NBC's hit drama becomes the only primetime live-action series to be renewed for more than 20 seasons

By Hanna Flanagan
March 29, 2019 04:10 PM
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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit secured its spot as the longest-running primetime live-action series in history when NBC renewed the highly-acclaimed drama for a 21st season.

As original members of the show’s cast and crew, producer Dick Wolfe and actress Mariska Hargitay lead SVU‘s charge into television record books. NBC Entertainment co-chairmen Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks praised the entire SVU team in their renewal announcement.

“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,” Telegdy and Cheeks said. “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.”

Michael Parmelee/NBC

SVU sailed past the previous record-holders — Law & Order (1990-2010) and Gunsmoke (1955-75) — both of which ran for 20 seasons.

From left, Anthony Edwards as Sgt. John Griffin and Mariska Hargitay as Lt. Olivia Benson
David Giesbrecht/NBC

During her 20 seasons on the show, Hargitay has played Lt. Olivia Benson, the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action series. Hargitay’s performance in SVU nabbed her eight Emmy Award nominations for lead actress in a drama series (an award she won in 2005) and six SAG nominations for outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series.

Mariska Hargitay
Jose Perez/INSTARimages

“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.”

SVU returns April 4 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.