'Law & Order: SVU' premiere: New hires and old wounds


The focus leading up to the season premiere of "Law & Order: SVU" has been on the people coming into the show. But to a large degree within Wednesday's (Sept. 21), the focus was on the guy who's gone.The show picks up more or less in real time after the end of last season. Stabler is nowhere to be found, still on leave after the squad-room shooting in "Smoked." There's a new hire, Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish), and a very high-profile case clearly modeled on that of former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (they even name-check him). The case plays out more or less the way the real one has, but that's not what really drew our interest. The real-life reason for Stabler's departure is that Chris Meloni and the show couldn't agree on a contract extension. Within the show, though, the writers seem to be handling it about as deftly as you can when...



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