TV Tango Search


|              FREE: Ask a TV Expert

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Photo Credit:  Jason Bell/NBC
  • Premiered: 
    September 20, 1999
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: NBC
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Second series in the franchise of Law & Order 
  • Subject Matter: Crime
  • Tags:

Buy This Show on DVD or Watch Online

  • Click a button to buy a DVD at Amazon
  • Season 1
    • Amazon
  • Season 2
    • Amazon
  • Season 3
    • Amazon
  • Season 4
    • Amazon
  • Season 5
    • Amazon
  • Season 6
    • Amazon
  • Season 7
    • Amazon
  • Season 8
    • Amazon
  • Season 9
    • Amazon
  • Season 10
    • Amazon
  • Season 11
    • Amazon
  • Season 12
    • Amazon
  • Season 13
    • Amazon
  • Season 14
    • Amazon
  • Season 15
    • Amazon
  • Season 16
    • Amazon
  • Season 17
    • Amazon
  • Season 18
    • Amazon
  • Season 19
    • Amazon
  • Season 20
    • Amazon
  • Season 21
    • Amazon
  • Season 22
    • Amazon
  • Season 23
    • Amazon
  • Click icon to watch or own full episodes
    Season 1
    Season 7
    Season 8
    Season 9
    Season 10
    Season 11
    Season 12

Plot Synopsis

LAW & ORDER: SVU -- a spinoff from LAW & ORDER -- chronicles the life and crimes of the Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department as detectives investigate the city's especially heinous sexually-based offenses, which are often ripped from recent headlines. For the first 12 seasons, this drama series focused on detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, and now Benson, a seasoned veteran of the unit, is the acting commander of the SVU leading with empathy and professionalism, all the while dealing with her difficult past as a product of rape, and her future as mother to a young child, both of which influence the way she relates to each victim in need of help. The squad also includes: Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, who adds a unique sense of humor and undercover investigative experience, which made him a formidable match for his former partner, Munch; and Det. Amanda Rollins. Currently the longest-running drama series on television, the show's 14th season opened with the head of the DA's Public Integrity Unit handling the case against then-captain Don Cragen, who was under suspicion of murder after Season 13 closed with him waking up in the middle of the night with blood on his hands and a dead prostitute in his bed. Season 15 debuted with the cliffhanger from the previous season, when Detective Benson was put in mortal danger by an unnamed man who masterfully outplayed the SVU squad after being arrested in Central Park. A few episodes later, Det. Munch retired from the force.

In the Season 16 premiere, Benson juggled work and her new role as foster mother to baby Noah Porter. Det. Amaro, working the traffic beat in Queens, arrested an underage prostitute with connections to Noah's mother, who was greenlit by her pimp and brutally murdered. Amaro's undercover work set off a chain of events that put everyone connected to the case -- even baby Noah -- in danger. Meanwhile, Det. Sonny Carisi started off on the wrong foot after being assigned to Manhattan SVU.

Season 17 of LAW & ORDER: SVU premiered on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 from 9-11pm ET/PT on NBC with a two-hour season opener, and then moves to its regular timeslot -- Wednesdays from 9-10pm ET/PT -- the following week. In the season premiere, "Devil's Dissections/Criminal Pathology," the SVU is called to a familiar crime scene -- the beach where serial killer Gregory Yates (guest star Dallas Roberts) buried his many victims. When another body washes ashore, Detective Rollins tries to coax him into confessing, but the surprising information he provides sends shockwaves through the police department. As the case goes to court, Barba faces off against two hotshot defense attorneys in a trial that leads to blackmail, an incriminating confession, a new victim and a fugitive suspect.

Season 18 of LAW & ORDER: SVU premiered on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 9pm ET/PT on NBC. In the season opener, "Terrorized," a young boy is found wandering alone in Central Park and the search for his parents leads to startling evidence of a planned mass casualty event in the city. As the SVU works with the joint-terrorism task force to find the suspects and the motive, Lt. Benson must also convince Barba to address allegations of rape and torture the boy's mother discloses. Guest starring Peter Gallagher, Robert John Burke, Elizabeth Marvel, Natia Dune, and Marc Damon Johnson.

Season 19 of LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT premieres on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 9pm ET/PT on NBC. In the season opener, "Gone Fishin'," when Fin crosses international borders to catch a fugitive rapist, a political tug-of-war derails Barba's legal case. Meanwhile, shocking allegations against Benson lead to the return of an old friend. Guest starring Dean Winters (Brian Cassidy), Peter Jacobson (Randy Dworkin), Will Chase (Byron Marks), Mariela Garriga (Elana Marks) and Amy Smart (Karla Wyatt).

On Thursday, September 27, 2018 from 9-11pm ET/PT, NBC premiered the twentieth season of LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, debuting back-to-back new episodes.

