On Law & Order: SVU, fans will occasionally see a chat window pop up on a screen that shows a conversation between two characters, as sometimes happens in real-life chat apps or video games. And that touch of realism is the result of a collaboration between the writers and the graphics team.
“Whenever viewers see a chat window pop up like this, it’s a team effort between the writers and graphics teams! @SVUWritersRoom #SVU,” Wolf Entertainment tweeted on Thursday, alongside a clip illustrating one such collaboration.
Law & Order: SVU Showrunner Talked About Essence of Show
In the clip above, the team behind Law & Order: SVU offered a glimpse of one collaboration that made the writers’ work look relatively easy. But that was just one tiny piece of a much more complex episode. And those hour-long episodes can be difficult to craft.
In a 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Rick Eid talked about the essence of Law & Order: SVU and explained why their episodes, while always topical, are sometimes a bear to write.
“Each and every episode, the obstacle really is how do you find the bad guy and how do you help the victims heal? That’s what’s so great about the show and probably why it’s lasted for 400 episodes,” Eid told THR. “It’s just sort of embedded into the fabric of each episode.”
Showrunner Explained the Difficulty of Writing Topical Episodes
But that simple formula belies the difficulties inherent in grappling with serious stories and issues. Law & Order: SVU draws its inspiration from real-world news, and it can be tough to stay on top of that.
“We are inspired by headlines, we’re definitely aware of what’s going on in society and we draw on that to help inspire episodes,” Eid said. He explained that sometimes they plan an episode only to have current events get away from them a bit.
“When you’re living in the world of being inspired by real-life headlines, sometimes the facts go against you in a way you can’t imagine and all of a sudden what you wrote two months ago feels different than what you might have wrote in the present,” he said. “You just try to write good episodes that are entertaining, that are compelling and that have some sort of zeitgeist features to them and sometimes the world changes on you and all of a sudden, for whatever reason, it no longer makes sense to air it or you’re behind the times of you’re ahead of the times. That’s just a function of playing the game that we play as writers in general.”
Still, as challenging as Law & Order: SVU writers’ jobs can be, they must be doing something right. The long-running show has attracted a crackerjack cast and an army of devoted fans. It just goes to show that their realism and attention to detail have really paid off in the end.