‘Law & Order: SVU’: Was Olivia Benson’s Promotion Bad for the Show?

by Matthew Wilson

Olivia Benson is the captain, now. Over the course of “Law & Order: SVU,” fans watched as the character slowly moved up the ranks. These days, Marisa Hargitay’s character is running the whole show. But has that been bad for the show overall?

One passionate “Law & Order” fan certainly thinks so. They lament the days of old when Benson just held the lowly rank of detective and partnered with Christopher Meloni’s Elliot Stabler on cases. According to the Redditor, crime shows thrive on the dynamic between partners. But since Benson is the head honcho now, she doesn’t have a partner.

“A very important part of cop shows is the partner dynamics, almost always in 2,” they wrote. “Now, Benson got promoted so she has more power and control which opens up new options. Yet, she decides to show up in so many scenes, often with a different detective because lieutenants+ don’t have partners.”

Benson started out as the rank of detective on the show. But during Season 15, Benson earned the rank of sergeant and acting commanding officer. Two seasons later, she rose to lieutenant and official commanding officer of the SVU. Later in Season 21, Benson makes it all the way up to captain. For some, the show lost a little bit of its magic when she changed positions.

“And while she acts like a detective when on the scene, she immediately reverts back to boss mode and starts demanding answers,” the fan continued. “I think this decision made by producers of the show, really killed 2 partner dynamics and focus is just on Benson and whoever she wants to take along.”

Fans Debate ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Promotion

But it can also be argued that the show might have grown stale if Olivia Benson never moved up. With each new promotion, “Law & Order: SVU” opened up new story opportunities. Given the show has been on the air for over 20 years and counting, it has to shake things up to be interesting.

Likewise, one fan doesn’t expect Benson to take an active role in the upcoming season. After all, her actor injured herself earlier this summer.

“Due to the injuries, Mariska has sustained this summer, I predict she won’t be doing as much running around at the crime scenes,” one fan wrote.”I expect her doctor has advised her to slow down. Not that 57 is old (it isn’t) but when you do reach a certain age, it takes longer to heal, and perhaps your bones don’t get back to full strength.”

Another pointed out that while Benson doesn’t have an active partner, the show still very much focuses on this dynamic. Over the past season, “Law & Order” welcomed Stabler back into the fold. And his friendship and former partnership with Benson were very much a focus.