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Dick Wolf Reveals the Fun Way SVU Is "Manipulating" Fans During Intense Scenes

The secret is very talented production members. 

By Jackie Manno

For 25 seasons, executive producer Dick Wolf's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been known to depict harrowing scenes in an extremely effective way. And without a question, the suspenseful, yet nuanced music is a major factor as to why these moments pack such an emotional punch. 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays on NBC and next day on Peacock.

On April 29, SVU's composer, Grammy winner Mike Post, explained how he and Dick Wolf put their heads together to take viewers on a journey via the show's music. 

Fans of the franchise are familiar with the episodic structure of SVU: The first half shows the scene of the crime and the team hunting down the perpetrator, while the second half depicts the courtroom drama aspect. 

"Right away I knew that the music had to be sort of split. More 'street' to the first half, and it has more 'majesty' of the court room and drama in the second half," Post explained. "That's something that the audience isn't supposed to intellectually digest so much as feel. The audience isn't even supposed to be aware that I'm even around."

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Wolf has been more that impressed by what Post brings to the table creatively.

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"Dick [Wolf] once said: 'People don't even know you're playing, and you're manipulating the audience. You're really like a pick-pocket. People don't even know you're in the room. I have no idea how you do what you do, but I'm really glad you do it for me."

Dick Wolf on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit getting picked up for a 25th season

It looks like SVU's elaborately crated behind the scenes composing has paid off. In 2023, when it was announced that SVU was being renewed for a landmark 25th Season, executive producer Wolf made a proud statement

“I’m pleased to continue my four-decade relationship with Universal Television and NBC. All six shows being picked up again is the ultimate accolade to our incredible casts, producers, and writers. I'd also like to thank our loyal fans who have kept our NBC shows on the air for what will be a cumulative 84 seasons,” he said. 

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Lisa Katz, the president of scripted programming at NBCUniversal and Streaming, also made a statement: “We understand the emotional connection our audience has with these characters and we can’t wait to bring more of their stories to the forefront next season. A huge thank you to Dick and his amazing team who are the masters of producing incredibly compelling television week after week,” she said.