With season 20 going strong, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is now officially one of the longest-running scripted TV shows in U.S. history. Yes, SVU is almost old enough to buy its own beer. The first episode aired back in 1999 and nearly 450 episodes later, here we are.
SVU is arguably the best of the Law & Order shows and has some of the most memorable characters of the franchise. That’s pretty impressive considering that with 20 seasons, there’s bound to be significant cast turnover. Still, SVU has managed to create characters that we care about and are synonymous with the show.
So, to celebrate 20 years, we decided to take a closer look at some of the most well-known characters on the show. Here are the MBTI® types of the Law & Order: SVU characters.
10 Olivia Benson - INFJ
Benson is probably the show’s most well-known character and has also been in the most episodes. With her tireless determination to help people and her grounded idealism, it’s no wonder she climbed her way up to the commander of her squad. INFJs like Benson are sensitive and altruistic but can be fierce, especially when fighting for their ideals.
But Benson does have a tendency to try to do it all, which is another INFJ trait. They can sometimes let their passions get the best of them, leading them to get burnt out. But fortunately, Benson has her squad to tell her to slow down when she needs a reminder.
9 Fin Tutuola - ESTJ
Fin is Benson’s right-hand man and the second longest serving character of SVU. He also has some of the best lines in the show, let’s be real. But while he often serves to add some levity to an otherwise very serious show, Fin knows how to get stuff done. He doesn’t always understand the intricacies of things, but like a true ESTJ, he focuses on the reality of the situation and works efficiently.
ESTJs aren’t so good at unconventional situations though, and they can get a little stressed when their views and methods are tested. Fin can be stubborn about the way he sees the world, but he’s not incapable of change. He learns how to repair his relationship with his son and to accept him for who he is. ESTJs are nothing if not loyal, after all.
8 Donald Cragen - ISTJ
Cragen started off in Law & Order as a captain in homicide but later appeared in SVU leading the sex crimes division instead. He eventually retires from the police department, and Benson becomes his successor. Cragen is very much the stern dad of the squad. He keeps them in line and focused on the job because like a good ISTJ, Cragen has a strong sense of duty.
ISTJs like to do things by the book, and this can sometimes put Cragen at odds with his detectives. He understands their desire to get the bad guys by any means necessary, but as a captain, it’s his job to make sure they follow procedure.
7 John Munch - INTP
Munch first appeared as a homicide detective for the Baltimore Police Department in Homicide: Life on the Streets, then a senior detective for the Special Victims Unit. He’s had a few partners over the years, the most notable being Fin Tutuola, with whom he clashed with on a regular basis at the start. It’s no surprise, of course, considering they are almost the exact opposite of one another.
As an INTP, Munch is a philosopher and a thinker as opposed to the ESTJs who are more about just getting the job done. Munch is known for his wild conspiracy theories that seem insane but aren’t without their logic. Logic, after all, is the name of the game with INTPs.
6 Elliot Stabler - ESTP
Stabler is Benson’s best-known partner, one whose removal from the show is probably every SVU fan’s number one WTF moment. He and Benson were the perfect platonic partnership that fans will forever miss. One of the main reasons they were such good partners was probably because they brought different things to the table.
ESTPs like Stabler are bold and direct. They face problems head-on, but can sometimes become a little impatient, which is probably why Stabler has tried to solve things with his fists on occasion. But Stabler always had Benson to call him out when he needed it.
5 Dr. George Huang - INFP
Dr. Huang is an FBI agent and the Special Victim Unit’s resident forensic psychiatrist and profiler. Or he was until season 12... Huang is known for being deeply empathetic and a strong advocate for people’s well-being, even criminals.
INFPs like Huang are open-minded individuals who seek to create harmony. This seems counterintuitive for a law enforcement agent, but it suits Huang. While he wants to put criminals in jail just like the detectives he works with, he also believes that they should be treated humanely. This may seem idealistic, especially to detectives like Stabler, but INFPs like to hold on to that idealism. And let’s be real; a little idealism is probably good to have in a show like SVU.
4 Dr. Melinda Warner - ENTJ
Dr. Warner is a medical examiner for the NYPD and eventually works her way up to become the chief medical examiner. Warner has that ENTJ charisma, which is probably what helps her get along so well with the SVU team. It probably also helps that she’s very good at her job.
ENTJs like Warner are driven and extremely rational thinkers, which aids her as a medical examiner. She understands that her job is to give detectives the facts as she sees them and not make assumptions. She keeps the emotions out of it as much as possible, which ENTJs are much more suited to doing than others of the extrovert variety.
3 Amanda Rollins - ISFP>
Rollins is one of the current members of the Special Victims Unit, serving as a detective. She is originally from Atlanta PD and comes with a lot of eagerness and enthusiasm for catching the bad guys. Rollins has mellowed out a little since her debut, but she still has that passion and sensitivity ISFPs are known for.
Unfortunately for Rollins, ISFPs can be a bit unpredictable and are also prone to risky behavior. The behavior has gotten her into problems, but she’s persevered. Her passion for her job and the support of her squad helped her channel her energy into more productive things.
2 Sonny Carisi - ESFJ
Carisi is another current detective of the Special Victims Unit and is Rollins’ latest partner. Despite having a rocky start with the team, Carisi has proven himself to be quite the people person. He was able to win over the squad and has even won over perpetrators in the interrogation room by being a likable guy.
ESFJs like Carisi enjoy making their loved ones happy and are always good to throw a party (or cook dinner, in Carisi’s case). But ESFJs can sometimes be a little too sensitive about their place in the world. A key example is Carisi feeling the need to mention that he’s in law school every episode. We get it, dude.
1 Rafael Barba - ESFP
Barba is an assistant district attorney assigned to the Sex Crimes Bureau. He works closely with the detectives of the Special Victims Unit and has proven himself as a capable and sometimes ruthless prosecutor. The courtroom is his stage and like any good ESFP, Barba knows exactly what to do with a stage.
ESFPs aren’t known for holding back, just as Barba isn’t known for taking it easy on anyone, not even his witnesses. He won’t back down just because things get tough and certainly not just because of expectation. Barba will take on cases that challenge him; even those that his bosses don’t want.