‘Law & Order: SVU’ to Become the Longest-Running Drama in Prime-Time History

Don’t expect Olivia Benson to hand in her badge any time soon.

NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit—better known to fans as simply SVU—was renewed on Friday for its 21st season, officially making it the longest-running prime-time drama of all time, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

When the Manhattan-set crime drama returns for the 2019-2020 season this fall, it will unseat previous record holders Law & Order and Gunsmoke, both of which ran for 20 seasons. The longest-running prime-time series of all time, meanwhile, remains The Simpsons, which earlier this year was renewed for seasons 31 and 32.

SVU, which stars Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson, debuted in 1999. The show has outlasted not only the original Law & Order, but also such spin-offs as Law & Order: Criminal Intent; Law & Order: Trial By Jury; and Law & Order: LA, all of which were created by Dick Wolf. Another entry, Law & Order: Hate Crimes, is in the works, though it was recently postponed by NBC.

For much of its two-decades-long run, SVU was an Emmy magnet: Hargitay won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2006, and the show landed three acting nominations in a single category in 2009. And while the series hasn’t figured in the awards race for a few years, SVU remains reliable ratings hit for the peacock network and its parent company, NBCUniversal.

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