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Law & Order: SVU Fans Can Name Many Moments Of Questionable Police Work

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" has been on television since 1999, and in the over two decades since its premiere, it has introduced some beloved characters to the small screen scene. Names like Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), the quotable Odafin "Fin" Tutuola (Ice-T), and more have won over viewers through their personal and professional struggles as well as their triumphs. At the same time, fans haven't turned a blind eye to the occasionally questionable police work they and many of their colleagues have employed throughout the years.

Redditor u/m0zare11a started a conversation about the subject on December 2022, and fans stopped by to offer some all-too-common examples of how "SVU" showcases poor police work. From Stabler attacking suspects to the entire SVU pressing someone they're interrogating even after they've requested a lawyer, there are numerous instances where the investigators have abused the power of their badges. In the eyes of u/Eastwood, Benson, Stabler, and Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) are three of the worst offenders when it comes to this.

As it turns out, it's not just "Law & Order: SVU" viewers who are willing to call out the show for its depiction of poor police work. Even "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver has highlighted the program's problematic elements.

John Oliver sees serious issues with SVU's depiction of police

At the end of the day, "Law & Order: SVU" is designed to entertain audiences with gripping stories and complex characters. Even still, whether audiences realize it or not, the depictions of groups of people on television can impact how they view such groups in real life. That's very much true in the case of "SVU," which presents viewers with a fictionalized look at police and others involved in the justice system. According to John Oliver, "SVU" and shows like it have to be careful about the depictions they push to the masses, lest they skewer the audience's perception of the real world.

"It's completely fine to enjoy it. And it's completely understandable to want Olivia Benson to exist. But, it is important to remember just how far it is from representing anything resembling reality," Oliver said during a segment about the "Law & Order" franchise on "Last Week Tonight." He explains that the series is doing a disservice by painting the image of a generally fair and typically infallible police system that's largely devoid of issues rooted in classism and racism. He gives "SVU" credit for when it does explore concepts like corruption and police reform, but he argues it's not always executed properly.

"Law & Order: SVU" is a TV staple and has been for years, but it's not perfect. Like any reality-based fiction series, it's important to keep in mind that — even though it doesn't claim to be — it's not an accurate depiction of the real world.