1. Elliot Stabler
And it's not even close. Stabler's overprotective dad routine combined with his yelling "you're sick!" at every perp, not to mention that body doing pushups in the episode where he voluntarily went into solitary confinement to see what it was like, make him my all time favorite. I know they replaced him with hottie Amaro but it's not the same - Stabler's appeal is less obvious and more about his personality. Don't forget to check him out in Oz, I haven't finished the first season yet (which he isn't in) but I hear he gets naked at one point.
2. John Munch
This is probably an unexpected choice but Munch's old-man and self deprecating Jewish guy things make him so incredibly and unexpectedly lovable. He's always there in the background, ready to crack a one-liner and then disappear into stage left for the rest of the show. Watching him interact with kids is adorable, reminiscent of the way that your grumpy grandpa used to somehow tolerate your silly little-kid antics, secretly loving them but outwardly trying to keep up the tough exterior. Plus his ears are adorable.
3. Fin Tutuola
Fin's role as the street-smart guy who explains new trends to the rest of the detectives makes for some truly hilarious scenes, particularly the one where he explains what being on the "down-low" is, which by the way I had never even heard of so thanks, Fin, for teaching me that as well:
Moving. There's also a soft side to Fin that we see as he comes to terms with his own son's homosexuality, which I like as well. Really though, it's just hilarious that he's always the one to play a bad guy if they need to go undercover.
4. Nick Amaro
Look at this guy. I don't think I even need to say anything. He frequently doesn't wear a shirt and it rules. He also has a cute family and appears to be a devoted father. He grapples with his first kill in the line of duty, something I don't think we see our detectives do enough of. He seems very down to earth and fills Stabler's shoes as the hothead in both professional and personal life quite well.
5. Olivia Benson
I struggled with putting Olivia down this far. She's great - compassionate, caring, intelligent, super sexy in the last few seasons, but sometimes it feels like she's kind of just there. I have enjoyed watching the progression of her hairstyles throughout the seasons and definitely the progression of her wardrobe from zoot suits to leather jackets and tight tops today. I think what gets to me is that, even after 15 seasons, she still is surprised by everything, and she puts on the "surprised and disgusted" face every single time. Come on girl, you've seen this before.
or maybe not
Either way, she's an invaluable asset to SVU and that woman they got to replace her when she was gone was awful so I would say she's irreplaceable too.
6. Amanda Rollins
She's cute, she has a really mellifluous accent, there's really no complaints I have about her. I think she adds a lot to the team and it's nice having a female detective available to play the nurturing motherly role besides Olivia, who must get exhausted of having compassion for every single person ever. I like Rollins, I just don't know enough about her yet.
7 and 8. Monique Jeffries and Brian Cassidy
These two were around in Seasons 1 and 2, with Cassidy appearing again in the much later seasons. We didn't see enough of them to be able to adequately rank them, though Cassidy, frankly, seemed like an idiot and often suspected victims of lying, and Jeffries slept with a suspect which is weird as hell.
8. Chester Lake
I can't tell if I love this guy or hate him. His acting is comically bad, like totally flat delivery at all times, in an episode where Olivia is stabbed in her apartment and she's on the phone with him he just slowly gets up and says "Don't worry Liv, we're on the way" and then rallies the troops in a very unenthusiastic way. Did no one notice this guy was totally emotionless before hiring him? Then, to leave the show, they have him murder a suspect, like totally out of character with his zen demeanor he just goes out there and kills a guy. Very strange.
9. Dani Beck
And it's not even close. Okay, first off, your accent is terrible. Second off, how are you gonna kiss your partner who you barely even know so soon when you know he has a wife and many children? You're just over the top and annoying and honestly that hoodie under a utility jacket is not only not a good look but it's also entirely unprofessional. Step your game up.
Anybody disagree with my assessments? I might have forgotten some detectives, I know I skipped Anthony Andersen who was terrible in his one episode stint. Next up, ADAs or crime scene investigators. I know who's coming in first in both of those already.