everything is settling down. But then an accusation by another prostitute forces Cassidy to take stock of his life and reveal his secret relationship with Olivia.

The next time we see Cassidy, he and Olivia realize that they are different people and they break up. Later, Cassidy accuses Olivia abusing her adopted son, Noah. When it is revealed why he made the accusation, Olivia says that she never wants to see him again.

The last time we see Cassidy, he is in court, facing the man who abused him as a child.

To sum it up: Life is never a straight path. It is a series of curves with potholes, brick walls and challenges, forcing us to adapt and change. Like all of us, Brian Cassidy has to adapt. Though it is not easy, he does and finds the strength that he didn’t know he had.

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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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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television