Thursday, November 1, 2012

There have been 300 Law and Order: SVU

By Erin Jackson

I repeat: there have been three hundred episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. That statement is so preposterous and monumental that I think it deserves pause and reflection; some post-modern meditation of some sort. In 65 episodes, if it makes it that far (knock on wood) you could watch an episode a day and never see a repeat. However, given the frequency and scope of its airplay on cable TV, you will probably watch more than one a day and upset this phenomenon.

SVU's subject matter is upsetting, depressing, disgusting and vile. Its heroes are flawed and worn and haggard and driven to the brink on a weekly basis. So, why has it endured? Unfortunately, I lack the investigatory insight of say Munch or Stabler, so I can't really say. But I do know that I have most likely seen all 300 episodes now, and will probably see many of them a handful of times over and over until my dying day.

I've tried to quit it, several times. I swore it off after what felt like the tenth storyline in which Benson went undercover in some preposterous fashion for no real reason. And again when Christopher Meloni left the show. And every time it drew me back, most often through one of its "ripped from the headlines" episodes that began with the nudge nudge wink wink disclaimer that it was in fact not based on any real person, right after a promo that nearly explicitly claimed otherwise. Or I would catch up with an entire season over the course of one lonely, cloudy weekend through a marathon, with the pretext of it making good background noise for housework or catching up on sleep.

So, happy 300th, SVU. You have endured longer than your forefathers and decedents, and have lived to watch your doppelgängers and imitators' doppelgängers and imitators bite the dust. And for that, I salute you.

Erin Floyd Jackson has been BFFs with TV since she was a wee one when she would play TV Network Executive. She went to school to learn about how and why TV is the way it is and hopes to someday tear someone's creative vision down and re-edit it to her liking. In the meantime, she and her husband live in Huntsville, Alabama and they occasionally "blog" here ( when they are not geeking out over all the SCIENCE! in the Rocket City.

1 comment:

  1. I watched a full eleven seasons of this show....and finally during season twelve, I just couldn't take it anymore. Maybe it was knowing Stabler would leave or that Olivia and he were never going to get together...happy 300th!