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 in September 2001, NBC ordered the opening credits for the 2001-2002 season reedited to remove images of the ill-fated building.
  • Richard Belzer carried his role of Det. John Munch over from the series Homicide: Life on the Street and the TV movie 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 3 finale of Arrested Development and an episode of The Wire. This is a record for appearances by an actor playing the same character in different programs. Det. John Munch's character 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 Stabler) who played a sadistic rapist and murderer on OZ and now hunts them on SVU. In addition, many guest stars have also appeared in both SVU and OZ. Reg E. Cathey actually 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 LT. Tucker), Scott William Winters (Dean Winters brother who has played a police officer), R.E. Rodgers as well as many other actors have appeared on both television programs.
  • According to an article in TV Guide magazine, 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 John Munch, Homicide: Life on the Street
  • 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 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 30 episodes) is Mariska Hargitay's real-life husband.
  • Law and Order SVU's Olivia and Elliot are named for producer Dick Wolf's children. The name Olivia shows up in Benjamin Bratt's TV 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 2) did not change until Season 9 when the entire cast received updated photos (coinciding with the debut of Adam Beach). The photo for Mariska Hargitay has changed seven times (Season 1 has one photo, seasons 2-4 and the first four episodes of season 5 have a second, the rest of season 5 has a third, seasons 6-8 have a fourth, Seasons 9 & 10 have a fifth, Seasons 11-14 have a sixth and Season 15-Present have a seventh). Christopher Meloni, Richard Belzer and BD Wong got new photos starting with the fifth episode of season 5 (coinciding with the debut of Diane Neal as ADA Casey Novak) before they all received new photos in season 9. Diane Neal had one photo for season five, a second for seasons 6 and 7, a third for season 8 and a fourth for season 9. Tamara Tunie, who first appeared in the opening credits in season 7, received a second photo for season 8 and a third photo for seasons 9-12 before she was removed from the credits in season 13.
  • Until the fourth episode of Season 12, 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.
  • According to executive producer Ted Kotcheff the lead parts of Detective Olivia Benson and Detective Elliot Stabler came down to six actors: Mariska Hargitay, Reiko Aylesworth, and Samantha Mathis for the role of Benson and Christopher Meloni, Nick Chinlund, 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 11 episode "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999) {Hardwired (#11.5)}. 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 TV series (by contrast, both Detectives Stabler and 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 13, episode titles were no longer one word. Season 13 is also the first season without Detective Stabler.
  • 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 14th 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 > 12) All episodes of season 13 have 13 letters in the title; On season 14, there are 14 letters in each episode title; Season 15: 15 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 SVU debut as a rape victim by the name of Kara Bawson, but in season 13 she joined the SVU team in a lead role by the name of Amanda Rollins.
  • Peter Scanavino made his SVU debut as a janitor named Johnny Dubcek in Season 14 "Monster's Legacy" before he joined the SVU team by the name of Dominick 'Sonny' Carisi, Jr., at the start of Season 16.
  • 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, played by Raúl Esparza, is SVU's first regular male ADA.

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