‘Law & Order: SVU’: B.D. Wong Felt This Character Revelation ‘Felt A Little Cheap’
NBC’s Law & Order: SVU is the longest-running primetime live-action series of all time. Fifteen of its 22 iconic seasons would not have been complete without appearances from actor and Broadway star B.D. Wong.
Wong’s character, George Huang, served as the unit’s resident psychiatrist and profiler for seasons 3 through 12. His constant on-screen presence and empathy for his clients quickly made him a fan-favorite. Unfortunately, a twist reveal about Wong’s character in season 12 left some conflicted…including the actor himself.
Two decades in, ‘Law & Order: SVU’ still thrills viewers
The Law & Order franchise has been providing watchers with intense criminal justice drama since 1990. Created by Emmy-winner Dick Wolf, the original show has seen six spinoff series, each following a specific area of the justice system and attracting new hordes of fans.
With 22 seasons and counting, Law & Order: SVU is by far the most successful of these sister series, surpassing even the original Law & Order, which aired for 20.
The show follows members of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department. The detectives work on cracking hard-hitting cases involving crimes like sexual assault and domestic abuse.
Fans have grown incredibly attached to the plot lines and SVU characters, especially Olivia Benson — portrayed by Mariska Hargitay — who has been with them from the start. The program is so influential that, according to Insider, it has shaped viewers’ opinions on sexual assault and rape culture.
B.D. Wong’s Huang was a fan favorite on ‘SVU’
But Benson isn’t the only character who captured watchers’ hearts. Season 2’s introduction of George Huang was the introduction of a new favorite for some. Although many characters on the show were at first skeptical of the new kid on the block, fans welcomed the soft-spoken and intelligent Huang. Actor Wong had officially moved from working onstage to working on the case.
Huang’s role as the resident psychiatrist allowed the show’s writers to highlight his empathetic and caring side. He not only got to counsel with victims, but would meet with fellow unit members after especially traumatic cases. This focus on feelings and healing was a welcome and important reprieve from the typically action-packed series.
Wong was torn over his character’s twist
In light of his character’s fan appeal, many were disappointed to see Wong step away from his recurring role in season 12. Although subsequent episodes offered little insight into the absence of George Huang, we did eventually learn why the actor left the show.
According to Cinema Blend, Wong left to pursue a role on a different television drama — NBC’s Awake. Right before Huang made his exit, however, writers included a huge reveal about the character.
Talking about his new position in Oklahoma, Huang made a quip about the setting being at odds with his Asian-American and gay identities. In the ten and a half years of Wong’s acting prior to this episode, Huang’s sexuality had never been mentioned.
Many viewers were shocked and Wong, according to E!, felt that the move was “a little cheap.” While he acknowledged that representation of diverse sexualities is of course positive, he also was left thinking that things were handled in a “convenient” or “kind of lazy” way.
Although Wong is openly gay himself, he had no insight into this aspect of his character after years of portrayal. As a result, the twist lacked foreshadowing that could have bolstered its impact. In the end, Wong told KQED that “it was just kind of a minor point made.”