Sep. 20, 1999
Returning Series
60 min.
NBC TV Network

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit tv show photo

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

This hard-hitting and emotional series chronicles the life and crimes of the elite Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was created by Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf. SVU celebrated its 300th episode in October 2012.

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Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • First season regular guest star Chris Orbach, who plays Ken Briscoe, is the son of Jerry Orbach, who played Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order. Ken Briscoe is Lennie's nephew.
  • After the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, NBC ordered the opening credits for the 2001-2002 season re-edited to remove images of the ill-fated buildings.
  • Richard Belzer carried his role of Detective John Munch over from Homicide: Life on the Street and Homicide: The Movie (2000) (TV). He also played John Munch in Law & Order, which had several crossover episodes with "Homicide", an episode of "The X Files" (1993), an episode of The Beat, an episode of Law & Order: Trial by Jury, the season three finale of Arrested Development, and an episode of The Wire. This is a record for appearances by an actor playing the same character on different programs. Detective John Munch was also played in Sesame Street, voiced by Joey Mazzarino.
  • Many of the actors on the show previously starred on the HBO drama Oz including Dean Winters and BD Wong. Most notable, and ironic, is Christopher Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler) who played a sadistic rapist and murderer on Oz, and then hunted them on this show. In addition, many guest stars have also appeared in this show and Oz. Reg E. Cathey has the same last name of "Querns" in both shows. Kirk Acevedo, J.K. Simmons (as Emil Skoda), Michael Potts, Lee Tergesen, Kathryn Erbe, Harold Perrineau, Robert John Burke (as Lieutenant Tucker), Scott William Winters (Dean Winters brother who has played a police officer), R.E. Rodgers, as well as many other cast members have appeared on both television programs.
  • According to an article in TV Guide, cast members are often approached by sexual abuse survivors, who thank them for portraying these types of stories on the air correctly.
  • Uses a re-mixed version of the theme music from Law & Order.
  • The series was originally proposed under the title Sex Crimes, and unrelated to the Law & Order brand. NBC thought the title was too harsh, and after discussions between network executives and Dick Wolf (creator of Law & Order) it became part of the Law & Order brand, debuting as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • The only prime time drama to be spun-off from two separate shows: Law & Order and, through the character of Detective John Munch, Homicide: Life on the Street
  • Odafin's (Fin's) last name, Tutuola, means "the gentle one" in Yoruba.
  • Mariska Hargitay keeps a photo of her mother Jayne Mansfield on her desk on the set.
  • Two years before joining the cast as a series regular, Diane Neal (Casey Novak) appeared in an episode playing a woman accused of raping a male stripper.
  • The following statement appears at the beginning of each and every episode: "In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories."
  • Peter Hermann (who plays Attorney Trevor Langan in thirty episodes) is Mariska Hargitay's real-life husband.
  • Olivia and Elliot are named after Producer Dick Wolf's children. The name Olivia shows up in Benjamin Bratt's television family (as one of Rey's daughters) then there's Dr. Olivet.
  • Stabler's shield number is 6313.
  • The photo in the opening credits for Dann Florek (from the beginning of the show) and Ice-T (starting with the second episode of season two) did not change until season nine, when the entire cast received updated photos (coinciding with the debut of Adam Beach). The photo for Mariska Hargitay has changed seven times (season one has one photo, seasons two through four, and the first four episodes of season five have a second, the rest of season five has a third, seasons six through eight have a fourth, seasons nine and ten have a fifth, seasons eleven through fourteen have a sixth, and season fifteen to the present have a seventh). Christopher Meloni, Richard Belzer, and BD Wong got new photos starting with the fifth episode of season fivr (coinciding with the debut of Diane Neal as Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak) before they all received new photos in season nine. Diane Neal had one photo for season five, a second for seasons six and seven, a third for season eight, and a fourth for season nine. Tamara Tunie, who first appeared in the opening credits in season seven, received a second photo for season eight, and a third photo for seasons nine through twelve, before she was removed from the credits in season thirteen.
  • Until season twelve, episode four, the precinct scenes were filmed in North Bergen, New Jersey. After this episode, the show moved its studio space to the Chelsea Piers section of Manhattan that was previously occupied by the original Law & Order (1990).
  • According to Executive Producer Ted Kotcheff the lead parts of Detective Olivia Benson and Detective Elliot Stabler came down to three actors and three actresses: Mariska Hargitay, Reiko Aylesworth, and Samantha Mathis for the role of Benson, and Christopher Meloni, Nick Chinlund, and John Slattery for the role of Stabler.
  • Benson's shield number is 4015.
  • Although viewers had long wondered if the character George Huang was gay (as is the actor who plays him, B. D. Wong), his homosexuality was not verified until the season eleven, episode five, "Hardwired". Even for a show and a franchise that is notoriously parsimonious with personal information about its characters, that is an extraordinarily long time for basic personal information to be withheld about a regular character on a television series (by contrast, both Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson were established as heterosexual during the show's first season through dialogue and subplots about Stabler's marriage and Benson's dating habits).
  • At the start of season thirteen, episode titles were no longer one word. Season thirteen is also the first season without Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni).
  • Richard Belzer originally asked Dick Wolf if Munch could join Law & Order as Lennie Briscoe's new partner. But Jesse L. Martin had already been cast. Belzer later heard about this new series, and asked to join, on the condition that Dean Winters be cast as his partner. Winters was still under contract with Oz, and had to leave the show after the first thirteen episodes. Winters returned as a recurring cast member in the fourteenth season.
  • Ice-T was originally contracted for only four episodes, but he enjoyed working on the series so much, that he asked to join the cast permanently.
  • Christopher Meloni was starring on Oz simultaneously with this series. He eventually left "Oz" because he felt that he could no longer do both shows at the same time. But Meloni missed "Oz", and decided to return the next season. He decided that being able to work on two great shows simultaneously was worth the physical and emotional toll.
  • Season N: N letters on the name of any episode (N > twelve). All episodes of season thirteen have thirteen letters in the title; season fourteen, there are fourteen letters in each episode title; season fifteen: fifteen letters.
  • Pop star Taylor Swift is such a fan of the show that she named her pet cat "Olivia Benson" in tribute to the lead character.
  • Kelli Giddish made her debut as a rape victim by the name of Kara Bawson, but in season thirteen she joined the team in a lead role, as Amanda Rollins.
  • Peter Scanavino made his debut as a janitor, named Johnny Dubcek in season fourteen, episode thirteen, "Monster's Legacy", before he joined the team by the name of Dominick "Sonny" Carisi, Jr., at the start of season sixteen.
  • Many members of the main cast members in the Law & Order universe usually have a guest spot on one of the shows before they a regular cast member. Peter Scanavino (Sonny Carisi) is the only member of the Law & Order cast to have had a guest starring role on four of the six Law & Order series before landing his role.
  • Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) is this show's first regular male Assistant District Attorney.

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