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A Law and Order SVU Viz for My Wife


My wife is a huge fan of Law and Order: SVU. She may not be the show’s biggest fan, but she’s definitely up there. SVU will finish its 18th season next Wednesday and has aired a total of over 400 episodes! I believe that my wife has probably seen every single one of those episodes at least twice, if not more. But, even more than the show itself, she loves Mariska Hargitay and her character, Olivia Benson. I think it’s her mix of toughness and compassion that she finds so intriguing. And she also loves that Mariska has used her fame to become an advocate for women (more about this at the end of the post).

She’s been asking me to do some sort of visualization based on SVU since I started writing this blog. Unfortunately, the data is sparse. Then one day, we saw a commercial for SVU reruns and and the following conversation ensued:

“That’s from season 5. I can tell by her hair,” she said.
I questioned her on this, “You can tell by her hair?” 
She answered me quite nonchalantly, “Yes, I can tell the season of SVU simply based on Olivia Benson’s hairstyle.” 

This seemed a bit unbelievable to me, but it at least gave me an idea for something I could create. Instead of a typical data visualization, I decided to use Tableau to create a simple quiz where you are presented with a series of photos, one from each of the show’s 18 seasons, and you have to match each photo with the appropriate season. Guess correctly and the photo’s tooltip will give you a little bit of information about the season.

So, here it is (You can also access the full visualization here). We’ll see how she does with it! If you know any other SVU super-fans, please have them test their knowledge as well! 



Joyful Heart Foundation
As mentioned earlier, Mariska Hargitay has become a huge advocate for women and, in 2004, she started the Joyful Heart Foundation, with a vision of “a world free of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse” and a mission “to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.” Since 2004, Mariska and her organization have diligently worked toward these goals and have impacted tens of thousands of lives. They also spearheaded the incredibly successful "No More" Public Service Announcement campaign. Please consider helping this wonderful organization. You can find more details by clicking on the "No More" logo on the visualization or by visiting www.joyfulheartfoundation.org.

Ken Flerlage, May 18, 2017
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