From the popular and award-winning Law & Order franchise comes Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit. This hard-hitting and emotional series chronicles the exciting cases of the NYPD's Special Victims Unit as they try ... more »to crack the city's most heinous crimes. With a celebrated cast that includes Christopher Meloni (Twelve Monkeys, TV's Oz), Mariska Hargitay (Lake Placid, TV's ER), Dann Florek (Beautiful Joe, The Flintstones), Richard Belzer (Jump, TV's Homicide: Life on the Street), Dean Winters (TV's Oz), and Michelle Hurd (Random Hearts), and featuring such notable guest stars as Angie Harmon (TV's Law & Order), Jerry Orbach (TV's Law & Order), Andrew McCarthy (St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty in Pink), Bebe Neuwirth (TV's Frasier, Cheers) and Camryn Manhein (TV's The Practice), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The First Year is a must-have DVD collection.« less
If you are a fan of Law and Order Special Victims Unit then you must collect this very first season and see how it all begins.. loved it! *****
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Gritty and Important
Adam Dukovich | 10/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first Law and Order Spinoff series, Law and Order: SVU is an often stark and depressing look into the most destructive crimes being committed today. This series offers an uncompromising look into the minds of some truly disturbing sex offenders and reminds us about what happens every day that we'd rather just ignore. Occasionally lurid and often brilliant, this show combines Law and Order's entertaining, 'ripped-from-the-headlines' storytelling while reminding its audience about what is casually glossed over in the news every night.Although the original Law and Order was very much a story-driven show, this incarnation focused much more on the lives of the detectives on the Special Victims Unit. Christopher Meloni plays Detective Stabler, a family man who is very dedicated to his work. The fact that he has a wife and daughters makes him a very interesting character and adds to his movivation to get the job done, to get the bad guys off the street, so that it won't be his daughters being abused next. His partner, Detective Bensen, is played by Mariska Hargitay. She is in the work for different reasons. The fact that she herself was the product of a rape makes her also a very interesting character, as her motivations for being in the unit are very complicated. Richard Belser reprises his role from 'Homicide' as Detective John Munch, and he brings a lot of black humor to the show. It's just fun to watch him work, and Belser is a terriffic actor. His partner in the first year was Michelle Hurd, although she would later be supplanted by Ice-T. Hurd played a slightly off-kilter policewoman who wasn't quite prepared for the rigors of the job and was forced off the squad at year's end. Rounding out the cast was Dann Florek, reprising his role as Captain Cragen from the original Law and Order. I loved him in that series, and he is great here, too, walking the line between being tough and supportive with his detectives.Although more emphasis was placed on the characters, this was still Law and Order, and that meant that the stories would have to be pretty darn good. And they were. The first season dealt with a plethora of sex abuses including rape, incest, child abuse, statutory rape, and more. Subsequent seasons would have a greater variety of story devices, but the first season was definitely a firm foundation for what turned out to be a fine series.Bottom line: if you feel the need to be happy or uplifted after watching a program, this might not be for you. It is sad, haunting, and some of the stories will stick with you for a long time, much like the crimes it depicts. However, it has a ring of truth to it, it is still thrilling, and occasionally, we see an episode that really makes one think about a society which can produce such miscreants. Not a feel-good show at all, but an important one. Highly recommended."
Another Great Spin-Off From the Original L & O!
K. Downey | Atmore, AL | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dick Wolf masterminded another great spin-off from the Law & Order franchise with Law & Order SVU (originally titled Sex Crimes)which consistently now ranks in the top 20 shows. This DVD set is an exciting way to capture the beginnings of the series and to see how much growth has occurred in the writing and character development. The series manages to tackle a number of gripping sexually based subjects without being exploitative. In fact, the writing on this series is top-notch and never seems to grow stale or contrived.As the intro to each episode states, the SVU, or Special Victims Unit, is in charge of particularly heinous crimes that are sexually based. Lead detectives are Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni). Detective Munch (Richard Belzer) is paired first with Cassidy (Dean Winters) and later with Jefferies (Michelle Hurd). Ice-T doesn't become Munch's partner until season two. The entire group of detectives is commanded by Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek).As a previous viewer stated there are commercials at the beginning of disc one, but on that disc only. The set includes 22 full length episodes including the pilot for the series. Two featurettes are also on the final disc. Special Victims Unit: The Beginning features cast members and producers giving insight into the making of and success of the show. Dann Florek's Squad Room Walk Through clues us into life on the set and little tidbits about the squadroom such as the photo on Olivia's desk (that of Mariska's real mother, Jayne Mansfield with her two dogs Momsicle and Popsicle), the wanted pictures on the bulletin board (actually crew and office workers), the rationale behind props in Captain Cragen's office, and many more insider scoops.If you're a fan of great writing and acting as well as cop shows, this is one set you can't miss. The fifth season of SVU is slated to be released on September 7th in time for the fall premiere of season six. After that, Universal is reportedly going to go back and release the other seasons in the actual order."
Charlotte | Michigan, United States | 04/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This show has impacted me enough to want to spend $50 on a boxed DVD set. I watch it every night and when I am not watching it, I'm studying it.First of all, I love the first season, I must say. Mariska Hargitay looks absolutely beautiful as the empathic Detective Olivia Benson, a character I have fallen in love with. Christopher Meloni is nothing less than hot as Detective Elliot Stabler, and the chemistry between the two is absolutely extraordinary. They are what pull you in, whether you realize it or not.Of course, Richard Belzer as John Munch is great - the character's dry sense of humor is fantastic, and he can sense a conspiracy in anything. There are quite a few people that I know of who, in part, watch the show because of him.Michelle Hurd is a very strong actress as Monique Jeffries - I was very sad when she left - and Dean Winters did a good job during the duration of Brian Cassidy's too short stay.The plotlines are compelling - you are left wondering how people can do such things, especially when they get away with it. There are many amazing episodes in this season especially - Stalked comes to mind immediately. As Liv is my favorite character, this episode really struck a chord with me. But I'm drawn to those types of plotlines as it is.Overall, you can't go wrong with a cast like this. The chemistry between all of the characters - especially between Benson and Stabler - is overwhelmingly good sometimes. I really hope you take time to watch this season. The only complaint I have is the lack of the fantastic Stephanie March as ADA Alexandra Cabot - guess we'll have to wait for Season 2 for more of her."
Worth it, but needs more special features
A. Jarrells | VA United States | 12/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chances are that if you're thinking about buying this set, you've seen the show enough to judge the quality. The writing is top-notch, the acting is great, and the cases tend to strike an emotional chord within us who want to see sex offenders brought to justice. I won't bore you with an episode-by-episode rundown. The show is set up differently from regular Law & Order in that you actually get to know the characters from their private lives and why they react to certain crimes and criminals the way they do.
Now, the question you want answered is: Is it worth the money? The series alone is. It's highly entertaining and captivating. The special features are a little scarce, with only two good but short featurettes. In my opinion, ever dvd set of a television series should really go all out with the features. Let the public in on the process! Give us some outtakes and behind the scenes goodies. We know you have them! The show gets 5 stars, the set 4. Definitely worth the 40 bucks, but it would be nice to be let in on a little more."