Cape Town – The Dick Wolf produced drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with Mariska Hargitay has been renewed for a record 21st season.
The renewal makes the crime procedural America's longest running-drama series.
In other recently announced news about the show, series regular Philip Winchester won't be returning to his role as assistant district attorney Peter Stone.
The show stars Mariska Hargitay who is also one of the executive producers and who won an Emmy award for Best Actress in a Drama Series and got another 8 nominations for her iconic role of Lt. Olivia Benson and received two Golden Globe nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, winning the award in 2005.
Lt. Benson is now the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action series.
Law & Order: SVU is sold to more than 250 territories around the world and is seen in South Africa and across Sub-Saharan Africa on SABC3 and with double episodes of the 20th season currently on Wednesdays at 20:00 on Universal TV (DStv 117).
MORE ABOUT THE SHOW'S PREMISE:
The series revolves around a Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department (NYPD) who, as an elite squad of detectives, investigates sexually based crimes, child abuse and domestic violence.Law & Order Special Victims Unit also stars Ice T as Sgt. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola who has been with the show for the last 19 years, Kelli Giddish as detective Amanda Rollins, Peter Scanavino as detective Sonny Carisi and Philip Winchester as assistant district attorney Peter Stone.
"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," said Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment, in a 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."Creator and executive producer Dick Wolf says "As SVU moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women"."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 number one on the call sheet and, to me, a true friend."
Mariska Hargitay says in the statement: "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."Mariska Hargitay tweeted "20 years ago, we started a conversation. We're not finished. I'm profoundly proud of how far we've come. Prouder still of how far we'll go. We’ve all broken this ground together."
Philip Winchester also tweeted his congratulations but announced that he won't be back for the 21st season, saying "Sadly for me, Peter Stone and his 'the facts don't care about you're feelings' attitude will not be returning"."A huge tip of the hat to my amazing fans and not so big of fans. You all make me work harder. Thank you! See you on the next adventure".