Review on Episode "911"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s episode "911" is the only type of program that will save television from itself.
Every once in a while, I found myself smitten by a new television show, and while normally monogamous with my shows to the point where I can only have one favorite at a time, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has wedged its way into my soul forever due to this one episode. In a world where reality television and game shows reign supreme over quality writing and stunning performances, Law & Order: SVU shows in "911" what every screenwriter and actor should attempt to emulate.
So rare it has become that an episode moves its audience through thrilling performances and jaw-dropping writing that I came upon this episode expecting to be entertained, but was instead enthralled. "911" contains every element that makes SVU the powerhouse that it is: I was at first saddened by what has become a constant interruption in a character’s life, then engaged by the situation at hand and was finally kept spellbound to the actions on screen, wanting more than ever for the episode’s climax to release the ever-growing tension, but still wanting the episode to continue forever.
The performance given by Mariska Hargitay was utterly brilliant, so much so that I had hardly the time to wonder "Where is Elliot?" It was this episode that made me take a step backward and ponder upon the abilities of the entire cast, Ms. Hargitay in particular. The breath I let out upon the episode’s culmination told me that for the first time in a long while, I was completely entranced in an on-screen performance.
Often times, television performances are given just enough power to keep the audience from changing the channel. With "911," I felt neither the need to "see what else was on," nor the feeling of boredom that occurs when either a storyline is less than endearing or a piece is less than engaging. This episode embodies all that was once and, in some rare corners of television, still is magnificent about television viewing. I was not simply entertained by what I saw; I was willing to think about what was presented to me. Was the call just a prank by a child? How did this individual get into her situation? How was the predator able to thwart the detective’s efforts without being present?
So, few programs give their audiences the proverbial food for thought, yielding only quick images of attractive people combined with poorly written humor and even worse drama. SVU delivers an excellence in drama with "911," an excellence that is rarely seen, but ever wanted. If all networks chose to create programs of this caliber, if all writers put for the effort to write episodes of this quality, if all actors gave performances with the ability of Ms. Hargitay, television might once again be worth watching.