Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (or "Law & Order: SVU") is an NBC police procedural, legal, crime drama and the first spin-off of Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" franchise.
The show premiered on September 20, 1999 and as of 2017, it has aired 399 original episodes.
It is the current longest running scripted non-animated U.S. primetime TV series since the cancellation of the original "Law & Order" in 2010 and is the fourth-longest running scripted U.S. primetime TV series on a major broadcast network.
Based out of the New York City Police Department's 16th precinct in Manhattan, New York, the show delves into the dark side of the New York underworld as the detectives of a new elite force, the Special Victims Unit (SVU for short), investigate and prosecute various sexually-oriented crimes including rape, pedophilia, and domestic violence. They also investigate the abuses of children, the handicapped and elderly victims of non-sexual crimes who require specialist handling.
All the while trying to balance the effects of the investigation on their own lives. Its stories also touch on the political and societal issues associated with gender identity, sexual preferences and equality rights.
While the victim is often murdered, this is not always the case and victims frequently play prominent roles in episodes.
The unit also works with the Manhattan District Attorney's office as they prosecute cases and seek justice for SVU's victims and survivors with precision and a passion to win and bring closure to the intense investigations.
The series often uses stories that are "ripped from the headlines" or based on real crimes and such episodes take a real crime and fictionalize it by changing some details
Current Main Cast
- Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson (1999-current)
- Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins (2011-current)
- Ice-T as Detective Fin Tutuola (2000-current)
- Peter Scanavino as Detective Dominick "Sonny" Carisi, Jr. (2014-current)
- Raúl Esparza as ADA Rafael Barba (2012-current)
Past Main Cast
- Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler (1999-2011)
- Richard Belzer as Detective (later Sergeant) John Munch (1999-2016)
- Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen (1999-2015)
- Michelle Hurd as Detective Monique Jeffries (1999-2001)
- Adam Lake as Detective Chester Lake (2007-2008)
- Danny Pino as Detective Nick Amaro (2011-2015)
- Stephanie March as ADA Alexandra Cabot (2000-2003; 2009-2010; 2011-2012)
- Diane Neal as ADA Casey Novak (2003-2012)
- Michaela McManus as ADA Kim Greylek (2008-2009)
- B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang (2001-2015)
- Tamara Tunie as Dr. Melinda Warner (2000–2015)