Law & Order: SVU TV Poster Image

Law & Order: SVU



Grisly, sensationalized crimes; not meant for kids.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Good usually triumphs over evil, but not after highlighting the perpetration of unusual (and often extremely deviant) crimes.

Positive role models

The nature of the crimes often take a toll on the detectives and lawyers, which causes them to get too emotionally involved in cases and/or to making poor choices in their daily lives.


The show specifically focuses on violent (and often sensational) crimes that also involve sex in some way. There's some gunplay as well. Scenes can be graphic.


Many types of sexual crimes are perpetrated against women, kids, and other victims, including rape, incest, mutilation, and more.


A few "damns," "asses," and "bastards."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drugs often figure prominently in the plotlines.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is the most sensationalized of the Law & Order franchises. Graphic, unusual crimes are the norm, and victims are frequently women and children -- making the show potentially upsetting for younger teens coming into their own sexuality.

What's the story?

LAW & ORDER: SVU centers on "the elite squad of detectives who investigate sexually based crimes" -- known as the Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department. Detective Elliot Stabler (played with barely restrained anger by Christopher Meloni) is the seasoned cop whose role is the tough-outside, tender-inside hero. His partner is Detective Olivia Benson (played brilliantly and sympathetically by Mariska Hargitay). One or the other always becomes emotionally involved with the hideous crime at hand. Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek, reprising the role he played on the first three seasons of Law & Order 1990-93), is the department chief overseeing the sardonic Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer). Munch's partner, Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola (played by rapper Ice-T), adds a percentage of "street cred" to the show. Assistant district attorney Casey Novak (Diane Neal), forensic psychiatrist George Huang (B.D. Wong), and medical examiner Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) round out the SVU crew.

Is it any good?


Law & Order: SVU is the most disturbing of the NBC Law & Order franchises. Now entering its seventh season, this show is often more popular with younger kids because of the sensationalistic nature of the crimes involved. This show ramps up the natures of the crimes -- rapes, incest, dead infants -- and therefore is not for the faint at heart or the young.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the natures of the crimes. Parents can reassure their children that these crimes, while very real, probably won't happen to them. But families can also discuss the psychological consequences of some of the show's frequent themes.

TV details

Premiere date:September 20, 1999
Cast:Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Richard Belzer
Networks:NBC, Syndicated
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Teen, 15 years old Written byccv23 April 28, 2011

Great show! but not made for kids

This is a very entertaining but disturbing show. I started watching it when i was 10 and i enjoyed it but sometimes i would turn off the tv because it was too scary haha. This show was definetly not made for kids but i think teens can handle it. Almost every episode has educated and trained people bringing criminals to justice so it has some good messages.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great role models
Parent Written bysperryking July 9, 2011

Parents relax its great show for mature teens 12+

The series is a way to show what really happens everyday and how justice is or isn't served in a rather entertaining and interesting way.the suspenseful series leaves you wanting to watch more and may inspire older kids to potentially work in that field of work.(kids should know that it takes hard work and a long time to become a detective and handle crimes like the actors o the show do, also inform them that they have their share in heavy paper work and there is much more to being a cop)alot of parents choose to smuggle there kids and not introduce them to things in the real world thinking that there protecting them. if your child is 12+ years old they should be allowed to watch this show because it helps kids understand how justice should be served and they should always inform the police about crimes. and for the people who think no one under 17 should watch you need to realize that kids can handle more than you think and there gonna learn these things either on the show or on the streets. 16 is ridiculously close to a young adult and should be exposed to these type of situations so they can understand how to handle it. i know a girl(age 16) who recently and intentionally had unprotected sex because she didnt know that she could get pregnant when she's not on her period.The result of a very overprotecive parent who tried to mold her daughter into the perfect child by not letting educating her about dangers, sex and its consequences if not 12, 14 year olds should be aloud to watch it i've been watching this since i was 11
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 11, 12, and 18+ year old Written byMarlon baker December 23, 2013

It depends on the child you have

My child loves this show and wants to be just like Olivia (one of the characters) when she grows up and she is 12 years old! I think it depends on the child you have if you think that your child isn't ready, in other words if you think that maybe it will send the wrong message, then just go with your gut. I started my child with other law and orders, because there are TONS out there, when I thought she was ready I let her watch the SUV, she LOVED it and still does! Her favorite part is finding out the Mysteries! I think it teaches problem solving skills. There are some positive role models in the addicting show but be careful if your kid is too young then it just might send a mixed message. Keep in mind that not all crime shows have rapes in them just pick the kind you want your kid to watch. The only language in the show are a few H's and D's if you know what I mean. There are a few scenes in the bar REMEMBER: teaches problem solving skills Has positive role models ( good guys: cops/bad guys) Of course it has violence! Has sex, rapes, kiddnaps, Ect but there are different law and orders on deferent channels Only "H" words and "D" words Be sure to tell your child that these crimes probably will happen but not to them even though it expanse that at the very beginning of every show
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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