Jumping in late, but I wanted to say that if SVU went down the crapper, it happened back in season 2, with Neal Baer's takeover. Now he's gone and they replaced him with Warren Leight, who managed to send Criminal Intent down the crapper.
If they get Rene Balcer to take over SVU, maybe I'll start watching it. Until then, I have my TOS and CI DVDs. And UK's been pretty good too.