Law and Order: SVU, Whoopi Goldberg


We have a confession to make: we are Law & Order: Special Victims Unit addicts. Phew! Glad that's out there.

SVU addicts like us have seen every episode in the 17 seasons it has been running. Most times we binge-watch them on a Friday while eating an entire stuffed crust pizza. Well, guess what? It is okay to be addicted to and binge-watch Law & Order. Science says go!

Our heroes at Washington State University did a study about how binge-watching crime shows effects our attitudes and perceptions toward sexual violence. They conducted the study using Law & Order, NCIS and CSI as the different drama franchises to study.

Mariska Hargitay, SVU Hair Gallery

Will Hart/NBCU Photo Bank

The study was conducted at a large Northwestern University using 313 freshman. Let's face it, college students are the best at binge-watching pretty much anything so you know these coeds were up to the task. 

The study found that viewers were less likely to accept rape culture myths and were more likely to refuse unwanted sexual activity. The reason why Law & Order was more effective than it's crime show counterparts is because it breaks down rape myths, like "if a woman has been drinking and she is raped, she is somewhat responsible" or that strippers and sex workers are not "victims." None of the female victims on SVU are "asking for it" or "had it coming." They are realistic portrayals of victims of sexual violence. 

Law & Order: SVU


Participants in the study had increased intentions to adhere to decisions related to sexual consent and researchers also found that viewers seeing perpetrators receive jail time or endure lengthy trials in courtrooms had a positive effect on them.

Series star Mariska Hargitay is a crusader in real life to end sexual violence. Hargitay has a charity organization called The Joyful Heart Foundation to support survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. As if we didn't love her enough already!

Since we are clearly experts on the subject, we thought you might want a list of our favorite (and the best) episodes from every season to begin your Law & Order: SVU binge-watching extravaganza. Do it because science says so!

Season 1, Episode 21: "Slaves" 
Season 2, Episode 20: "Pique"
Season 3, Episode 22: "Competence"
Season 4, Episode 6: "Angels"
Season 5, Episode: "Brotherhood"
Season 6, Episode 12: "Identity"
Season 7, Episode 10: "Storm"
Season 8, Episode 17: "Sin"
Season 9, Episode 1: "Alternate"
Season 10, Episode 2: "Confession"
Season 11, Episode 15: "Confidential"
Season 12, Episode 12: "Possessed"
Season 13, Episode 7: "Russian Brides"
Season 14, Episode 19: "Born Psychopath"
Season 15, Episode 20: "Girl Dishonored" (By far the most difficult season to choose from, too many good episodes)
Season 16, Episode 16: "December Solstice" (Featuring a cameo by our own E! Online TV Scoop writer Chris!)
Season 17, Episode 2: "Transgender Bridge"

We chose a comprehensive list of episodes that deal with all kinds of issues. Law & Order: SVU has been doing stories about gender identity, racial profiling and sexual consent for years. There are some amazing guest star appearances on that list as well, so DVR your heart out.

Thank you, Olivia Benson and the rest of the Law & Order team for all that you have taught us. Turn on an episode (or an entire season!) and see what SVU can do for you. 

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