I should explain. My wife loves that show. I hate it. Yet, I find myself watching it when she does. I really dislike that lady investigator, whoever she is. The guy isn't too bad, but I don't like either of 'em, really.
Having now seen probably a hundred episodes, mostly against my will, I've noticed the show has a rather predictable format:
- Crime happens, and somebody comes across a victim.
- Somebody obvious sticks out as the perp. Detectives go after the would-be perp.
- Would-be perp gets caught. Detectives accuse would-be perp, often in front of other people.
- Relation of would-be perp soon starts looking like the real perp, and would-be perp is looking more like innocent victim, or at least not really the perp.
- Detectives go after would-be perp #2, and eventually nab that person, too. Again, they accuse person of being the perp, often in a way that would totally ruin that person's life regardless of the truth.
- Oh, it's about 40-45 minutes into the show. By now it's apparent that would-be perp #2 isn't it either, but now a hidden detail that the victim or the victim's family is holding on to comes to light. The victim or victim's family knows something they kept back from the cops! This changes everything!
- Now it's clear that the real crook is somebody else. Cops go after real crook, maybe fire some guns, a chase, whatever.
- Crook gets caught, and lawyer lady shows up to whine about how the detectives got nothing, got nothing.
- Detectives go out and get more hard evidence.
- At this point, the only real change from episode to episode occurs. Real perp either: gets killed by victim or relative, kills self, or goes to trial and gets found guilty. Or, all of a sudden, one of the other relatives, the one you would never suspect, turns out to be the criminal! It's just like an old episode of Scooby-Doo!
- If if's one of the typical Scooby-Doo epsisodes, the now-exposed criminal spills their guts and that's the end.
- Show ends with some sort of portrayal that the detectives achieved a hollow victory.
That's it. You can use the above guidelines to write a typical "Law and Order SVU" episode. Writer's strike? Who cares!