“Law & Order: SVU” is set to become the longest-running primetime live-action series in TV history.
NBC has announced it is renewing the show for a 21st season, meaning “SVU” will overtake the 20-season record it previously shared with the original “Law & Order” and the legendary CBS Western “Gunsmoke.” It now trails only “The Simpsons” in the longest-running shows of all time rankings.
The series, which first premiered in 1999 and has starred Mariska Hargitay from the beginning, chronicles the lives of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate crimes of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. The show was created as a “Law & Order” spinoff by Dick Wolf.
“We tip our cap to Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay and the amazing cast and crew of ‘SVU,’ who now all go into the record book,” said NBC Co-Chairmen Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks in a statement. “This incredible run is an example of what happens when producers, writers and actors all come together and create a show that, year after year, speaks to its audience in a powerful way. We couldn’t be more proud of this remarkable achievement.”
With the renewal, Hargitay’s character, Lt. Olivia Benson, will also become the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action series.
“I’m deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today,” said Hargitay. “The longevity and continued success of ‘SVU’ is a testament not only to the show’s powerful storytelling and ability to connect with viewers, but to its necessity. We have told important stories for 20 years, and we will continue to tell them.”
“As ‘SVU’ moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women,” Dick Wolf added.
The series also stars Ice T as Sgt. Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, Kelli Giddish as Det. Amanda Rollins, Peter Scanavino as Det. Sonny Carisi and Philip Winchester as Asst. District Attorney Peter Stone.
“Law & Order: SVU” is a Wolf Entertainment production in association with Universal Television. Wolf and Hargitay both executive produce the show, alongside Michael Chernuchin, Julie Martin, Alex Chapple, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.