Disney+ Crime Drama Makes History With Every New Season

By Brian Myers | Published

Since its debut in the fall of 1999, Law and Order: SVU has captivated audiences episode after episode, bringing the wheels of justice into the living rooms of millions of fans. Now in its 25th season, the series holds the record for longest-running primetime drama in television history, surpassing the series that it was originally spun from. Until the end of the season, the show will continue to break records with every episode, which now sits at 547 and counting.

Law And Order: SVU Is The Longest Running Primetime Drama In History

Law and Order: SVU follows the Special Victims Unit within the 16th Precinct of the Manhattan, New York Police Department. The bulk of the work assigned to these officers is s*x crimes, with a smattering of elder abuse, child physical abuse, and other horrific violations being handed to them when a particular case requires special attention. Like its Law and Order counterpart, the episodes are part criminal investigation, part courtroom drama, with the majority of cases resulting in putting the bad man (or woman ) behind bars.

Over 500 Episodes

With a 25-year span, it’s easy to imagine the number of stars that Law and Order: SVU has had to work with. Mariska Hargitay has been on board since the beginning, playing Detective Olivia Benson. Second to her tenure is rapper-turned-actor Ice T, who has 525 episodes under his belt as Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola. Christopher Meloni, Dann Florek, Richard Belzer, and Kelli Giddish all have hundreds of episodes on screen as well, in a series that has also packed in a ton of special guest stars.

Amazing Guest Stars

The late Robin Williams gave an unforgettable performance as anti-government activist Merrit Rook in the show’s 200th episode. And who could forget Alec Baldwin playing newspaper columnist Jimmy MacArthur in the 15th season of Law and Order: SVU? The series has grown to become a large Who’s Who? of guest stars, some at the very start of their TV or film careers (Bradley Cooper) or others who are legends in the industry (Carol Burnett).

A Die-Hard Group Of Loyal Fans

The fan reception for Law and Order: SVU has kept the series going for more than two decades, but the show has never been a top 10 hit and has only cracked the top 20 on two occasions. But the diehard fan base that tunes in every week keeps the show consistently in the top 40 shows, which is no easy feat over 25 years. The critical reception of the show has been even more impressive, as the series has mostly favorable ratings over the entire run and currently sits at an 88 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

25 Years And Still Going

The series’ reruns have helped elevate it to new generations of fans. In 2008, Fox obtained Law and Order: SVU rebroadcasting rights for broadcast on its vast network of affiliate stations. The USA Network also airs older episodes.

Previous episodes of Law and Order: SVU can be streamed on Disney+ via the Hulu section. This feature is still in beta testing mode, so a viewer will need to have subscriptions to both streaming services to see it. New episodes can be seen weekly on the NBC network or on the NBC streaming app.