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Law & Order: SVU

NBC

Before Law & Order: SVU resumes its historic season 21 on Thursday, Jan. 9, the show is getting a special celebrating its status as TV's longest-running drama.

The Paley Center Salutes Law & Order: SVU, a new hour-long special, is set to air Thursday, Jan. 2 at 9 p.m. on NBC. The special includes a walk down memory lane to the start of everything in September 1999. Look for interviews with the cast, crew and the guest stars who were involved in them for the last 21 seasons.

Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay, Ice T, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, Christopher Meloni, Jamie Gray Hyder, Stephanie March, Tamara Tunie, Warren Leight, Julie Martin and Raúl Esparza will all appear in the special.

"We thank the Paley Center and NBC for making this special acknowledging SVU's historic 21st season," series creator Wolf said said in a statement. "We're excited for viewers to see this retrospective, which chronicles over two decades of ground-breaking television."

"Since 1999, SVU has made remarkable social impact through emotional and skillful storytelling," Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center's President & CEO, said in a statement. "We're honored to partner with NBC to present fans with this special behind-the-scenes look at this historic series."

Anchored by Mariska Hargitay who has been with the show since the beginning as Olivia Benson, the cast currently includes Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, Jamie Gray Hyder and Ice T. Hargitay, who also serves as an executive producer and director on the show, won an Emmy for her soulful portrayal of Olivia Benson in 2006. She's been nominated eight times total. In 2005, she took home a Golden Globe for her performance and was once again nominated in 2009. Inspired by her work on screen, Hargitay launched The Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 with an aim at helping survivors of sexual and domestic abuse. The foundation, along with the show, has worked to end the backlog of rape kits across the country and destigmatize surviving and speaking out about sexual abuse. In 2019 she won a News & Documentary Emmy for I Am Evidence.

In 2015, SVU won the Imagen Foundation Award for Best Primetime Program, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2012, and 14 episodes were nominated for the Prism Award. The show won six times for its accurate description of substance abuse and mental illness. Over the years the show has also been nominated for four GLAAD Media Awards for outstanding representation of the LGBTQ community and 11 Edgar Allan Poe Award nominations with two wins.

Along with Hargitay and Wolf, Law & Order: SVU is executive produced by Leight, Martin, Norberto Barba, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski. The Paley Center Salutes Law & Order: SVU is produced by The Paley Center for Media in association with Brad Lachman Productions. Maureen J. Reidy, Brad Lachman and Diane Lewis will executive produce. Bill Bracken will co-executive produce.

Law & Order: SVU returns with new episodes on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 10 p.m. on NBC. When viewers last checked in with the special victims unit, Giddish's Rollins was taken hostage from a therapy session.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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