‘Law & Order: SVU’: How Ed Tucker Went from Villain to Fan Favorite

by Lauren Boisvert

Ed Tucker was on a handful of “Law & Order: SVU” episodes, and he was trouble in almost every one of them. He first showed up in season 3 episode 14, “Counterfeit.” He was investigating an officer named Al Marcosi, and when the SVU brought Marcosi in on the possible murder of Paula Grace, Tucker berates Cragen for interrupting his investigation. Later, Tucker works with the SVU on the case, but that would be a rare occasion.

Usually, in his work with the Internal Affairs Bureau, Tucker tried to get the SVU detectives demoted. He felt they were the most likely to go off-book and break the rules. Tucker constantly singles out Stabler for his remarks that he “dreams of killing perps.” He investigates Stabler multiple times when a few suspects die on his watch, one from a seizure, and another from a heart arrhythmia.

Tucker investigates the entire “Law & Order: SVU” team at one point after it seems like they’re dragging their feet investigating a child molester. He also interrogates Benson when someone accuses her of murdering a biker. They found her DNA on the body, and Tucker uses her PTSD against her to get her to confess, which is a dirty move. Tucker investigated Stabler multiple times, and even Rollins once, when she shot her sister’s ex-boyfriend in self-defense.

‘Law & Order: SVU’: Ed Tucker’s Turning Point

Tucker held a particular contempt and prejudice for the SVU, and Cragen called him out on it multiple times. He started to change his tune in the episode “Parents’ Nightmare”; he comes to Benson’s office and reveals that he recommended her for the Lieutenant position at the SVU. In the episode “Surrendering Noah,” they meet at a bar and discuss the secret of Noah’s parentage; Tucker promises not to tell anyone about it, and Benson thanks him.

Despite gunning for Amaro over the years, when a suspect shoots Amaro in the line of duty, Tucker actually shows up at his bedside out of genuine concern. He also doesn’t investigate the shooting. In the 2016 episode “Collateral Damages,” he and Benson are closer. It’s rumored that they’re in a romantic relationship; at the very least, they go out for drinks together.

Eventually, Benson and Tucker officially date, even going on a trip to Paris together. Now, he’s turned a corner in his relationship with the SVU. He actively helps them on cases instead of constantly hindering them. This, as well as his romantic relationship with Benson, endeared him to fans. He became a fan favorite, and even executive producer Julie Martin said is was tough to break them up. There’s nothing better than a good “enemies to lovers” trope.

“I think for the first dozen years on this show, he was Javert from Les Miz — the relentless, evil prosecutor who couldn’t see the good in anyone,” said former “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight in 2017. “We just tried to show that this was a human being over time.”