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Lindsay Dolak
Sep 22, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

In the television marathon system, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is considered especially addicting. The dedicated viewers who binge-watch these usually repeated episodes are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Fanatics. This is their story.

It goes something like that, right? The telltale introduction to what has become the most popular extension of the Law and Order franchise: SVU. The same intro that repeats every hour on the hour for the entirety of an SVU marathon, which thankfully happen often. If you’ve ever tossed away a Sunday to one of these ultra-engrossing marathons, you know exactly how it goes. Brunch plans, canceled. Ever-mounting pile of laundry, ignored. Texts, unanswered. Because on SVU marathon day you don’t need your IRL friends when you have Benson, Fin, Rollins, and Carisi by your side ... er, on your screen.

On Wednesday, SVU returned for its 18th season with an opening episode made up of all the ingredients that make the show so captivating. Its fast-paced, scandalous, but realistic nature draws us in and the personal storylines of the characters we’ve grown increasingly attached to season after season keep us hooked (hour after hour, after hour ...).

RELATED: Law & Order: SVU's Most Unforgettable Guest Stars

It’s an emotional roller coaster, to say the least, and we’ve compiled a list of all the feels anyone enslaved to an SVU marathon will experience. Keep scrolling to relive the ups and downs without losing an entire day. Although, a day of SVU is never a day wasted ...

1. When the iconic intro music and opening montage starts at the beginning of a fresh set of episodes.

Let’s get ready to rumble. Who cares how many times we’ve watched these episodes? There’s always one we (maybe sort of) haven't seen.

2. When it’s a marathon involving episodes with Elliot Stabler.

Elliot (Christopher Meloni) effectively shattered our hearts when he exited SVU after Season 12 (he appeared in one episode of Season 13). So whenever marathons include episodes from the first 12 seasons and we get to watch the original detective hunk, it's a good day.

3. When anyone threatens or hurts Benson.

Basically, we mean any episode involving William Lewis—and there are a lot of them. You know what we’re talking about. Yeah, him.

4. When any member of the squad displays emotional turmoil.

When you cry, I cry. It’s rare that the SVU team displays an overwhelming amount of emotion connected to a case. This is their job and they’ve seen it all after all. But every now and then, whether it was Stabler when his family situation was less than gleaming or Benson got caught up in not saving someone on time, someone breaks down. And, then, so do we.

5. When you were right about who the perp was all along.

By your second or third marathon (and you will get there), little will surprise you when it comes to the bad guys and girls. You'll have learned how to sniff out the sketchy characters from behind your screen and be calling out the guilty left and right.

6. When your roommate interrupts your bingeing to ask if you're planning to watch SVU all day.

Guilty as charged. Any other completely ridiculous questions?

7. When Nick Amaro does pretty much anything.

Listen, it's not that we don't love and miss Stabler, but Amaro (Danny Pino) was by no means a hard-on-the-eyes addition to the team.

8. When you outwardly sigh, gasp, scream, or otherwise vocally emote during an episode.

Whoops. Around hour four or five, you've officially been sucked in and it can be hard to distinguish real life from SVU life. Just try to keep it down a little.

9. When the episode is "To be continued …" and they don’t play the follow-up episode next.

And you just sit there wondering what you did in a past life to deserve this level of karmic retribution.

10. When the marathon ends and you finally remove yourself from the couch.

Just keep reminding yourself: A day of SVU is not a day wasted, a day of SVU is not a day wasted ...

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