NBC’s long-running Law & Order: SVU has been renewed for a whopping, record-setting three more seasons, making it primetime’s longest-running live-action drama. The renewal will take SVU through its 24th season.
East Ender Mariska Hargitay stars as Captain Olivia Benson, a passionate cop who specializes in solving sex crimes and bringing offenders to justice. Hargitay has played the role since the show’s inception, and while she has not officially signed on to star in the next three seasons, she has publicly expressed her support of the show and is expected to continue to headline the series.
Created by Dick Wolf as a spinoff of Law & Order—which ran for 20 seasons—SVU follows the trials and tribulations of the Special Victims Unit, including Benson and Detectives Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino). Each episode tells a self-contained crime story the characters work to solve, though over the years there have been longer stories, including Benson’s kidnapping at the hands of a deranged serial killer.
Thanks to her role in the series, Hargitay has become an advocate for sex crimes survivors and victims. She founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, which is dedicated to helping raise awareness for sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, in 2004. Hargitay has also directed several episodes of SVU, most recently this season’s “She Paints for Vengeance.”
Watch the 21st season of Law & Order: SVU, currently airing on NBC.