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What Some Law & Order: SVU Fans Miss About The Old Set

Over the course of its whopping 23 seasons on primetime television, "Law & Order: SVU" has undergone a litany of transformations. Whether the series is swapping out ADAs, bringing a new police chief onto the scene, promoting its main protagonist (Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson), killing off characters, adjusting its approach to the depiction of law enforcement, or adding fresh faces to the SVU squad, long-time fans of the popular procedural inevitably have some thoughts and feelings about major changes to the show. It's rare, however, that those thoughts and feelings are directed toward something outside of an ongoing arc, casting decision, or storyline.

Recently, however, at least some fans are feeling nostalgic for something many a viewer, be they casual or die-hard, might take for granted. A recent discussion on the series' always-chatty subreddit shows that when it comes to the more tangible nuts and bolts of the detectives' day-to-day existence, many feel the series' earlier seasons did a better job with the infamous 16th precinct's set design. 

Fans think the new precinct office isn't as realistic

The original poster, u/Bearis4B, waxed nostalgic for the old office and its secret interview room, saying the original floor plan — with its high ceilings, second-level loft, natural lighting, and spacious interior — "showed a more homey version of what its [sic] like being a detective." (As fans of the more recent seasons well know, the office is now perpetually dark with fluorescent lighting, all on one level, and from a viewer's perspective, quite a bit smaller.) Many fans agreed with the original poster's sentiments. "Loved the old layout," said u/ZDR1994, concluding that the old locker room and lighting had "such a 90s [sic] vibe."

In a separate thread on the subreddit, u/SunStarsSnow wrote that the "old squad room had personality" and "was like a character on its own," while others missed its realism. "It was always believably busy and messy," wrote u/Pheaphilus, noting that "the current one looks way more like a TV set." This point was echoed by u/idontcare6666, who said, "The old squad room just felt more real. It was gritty and had character. The new one is too stylized and antiseptic." After more than two decades on the air, it's not surprising the series would attempt a set design revamp, but one wonders if all that modernization hasn't done more harm than good when it comes to creating the series' long-loved atmosphere.