Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Image
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Starring: Christopher Meloni, Richard Belzer, Mariska Hargitay
  • Summary: "In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories."
    This hard-hitting and
    emotional companion series from NBC's Law & Order franchise chronicles the life and crimes of the elite Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was created by Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf. SVU celebrated its 200th episode in April 2008.
    Although Law & Order: Special Victims Unit carries the brand name Law & Order, the newer program has established a strong unique identity and has proved itself as a hit in its own right. In the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons, the series broke into the Top 20. Mariska Hargitay has won a Golden Globe and Emmy each for her portrayal of Det. Olivia Benson. It also garnered Emmy wins for guest-stars Amanda Plummer, Leslie Caron, and Cynthia Nixon. The past three seasons, SVU has been NBC's highest-rated drama. Additionally, the series' popularity was recognized with the People's Choice Awards, Image Awards, Satellite Awards, and the TV Guide Awards with nominations for Favorite New Series.
    The drama follows Det. Elliot Stabler, a seasoned veteran of the unit who has seen it all, and his partner, Olivia Benson, whose difficult past is the reason she joined the unit. Overseeing the team is Capt. Donald Cragen. Cragen's tough but supportive approach to the team's complex cases guides the squad through the challenges they face every day. Also featured is Det. John Munch, a transfer from Baltimore's homicide unit, who brings his acerbic wit, conspiracy theories and street-honed investigative skills. Munch is partnered with Det. Odafin Tutuola, whose unique sense of humor and investigative experience make him a formidable match for Munch. Assistant District Attorney Kim Greylek adds a legal component to the series through her efforts to bring closure to the intense investigations. Also aiding the detectives is forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Huang, whose insight into the minds of the accused often provides significant clues that lead to the resolution of a case, and M.E. Melinda Warner, who helps the detectives get the evidence they need from the bodies they find.
    NBC Broadcast History:
    September 1999 to November 1999 – Mondays at 9:00 p.m.
    January 2000 to May 2003 – Fridays at 10:00 p.m.
    September 2003 to May 2009 – Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m.
    September 2009 to Present – Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m.
    Expand
  • Genre(s): Drama, Suspense
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Feb 22, 2013
    100
    Sparse, tough, nuts-and-bolts, hit-and-run TV. You'd need a magnifying glass to find a nuance. But it works, and grippingly.
  2. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    Feb 22, 2013
    90
    A crackling-sharp spinoff...The show swiftly finds its balance. Not every series lends itself to cloning, but the essential qualities of "Law and Order" seem made for it: headline-generated stories resolved in self-contained episodes; a no-nonsense tone; a cast large enough to vary the focus.
  3. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Feb 22, 2013
    80
    Despite a bizarre courtroom sequence that strains credibility early in the episode, this is a very good start for Special Victims Unit, which promises to be a solid cop drama capable of occasionally stretching toward greatness.
  4. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Feb 22, 2013
    70
    As a loyal "Homicide" viewer, for me Munch is the best part of SVU, especially in tonight's scene where he explains his departure from Baltimore. [20 Sept 1999, p.B-1]
  5. Reviewed by: Michele Greppi
    Feb 22, 2013
    63
    If the crimes that drive "Law & Order" have the cops who solve them and the lawyers who prosecute them shaking their heads, the sex crimes dealt with by Special Victims will have the cops - and viewers - holding onto their stomachs.
  6. Reviewed by: John Levesque
    Feb 22, 2013
    50
    At times, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit flashes the same no-nonsense style of its sire: spare writing, quick pacing, ripped-from-the-headlines plot. But for much of the time, tonight's premiere is enervating, plodding and dull, which seems kind of odd when you're dealing with crimes of passion. [20 Sept 1999, p.E-3]
  7. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Feb 22, 2013
    40
    The problem is that the new show makes the original look far better...There isn't enough special yet about this Special Victims Unit. [19 Sept 1999, p.F1]

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Apr 24, 2014
    10
    This show is amazing! The acting is phenomenal! Mariska Hargitay should win many awards for her performance in the Save Benson Saga. I had the privilege of going behind the scenes to meet the cast and crew. I couldn't believe how hard-working and talented these people are! Tune in to NBC on Wednesdays at 9/8c. HELP #RenewSVU Expand