Throughout its more than 20-year run on TV, Law & Order: SVU has gone through its fair share of major changes. In addition to Chris Meloni’s earth-shattering departure after Season 12 (and subsequent return in Season 22), the iconic police procedural has seen countless character debuts and exits and several new showrunners.
For series creator Dick Wolf, maintaining an ever-changing landscape is crucial to a successful long-running show. For fans, some of these changes are welcome, while others take some getting used to.
Chris Meloni’s departure, for example, was universally hated, while his return sent fans into a joyous frenzy. Enough about Chris Meloni? If you say so.
In a recent Reddit thread, SVU fans discussed one change in particular – the long lineup of showrunners the series has had in 23 years. Though every season of SVU thus far has been a success, fans firmly believe one producer stands out from the rest.
For context, there are 7 producers who claimed the title of Law & Order: SVU Showrunner at some point in their career:
- Robert Palm (Season 1)
- David Burke (Season 2)
- Neal Baer (Seasons 3-12)
- Warren Leight (Season 13-17; 21-23)
- Rick Eid (Season 18)
- Michael Chernuchin (Seasons 19-20)
David Graziano is the newest addition to the lineup. As he has yet to produce an episode, however, he’s not in the running for best showrunner.
This ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner is the Clear Favorite Among Fans
With 6 producers to choose from and 23 seasons to consider, “favorite showrunner” might seem a tough choice for fans to make. Law & Order fans are extremely dedicated to their beloved show, however, and can recall their favorite seasons, and therefore their favorite producers, at the drop of a hat.
“Personally, I think Leight had the best show running seasons but I strongly believe Chernuchin carried some great seasons as well,” wrote the thread’s creator. Though Leight got a little love in the replies, no one else mentioned Chernuchin.
The overwhelming response was Neal Baer, the showrunner behind the majority of the Chris Meloni seasons (last one, I swear). One fan hilariously admitted they had no idea who Neal Baer is but voted for him anyway. “I don’t know who he is,” they wrote. “But based on the seasons, Neal Baer, and it’s not even close.”
Dick Wolf’s Colleagues Explain the Producer’s Enduring Success
Dick Wolf, creator of three of the largest TV universes in history – Law & Order, One Chicago, and FBI – recently sat down with Variety for a rare interview. During the interview, Dick Wolf gave some insight into what it’s like to build 3 separate but coexisting universes and 9 different shows.
It’s what his colleagues said about him, however, that truly explained Wolf’s enduring success in television. “His understanding of his audience is unparalleled,” said NBC Exec Susan Rovner. “It amazes me, constantly. It comes from doing this for so long and learning what his audience responds to. He really pays attention.”
“The priority is telling stories that move an audience,” added Greg Berlanti, fellow producer. “The real value of any show is ultimately its relationship with an audience. Dick Wolf makes shows that people love and love to talk about.”