‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ or ‘Law & Order: SVU’ as it is commonly known is an American police procedural crime drama television series that airs on the NBC network. Created by Dick Wolf, the show follows detectives of the Special Victims Unit of the 16th Precinct of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as they solve crimes of a violent and sexual nature.
The idea for the show came to Wolf’s mind after the infamous “Preppie Killer” case of 1986, in which one Robert Chambers pleaded guilty to manslaughter after 18-year-old Jennifer Levin was found strangled to death in a half-naked state. While Chambers, who had been dating Levin, had initially deflected questions about Levin’s death, he later claimed that he had accidentally strangled the 18-year-old while they were having consensual rough sex in New York City’s Central Park. The case, understandably, became a media circus, and deeply affected and inspired Wolf, who even went on to write an episode in the ‘Law & Order’ series called “Kiss the Girls and Make them Die”, based on the Preppie Killer case. Yet, only one episode did not satisfy Wolf’s desire to delve further into crimes of passion and into the minds of the criminals who are involved in such cases. Thus, ‘Law & Order: SVU’ was born.
The second series in Wolf’s ‘Law & Order’ franchise, Season 1 of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ premiered two decades back on September 20, 1999, and since then, the show has seen a whopping 20 seasons air, equalling the 20 season runs of ‘Law & Order’ (1990-2010) and ‘Gunsmoke’ (1955-1975).
Season 20 of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ premiered on September 27, 2018, and is slated to run till May 23, 2019. Now, in what comes as brilliant news for fans of the show, NBC has announced that ‘Law & Order: SVU’ will be returning with a record-breaking Season 21, which will see it becoming the longest-running primetime live-action show in the history of American television. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming season.
Law & Order: SVU Cast: Who is in it?
Given the fact that ‘Law & Order: SVU’ has run for two decades, there have been numerous changes to its cast. Over the years, the show has seen several major cast members like Christopher Meloni, Richard Belzer, Dann Florek, and BD Wong drop out, among others.
However, one person who has remained a constant from Season 1 is Mariska Hargitay, who plays the role of Olivia Benson, a detective in the 16th Precinct SVU who eventually rises to the rank of lieutenant. Another person who has been a constant in the show since Season 2 is Ice-T in the role of Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, a detective in the SVU who later rises to the rank of sergeant.
Apart from these two, Kelli Giddins joined the show as a main cast member in Season 13, and plays the role of Detective Amanda Rollins. Peter Scanavino joined three seasons later in Season 16, and plays the role of Detective Dominick Carisi Jr. The most recent addition to the show’s main cast is Philip Winchester as Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone. Winchester joined ‘Law & Order: SVU’ in Season 19.
Additionally, several other minor and supporting characters feature in the show and make recurring and episodic appearances as the case may be.
In Season 21 of ‘Law & Order: SVU’, Hargitay, Ice-T, Giddins, and Scanavino will all make a comeback and reprise their roles. However, sadly for fans, Winchester will not be making a return in the historic Season 21 – when NBC announced the show’s renewal, Winchester simultaneously announced his departure. Taking to Twitter, the actor wrote, “Sadly for me, Peter Stone and his ‘the facts don’t care about you’re feelings’ attitude will not be returning. A huge tip of the hat to my amazing fans and not so big of fans. You ALL make me work harder. Thank you! See you on the next adventure.”
Law & Order: SVU Plot: What is it about?
‘Law & Order: SVU’, as its name suggests, is a show that is particularly focused on heinous crimes of a sexual nature. Set in a fictionalized 16th Precinct of the NYPD, the show follows an elite team of detectives from the Special Victims Unit as they investigate and prosecute crimes a variety of crimes including rape, pedophilia, domestic violence, kidnappings, and murders. Apart from delving into crimes of a sexual nature, the show also sees the detectives investigating other non-sexual crimes such as those involving the abuse of children, the elderly, and the disabled.
Interestingly, the show borrows heavily from real-life crimes, and episodes often depict fictionalized accounts of crimes that have taken place in the real world. In terms of its themes, the show also explores contemporary social and political issues, such as those involving gender identities, sexuality, and equal rights for the marginalized. That being said, addressal of issues is not the show’s focus, and is a secondary outcome of the investigations and prosecutions that place.
In terms of reception, ‘Law & Order: SVU’ enjoys a solid overall rating of 8/10 on IMDb, after over 67,000 votes. Considering that it is a show which has run for 20 years, its rating is brilliant to say the least. The show has also won numerous awards in its two decade run, including one Golden Globe Award, and six Primetime Emmy Awards.
Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘Law & Order: SVU’ season 20 premiered on September 27, 2018. Months after that, NBC, on March 29, 2019, renewed the show for its twenty-first season. Making the announcement for the historic Season 21, Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment, said, “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. 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.”
Further, show creator Dick Wolf also gave his regards to Mariska Hargitay, saying, “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. Mariska is a delight as #1 on the call sheet and, to me, a true friend.”
‘Law & Order: SVU’ Season 21 is all set to release on September 26, 2019. Don’t forget to mark your calendars.
Law & Order: SVU Trailer:
Here’s the ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Season 21 trailer to get you excited.
Read More: Upcoming NBC Shows