Law & Order: Special Victims Unit-The Second Year (2000)

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Released 7-Mar-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 879:14 (Case: 886)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Guy Norman Bee
Juan José Campanella
Alexander Cassini
Joyce Chopra
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Christopher Meloni
Mariska Hargitay
Richard Belzer
Ice-T
Stephanie March
Dann Florek
Case ?
RPI $79.95 Music Rob Dougan
Mike Post


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

   

    "In the criminal justice system, sexually based offences are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad called the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories."

    The Law & Order franchise is one of the most successful sets of TV series both in the US & here in Australia. The flagship series, Law & Order, started in 1990 and is now in its 16th season with no signs of slowing down. There have now been 4 spin-off series from the original, including Special Victims Unit (SVU), Criminal Intent, a less successful reality based one, Crime & Punishment and new in 2005, Trial by Jury.

    The basic formula of all of these series is quite similar. They present realistic crimes from the perspective of the police officers trying to solve them and the District Attorneys trying to prosecute the perpetrators. They are all set in New York City (with the exception of Crime & Punishment) and each series focuses on a different squad of officers. The main differences between the series are the types of crimes and the level of involvement of the District Attorneys. SVU is more focused on the detectives and less on the court cases than the original series. This series does introduce a permanent DA character, so the court case side is a little more prominent than Series 1.

    Law & Order - Special Victims Unit was first aired in 1999 and this set contains the second complete season (2000/01 in the US) totalling 21 episodes. I previously reviewed Season 1.This was the first spin-off from the original series. The special victims unit is the unit which investigates sex related offences such as rape, child abuse and sexually-charged murders. This makes the series by its very nature darker and more confronting than the original Law & Order and some fans of the original series may not enjoy this one. On the other hand, this series is more emotional and dramatic for the same reasons.

    This second series sees the introduction of a new strong female character in ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March), who becomes a permanent cast member. Also added to replace Detective Jeffries (who appears in a couple of episodes here) is Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), a new detective. These additions make this the strongest overall cast of any of the Law & Order franchise.

    The main characters are :

    In detail, the episodes (which are spread over 6 discs) included are:

1. Wrong is Right - Stabler is returning home with his young daughter when he finds a body on a beach with its crotch on fire. His daughter sees this. Also, the psych evaluations done in the last season come back negatively on Stabler and Jeffries. Fin Tutuola is introduced. An excellent first episode. Michelle Hurd guests.

2. Honor - An Afghan woman is found raped, stabbed and beaten in Central Park. Suspicion falls on a group of youths who have been annoying women in the park.

3. Closure (Pt II) - A 911 call reports a rape but it gets cut off. They trace it to find a woman trying to clean herself up in her apartment. The MO is similar to a case in Season 1. The previous episode was called Closure.

4. Legacy - A 7 year old girl doesn't wake up in the morning and is found to have a large mark on the back of her neck and there are indication of sexual and physical abuse. She is part of a custody battle. Very good episode.

5. Baby Killer - An excellent episode which involves the prosecution of a 7 year old boy for the shooting murder of a 6 year old girl in the playground.

6. Non Compliance - The night manageress of a convenience store is found brutally raped and murdered. Another seriously injured victim is found just outside the shop.

7. Asunder - A married couple are seen constantly fighting. The wife reports the husband for rape but the investigation becomes complex when it is revealed the husband is a cop. Michelle Hurd guests.

8. Taken - A hotel magnate opens a new hotel and a young woman is raped during the party. Olivia has some personal issues. Very good episode.

9. Pixies (AKA Little Women) - The dead body of a petite 12-15 year old woman is found behind a dumpster. She had been raped.

10. Consent - Joggers find a college student raped in the bushes. A bum they see near her runs off as they approach.

11. Abuse - A young kid runs out of his own birthday party chasing a man. The boy is run over and killed. The man is accused of molesting him.

12. Secrets (AKA Apartments to Die For) - A school teacher is found spread eagled on her bed naked and seems to have been raped and strangled.

13.Victims - A guy who Stabler send to jail for raping a 7 year old girl gets shot three times in the head. Stabler & Benson are forced to investigate.

14. Paranoia - Two uniformed police get called to a warehouse. They get separated and the female officer is raped and brutalized. She is known to Benson.

15. Countdown - A dead 8 year old girl who has been raped falls out of a van while it is stopped at roadworks.

16. Runaway - An excellent episode which is shown in flashback during the team's investigation by Internal Affairs over the case. It involves the runaway daughter of a policeman.

17. Folly - A naked guy with head wounds comes running into a wedding reception being held in a major hotel.

18. Manhunt - A guy in a green 4X4 snatches a young woman off the street. His MO is the same as a man who kidnapped, raped and murdered four women previously.

19. Parasites - Guys installing a Jacuzzi into a backyard dig up the body of a dead woman. The body is accompanied by a cross and bondage gear. Very good episode.

20. Pique - The body of a woman is found by the river with a knife in her back and signs of rape. She was pregnant. Guest star: Margot Kidder and this also is the first appearance of B D Wong as Dr George Huang.

21. Scourge - A married couple leaving a play are bumped into by a man in a hood leaving blood on them. After her runs off, they find a burning body which has been butchered and mutilated. B D Wong appears again.

    This is high quality television, with all episodes being very well written and acted. The show is amazingly consistent in quality across the 21 episodes and to my mind is even better than the first season which was excellent. The show is now in its seventh season in the US. Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. It does not have the clarity of film but this is to be expected. There was some light grain. The shadow detail was decent.

    The colour was generally good, however it did seem a little dull, although this is probably mostly due to the colour palette of this series keeping with its dark and sombre mood.

    From an artefacts perspective there was some minor macro-blocking to be seen but not much else.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer changes occur between episodes.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this series by Mike Post features the theme tune which is a slightly different version of the theme tune from Law & Order. There is also incidental music which adds tension as appropriate.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Unlike Season 1, no extras are included at all.

Menu

    The menu included scenes, music and the ability to select episodes. A play all option was available on each disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc, when compared to Region 1, misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis the Region 1 version of the disc is clearly the winner. The Region 2 set is the same as ours.

Summary

    A top quality series of an excellent TV show.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good, doing everything this show requires.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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