One of my favourite shows, as well as one of the longest running series and most popular ever (with 23 seasons so far!) has to be Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU).
Helmed by the amazing bad ass Mariska Hargitay (who plays Olivia Benson), and starring several beloved characters like Chris Meloni’s Elliot Stabler, and my personal favourite Pete Scanavino as Carisi, this show has stood the test of time.
With a gamut of cases that range from the creepy to the frankly absurd (Wild, anyone?), this show is an important watch for anyone who wants to learn more about what constitutes a sex crime, how laws and policies can often be misused, and just for lovers of procedurals and good acting/writing. Since many people don’t want to start watching from scratch, I’m outlining the top 10 episodes for SVU beginners to watch, which will give them a taste of the show and can be seen as stand alone.
1. Raw (Season 7, Episode 6)
This chilling episode about the seemingly random shooting of a 6-year-old boy in his school, leads to an astonishing revelation. The shooter is traced back to a Neo-Nazi and uncovers a chilling plot filled with racism, a twisted motive and a detective getting shot.
2. Bang (Season 12, Episode 22)
An episode that showcases a new side of Uncle Jessie aka John Stamos. Stamos plays a “reproductive abuser” who is a baby daddy to over 50 children. Playing a smarmy man who aims to spread his seed across the world, his death is quite shocking and the perpetrator, even more so.
3. Signature (Season 9, Episode 12)
Reading more like a thriller film, this episode follows the exploit of a serial killer with a truly creepy signature. A new agent is on board on this case, played by Erika Christensen, who is obsessed with the case, mentally and emotionally. The ending of the episode is truly heart wrenching.
4. 911 (Season 7, Episode 3)
This is a standout episode for Mariska Hargitay and involves her keeping a scared young girl on call while the squad tries to uncover her location in a thrilling 45-minute-long episode.
5. Pique (Season 2, Episode 20)
Chad Lowe stars as a twisted mama’s boy who has been through horrific traumas of his own. When a woman is found raped and stabbed to death, the detectives uncover a family that has its own dirty secrets beneath the surface. The ending which has Lowe writhing in a bed covered in blood is nightmare inducing.
6. Born Psychopath (Season 14, Episode 19)
A chilling episode that delves into the mentality of a sociopathic child and the failures of the system to figure out how to handle the same. Portrayed by Ethan Cutkosky , Henry is a child who shows zero remorse and can come across as both innocent while hiding his murderous intents quite well. There was a great follow up to this episode in later seasons called “Post Graduate Psychopath.”
7. Pornstar’s Requiem (Season 16, Episode 5)
This “Ripped from the Headlines” episode, inspired by Belle Knox, is about a college girl whose pornographic film history is uncovered by her classmates. They use this an excuse to rape her and when she decides to get justice, the ending shows that much too often it is the victim who is blamed and who suffers. With a downer of an ending, this episode is a stark insight into why women are often scared of speaking up.
8. Holden’s Manifesto (Season 16, Episode 4)
Another “Ripped from the Headlines” episode, inspired by Elliott Rodger, it revolves around Holden, an often-overlooked young man who feels women, and the world at large, owe him more. Chalking out his plans to get payback in his manifesto, this episode is a deep dive into the psyche of men who feel like people exist only for their personal use.
9. Identity (Season 6, Episode 12)
A case where DNA uncovers a truly crazy perpetrator, this episode is truly a rollercoaster. The death of a gangbanger leads the detectives to twins, a boy and a girl- and a truly crazed psychiatrist.
For all you Stranger Things fans, it’s a trip to watch David Harbour essay a crazed serial killer who specializes in murdering little girls and then dressing them up like dolls.
Are you a Law and Order SVU fan? If yes, let me know your favourite episodes. If you haven’t seen it yet hopefully this tv review will in