‘Law & Order: SVU’ Turns 20

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit debuted September 20, 1999, and has become a much-watched and much-referenced crime drama over its 20 seasons and counting on the air. The Onion looks back at key moments over the show’s history as it turns 20.


1999:

Producers decide against show’s original name, Sexy, Sad Times In The Big Apple.


2000:

Ice-T determines he can live with irony of playing a cop for huge portion of career.

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2001:

In the wake of 9/11, series forced to pull episode guest-starring the Twin Towers.


2003:

Viewers now fully accustomed to winding down stressful day with twisted story about sexual crimes.

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2005:

Show celebrates 1,000th sarcastic determination that an abusive parent suspect isn’t exactly father of the year.

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2008:

USA network airs a pretty good one.


2009:

Actor Richard Belzer surprises hospitalized children by showing up to sick ward dressed as Munch.

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2011:

Co-star Christopher Meloni departs show after drawing gun on producers and informing them a tragic childhood incident gave him a visceral, personal hatred for lowballing contract negotiators.

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2014:

Mariska Hargitay directs her first episode after previously doing sound mixing, location scouting, and some light PA work.

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2019:

Show’s bumbling investigators finally solve first crime.

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