Dick Wolf reinvented the cop drama with the original Law and Order. That flagship program is the longest running drama currently in primetime. There does not seem to be an end in sight. This second version has a bit harder edge; dealing with sex crimes, it was important that the new show didn’t degrade into a “pervert” of the week scenario. The writing is top notch. For me, the addition of Richard Belzer as Homicide’s John Munsch was a stroke of genius. Belzer’s deadpan characterization is a perfect fit for such a sensitive subject. He now holds the record of an actor appearing in 5 TV shows as the same character: Homicide Life On The Street, The X-Files, Oz, Law And Order, and now Law And Order SVU.
“In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit.”
Each episode is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Like any cop drama, this is a completely dialogue driven show. You will be more than satisfied with the quality of the dialogue. It’s always clear. Not much music to speak here.
Each episode is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. I found the colors to be rather soft and grainy. These characteristics should likely be treated as intentional styling and not a defect of the transfer. Still, colors are realistic, if at times grungy. Flesh tones are pretty much reference. Darks are adequate. Overall better than the original broadcast quality.
The episodes are contained in a 6 disc set with both bonus features located on disc 6. “Law and Order Special Victims Unit – The Beginning” is a good comprehensive look at the origins of this now staple show. Interviews with all of the cast members and Dick Wolf provide insight, particularly on the sensitive nature of the subject matter. “Dan Florek Squad Room Walk Through” is a short tour of the sets with the show’s Capt Kragen.
I do have one complaint. Universal appears to be toying with the idea of forcing you to watch ads before getting to the menus. BAD IDEA GUYS. It’s annoying. You can’t menu out of them or step through them. Your only recourse is to fast forward through 3 ads (One for SVU’s NBC timeslot, another for DVD’s, and a final one for the Law and Order video game).
I’m glad to see Universal return to the season sets approach to Law and Order. Both SVU and CI were originally scheduled as a few episodes at a time. The pilots are already available by themselves. There’s a $10 rebate in each box, so save your receipts. Season one was interesting, but I think the show got better in season two. The additions of Ice-T and the group of DA’s were a great improvement. “These are their stories.”