'Law and Order: SVU' Becomes Longest-Running Live Action Drama Series

With its Season 21 renewal, Law and Order: SVU has become the longest-running live action drama series.

According to Variety, the show is currently tied for the record with the original Law & Order, and the iconic western series Gunsmoke.

The only thing holding the show back from being the longest running TV series of all-time is The Simpsons, which has been on the air for 30 seasons.

“We tip our cap to Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay and the amazing cast and crew of SVU, who now all go into the record book,” NBC Co-Chairmen George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy said of the SVU renewal in a joint statement.

This incredible run is an example of what happens when producers, writers and actors all come together and create a show that, year after year, speaks to its audience in a powerful way. We couldn’t be more proud of this remarkable achievement,” they also said.

Law & Order star Mariska Hargitay — who plays Lt. Olivia Benson, and has been starring on the show since it debuted in 1999 — also issued a statement on the shows renewal, saying, “I’m deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today.”

“The longevity and continued success of ‘SVU’ is a testament not only to the show’s powerful storytelling and ability to connect with viewers, but to its necessity. We have told important stories for 20 years, and we will continue to tell them,” Hargitay went on to say.

Dick Wolf, who created the Law & Order franchise, also addressed SVU's upcoming 21st season, praising Hargitay for her work on the show and gushing, “As SVU moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women.”


SVU co-star Ice-T, who began appearing on show in Season 2, posted on his Twitter page about the renewal, writing, "SVU has been OFFICIALLY picked up for season #21. Making us the longest running drama in Television History! Respect to the man Dick Wolf @NBCUniversal @Mariska @KelliGiddish @PeterScanavino @philipwinchestr and all my past and present Cast and Crew! And [definitely] ALL the fans!"

The Law & Order: SVU Season 20 finale is scheduled to air in May. New episodes air on NBC Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.