|Fans were upset to hear that Christopher Meloni (Det. Elliot Stabler) would not be returning to "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" for Season 13 and even more upset to think that Mariska Hargitay (Det. Olivia Benson) would have less time on screen. Ratings recently dropped to an all-time series low as "Law & Order: SVU" took on the 2011 County Music Awards. But if you were one of the former fans who left before this season's party got started, then you are missing out on a lot.|
Story lines ripped from the headlines, or are the headlines reflecting the stories?
The "Law & Order" franchise has always been proud of being able to take fact and work it into perfect fiction. This season on "Law & Order: SVU" they may even be taking their writing ability one step further, by predicting what sort of crimes may be committed. Rumors are on the rampage as some wonder if "SVU" predicted the future of Coach Paterno and Penn State in their episode "Personal Fouls." Still others wonder if a Washington state mother borrowed a plot from the Halloween episode, where parents claim their baby was kidnapped only to have it discovered that they buried it. Maybe the move to New York City by the writers has brought new life to the story lines, just as they promised before the season premiere.
New kids on the block or new detectives in the squad room?
It's a fine line for Detectives Benson, Tutuola (Ice-T) and Munch (Richard Belzer) to walk, but are the newest detectives able to go it alone or do they need a whole lot of hand holding? So far the squad room should be impressed with Det. Amanda Rollins' (Kelli Giddish) powers of deduction and research, as well as Det. Amaro's (Danny Pino) ability to manipulate even the most close mouthed of suspects.
What's gonna work? Teamwork!
It's not just a song on the popular children's show "Wonder Pets." One really refreshing change from previous years of "Law & Order: SVU" is their ability to now get by with a little help from their friends. Not an episode has gone by where the whole cast was not engaged in some task big or small that brought a victim some justice. It's nice to see them all on the screen in Season 13.
Something old, something new.
In the courtroom Stephanie March and Diane Neal (ADAs Cabot and Novak) have returned and they are better than before. The details still matter, maybe more than ever with a new bureau chief looking over their shoulders and quite often willing to grab the glory. Tamara Tunie returns as the medical examiner, and it seems she has a harder time resisting Det. Amaro's charm.
It may be blasphemy to say, and I was all prepared to miss Christopher Meloni, but I don't. The gritty story lines, the outstanding performances by old and new cast members, and the excitement of something familiar going somewhere new outweighs one missing cast member.
If you haven't given this season's "Law & Order: SVU" a try, maybe you should.