In the criminal justice system, no matter how horrific or disturbing the cases faced by the detectives of the Special Victims Unit, there are occasional moments that remove the grimness and replace it with hope. These are some examples.
The entirety of Home Invasions. Rollins has a personal connection to the case and . . . consults her reliable friend and partner Finn for advice. He is very concerned for her, instructs her to come clean immediately, and she actually does. The whole team rallies to her defense, and she deals with her problems in a professional and responsible manner. Everyone demonstrates their care and concern and a sense of professional ethics. It is awesome and rare and a wonderful It's Personal episode done right.
Hey! Rollins gets another It's Personal episode, and she's equally awesome! In fact, her (loyal, supportive) friends have to stop her from being too honest and incriminating herself. Seeing everyone rally to help her is just amazing.
In "Theatre Tricks," it turns out that among all the pervs in the poor victim's life, the evildoer was the roommate. Benson comments as she leaves that you'd like to think women would look after one another. Rollins agrees, then unexpectedly calls after her to get home safe.
In "Babes", after a girl's mother is taken to jail for assault, and her brother for murdering the father of her child (he thought she was raped; she wasn't), she's begins crying, because she thinks she's going to be taken to foster care, and she thinks that her family is lost forever. The grandfather of her child then takes her in, despite his son being murdered by her brother, saying there's been too much grief and suffering already. It gave this troper chills, though my description doesn't do it justice.
It helped that the same man (played by Michael Badalucco from The Practice) stood up to his neighbors, who were about two steps away from kicking down the door of the girl's apartment to get at the mother.
Some more credit to the grandfather for having a tough life, a dead schizophrenic son who died horribly and wouldn't come home and a wife who left them believing the ailment to be both 'too much' and 'fake'. He had no reason to be that kind.
No, he didn't. And he did it anyway. Considering the running subplot of the Christian chastity group that included the actual murderer of the pregnant girl mentioned below and repeated references to what "God would want you to do," and it was a nicely subtle way to show what a godly person really would do.
The neighbors were trying to get the mother because they thought she badgered a pregnant girl, a friend of the daughter's responsible for the pregnancy pact and the cause of everything, into hanging herself in her room, which isn't exactly a situation that would bring out that much sympathy.
Another episode has Munch tracking down a serial killer. After they catch him, Munch goes to visit the one that got away, and tells her "You can turn off your lights tonight."
The ending of "Dolls". It has to be seen.
The end of the episode "911" (which itself is probably the CMOA of the series). Good lord. To elaborate, after an absolutely grueling and suspenseful build up, and Liv's badass beatdown of the perp, the detectives are in a race against time to rescue a little girl who was buried alive in an abandoned lot. Until the the literal last minute, the show keeps us guessing as to whether the girl will be found alive or if it would've all been in vain (It wasn't). Olivia's frantic digging leads her to find a trash bag, and what seems to be a Downer Ending- however, this trash bag was full of clothes. She keeps digging again, and finally finds the bag that the girl is in. And the girl is alive. She coughs, and says Olivia's name. The expressions on the face of the little girl and Olivia are indescribable. The whole scene made this troper tear up, and episodes like "911" are the reason I watch SVU.
The ending of "Haunted", where Fin finds the grandson of a woman whose daughter had been killed by drug dealers.
The end of "Denial" has another Fin moment when he gives the victim of the week a sketch of her long dead baby sister, whose face she has been forgetting and she HUGS him in thanks.
Very blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but in the episode Personal Fouls, the new detective Nick Amaro makes an offhanded question to Finn about the comments he'd heard about his predecessor "UnStabler"Elliot and Finn responds by saying Elliot was "a good cop" which shows that in spite of all the antagonism shown between the two characters, Finn still considered Elliot to be a good cop and felt sorry he was gone (even if it was just out of empathy for Benson)
Munch's retirement party alternates between this and funny. There's a lot of heartfelt moments mixed in with teasing.
In Undercover Blue, the entirety of Amaro's reaction to learning he has a nine-year-old son. He starts the episode being a little bit of an Arrogant Cop Guy and is distinctly unsympathetic to Brian Cassidy's predicament, only to get knocked down a few pegs himself when his own indiscretions while working undercover are revealed. One of those indiscretions resulted in a child, which Amaro only learns about when the mother sues for child support. Amaro's first impulse? Is not to look out for his own interests, but to go out and immediately try to establish a relationship with the boy, and then to go Papa Wolf when he's blocked by the kid's drug dealer stepfather. Equally heartwarming is watching the SVU squad help him do exactly that, rallying just as they did for Rollins in her It's Personal episodes.
When Fin's son Ken is nervous about introducing his fiance Alejandro to his father, he seeks out Munch for guidance, and Munch is completely supportive and awesome.
The episode Liberties is a questionable one. The judge presiding over the case for one defendant is revealed to be the defendant's long lost father. The realization and reunion at the end was so amazing.
One of the last scenes of "Stranger," when the poor girl is finally reunited with her mother after six long years of being kept as a sex slave by her father.
In "Savior," the victim, Gladys's, genuine joy and excitement over the prospect of having a child, her determination to turn over a new leaf and be a good mom, and her singing a lullaby to her baby in the hospital when she's born prematurely. Which only makes Gladys leaving Olivia in charge of the child for the baby's own good even more heartbreaking.