Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Now, Law & Order: SVU understands the joys of ambiguity. One of this season's best episodes was a thistle of a story involving a professor… Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Now, Law & Order: SVU understands the joys of ambiguity. One of this season's best episodes was a thistle of a story involving a professor… 1999-09-20 Crime Drama Richard Belzer Dann Florek Mariska Hargitay Ice-T Stephanie March Christopher Meloni Tamara Tunie B.D. Wong NBC
TV Review

Law & Order: SVU (1999)

Ice-T, Martin Short, ... | SV UNIT Ice-T and Short uphold the Law
Image credit: Law and Order: Special Victims Unit: Craig Blankenhorn
SV UNIT Ice-T and Short uphold the Law
EW's GRADE
B

Details Start Date: Sep 20, 1999; Genres: Crime, Drama; With: Richard Belzer, Dann Florek, Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T and Stephanie March...; Network: NBC; More

Now, Law & Order: SVU understands the joys of ambiguity. One of this season's best episodes was a thistle of a story involving a professor (The O.C.'s Billy Campbell) accused of raping his student (Shannyn Sossamon), each of whom lost credibility, gained it, and then completely mangled it. (From Campbell to Martin Short as a baleful psychic, SVU is a prime showcase for pigeonholed actors trying to stretch.) The case galvanized the lead detectives: The prof's nice-guy studliness appealed to macho family man Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni); the girl found an advocate in Stabler's partner, Olivia Benson (Golden Globe winner Mariska Hargitay), herself the child of rape. The episode epitomizes SVU's niche: allowing a mystery to shed a glimmer of light on its detectives' inner lives.

A glimmer, please. The divorce arc of Meloni's Stabler is turning him into a distracting blow-stack. In the March 1 episode, unstable Stabler spent an hour spitting and screaming at Matthew Modine's killer. (Actually uttered: ''I should put you in pigtails, you little bitch.'') He's becoming less Popeye Doyle and more Bluto.

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Originally posted Apr 14, 2005 Published in issue #816 Apr 22, 2005 Order article reprints