Now that’s how to set up a season-ending cliffhanger!
Fans are divided over Barba’s declaration of love at the end of Law & Order Season 23 Episode 22, quickly separating into Team Barba, Team Stabler, and Team Nobody. That’ll keep people talking all summer, but it’s far from the only thing we’re looking forward to as the iconic series heads into its record-breaking 24th season.
SVU has always put victims front and center. For many years, Benson has been the fantasy cop that many real-life survivors wished they could cross paths with.
Some fans have been unhappy with the series’s direction recently, though.
While SVU has always included some of the cops’ personal lives in the story (the Stabler family always had some drama going on during the first 12 seasons!), it seems to have veered a bit off course lately.
It’s focused too much on the personal and not showing the same consideration for victims as it used to.
For example, the series abruptly dropped the recent story in which a friend’s brother bullied Noah during a playdate.
Many fans appreciated that Noah came out as bisexual but found it strange that Benson didn’t follow up on investigating what was going on with the family that abused him.
It didn’t seem normal that a pre-teen boy was locking other kids in the dog’s cage. That should have raised alarm bells for Benson, and viewers expected her to look into whether there was more abuse happening in that home.
Similarly, SVU didn’t handle the whole Burton Lowe thing properly.
It was one thing for Benson to come to terms with the fact that the guy she thought she loved as a teenager had been grooming her. That could have added another layer to Benson’s passion for helping sexual assault survivors.
But having a follow-up story in which Benson willingly spent time with him, was eager to forgive him, and seemed to take his side over his other victims’ was beyond the pale.
Hopefully, Season 24 will correct these errors and continue to be the strong voice for survivors it has always been. Check out our full wish list for the new season below.
More focus on helping survivors get justice and healing.
SVU has always stood up for survivors, but as we discussed above, it’s gone somewhat off-course lately.
We’d like more of Benson’s over-dedication as she ensures that survivors are okay.
She often acts more like a social worker than a cop, and we’d love more of her speeches encouraging the people she’s helping.
More blast-from-the-past guest stars.
The Barba/Benson/Stabler love triangle means that Raul Esparza will likely make more guest appearances.
We’d love some other blasts from the past! With 23 years of material to choose from, SVU has a ton of past regulars, whether cops, DAs, or former victims, that we’d love to catch up with.
Retired Detective John Munch is near the top of our list, as are more visits from retired Captain Don Cragen, ex-ADA Alex Cabot, and former Deputy Chief Christian Garland.
More courtroom drama.
While we were skeptical when Carisi first jumped from the cop to the ADA side of things, he’s proven to be a formidable, justice-oriented ADA.
He makes an entertaining adversary for Barba, and his need to balance the desire for justice with what makes a winnable case causes drama in his relationships with his former SVU colleagues, especially now that he’s dating Rollins.
Law & Order: SVU shouldn’t just be about the police side of things, so let’s bring on the courtroom drama in Season 24.
More cases that make the detectives grapple with personal dilemmas.
While every case can’t be personal, it’s always more compelling when a detective has a reason for the case to be close to their heart.
Cases involving the characters’ families always make for powerful drama (though we don’t need any more Porter family drama, thanks!), as do stories involving significant issues such as Carisi’s struggle with his faith.
There’s also always the trope of the unsolved case from years ago that has haunted a detective forever. We’d love for SVU to put that one to good use.
More of Benson’s therapy sessions.
Benson’s healing journey after her ordeal at William Lewis’ hands has been compelling and allowed her to be a role model for real-life survivors.
In therapy, she’s grappled with her PTSD reactions and, more recently, her fears of intimacy and difficulty figuring out her work/life balance or her roles as Noah’s mother and as the lead SVU detective.
Her session at the beginning of Law & Order: Season 23 Episode 22 helped raise the stakes for the love triangle and made for compelling TV. Let’s hope there’s more of this coming up in Season 24!
Follow-up on that awful experience Noah had at another child’s house.
As we mentioned earlier, Benson should have been more worried about what was going on at that house where Noah was bullied.
It’s not too late to correct this oversight!
During Season 24, Benson could be revealed to have been looking into this family all along, an offhand comment from Noah could make her realize there’s more to this than a simple bullying matter, or a case could open her eyes as to what’s going on.
More of Benson exploring the possibility of romance.
Some fans prefer to keep romance on soap operas and want SVU to focus only on each week’s case, but that’s not realistic.
SVU has ALWAYS included the cops’ personal lives, and Benson has had boyfriends before.
With two old friends potentially wanting more, Benson can and should explore the possibility of romance during Season 24. Why shouldn’t she get the same happily-ever-after as anyone else?
Over to you, SVU fanatics! Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you want to happen during Law & Order: SVU Season 24.
If you need your SVU fix during the summer hiatus, don’t forget you can watch Law & Order: SVU online right here on TV Fanatic.
Law & Order: SVU is part of NBC’s Law & Order Thursday programming block. It will return for its 24th season in the Fall of 2022.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.