How would TV’s most beloved characters navigate social distancing? We asked dozens of showrunners and writers to answer that question. Below, Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight and executive producer Julie Martin imagine how Olivia Benson and her team would handle self-isolation.
The dedicated detectives of the Special Victims Unit are home, pursuant to a self-isolate order. This is their Zoom session.
FADE IN: BENSON, FIN, ROLLINS, CARISI, and KAT, all seen as talking heads in five small laptop-cam boxes.
So, everyone still feeling okay?
Fine. [Sneezes.] It’s nothing. I got allergies.
And my hands are raw from washing them 20 times a day.
I hear that. Fin?
FIN (who has been watching a different TV screen)
Sorry. I’ve just been sitting on my couch, gaming. I don’t get what all the fuss is about; it’s just a regular weekend for me.
It’s been eight days, Fin.
If you say so.
I’m holed up with a 5-year-old, a 1-year-old, and my dog in an 800-square-foot apartment. Can’t I come in and look at some cold cases?
Stay where you are. At least you don’t have to distance learn.
How’d that work out for you?
Well, Noah and I were supposed to study Mayan civilization, but we ended up watching TikTok videos.
CARISI (yelling to door)
Just a second, Ma.
Carisi, you’re at your mother’s?
My old room in Staten Island, like I never left. My sisters are here, my nieces, nephews, cousins. We’re supposed to be social distancing, and my mother’s making lasagna for 20. I’m basically barricaded in my room.
Everybody getting their exercise in?
KAT (off the silence)
Guys, I sent you all my workout videos. We can do a half-hour together, twice a day. That, delivering meals to the elderly, and the Duolingo Portuguese lessons are the only things keeping me sane. Who’s up for a session tomorrow?
Give me a couple more days on that.
A cell phone rings. Benson looks at her phone.
Oh my God.
Liv, everything okay?
Ah, yeah, it’s just, this phone call … I need to take it.
The chief, One PP?
No. It’s … Elliot. You guys can stay on. Stay well.
She clicks off.
A beat of silence. Carisi looks to Rollins, who looks to Fin.
It’s a long story, Kat.
Kat nods. Off our guys, wondering when they’ll get to work together again …