Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is making history with its latest announcement.
NBC just renewed the procedural series for a record-breaking 21st season, making it the longest running primetime drama ahead of the original Law & Order and Gun Smoke.
Mariska Hargitay, who plays Lieutenant Olivia Benson, celebrated the news in a statement, saying, “I’m deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today. 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.”
Series creator Dick Wolf also chimed in to confirm that none of it would be possible without Hargitay’s guidance, adding, “As SVU moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women. She is an enduring champion of the movement to end sexual violence, and dozens of episodes have dealt with the very same issues that have shifted into the spotlight in this country in the past two years.”
Law & Order: SVU originally premiered in 1999 and focuses on Benson and her team at the New York City Police Department. In addition to Hargitay, the series also stars Ice T (Sergeant Fin Tutuola), Kelli Giddish (Detective Amanda Rollins), Peter Scanavino (Detective Sonny Carisi) and Philip Winchester (Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone).
And the award for longest running procedural drama goes to…