A detective in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes. She is primarily partnered with Elliot Stabler, until he retires. She is tough, empathetic, and completely dedicated to her job, to the point that she is seen as having no personal life. Her dedication sometimes wreaks havoc on her emotional state as she empathizes with victims of sexual assault, having been the child of rape. She has allowed her compassion for victims of abuse to sometimes cloud her professional judgment and impede her ability to remain impartial.
Career Versus Man: In her own words, when men find out what she does for a living, they either "pull away or move in too close".
Child by Rape: Her mom was raped, resulting in Benson's birth. In later seasons, when Olivia begins connecting with her half-brother, it's implied that Olivia's mother may have lied about being raped in order to keep Olivia from contacting her father.
Long Runners: At the end of season 14, Richard Belzer will have played Munch for 20 years (and 21 seasons) as a regular on two different shows (along with cameos and crossover appearances on 8 others), tying him with (or putting him one year ahead of, if measuring by seasons) Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane (on Cheers and Frasier), James Arness as Matt Dillon and Milburn Stone as Doc Adams (both on Gunsmoke) as American television's longest running live action character.
Out of Focus: In later seasons. Munch is often underused, Season 9 featured him in only about half of the episodes and overall Munch has missed 65 episodes of SVU compared to just three episodes of Homicide.
Real Life Writes the Plot: According to ThatOtherWiki, this is because every time Munch appears in an episode, the producers have to pay royalty fees to David Simon, author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, the book which Homicide: Life on the Street is based on. In fact, besides Simon, the producers also had to get permission from Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, the executive producers of Homicide: Life on the Street. Thankfully, both men agreed to waive their royalty rights.
NBC has always had to pay David Simon when Munch made an appearance and yet in early years he made frequent appearances, the problem is not money (which they make tons of) but the fact that the writers just can't seem to write Munch, possibly because they feel they can't live up to Homicide's standards.
Thankfully, he seems to be making a return in Season 14.
What Could Have Been: Originally, upon Homicide's cancellation and after hearing that Benjamin Bratt was leaving the original series, Belzer suggested to Dick Wolf that Munch become Lennie Briscoe's new partner, since they had originally teamed in three Homicide crossovers. Wolf loved the idea, but had already cast Jesse L. Martin as Det. Ed Green.
Almost certainly Actor On Board given the content of his books and stand-up comedy act. Read "UF Os, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Believe" for a good example.
When Belzer was on Homicide he was most definitely a case of Actor on Board, given he described Munch as being 'Me as a cop', and the writers wrote to Belzer's strengths. It's no surprise that the character hasn't lost these traits in his transfer to SVU.
Cap. Donald Cragen
Played By: Dann Florek
The Captain of the Special Victims Unit. As SVU Commanding Officer, he is portrayed as a somewhat stern but understanding father figure to the detectives who work under him, often giving them a great deal of leniency because he trusts their ability to get results.
Badass Grandpa: He's obviously over 50, and he's still capable of handing perps their asses, albeit he does this rarely. Surprisingly, he also refuses to use more force than is absolutely necessary, as he is the most heroic member of the cast.
Berserk Button: As much as he chews them out, he is very protective of his detectives, and at least Casey. After a man brutally assaulted her, he mentioned he'd like to throw the man did it out of a window. Alex, too: when a drug cartel puts out a hit on her, he gives her one of his guns and mentions he already had a friend put the permit in her name.
Hidden Depths: One episode in one of the earlier seasons shows that while he's not an avid video gamer, he's actually a quite talented one, easily beating a game that neither Munch or Fin could get passed the first level on.note They were playing the game to get insight into a adolescent suspect who was obsessed with it and had problems separating fantasy and reality. The climax of the game mirrored the crime scene exactly.
A detective in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. He was raised in Harlem and he served in the United States Army, where he saw combat in Mogadishu. A former undercover narcotics detective, Tutuola replaced Monique Jeffries after she left the squad in 2000. He transferred out of narcotics after his partner was shot.
A senior detective in Manhattan's 16th Precinct, also known as the Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes. He is one of the original members of the squad. A former Marine and a dedicated detective, he has a 97 percent closure rate, but his dedication can turn to obsession and cause him to take cases personally. His dedication to the job also makes him the target for several IAB investigations during the course of his 12-year career at SVU.
Abusive Parents: Hinted at if not outright stated that his father the sane parent was abusive. Also could be considered this with his own children though he is regretful about it.
Anti-Hero: Though fundamentally good and wishing to protect the public and catch criminals, he bends the law to get it done, frequently brutalizes suspects, and is very bigoted and close-minded on sexuality issues.
Berserk Button: Do not, under any circumstances, mess with his kids (or Olivia) in any way. He has also shown himself to be very protective of Casey as well.
One example had him bash a pedo's face in Just for having an old school picture of his youngest daughter. Justified as the Pedo in question had it on a database designed to basically give other pedo's something to masturbate to so they don't go raping kids for real.
