Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) TV Series

Law & Order Special Victim's Unit
The opening screen for the Law & Order SVU series

Overview of the Series

Law & Order Special Victims Unit (Law & Order: SVU) is an American police procedural television drama series set in New York City. The series was created and produced by Dick Wolf.

The Law and Order SVU TV series on NBC premiered on September 20, 1999, as the first spin-off of Dick Wolf’s successful crime drama Law & Order.

The show focuses on the police detectives of the Special Victims Unit in a fictional version of the 16th Precinct of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). In the style of the original Law & Order, the show’s episodes are often taken from current newspaper headlines or loosely based on crimes that happen in real life. This approach to scriptwriting helps keep the subject matter fresh and relevant to the viewing audience and generally makes the shows more popular.

Typical episodes follow the detectives and their colleagues as they investigate and prosecute sexual offenses around the city. They investigate rapes, domestic violence, and other crimes.

Cast Members

The show’s primary cast consists of the following:

  • Lieutenant Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay
  • Sergeant Odafin Tutuola, played by Ice T
  • Detective Amanda Rollins, played by Kelli Giddish
  • Detective Sonny Carisi, played by Peter Scanavino
  • ADA Peter Stone, played by Philip Winchester

As the series progresses, additional supporting characters join. The additional characters are allies of the detectives in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the Medical Examiner’s office.

Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season Episodes

Law & Order SVU ran for an impressive 20 seasons and 441 episodes. Each episode ran for approximately 40 to 44 minutes. All 20 seasons are available to stream online at Amazon Video. They are also available on DVD.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – The Fourth Year [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Mariska Hargitay (Actor)
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Season 1 Episodes

  • S1 – E1 – Payback – A taxi driver is murdered, and finding a suspect proves to be difficult
  • S1 – E2 – A Single Life – The team works to piece together the secret past of a victim pushed out of her apartment window.
  • S1 – E3 – …Or Look Like One – The SVU investigates a case that leads them through drug use in the fashion industry.
  • S1 – E4 – Hysteria – A murdered prostitute leads the Special Victims Unit on a search for a serial killer.
  • S1 – E5 – Wanderlust – A travel author is killed, and the team is on the trail of a pedophile.
  • S1 – E6 – Sophomore Jinx – A hostess for prospective college athletes is killed, and things point at a recruit.
  • S1 – E7 – Uncivilized – A young boy is murdered, and a convicted sex offender is the primary suspect in the murder.
  • S1 – E8 – Stalked – The Assistant DA is raped and murdered. The evidence leads the SVU to one of the criminals she put behind bars.
  • S1 – E9 – Stocks and Bondage. A rich woman is found dead after participating in a kinky sex game, The investigative team follows every lead to find her killer.
  • S1 – E10 – Closure – The SVU investigates a rape, but the case goes nowhere. Six months later, a similar incident led to the attacker.
  • S1 – E11 – Bad Blood – The Unit investigates the brutal death of a prominent figure. 
  • S1 – E12 – Russian Love Poem – A millionaire gets killed, and all leads point to a group of Russian women.
  • S1 – E13 – Disrobed – A judge is murdered, and the team discovers he was involved in some bad things.
  • S1 – E14 – Limitations – The team works to close the case of a serial rapist.
  • S1 – E15 – Entitled – The Unit investigates a young socialite in multiple murders.
  • S1 – E16 – The Third Guy – The SVU investigates the case of an elderly woman who is killed.
  • S1 – E17 – Misleader – A well-known person is killed during a robbery, but there is more than meets the eye in this case.
  • S1 – E18 – Chat Room – The team has to go online to find a rapist.
  • S1 – E19 – Contact – The unit investigates another rapist.
  • S1 – E20 – Remorse – A local news reporter is raped.
  • S1 – E21 – Nocturne – A piano teacher preys on his young male students.
  • S1 – E22 – Slaves – The detectives look for a young Romanian woman being held as a slave.

Critical Response, Ratings, and Awards

  • The series has a rating of 8.9 out of 10 stars on IMDB
  • The series has a rating of 8.9 out of 10 stars on
  • Amazon Video viewers give the series a rating of 4 out of 5 stars

Production and Distribution Companies

From 1999 to 2002, Wolf Films and Studios USA produced the series. From 2002 to 2004, Universal Television produced it. Then, NBC Universal Television Studio produced it from 2004 to 2007. Universal Media Studios produced it from 2007 to 2011. Universal Television picked it back up in 2011. NBS Universal Television Distribution is the distributor.

Questions and More Information

For more information on Law & Order SVU cast members, episodes, ratings, and more, please visit the show’s Official Website on or the Wikipedia Page. Also, check out our List of Police Crime Drama Series.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at
law-order-special-victims-unitI give Law & Order SVU 4 out of 5 stars for its solid cast, interesting plot lines, and 20 seasons of staying power.


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