Season 21 of LAW & ORDER: SVU premiered on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT on NBC, racing into the record book to set the mark as the longest-running primetime live-action series in television history. The record defeats the longstanding previous mark of 20 seasons set by LAW & ORDER (1990-2010) and GUNSMOKE (1955-75). "As SVU moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women," said creator/executive producer Dick Wolf. "She is an enduring champion of the movement to end sexual violence, and dozens of episodes have dealt with the very same issues that have shifted into the spotlight in this country in the past two years. Mariska is a delight as #1 on the call sheet and, to me, a true friend." In the season opener, "I'm Going to Make You a Star," when an actress accuses a high-powered media mogul of attempted rape, Benson finds herself in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. Changes in the squad room put Carisi between a rock and a hard place. Ian McShane, Peter Gallagher, Zuleikha Robinson and Jamie Gray Hyder guest star.

On Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 9pm ET/PT, NBC premiered the 22nd season of LAW & ORDER: SVU, immediately followed by a one-hour Paley Center special about LAW & ORDER. In the season opener, "Guardians and Gladiators," the squad tries to solve an assault in Central Park, but they are hampered by their own blind spots and a community that is losing trust in the police. After a five-week break, LAW & ORDER: SVU returned with new episodes on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 9pm ET/PT on NBC. In the winter premiere, "Sightless in a Savage Land," the squad spends New Year's Eve tracking down an Amber Alert, and Carisi faces off against Counselor Rafael Barba in an emotional courtroom battle.

Season 23 of LAW & ORDER: SVU premieres on Thursday, September 23, 2021 from 8-10pm ET/PT on NBC, with a two-part season opener. In "And the Empire Strikes Back" (8pm; Part 1 of two-part season opener), the investigation into a sex-for-housing scheme expands, and Benson's loyalty to Garland is tested. Rollins and Carisi try to keep their witnesses on board when a powerful congressman is identified as a suspect. Guest starring Ben Rappaport, Terry Serpico and Octavio Pisano. Then, in "Never Turn Your Back on Them" (9pm; Part 2 of two-part season opener), the search for a missing witness leads Fin and Kat down a dangerous path. On Thursday, January 6, 2022 at 9pm ET/PT, NBC debuted "Silent Night, Hateful Night," the winter premiere of LAW & ORDER: SVU. The SVU is called in to help investigate a wave of hate crimes on Christmas Eve. Rollins catches up with an old flame.

LAW & ORDER: SVU returned for its 24th season on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 9pm ET/PT on NBC, as part of a three-episode crossover with LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME (8pm) and LAW & ORDER (10pm). As the telecast begins, a mysterious young girl is shot in cold blood and Det. Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) teams up with Det. Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks, first episode) to track down her killer. Capt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) are called in to help when they realize they have more than a typical homicide case on their hands. After uncovering key evidence, Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and ADA Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) seek justice against an international crime ring, but complications threaten the outcome of their case. There will be no credits nor title sequences at the top of the 9 and 10pm hours. After a four-week break, LAW & ORDER: SVU returned with new episodes on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 9pm ET/PT on NBC. In the winter premiere, "Jumped In," Benson becomes the target of a ruthless gang leader, and Capt. Duarte takes the case. Fin works with the Bronx SVU to help clear their case backlog. Sgt. Dixon offers to translate when a deaf student is raped.

Season 25 of LAW & ORDER: SVU premiered on Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 9pm ET/PT on NBC. Olivia Benson is the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action television series. Benson is a seasoned veteran of the unit who has seen it all. She leads with empathy and professionalism, all the while dealing with her difficult past as a product of rape and her responsibility as a trailblazer in survivor advocacy, both of which influence the way she relates to the victims and perpetrators of each case. In the season opener, "Tunnel Blind," as the squad celebrates the birth of Rollins and Carisi's child, another child goes missing in broad daylight.
On Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 9pm ET/PT, NBC premiered "Duty to Hope," the Season 25 finale of LAW & ORDER: SVU. The SVU searches for a pattern assailant before his crimes escalate to murder. Fin must contend with a suspect's aggrieved son. Carisi is pressured to close the case quickly to ease public concern.

LAW & ORDER: SVU has been renewed for a 26th season.


Other Titles

  • Previously known as Law & Order's Sex Crimes
  • Also known as Law & Order: SVU

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Wolf Films
  • In association with Universal Television
  • In association with Studios USA Television


  • - New York City, New York USA

Firsts, Lasts & Notable Notes

  • March 31, 2009: First time the United Nations appears on TV as a setting in a major network television production.
    • Click icon to watch or own this full episode

Births, Deaths & Weddings

  • May 18, 2011: Sister Peg dies
  • April 9, 2014: William Lewis dies
  • May 20, 2015: Johnny D dies
  • January 18, 2024: Dominick 'Nicky' Carisi III is born