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Law & Order SVU: Cast

‘Law & Order: SVU': Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Gettyimages | Stephen Lovekin
By Jordan White

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, commonly known as SVU, first aired in 1999. And with its recent three-season renewal, it doesn’t look like the show will be ending anytime soon. No surprise there.

Law & Order: SVU has captivated viewers for over 20 years with its realistic depiction of sex crimes and excellent performances. And even though fans feel like they know everything about the show, there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes.

Here are four facts you probably didn’t know about Law & Order: SVU:

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1. Mariska Was Meant For The Role

Mariska Hargitay
Gettyimages | Dimitrios Kambouris

“I think I was meant to do this. I was the one who was supposed to play Olivia Benson,” Hargitay told People.

Hargitay, 56, was cast as Detective Olivia Benson in 1999. For her role, she's won an Emmy and Golden Globe.

Playing the role inspired Hargitay to become a real-life rape crisis counselor. She even started a nonprofit called the Joyful Heart Foundation, which supports those who’ve experienced domestic violence.

“Every day I marvel at the turn of events that brought me here," Hargitay said. "That I was the one to get this role that led me to this life, to this mission. And every day I say thank you.”

2. The Show Was Originally Called “Sex Crimes”

Law & Order: SVU cast
Gettyimages | Raymond Hall

Law & Order: SVU was originally going to be called, Sex Crimes. But Dick Wolf, the creator, changed the name because he wanted the show to be associated with the franchise.

Wolf is a well-known producer who not only created the Law & Order franchise but also the Chicago franchise; Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice.

For his work, Wolf has won an Emmy Award and several other impressive accolades. Wolf even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

3. Christopher Meloni Doesn’t Regret Leaving The Show

Christopher Meloni
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Meloni_SVU_head_shot_March_2011.jpg

Remember Christopher Meloni? He played Detective Stabler, the lead character alongside Hargitay. Meloni left the show after season 12 ended.

Rumor has it he and the producers couldn’t agree on his contract for Season 13, so the actor walked away. Detective Stabler and Benson were partners for years, and his departure upset many fans.

When asked in an interview with Andy Cohen whether he regrets his decision to leave the show, Christopher said, “Not for a day.”

4. The Narrator Is A Former Politician

Law & Order SVU Cast
Gettyimages | Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin

"In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories."

Every episode of the show starts with these words. But, have you ever wondered who voices the narration? His name is Steve Zirnkilton and he’s a former politician. (See picture below.)

Although he’s best know for his voiceover career, he served for eight years in the Maine House of Representatives.

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