I waited six weeks to finally give the new season a shot. My arms crossed, shields raised, I said “Fine, let’s get this over with. It will be a short viewing after two episodes.”
The two new detectives are tolerable. The writing is static, I would expect nothing less. I cried at the end of the first episode. Mariska was brilliant as ever, and I really appreciated the way they handled Stabler’s exit. The residual effects on Olivia are subtle, but still honest to their history.
At the end of the first seven episodes of the season, my husband looked to me and said “How long it is going to take for you to admit that you liked it?” My response is conflicted. As I stated in an earlier article, the whole reason I watched SVU is because of the Stabler and Benson dynamic. The chemistry between the two actors drew me in from the beginning. Thus, when Christopher Meloni announced his departure I was devastated. A cast change like this usually kills a show for me. So I was more than hesitant about this season.
The new casting was done well. The new male detective is interesting, and he keeps my attention. I enjoyed the additional featuring of Cragen and the return of Fin and Munch. The plot lines are as good as ever, reflecting the recent news headlines a little too well. Episode two was about a basketball coach who was molesting children and it aired in September – premonition Penn State anyone?
As I know what the future holds for SVU ie, Olivia Benson, I am very conscious of the character’s reactions and or sub-plot. Specifically, in the most recent episode a conversation between Benson and guest star Andre Brauer.
So my answer to my husband was this, SVU was a show I couldn’t wait to watch. Wednesday nights were one of the highlights of the week for me. Unfortunately this is not the case any longer. Now it is just another good show. It is a good show. I cannot say that the writing is not as compelling as ever. The characters are solid, and SVU will most likely keep its fan base for now. This is Mariska Hargitay’s final season which, despite all efforts, could seal the fate of the show. It will be interesting to watch the handoff, which I am told will happen in the middle of the season. Will they be able to sustain the ratings and or the interest once Detective Benson fades into the background? I guess we will have to wait and see.