Why It's Finally Time To Cancel Law & Order: SVU

In the American television system, cop shows are especially prolific (especially ones set in NYC, like c'mon, other places exist, guys). On NBC, there's a show devoted to detectives investigating sexually-based offenses, and it's been on way, way too long. For real, y'all, do you still need to be watching Law & Order: SVU in the year of our Lord 2017? This is the story of why it's finally time to let go of the Special Victims Unit. *Bum-bum*

Christopher Meloni (and everyone else who was cool) isn't on it anymore

Christopher Meloni is one of the coolest and weirdest actors out there. While he's arguably most famous for his role as Detective Stabler in, you know, the show we're talking about, he's also done dozens of comedies, dramas — he's very versatile. As such, he didn't stick around SVU too long, which is a shame because Stabler's relationship with Mariska Hargitay's Detective Benson was basically the reason to watch the show.

Of course, there are a bunch of other awesome characters on the show, so it's not like Meloni leaving absolutely devastated the show or anything. After all, there's still the awesome captain! And Finch, the detective who complains about literally everything. BD Wong as the psychologist? Tons of cool characters ... who also left. Yeah, there's basically only four characters left who have been there from the beginning, like how after high school, one or two people would constantly go back, hang around, and talk about the glory days. That's the cast of SVU right now. Just a bunch of people who haven't let go of the glory years and who can't move on and it's so sad.

Its formula is little more than a joke at this point

If you've ever watched Law & Order: SVU, you know all the peculiarities of the show — the awful sex crimes, the melodrama of the main characters, the weird drugs, and the music that hasn't changed, ever, despite the show being old enough to join the Army.

However, you don't have to be a die hard Law & Orderly (that's what the show's fans are called, right?) to know all of that stuff, because — like anything that gets too popular — it's been parodied an endless amount of times. Normally, that's not terrible. For instance, Kung Fu Panda mocking Bullet Time doesn't make The Matrix less cool (the Matrix sequels handled that) ... but it would if we were on the eighteenth season of The Matrix! The basic rule is, if your show has become popular enough to be endlessly parodied, then it's time for it to take a break. A long break. Like, forever.

If it's somehow become so popular there's an entire Twitter account dedicated to mocking the weird made-up drugs on the show? Well, let's just say, like a horse with a broken leg, it should've been put down years ago.

It exploits and over-dramatizes actual, real-life cases

One of the most famous things that SVU did (or, really, any of the Law & Order series did) is showing a bunch of ripped-from-the-headline cases. Which was neat, right? Because it injected some realism into the show about ... sex crimes ... in New York City. Wait, what?

Yeah, see, the show doesn't actually need to feature Larger-Than-Life depictions of things that actually happened. But if it did, it would've been nice for them to actually, you know, contact the people the show was depicting, and maybe pay them? But instead, the show changed just enough of the stories so that it could talk about a man keeping a fourteen-year-old sex slave in his basement, but not really talk about it, because now it's fiction! Yeah, that case was a thing that really happened, and Law & Order's reaction to that was, "Well, cool, that'll be a good ratings boost!"

Look, even if you're not on board with the concept of "trigger warnings," you can probably understand how messed up it would be to see your most horrifying life experience melodramatically acted out on a semi-successful television show, just so the creators could pat themselves on the back for bringing "awareness" to your issue. At the very least, the creators could freaking pay you! But no, why not just line their own pockets with the sweet, sweet success of your suffering.

It pulled an episode because of politics

So, love him or hate him, you have to admit that Donald Trump is — at best — a contentious figure. Regardless of whether or not the stories about him were true or not, there were dozens of people who came out and accused him of being, well, the exact type of person you'd see as an antagonist on SVU.

But one, the one time Dick Wolf (that's actually the name of the executive producer of Law & Order. Yes, it's really, really funny) tried ripping from the Presidential campaign headlines, it failed miserably. The episode was about a Trump-like figure who has a bunch of women come out, and, well, basically accuse him of all those things people have accused Donald Trump of. It was originally supposed to air at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season. Then it was moved to later in October. Then later in October (again). Then November. Then even later in November. Then, question mark question mark question mark.

At this point, no one knows exactly when the episode will come out — if at all. There's definitely some lesson here, and it's probably not very soothing. Let us know if you figure it out.

It costs an ungodly amount of money per episode

Yes, despite the fact that SVU has slowly been culling its cast of characters like that angry kid from Twilight Zone who gets mad at his family, SVU still costs about a billion zillion dollars to make, per episode. (Okay, that number isn't actually exact, but it's close.)

You'd think that the show would be prety damn cheap since there's no need to make sets — the show's been reusing sets from the early seasons since forever. Plus, since the show's basic writing set-up seems to be "copy/paste a newspaper directly onto a script) that even creating the show would run you peanuts. But it's not. While we don't know the exact price of the show, we do know that, for instance, Mariska Hargitay is paid the ungodly sum of $500,000 ... per episode. There are around twenty episodes per season, so she makes about $10 million per season.

To put that in perspective, with $10 million you could make The Blair Witch Project, Primer, and Night of the Living Dead, and still have money left over. Would you sign a petition for the cast to just remake all of those movies instead of filming more SVU? No, just us?

