Could we use a little bit more of the “law” in “Law & Order: SVU“? We know that ADA Rafael Barba does have his fans, and for good reason. Raul Esparza’s a fantastic actor (also amazing on “Hannibal”), Barba’s got an energy that is different from any other character on the show, and anytime we see him typically means that we are about to witness some key courtroom battles.
With all of this said, is there a way for the show to use the character more than they do? This is something that we’d like to pinpoint more in the latest chapter of our daily TV Underdogs series taking place throughout the month of January.
Why he’s an underdog – Barba sometimes is the underdog just due to his job alone. He’s a guy who has to argue and prove his way to a conviction even when there is very little evidence, and when he has a jury that may not inclined to buy into what he’s selling. He has a tough job, and is someone who is probably a target of just as many threats as Olivia Benson. Yet, he manages to get the job done week in and week out, even if he is not always thanked or embraced fully for his efforts.
Why we don’t see more of him – For Barba, it’s really so simple as the fact that it is pretty hard to include him in every story unless there is a strong courtroom component to it. He’s a little distant from the team in that regard, and sometime he’s credited in episodes without actually appearing.
Ways to give him more airtime – We know that there are a committed group of ‘shippers out there who’d love to see Barba and Benson together, but we’re not sure the show is interested in that or not. Olivia has so much happening that we don’t know how you include romance. You could introduce a longer plotline in the second half of the season that requires the unit to spend more time in the courtroom … though personally we wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of a spin-off, even as a six-episode miniseries, that give more insight into Barba and the District Attorney’s Office. We feel like the time is ripe right now for more legal drama on network TV. Not enough shows are really venturing into that territory, and the ones that are (think “The Good Wife” and “How to Get Away with Murder”) are certainly non-traditional.
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