Black and White Morality: Deconstructed in "Nocturne". He finds out that the victim (who was molested by his piano teacher) had molested a young boy himself at his piano teacher's insistence. He knows he's a victim, but he pretty much wants to kill him at this point (for obviousreasons).
Characterization Marches On: It's strange to see him in earlier seasons actually spending time with his kids (reading bedtime stories, playing soccer with his daughter) considering his interaction (or lack thereof) with them in later seasons.
Good Catholic: "I try to be a good Catholic, try to raise my kids to be good Catholics..."
Lamp Shaded that he's not as good a Catholic as he'd like to be. When Olivia questions his Black and White Morality going against Christian teachings of infinite patience and forgiveness, he casually replies, "Jesus was perfect, I'm not."
Heroic BSOD: Seemed to be coming closer and closer towards one after Kathy got fed up, left him and took the kids with her.
Actor Allusion: "Secrets Exhumed" begins the same way most Cold Case episodes did, with one character (in this case, Munch) saying that they'd gotten a break in an old case. Munch hands the case file to Amaro.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Amaro joined the show shortly after Elliot left. Like Elliot, Amaro is a Catholic family man with a tumultuous relationship with his wife. He's also shown himself to be slightly unhinged (pulling a gun on an uncooperative witness), though time will tell whether he goes as crazy as Elliot.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Amanda's sister Kim has substance abuse issues and an abusive boyfriend who she set up to be shot by Amanda (she has a history of threatening him) for insurance money which she forged her sister's name to; she also knows about the gambling debts. When Amanda learns the whole truth and Amaro gets Kim on tape, she skips town along with all of her sister's possessions — literally, the only things Amanda has left is her fridge, an ice tray, and Kim's goodbye note.
Refuge in Audacity: In "Guilt": "So, I violated somebody's constitutional rights. I didn't violate the defendant's constitutional rights, so suck it up and admit my evidence." The judge reluctantly allows it through, though Alex does get a 30-day suspension for this.
Badass Pacifist: This man has been in the room with many psychopaths, and more than one has tried to kill him. This has not stopped him from doing his job once.
Berserk Button: Has a rare loss of temper, leading to a public shouting match, when Stabler deliberately sends a mentally ill suspect into a total meltdown in order to get information.
Characterization Marches On: In his first appearance, Huang sports glasses, a perv-stache and his interest in the criminal mind seems vaguely prurient. An episode later, he's glasses-less, clean-shaven, his hair is immaculate, and he's a sensitive and trusted confident to Olivia.
Jurisdiction Friction: Huang's position as a psychiatrist and a member of the FBI occasionally puts him at odds with the rest of the team; on the other hand, he also readily uses FBI resources to help them. Seems to be just as much a personality conflict with Stabler as anything else.
Broken Bird: Specially because her schizophrenic fiancé was drug-addicted and abusive, and and after she finally kicked him out, he died in the streets.) There's also the episode in which she gets the crap beaten out of her by a man angry that she's prosecuting his sister's rapist.
Retcon: Her disbarrment, despite being stated on screen as such, was eventually declared a censure later on down the line, likely so she can have further appearances. In fairness, the character who delivered the news could very easily have gotten wrong information/made an assertion based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
Greylek's assertion about Casey is totally in line with her character.
Indeed Elizabeth Donnelly's exact words were "censure, possible suspension."
Characterization Marches On: He returns for the Season 13 finale totally different—they might as well be different characters. He went from being the overly passionate rookie to a pervy perp who enables and has sex with underage sex traffickers.
There was also the implication that he might be a dirty cop.
Ambiguously Gay: Speculation is rampant as to whether he's gay or bisexual. The one consensus seems to be that he is definitely not straight. The coordinated suspenders, pocket squares, and ties certainly don't help, though.
Idiot Ball: Mistakenly assumed the picture a girl drew of her abuser was her coach. The girl, a terrified nine-year-old child who was browbeaten and pressured by her and Elliot into making the accusation, went along with it to put a stop to it. It actually was the local Jerk Jock, and after Elliot realizes the huge fuck-up, he gets the dude caught.
Heel Face Turn: Not immediately. He starts out serving as the defense for the side opposite the SVU team, but by the time he's a judge, he's not nearly as much of douchebag.
Rules Lawyer: Very strict on his constitutional law interpretations.
Smug Snake: Comes off this way at first. However, he does temper this with being a Graceful Loser, and being willing to admit when he's only defending his client due to a legal interest and does not approve of their actions personally. For example, when defending a Neo Nazi who killed a Jewish child and a black child on a playground:
Casey: Have you had a conversation with him?
Barry: Yes, and I find every word he spews morally repugnant. But his speech, despicable as it may be, doesn't entitle anyone to trample all over his constitutional rights, now, does it?