Some characters are so consistent in a television series that you can’t, even for a second, imagine what that series would be like without them around. This is especially true in long-running shows, such as Law & Order: SVU. SVU is particularly susceptible to this way of (not) thinking because it’s a spinoff of an original property. This means that some of the characters could have, and did, originate in the original Law & Order. Who would’ve thought that Dann Florek, known for playing Captain Donald Cragen since Law & Order, would ever think to leave the show before it came to its natural end?
It might not have been something you’d see coming, but come it has. Florek announced his departure from SVU on Twitter last Friday, saying, “Friday was the last day 4 Cragen/Florek. It was a sweet send off! But he’ll live on in syndication land 4 evah!” After fifteen seasons, Florek is throwing in the towel. I would’ve liked him to stick around for the remainder of the season, but this must have felt like the right time for Florek, and Cragen, made his exit. But since it does seem to be so abrupt, I’m half wondering if perhaps Cragen doesn’t find himself at the wrong end of a gun. He wouldn’t be the first character on a television to show to die rather than live happily ever after.
Florek is the second cast member to be lost this season. Richard Belzer finally decided to retire his character of Sgt. John Munch, downgrading his role from series regular to merely recurring. I would imagine that, in the next few months, we’d start to hear of plans for new characters to be brought in to fill in the empty space. Let’s just hope that SVU doesn’t lose anymore of its beloved cast, otherwise we might as well start looking into rebooting the whole thing and rebranding it Law & Order: SVU: The Next Generation.