Why Heinous Fans Who Dumped ‘SVU’ After Stabler Left Deserve A Night At Rikers

Much like Pokémon, the Spice Girls and Peanut Butter, most of us grew up with Law & Order: SVU. It was a childhood staple that taught us the real life horrors of the world, albeit from a fictional sense.

The main players in the game were Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), AKA mom and dad.

Detective Benson was (and still is) one of the most powerful forces on television. I was about to write ‘female forces’ but that would’ve been redundant. SHE is powerful, full fucking stop.

And as for Detective Stabler, he’s been dubbed ‘Daddy Stabler’ by the internet for his protective energy plus those heart-racing scenes where he gets a little too into the interrogation.

But while they were ‘yuge powerhouses in their own right, the series was rooted in their bond as colleagues.

They had this strange, familial, dysfunctional, whacky camaraderie that while sometimes was almost a detriment to their squad, it always helped them save the day in the end.

But in 2011, audiences were stunned to learn that Stabler, the grounding force in the series, was holstering his gun and leaving the squad for good.

And as Chris Meloni backed out of the series, so, too, did many fans who often tell me they stopped watching as soon as Stabler was gone.

To these people I say: Mate, you’re really missing out.

When a lead character leaves a series, it obviously changes the course of the entire show and it can either sink or swim without them. SVU is one of those rare examples where it not only swam, it fucking soared.

From Season 13 onwards, the series would make up for the missing lead star by introducing several budding detectives who added a whole new dynamic to the show.

The writers did a great job of introducing characters with big enough personalities and back stories that would bring something new to the table while complementing the veteran characters.

You had Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) with his macho Italian vibe (a great Stabler 2.0), then you had Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) whose picture-perfect Southern upbringing perfectly mirrored her complex struggles such as her gambling addiction and her troubled sister and then of course there’s Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino) who was perfectly charming but also a badass when he needed to be.

And how could I forget the new ADA Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza), the sarcastic legal voice who waved the LGBTQIA+ flag following George Huang’s (BD Wong) departure.

But while some much-needed fresh energy was brought to the show, there was still enough of the OG members, namely queen Benson and king Fin (Ice-T), to continue the take-down of heinous crimes in the same brilliant fashion that they had done since day dot.

Benson, Tutola, Rollins, Amaro and Carisi

In addition to adding their own diverse backgrounds and narratives, the introduction of newer, budding detectives allowed the character of Olivia Benson to not only advance as an officer but also as a person.

Let’s face it, the whole Benson / Stabler storyline was getting stagnant after a while. I mean, how long could they carry out their whole love / hate relationship and keep the show’s energy nice and fresh?

The storyline eventually would’ve gotten tired plus they were pretty much holding each other back from excelling in their careers ‘coz they kept risking “their jobs and their pensions”, as Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) often put it, to protect each other.

With Stabler gone and a new crop of detectives in the mix, Benson went on to become the HBIC that she was always destined to be.

Not sure if you’re aware of this ‘coz a lot of you may have tuned out following Stabler’s departure, but Benson is now the Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. A huge fucking deal.

She also has a son named Noah who she adopted from a victim who passed away.

So to recap: She is not only the boss of the entire squad, but she’s also a mother. A far cry from the woman whose time was spent chasing Stabler around, trying to neutralise his mood swings.

Another incredible feat that the series boasts is its ability to adapt to the times and feature storylines ripped straight from the headlines.

There have been episodes about PizzaGate, Snapchat, Alt Right groups, the war on women in gaming, you name it!

The writing has gotten stronger and more diverse as the series has gone on. It’s more than just rape and murder yarn after rape and murder yarn.

The series has as much substance in Season 20 as it did in Season 1. Maybe even more.

So if you’re one of those faux fans who dropped SVU after Stabler left, I implore you to pick it back up. The heinous crimes only get better and better.