Law & Order: SVU Season One DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.5
Video 7.5
Audio 8.0
Special Features 9.0
Total 8.3
Distributor: Universal
Running Time:
918 minutes
Classification:
MA15+
Reviewer:
Felix Staica

8.5


Law & Order: SVU
Season 1

SVU is the unit of Law & Order dealing with special victims: sex victims and sex crimes, in other words. The trustworthy faces of the ‘elite squad’ were and are on TV every week, investigating and prosecuting crimes that have a sexual nature. The most amazing thing about a show like this is how it gets made at all. In a world of network TV, Bush America, Howard Australia etc etc, mainstream audiences have the option to sit down and switch on sexual violence

Questions of how sanitised the portrayal of these crimes is are not really my point. Anyone who knows a bit about classification in Australia will tell you that the spirit of the rules is very much against combining sex with violence. X18+ is explicit sexuality only, which is why films like Pasolini’s Salo get Refused Classification (RC). And indeed, the stereotype is often that America can tolerate violence of Biblical proportions with impunity, but Janet Jackson’s nipple shakes a nation. So for me, the fact that sexual crimes get mentioned at all is remarkable. 

Unlike the ‘straight’ L&O, where some episodes favour the crime scene and others the courtroom, my impression is that SVU is heavily slanted toward the crime scene and the victims—hence the title—rather than the courtroom and the criminal. This distribution makes sense in my opinion because it allows the impact of ‘evil deeds’ to be better communicated. 

The season’s final episode (1.22—“Slaves”) is about a young Romanian woman taken into a house and never let out of sexual servitude. Or take the amazing and confronting opening episode (1.1—“Payback”) which deals with the difficult issue of Bosnian war crimes and retribution. 

Beside the 22 episodes, the collection also has generous extras, including a substantial featurette on the inception of SVU and what goes into making an episode. This is a must-have for all Law & Order fans and for fans of crime shows in general. Anyone out there who is largely indifferent to plain old crime shows: think of SVU as a saucy, guilty pleasure: a compendium of all those headlines with a dark twist we immediately jump onto and devour whilst skimming the newspaper. 

Felix Staica






 
 



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