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Law & Order is one of America's favorite franchises. This police procedural has spawned numerous spin-offs, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Each version of Law & Order focuses on different detectives. The detectives' personal lives and reactions to cases are as compelling as the crimes themselves. SVU focuses on Detectives Stabler and Benson. Like the other Law & Order shows, SVU frequently bases episodes on real-life crimes that are in the news.

Detective Elliot Stabler was one of the most popular characters on the show. A married man with several children of his own, he occasionally took cases personally, displaying a violent temper. Detective Stabler struggles to deal professional with the criminals he encounters. He admits to fantasizing about hurting the people he arrests and is almost removed from the force when he reveals this. His experience raising his own children has made him good at relating to child victims he encounters while working cases. Despite his bad temper and occasional poor judgment, many viewers can relate to Detective Stabler and his disgust at the criminals he arrests and interviews.

Detective Olivia Benson is Detective Stabler's partner for most of the show. She balances his anger towards criminals with her own compassion for sexual victims. Detective Benson eventually reveals that her childhood was not happy due to an alcoholic mother and an absent father. Benson's tragic past led her to work for the Special Victims Unit. Many female viewers see Detective Benson as a positive role model.

Other detectives and support staff feature heavily in the series. Like other Law & Order shows, the detectives have close relationships with the NYPD's medical examiner and the New York District Attorney's office. Viewers love watching the characters grow over the course of the show, but the ultimate draw of Law & Order is seeing each week's criminal caught and brought to justice. SVU adds something extra to the formula by showcasing "especially heinous" crimes in every episode.

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Wednesday 9:00 PM et/pt on NBC
16 Seasons, 350 Episodes - Currently Airing
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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Full Episode Guide

  • The team investigates a serial rapist whose M.O. is alarmingly similar to a case Rollins was involved with in Atlanta.

  • The team investigates leaked security footage of a violent domestic dispute in a parking garage, showing sportscaster A.J. Martin hit his girlfriend Paula.

  • The team collaborates with Chicago P.D. during the investigation of a live-streamed pornography "club" that caters to its subscriber’s shocking requests.

  • Detectives must sift through fantasy and fiction when three girls sneak into the woods determined to find the mythical Glasgowman. One girl is left seriously injured while the other two girls are nowhere to be found.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit News

What's New Tonight: Wednesday, May 15th.
What's New Tonight: Wednesday, May 1st.
What's New Tonight: Wednesday, April 24th.
'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' Season 14, Episode 16: 'Funny Valentine' Recap

An up-and-coming singer is beaten by her famous boyfriend, but she won't assist the prosecution. This episode is said to mirror the relationship of Rihanna and Chris Brown. See what the controversial episode is all about.

'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' Season 14, Episode 15: 'Deadly Ambition' Recap

Rollins' sister makes a return visit, and this time she's battered and pregnant. When the situation escalates, Rollins resorts to dire actions, leading Internal Affairs to open up an investigation.

'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' Season 14, Episode 14: 'Secrets Exhumed' Recap

Detective Olivia Benson reunites with an old colleague to reopen a 25-year-old cold case. But things don't go as planned. Will Olivia have to betray a friend in the name of justice?

'Law & Order: SVU' Season 14, Episode 13: 'Monster's Legacy' Recap

Mike Tyson and Ed Asner guest star as the detectives struggle to uncover a past history of sexual abuse. Reggie Rhodes is set to be executed, but can some recent revelations set him free in time?

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Give Dick Wolf's baby credit where it's due: not every show survives long after losing an iconic lead. Despite Christopher Meloni's season 13 departure, NBC has given a 14th "Law & Order: SVU" season the thumbs-up for Fall 2012. "I'll be back. I can't leave this show. I'm having too much fun," said star Mariska Hargitay.

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