Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The Complete Eleventh Season
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Primetime Emmy® Award nominee Christopher Meloni returns as Detective Elliot Stabler, and he stars with Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson—the role that earned her six consecutive Primetime Emmy Award® nominations and one win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This 5-disc set contains all 24 gripping episodes from the eleventh season in which the officers track down the most deviant of criminals, including dangerous religious fanatics, serial rapists and child predators. They also grapple with deeply personal matters as Stabler helps his troubled son and Benson finds herself the prime suspect in a violent case. Impressive guest stars include Sharon Stone (Casino), Eric McCormack (TV’s Will & Grace), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game), Naveen Andrews (TV’s Lost), Jill Scott (Why Did I Get Married?) and legendary French actress Isabelle Huppert. The recipient of 22 Primetime Emmy® Award nominations, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has critics raving, “Meloni and Mariska Hargitay have some of the best chemistry on television” (TVFanatic.com).
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The one weakness of the season deals with the ADA. Alex Cabot is back. She's sort of like a cockroach, she just won't die! First she leaves then she comes back and then leaves and now she's back again! The show has struggled to find a decent ADA since Casey Novak was disbarred two seasons ago. Just as we're getting comfortable with Cabot again, she decides all of a sudden that she wants to go prosecute bad guys in Africa. Ummmm, what? Okay, so she's gone again, and they bring in Sharon Stone. Sharon Stone is just painful to watch. She's just awful. It's hard to believe this is the same actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Casino. Hopefully, we can get it together for Season #12.
The addition of Christine Lahti for the first few episodes was great. I wasn't sure if I was going to like her, but I was pleasantly surprised. I'm glad she didn't stick around for the entire season though. It was great to see Stephanie March back for several episodes. I wish she was back for good, but the way in which she was written out this time (unlike last time when she was put into the witness protection program) was very well done. Overall, this is definitely one of my favorite seasons of the show.
Also, even though the price is (or was...not sure if the current price is what it originally was) a little high, at least the season was released fairly quickly after the season aired on TV. I remember when the show first went on DVD, it wasn't until the 5th season was aired. And even then season 1 wasn't released first. So I'm just glad that NBC/Universal is releasing the seasons like nearly every other show.
Law and Order SVU deals with the special crimes. The crimes that make your stomach turn and a tear come out of your eye because they are so brutal and heartbreaking. In this season we have a couple of episodes that are especially heartbreaking. "Anchor" is said because it involves children, but it also handles the topic of immigration, which is a conflicting one for a lot of people. "Quickie" I sympathized with the grandfather of the suspect and it was a hard one to watch as a result. Again in this season there is kind of a cliffhanger ending involving the medical examiner. But it wasn't quite as gut wrenching as the tenth season's cliffhanger.
I was once again disappointed with how much screentime Belzer and Ice-T get. They really aren't used that effectively. Don't get me wrong, I love Meloni and Hargitay, but just to have some fresh faces on the scene now and then would be nice. Use everybody to their best abilities. Florek doesn't make as many appearances as Cragan either. I was also a little less than impressed with the ADA's this season. When comparing them to March and Neal they just don't relate to the audience as well. In fact, I find myself wishing that they didn't have more screentime than Belzer and Ice-T and that we stay out of the courtrooms and in the policework areas so we don't have to watch them. But the way this show runs through ADA's I shouldn't have to contend with them too long.
This is a hard show to watch because of all the violence and rape and other traumatizing things. There is a lot of legwork by the detectives which takes up screen time, but it doesn't mean that there isn't something hard to watch in every episode. A kind of viewer beware type of thing if hard topics are not what you like to watch.
I'm eager to see what the twelfth season brings. Despite this season having a couple flaws it is still immensely watchable and one of the most popular shows on television.
Review by M. Reynard 2013