21 seasons in and 20 years later, Law & Order: SVU shows no signs of slowing down.
On September 20, 1999, the Law & Order spinoff centering on the Special Victims Unit of the NYPD, with fans immediately becoming invested in its lead detectives, Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, and even more invested in the real-life players: Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni. Two decades later, it's the longest running primetime drama in TV history and is the only series from the Law & Order franchise still on the air. (Plus, who can forget Taylor Swift named one of her cats after Benson?)
While Meloni eventually exited the series, Hargitay, 55, is still the procedural's star (and the only lead from the series to win an Emmy for his work), going on to add executive producer and director to her title, moving up the ranks the same way her iconic character did, with Benson going from detective to lieutenant over the series' historic run. Chung-chung!
I still get nervous, still get super excited. I'm directing; producing is a whole new world," Hargitay recently told The Hollywood Reporter. "I grew into boss lady, and I like it. I like it and I'm good at it. There were a couple of years where I was like, 'I might be out." There were some changes that I wasn't on board with or I felt like, "Oh, I don't know if we're going in the exact right direction." Now I love the show.
Along with Hargitay and Meloni, SVU has had a revolving door of detectives, attorneys, perps and victims walk in and out of the precinct over the years, including regulars like Ice-T and Stephanie March, as well as guest stars like Brooke Shields, Cynthia Nixon, the late Robin Williams, vice president Joe Biden, and some of the stars' real-life spouses, including Hargitay's husband Peter Hermann, whom she met on the set, and Ice-T's wife Coco.
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 behind-the-scenes secrets...