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Dear SVU: There’s a fine line between “homage” and “ripoff.” You skated right up to that line last week.

Look, we get that you wanted to do something with Clinton Correctional, and Yates is the creepiest critter we’ve seen in years on this show. And I was right with you on the poster on the wall - that was an “homage.”

Having an officer stick his hand through the poster and rip it away to reveal the hole? Yeah, there’s that pesky line.

Some have argued that this venerable show is running out of stories. Sadly, SVU lives off the headlines of sex crimes and child abuse, and we never seem to run out of inspiration. We’ve topped our quota of “Benson is taken hostage” with the recent townhouse incident, but despite the repetition, it was horrifying and compelling enough to overcome the fact that this always. happens. to Benson.

And we get that you’re ordered to help out lesser shows like Chicago P.D. with the crossovers, though I could not care less about the bungee stars joining our heroes. But I'm kind of resentful that I'm going to have to go look it up to see how this ends. It was much more fun when it was Homicide.

You’re still one of the finest shows on television, and on a strong forward push to defeat your parent show’s record (and Gunsmoke’s) to eventually be the longest-running show on television. The quality is unsurpassed, the characters continue to evolve and you hit on serious, important issues on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved your show: few enough TV shows care to do anything with a social conscience, and SVU has done everything from campus rape to police shootings to violence against transgender people.

So please be careful. Another fist through a poster and you’re circling shark-infested waters. Remember: one is an homage, another is a ripoff.


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