Tag Archives: Law And Order: Special Victims Unit

Law & :Order SVU Character Review: Casey Novak

*I apologize about the late post. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way last night.

*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 of 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.

For many of us, the first few years in our careers can be defining years. They can also be challenging, forcing us to submit to the idea that the reality of our job does not match what we thought it would be. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Casey Novak (Diane Neal) is one of the many District Attorneys who assist the SVU team with putting away criminals. Young, ambitious and serious about her job, Casey keeps her emotions and her private life to herself.

Her job would be simple if she worked for another unit within the NYPD. However, she works with SVU, where the crimes are often physically and emotionally messy. This leads Casey to lean on the steady and reliable law, especially when the case she is trying verges into a morally grey area.

Though she tries to keep her emotions and private life separate from her work, both inevitably bleed into her work. A previous relationship with a mentally ill ex-boyfriend nearly cost her life and affected her judgment when she purposely sabotaged a case involving a schizophrenic child rapist.

Though her work ethic is admired by the SVU detectives and her supervisor, her zeal nearly ruins the professional relationships with her colleagues. But in the end, there is a mutual respect that develops from her drive and her ability to open emotionally to her colleagues.

To sum it up: It takes courage and time to come out of one’s shell, especially in the workplace. But Casey does it in a way that does not feel forced or unnatural. She remains dedicated to her work, but she also bonds with her colleagues in a way that allows them all to do their jobs. That is why, as a character, Casey Novak stands out.

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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: 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: 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: 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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Thoughts On The 20th Season Of Law & Order: SVU

On September 20th, 1999, a new crime drama was added to the NBC lineup. It’s name was Law & Order SVU.

It was an offshoot of Law & Order. But instead of focusing on crime in general, the focus of the show are victims of sexual crimes.

On Thursday, SVU will start off its 20th season, making it the longest running drama in television history.

I’ve been a fan of SVU from nearly the beginning of the run of the show. Most shows, if they are lucky, run out of steam perhaps five or six years after their premiere. The fact that SVU is still going strong 19 years later says something. Not only is the writing and acting absolutely still fantastic after all of these years, but it still speaks to audiences. The show has broken barriers, created conversations and allowed us as a culture to talk about topics that must be discussed, but are often avoided.

After all of these years, nothing gives me a high like the opening theme song.

Here is the 20th season and many more seasons to come.

The new season of Law & Order: SVU premieres this Thursday, September 27th and 9PM. 

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Flashback Friday- Law And Order SVU (1999-Present)

For twenty years, Law And Order was a staple of the television schedule. With that success, the creative team decided to try a spin-off. That spin-off is Law And Order SVU (1999-Present).

While the original SVU was focused on a variety of crimes, this spin-off focuses solely on sexually related crimes. The current cast includes Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Kelli Giddish, Raul Esparza and Peter Scanavino.


I have been a fan of this show since the beginning. Like it’s predecessor, the show deals in the grey areas of life and fighting crime, especially when it comes to the cases that the characters deal with. I also very much appreciate the strong women on show, Lt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Detective Rollins (Kelli Giddish).

I absolutely recommend it.

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Waste

Warning: This post reveals spoilers of this week’s episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. If you have not seen the episode, I will not be offended if you do not read any further.

The premise of the episode is as follows: A transgender teen Avery Parker (Christopher Dylan) is taunted and attacked by a group of African-American teenagers.  After sustaining traumatic injuries, he passes away from his injuries. One of the young men who attacked him, Darius McCrae (Dante Brown), is being tried as an adult for the crime.

The question posed around the squad room is a difficult one. Darius is only fifteen, should he be tried as an adult or as a juvenile?

What struck me about this episode was that hate is a waste. It is a waste of time, of breath, of life.  The end result was that Darius was tried as an adult and his crime was labelled as a hate crime. He would not be a free man until he was in his 20’s.

There was no reason for Avery to die and Darius to spend his formative years in prison. In the end, two lives were forever changed and two families have to face the reality of the loss of their child.

I hope it was worth it. It feels like a waste to me.

 

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