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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Photo Credit:  Warwick Saint / NBC
  • Premiered: 
    September 20, 1999
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: NBC
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Second series in the franchise of Law & Order 
  • Subject Matter: Crime
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  • Season 1
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  • Season 15
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  • Season 16
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    Season 1
    Season 7
    Season 8
    Season 9
    Season 10
    Season 11
    Season 12

Plot Synopsis

LAW & ORDER: SVU -- a spinoff from LAW & ORDER -- chronicles the life and crimes of the Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department as detectives investigate the city's especially heinous sexually-based offenses, which are often ripped from recent headlines. Captain Donald Cragen oversees the unit with a tough but supportive approach to the team's complex cases, guiding the squad through the challenges they face every day. For the first 12 seasons, this drama series focused on detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, and now Benson heads up the department with empathy and professionalism. The squad also includes: Det. John Munch, a transfer from Baltimore's homicide unit, who brings his acerbic wit, conspiracy theories and street-honed investigative skills to the team; Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, who adds a unique sense of humor and undercover investigative experience, making him a formidable match for his partner, Munch; and Det. Nick Amaro and Det. Amanda Rollins, who are new to the squad and must learn the ropes from senior detectives while facing head-on the emotional toll it takes to work the SVU. Currently the longest-running drama series on television, the show's 14th season opens with the head of the DA's Public Integrity Unit handling the case against Captain Cragen, who is under suspicion of murder after Season 13 closed with him waking up in the middle of the night with blood on his hands and a dead prostitute in his bed. Season 15 debuted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9pm ET/PT with two back-to-back new episodes. The first episode picked up with the cliffhanger from the previous season, when Detective Benson was put in mortal danger by an unnamed man who masterfully outplayed the SVU squad after being arrested in Central Park. A few episodes later, Munch retired from the force. LAW & ORDER: SVU returned for its sixteenth season on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on NBC. In the Season 16 premiere, "Girls Disappeared," Benson juggles work and her new role as foster mother to baby Noah Porter. Amaro, now working the traffic beat in Queens, arrests an underage prostitute with connections to Noah's mother, who was greenlit by her pimp and brutally murdered. Amaro's undercover work sets off a chain of events that puts everyone connected to the case -- even baby Noah -- in danger. Meanwhile, a new detective assigned to Manhattan SVU (guest star Peter Scanavino) starts off on the wrong foot.
On Monday, June 22, 2015, NBC announced that Season 17 of LAW & ORDER: SVU will premiere on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 9pm ET/PT with a two-hour season opener, airing in its regular timeslot -- Wednesdays from 9-10pm ET/PT -- starting the following week.
On Sunday, August 30, 2015 USA Network will air a special LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL UNITS VICTIM "NO MORE Excuses" marathon featuring stars of the network's original series lending their support for the effort to end domestic violence and sexual assault. The marathon, in partnership with Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation and the NO MORE campaign, will include custom wraps and PSAs with important information and resources during each episode from 12pm/11c to 11pm/10c. USA Network talent participating in the effort includes SUITS' stars Gina Torres, Patrick J. Adams and Sarah Rafferty; GRACELAND stars Aaron Tveit and Daniel Sunjata; ROYAL PAINS star Mark Feuerstein; MR. ROBOT star Rami Malek; and WWE Superstar John Cena. The marathon will also include original wraps with Mariska Hargitay and other current and former SVU cast members such as Raul Esparza, Kelli Giddish, Chris Meloni, Danny Pino, Peter Scanavino and Ice-T. The episodes in the marathon include a plethora of guest stars including: Gloria Reuben, Maria Bello, Peter Gallagher, Jason Beghe, Jesse McCarthy, Kathy Griffin and Sophia Bush. "It's been a great privilege being a leading partner in NO MORE from the beginning," said Mariska Hargitay, founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation. "Society continues to misplace shame and blame on survivors -- both women and men. That has to end. By confronting the myths and excuses we rely on to avoid ending domestic violence and sexual assault, NO MORE fills me with confidence and renewed determination that we will put an end to the violence." The 11-episode marathon will address various issues including domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. During each episode, viewers will be encouraged to seek out additional information and resources online, including national hotlines to speak with trained counselors and advocates. Throughout the day, USA, Joyful Heart, and NO MORE also will use social media platforms to encourage conversation and inspire greater action to stop and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. People can follow and join the dialogue by using #NOMOREexcuses. NO MORE is a public awareness campaign designed to engage bystanders around ending domestic violence and sexual assault. The NO MORE PSAs, produced by Joyful Heart and directed by Hargitay, highlight the myths and excuses that create misplaced blame on survivors and allow perpetrators to escape accountability. The goal of the PSA campaign is to help normalize the conversation and break the social stigma surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault. By increasing visibility and fostering more dialogue, NO MORE will change social norms, improve public policies, and generate more resources to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. More information is available at


Other Titles

  • Previously known as Law & Order's Sex Crimes
  • Also known as Law & Order: SVU

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Wolf Films
  • In association with Universal Television
  • In association with Studios USA Television


  • - New York City, New York USA

Firsts, Lasts & Notable Notes

  • March 31, 2009: First time the United Nations appears on TV as a setting in a major network television production.
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Births, Deaths & Weddings

  • May 18, 2011: Sister Peg dies
  • April 9, 2014: William Lewis dies
  • May 20, 2015: Johnny D dies