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Former Law & Order actress admits being ’embarrassed’ by the show

Diane Neal
Diane Neal as Casey Novak on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

A former Law & Order actress agrees with a controversial piece about the show’s flaws. 

Diane Neal, who played Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, spoke about John Oliver’s now-famous critique of the franchise.

The HBO host chastised Law & Order for providing an unrealistic take on how police work occurs. That included how it ignores the realities of assault victims rarely finding justice.

Neal asked fans to share their experiences and soon had replies from people about their experiences with the police following an assault.

Their stories had Neal admitting she felt “embarrassed” about her work on the show and its presentation of police work.

Her words fuel the growing discussion of Law & Order’s view of police work and the public perception of the victims.

Diane Neal agrees with John Oliver’s words on Law & Order

On the Sunday edition of his HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the British comedian did a lengthy piece heavily criticizing Law & Order.

Oliver related how the show presented an “unrealistic” take on law enforcement that ignored the flaws in the police forces.

The host singled out how Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has nearly every case end with the perpetrator arrested and often convicted. In reality, less than 10 percent of sexual assaults are ever solved by the NYPD.

Among those discussing the piece was Diane Neal. The character was a regular for five seasons and made recurring appearances in Seasons 12 and 13. 

Neal discussed Oliver’s piece on her Twitter page and asked fans what they thought of it. The result was several fans sharing their own experiences with assault and discovering the harsh reality of the NYPD.

One fan posted how she had reported being attacked, but the police didn’t believe her, and “I never wished Olivia Benson was real more in my life.”

Neal’s reply shared how she now felt embarrassed at thinking real police work was like Law & Order. 

Diane Neal Tweet
Pic credit: @kolimariex/Twitter

“I agree. If #OliviaBenson #svu were real, there would be a LOT more justice. 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. Thank you for sharing the story of your real experience. #iamsorry.”

Another fan shared how everyone who reported a campus attack to the police regretted doing so, with Neal sharing how “I feel that 100%.”

Diane Neal
Pic credit: @erinwithans/Twitter

While some fans did share positive experiences with the police, many agreed with Neal that Law & Order gave them the wrong impression of how the police would handle such cases. 

Neal and positive messages on police

Not all the posts were negative. Christine Pelosi shared how, as a sexual assault prosecutor, she openly told victims, “this is not Law & Order,” but would fight for them with Neal agreeing.

Diane Neal
Pic credit: @sfpelosi/Twitter

However, the messages highlighted Oliver’s point about his piece, which has been echoed in various newspapers and websites.

Thus far, neither NBC, Dick Wolf Entertainment, nor any current actors from the Law & Order shows have replied to Oliver’s critique of the series. 

Oliver had joked at the Emmy Awards about not yet running into any of the actors but still defended the piece. 

As the fallout of Oliver’s piece continues, at least one former Law & Order star argues he had a point in his criticism of the franchise.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 premieres Thursday, September 22 at 9/8c on NBC.

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