It's one of the last original shows in the Tommy Westphall Universe

Ah, Tommy Westphall. For those of you not up on your oblique television series trivia, here's a refresher: the popular medical show/soap opera St. Elsewhere famously ended with the reveal that the entire show happened in the mind of a slightly autistic boy (or maybe in his snowglobe, we don't know. Look, older shows were weird). Thanks to various crossover and spin-offs and crossovers with the spin-offs over the years, the show is tangentially connected to damn near literally, uh, every show ever made.

The thing is, though, SVU is one of the last shows directly connected to St. Elsewhere — most of the other shows that are connected are connected through a show connected through a show connected through a show connected through another show (and on and on). But Law & Order is directly connected to it, with one of the main characters (Finch) having met characters from St. Elsewhere. Which means that, once SVU is over, it's the end of the original Tommy Westphall Universe. And you know what? That's a nice capper — the Westphall theory has been around for awhile. It'd be nice to put it to rest. Please?

It's technically connected to X-Files but has no aliens

Speaking of connections to other shows, let's talk about the most egregious show that SVU is connected to — The X-Files. Yes, there was a crossover between Law & Order and The X-Files — the '90s were a weird time. However, if you watched the X-Files reboot, then you know the series ends with literally the entire world being invaded by UFOs and also there's some weird virus and there's a wolf who turned into a person? It was a weird, weird season.

But the point is, the season ended with everyone in the entire world being made aware of the conspiracy. You know who's in that world? The dedicated detectives who investigate vicious felonies (of a sexually heinous nature) in New York City. Law & Order: SVU should absolutely have had an episode where the detectives went to investigate a crime and then ... *boom* Aliens! But that never happened, meaning either these shows aren't really connected, and it's all just been a desperate ploy for ratings by money-hungry executives without the guts or creativity to make their Shared Show Universe obey actual continuity ... or the SVU writers are really lazy and should find work elsewhere. We're going with the second.

They show defines women almost entirely by their damaged sexual past

You know the best thing about a show dedicated to showing sexually-based criminals getting their comeuppance? Being pretty terrible to women. Oh, wait, you wanted to know the best thing. Our bad.

See, the show has spared basically no woman from being horrifically scarred by a sexual offender. Now, while an ungodly number of real-life women have had some horrifying sexual experience in their life, it's not their entire thing. But on SVU, it is! Even the main characters are defined by horrific sexual pasts, down to Benson being a product of rape. The show had her defining characteristic be, for a long time, punishing people who hurt her mother, like Death Wish but not as cool. That was the whole reason she joined SVU, because of what happened to her mother, because to too many people, the only way to tell a good story starring a woman is to have that woman be raped or be around it.

In addition to that, the victims are oftentimes sexualized — which is just creepy — or even degraded for being sex workers, which is about as feminist as an MRA workshop.

It's super transphobic

Yes, in a show that's about disadvantaged people, those most likely to suffer from sex crimes, the show makes sure to portray transgender girls in an awful, awful way. Not only have there been dozens of murdered trans women on the show (unfortunately, just like real life), but it's featured an entire episode about a trans girl that lovingly portrays her as "just a man."

Plus, in a great move, not only is the show's writing transphobic, but at least one member of the cast is too. Ice-T once tweeted an image "warning" men about transgender girls ready to ... we turly don't know. The intent of Ice's post wasn't super clear, except that — like the show he stars in — it was super transphobic.

It's beyond unrealistic at this point, given the reaction to real rapists

Supposedly, the best part of SVU is how realistic it is. Except, more and more, it's become clear that's not the case, because in SVU, the criminals typically get what's coming to them. In real-life? Not so much.

For those of you not following the news, let us refresh you — recently, a man raped a woman behind a dumpster and he got six months in jail. Six months. That's half as long as a season of SVU, and he raped a literal, actual human being to get that "punishment." While we're all for fun power fantasies, and fiction being more beautiful and neat than our harsh, cold world, we also think that, at this point, the idea of having a show portraying a gritty, hard world that also manages to continually punish rapists is, well, kinda cruel.

Simply put, the show has devolved from being a good depiction of what being a detective in New York City is like, to being so unrealistic that, honestly, if aliens were to descend, it'd be one of the more plausible things to happen as of late.

It's the last remaining Law & Order

Has nothing else we've said convinced you? Alright then, time for some film theory.

Law & Order (the first one) premiered in 1990, which makes it older than some of the writers for this site. The franchise has had roughly 1,080 episodes — since each episode is roughly 40 minutes long, which means there are 43,200 minutes — or about 720 hours — worth of Law & Order episodes. That's thirty days worth of content if you watch them all straight in a row, 24/7, without sleeping (please don't do that).

There is more Law & Order then there are pandas. If you killed one Hainan Gibon for every day you spent watching Law & Order, you would run out of Gibon first. And while other L&O's have gotten the hint and moved on, SVU lingers on like the last dodo. Please, show. We all know the narration by heart. We can all hum the theme song. Television has been irrevocably changed by this series. But please, like Elsa begging for Anna to give her the last Eggo waffle, let it go already. Just give us peace. Please, Dick Wolf (*snicker*), please. Let it go.