Monday, June 13, 2011

'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' - Season Two (2000)

Starring Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay and Richard Belzer
Created by Dick Wolf

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The Second YearThe detectives of New York's Special Victims Unit are back.  Returning from the season one finale, the results of psychiatric interviews have led to some changes.  Detective Eliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) is on edge, having admitted that he sometimes fantasizes about killing perpetrators while Detective Monique Jefferies (Michelle Hurd) has been deemed a danger to herself, and is transferred out of the unit.  Replacing her is Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola (Ice-T), who joins the unit from Vice.  Also joining the cast is Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) who helps the unit prosecute perpetrators.

Over the course of the season, the detectives of the SVU will take on another round of vicious sex crimes.  In the season opener, Stabler investigates a body found lit on fire at the beach.  Other episodes will see the detectives investigating the honor killing of the daughter of an Afghan diplomat, looking into a schoolyard shooting that points to a young boy, dirty cops, the alleged rape of a teenage girl at a swanky hotel opening gala, the murder of a prominent young gymnast who may have been molested by her trainer, and a desperate race against time to find the victim of a kidnapper/murderer who takes young girls and kills them after three days.

The second season of "Special Victims Unit" is much like the first, but features more horrific crimes and an expanded scope and intriguing cast changes that make it an improvement.  First up, Ice-T makes a fine addition to the cast, his gruff demeanor and street smarts fitting in well on the show.  It takes some time for Fin to fit in with the other detectives, but after a few episodes, it's like he's been there since the beginning.

The other big change is the addition of Stephanie March as ADA Cabot.  While the first season of the show focused solely on the investigation side of the cases, season two expands to begin to include the prosecution.  This introduces a whole lot of legal maneuvering that can oftentimes drive me insane as lawyers manage to get their obviously scumbag clients off on minor technicalities and whatnot. 

"Special Victims Unit" is still very much a police procedural, but now one that follows the format of its predecessor more closely.  But this leads to a bigger, more confident show.