‘Law & Order: SVU’: Which of These 2 Iconic Characters Do Fans Feel Was the ‘Greater Loss’ To the Series?

In the history of Law & Order: SVU, there have been a number of important characters who have come and gone. Two of those happen to be Dr. George Huang (BD Wong), a forensic psychiatrist that works for the FBI, and Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza), the SVU squad’s previous Assistant District Attorney. 

Both Dr. George Huang and Rafael Barba are beloved by fans of ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Raúl Esparza, Mariska Hargitay, BD Wong, and Donal Logue in 'Law & Order: SVU'
Raúl Esparza, Mariska Hargitay, BD Wong, and Donal Logue in ‘Law & Order: SVU’ | Michael Parmelee/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Huang and Barba bring a unique and fresh perspective to the cases the squad has worked. Huang first appeared in season 2 and has since made appearances up until season 17, according to his Fandom page. He became a regular on the series from season 4 to season 12.

Huang is extremely helpful to the squad, working as a psychiatrist as well as a criminal profiler. His knowledge is vast, and he has a unique insight into the criminal mind. It’s also obvious that Huang cares about people and wants to help them, even at the risk of losing his job when necessary.

According to TV Line, BD Wong, the actor who plays Huang, left SVU to work on the series Awake. However, he did return for appearances here and there for four seasons after.

On the other hand, there’s Barba, a tough ADA who isn’t afraid to go after the perpetrators. He truly thrives at his job, and he forms a close relationship with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). He’s the ADA of the squad from season 14 to season 19. But according to his Fandom page, he is involved in a difficult case, and he turns off life support to a child with MDDS. Indicted on murder charges, he’s eventually cleared, but decides to leave his job.

The actor who plays Barba chose to leave, but he’s since appeared in episodes of the series. The most recent and significant time being season 22, episode 4 “Sightless in a Savage Land,” where he returns to face ADA Dominick “Sonny” Carisi Jr. in court.

Fans weigh in on who was the ‘greater loss’ to the series

BD Wong, Mariska Hargitay, and Raúl Esparza in 'Law & Order: SVU'
BD Wong, Mariska Hargitay, and Raúl Esparza in ‘Law & Order: SVU’ | Michael Parmelee/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Fans of SVU on Reddit recently compared the two characters when it comes to who was the “greater loss” to the series. “Greater loss to the show? Huang or Barba,” the post is titled. “Two beloved characters who added important elements of the show, but which man was a greater loss? Huang or Barba?” the post continues.

When it comes down to fan opinions, an overwhelming number think Dr. Huang is the “greater loss,” although some people do feel the title deserves to go to Barba.

Huang provides a unique insight through his knowledge of psychiatry and criminal profiling. A fan thinks “he was entirely unique in his specialty.” He adds an important element to cases and he helps solve many of them over the years.

“Huang because he was entirely unique in his specialty,” a fan pointed out. “Barba, although beloved, and rightfully so, played a replaceable character (ADA). There have been many beloved ADAs (Cabbott, Casey, etc.). And I have no doubt that they’ll find a new one who will be Barba-esque.”

Another fan agrees that Huang is the clear winner here. He is pivotal to solving cases and figuring out the important aspects of a crime. Plus, there wasn’t a “replacement” for him, which definitely changes things.

“Huang, in my opinion, because he was usually central to figuring out the crime,” a fan said. “I loved Barba, but I loved many of the ADAs. They don’t have a replacement for Huang.”

A fan mentions that the newer episodes miss out on not having the “perspective” Huang gives to the cases. “Huang,” a fan weighed in. “Sure, Barba was a good ADA but there are others. The new episodes lose out on the perspective of having a different point of view.”

One fan misses the “additional depth” Huang brought to the table. His knowledge with criminal profiling, forensic psychiatry, and his unique understanding helped propel cases forward. 

“I miss Huang so much,” a fan wrote. “As much as I love Barba, Huang added a dimension to the show that is no longer there. There’s a lot of focus on just Liv, the other SVU detectives, and the ADAs/attorneys – I miss the additional depth of psychological evaluations (and forensics, for what it’s worth).”

A fan calls Barba “just one in a group” because there are a number of ADAs to come before him as well as some who come after him. “Definitely Huang,” they said. “Barba was a great ADA, but he was ultimately just one in a group of them. (Shout out to Cabot and Novak).,”

But some fans think Barba deserves this win

However, some fans think Barba wins this contest. One fan describes Barba as “such a great character.” He is replaced by others, but it doesn’t fill the void Barba leaves behind. While the fan feels like Huang on the other hand was “eased off.”

“I think Barba was a greater loss because he was such a great character, and since then, we’ve gotten Peter Stone and Carisi replacing him,” the fan said. “The drop off has been staggering. With Huang, while I liked him a lot, his last several years on the show he appeared in very few episodes, so it felt as if he was eased off, and since he wasn’t replaced, it didn’t feel so glaring. Although, I have to say, episodes with him were a lot of fun, by far one of my favorite characters.”

Another fan believes Barba is the victor here. He brings the “humor,” and he plays off the other characters well. “Barba definitely!” they said. “He provided the show with a good balance of humor and acted as a really good sounding board for other characters to voice their opinions without being psycho-analyzed like they are when they talk to a psych character.”

One fan just plain misses Barba more despite the other ADAs to have the job before and after him. “I adore Huang, but I’d say Barba,” a fan wrote. “Even though there’s been a revolving door of ADAs, Barba had a spark, a unique charisma, and a dynamic we hadn’t really had before. Plus, I just miss Barba more.”

Although more fans seem to think Dr. George Huang is the “greater loss” to SVU, some fans still think Barba deserves that win too.