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Law & Order: SVU Fans Are Still Bitter Over Barba Being Written Off The Show

After more than 20 seasons and over 500 episodes, fans of the crime drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" have grown used to characters coming and going. Unless it's Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) herself, the chances of a character having immunity to being written off the show in some manner or another are next to none. Fin (Ice-T) is the only other regular who's survived almost as long as Benson.

One of the many characters who have come and gone is ADA Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza). Barba joined the "SVU" universe in Season 14 and had some big shoes to fill after previous ADAs like Alexandra Cabot and especially Casey Novak, the ADA fans wish would come back. Longtime viewers seemed to connect with Barba, too, and by the time Season 15 rolled around, he was part of the main cast.

Barba remained with "SVU" as a series regular all the way to Season 19 and made additional appearances in Seasons 21-23, which amounts to an impressively long run. Esparza ultimately starred in more than 100 episodes of the series.

Naturally, fans took to Reddit to discuss

Reddit user jdpm1991 posted a poll about six characters who'd been written off the show, asking which one people missed the most. Rafael Barba won by a landslide. The poll sparked a heated discussion on the various lost characters and why people missed them or why they hated how they were written off.

In Barba's case, in Season 19 he gets wrapped up in a right-to-die case that leads him to turn off life support for a young boy who wouldn't have much of a life if stuck on machines. Barba is indicted for murder. He beats the charges but ultimately resigns as a prosecutor because he's too traumatized to carry on. Although Barba returned for a few episodes in later "SVU" seasons and even made an appearance on "Law & Order: Organized Crime," fans never recovered from how the character's "SVU" run ended. Raúl Esparza told Entertainment Weekly it felt "challenging, and emotional, and surprising," but fans didn't agree.

U/crazycatlady9183 replied to the poll by writing, "I absolutely HATED how they wrote off Barba. There were a million better ways to do it, and yet they chose something COMPLETELY out of place. Based on everything his character was built on, he just wouldn't be someone to kill a child out of mercy. That was absolutely ridiculous and so was the trial."

U/Mariangella007 said, "Barba's departure for sure was the most painful. Still cannot rewatch this episode." Meanwhile, u/kateefab pointed out that even their husband couldn't stomach it, noting, "Barba's was so bad that my husband who doesn't have an opinion on this show thought it was ridiculous. It's also interesting to look at from an ethics standpoint, but it was still bad."