Law & Order: SVU and COVID-19

Evana Brenelus

Staff Writer

When the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by a whirl, everyone had to adapt to the future ahead, including the entertainment businesses. Television shows, more specifically Law & Order: SVU, have started off their new seasons incorporating the pandemic. 

In Season 22 of Law & Order: SVU, not only is the New York Police Department (NYPD) working on regaining trust from the public due to racial tensions and police brutality, but they are following the COVID-19 policies while trying to carry out justice. 

Season 22’s first episode, titled ‘I’m not one of Those Karens,’ aired on Nov. 12, 2020. The scene opens with a Black man getting harassed by a ‘Karen,’ while exercising in Central Park; she then ends up calling the police on him. 

A similar real-life event to the fictional episode took place earlier this year in June when Amy Cooper, a white woman, called the NYPD on an innocent Black man, Christian Cooper. Christian posted a video of the incident and it had gone viral on social media which brought attention to him being racially targeted.

 In contrast to the real life event, Olivia Benson and the rest of the SVU squad were called to investigate a rape that occurred in the park. When the police show up, a few of them are wearing a facial covering mask. As a crowd gathers around the scene, they are asked to keep a safe distance.

During later episodes, when potential suspects are being interrogated, the detectives are seen wearing masks, giving masks to those that do not have one in their possession or creating at least a six feet distance between them. Some episodes also discuss the concerns characters had for the corona virus.

 In the third episode, titled ‘Remember me in Quarantine,’ an Italian foreign exchange student had gone missing and on the search for her, people were telling the detectives how she mostly stayed in her room because she was afraid to catch the virus or end up like her father, who had already caught the virus because of how bad things were in Italy. 

Olivia Benson also tells Sergeant Finn “Hey, mask up” as he goes out to pursue a lead on a case. Instead of handing him a piece of paper with the address, she goes “I’ll text you the address.”

Law & Order: SVU and many other shows have been showing how different the world is now that COVID-19 is here. Maybe seeing how real the pandemic is on television could possibly have an effect on the audience and show them more ways to be cautious. 

This is just the beginning of COVID-19 affecting more than just one’s daily life. 

If you would like to check out a few episodes, Law & Order: SVU is available on a variety of streaming apps such as Hulu, NBC, Peacock, YouTube and many more. 

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