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An Ex-‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Agrees With John Oliver About How Dick Wolf’s Neatly Wrapped-Up Justice Doesn’t Match Real Life

John Oliver’s most recent deep dive tore into Dick Wolf’s all-too-easy road to justice on TV, particularly with the Law & Order franchise. Perhaps most excruciating are cases that can’t possibly be compared to Law & Order: SVU, where those “especially heinous” cases (steered by “the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies [who] are members of an elite squad”) are generally wrapped up within an hour, including commercial breaks. That reality doesn’t stop the franchise from being wildly popular to the point where a crossover event is on the way later this month.

Still, Oliver called out the franchise, which includes not only the flagship series and SVU but also Organized Crime. That final series plays more of a long game, but that’s beside Oliver’s point, through which he dragged the Dragnet-obsessed Dick Wolf for his “fantasy” portrayal (i.e., “entertaining” and not slow as molasses with often frustrating results) of justice. This made a relevant Emmys skit (starring Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni) very awkward, but on social media, some scrutiny was going down.

In response to the episode, a surprising perspective arrived. Diane Neal, who played ADA Casey Novak on SVU for over a decade, reached out to her followers on Twitter. “Did any of you watch @LastWeekTonight with @iamjohnoliver ? about the depiction of #lawenforcement on #svu giving victims who report sex crimes in real life unrealistic expectations,” Neal tweeted. “[T]hat the cops will care or crimes will be solved?”

Well, Neal heard from a lot of people who felt burned by their visits with law enforcement. And that makes sense, given that dockets are jam packed, and cops are busy as hell, and protectors aren’t perfect. And Neal agrees that “[I]f #OliviaBenson #svu were real, there would be a LOT more justice.” She then added, “I’m embarrassed to admit, I used to think the way it worked on the show was like real life. Then I found out the hard way I was wrong.”

Neal further shared a tip of one prosecutor, who warned sexual assault survivors that SVU isn’t like real life, and the actress declared, “That is a great and honest way to talk to victims.”

And to answer a Twitter user who relayed how survivors almost universally regret reporting sexual assaults, Diane got really real: “I feel that 100%.”

Casey Novak (and Olivia Benson) would be proud.