Twenty-three years ago,” ‘Law And Order: SVU” initially debuted. The series, commonly referred to as “SVU,” explored the activities of detectives who investigated sex crimes that were particularly heinous and dangerous, like child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. The show takes place in Manhattan, and it also follows the style of the original “Law And Order.”
Two characters in the series, Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), soon became fan favorites and eventually spiked the series’ ratings.
From there, the show has seen multiple characters exit the series and other characters added throughout the length of the series.
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Olivia Benson’s character, Hargitay, has slid up to the unit’s commanding officer. Currently, the show is on its 22nd season, making it the longest-running scripted non-animated series.
To honor its solid stories, moments of heroism, endless twists and turns, and mind-blowing characters, below are shocking facts about “Law And Order SVU.”
The Series Initially Had A Different Name
Before it was entitled “Law And Order: SVU,” the series used to be called something else. According to TV Guide, the series used to be formerly called “Sex Crimes.”
The creator of the series, Dick Wolfe, initially used the former name because he knew that “people have an insatiable interest in sex.” However, the head of Fox, Barry Diller, said he didn’t want sex in the title, so he went with the sex crimes unit’s official name, “Special Victims Units.”
According to Screen Rant, the network was worried about uproars from sensitive viewers and concerned audiences. “The creators changed the name of the show to offer a better description, as “sex crimes” can be misleading when addressing crime that doesn’t have much to do with sex at all.”
NBC Wasn’t The First Network The Series Pitched To
In 1999, Fox was the intended network when the show was initially aired. However, it was discarded because Diller declared it “wasn’t a Fox show.”
The initial episode titled “Everyone’s Favorite Bagman” had a documentary feel and was shot on a 16mm film. Despite that, there were ongoing technical and audio issues, and eventually, Fox didn’t pick it up.
On the other hand, Wolf’s series was liked at NBC due to his work on Hill Street Blues and Miami Street. As a result, the then head president Brandon Tartikoff ordered 13 episodes two years after its debut.
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The series became famous, and spinoffs began to appear after its debut. “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” was followed by “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” “Law & Order: LA,” and “Law & Order True Crime.”
However, the spinoffs weren’t finished yet; “Law And Order: Hate Crimes” launched four years ago. This suggested that the series was the most recent and would stream on Peacock.
A Former “Law And Order” Actor Quit By Fax
Michael Moriarty was an initial cast member who featured in the show for four years. However, he was allegedly a problematic performer to work with. In The Law & Order Unofficial Companion, Noth said Moriarty would “kick everybody out of the room and do his take to imaginary people because he didn’t want to be distracted by the other actors.”
In other episodes, his behavior became more unsteady as it was alleged he struggled with mental illness and alcoholism. Though he was an eclectic presence on the show, Moriarty dramatically split up with the series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, because Moriarty was angered that the creator of the series had met with then-Attorney General Janet Reno, who had expressed concerns about violence on TV, he sent a fax to the producers announcing that “I can’t continue,” in 2015.
Wolf immediately had Sam Waterston replace Moriarty; he joined the cast in 1994 and remained with the series until it ended.
Hargitay Is A Professional Rape Counselor
When Hargitay was assigned the role of Detective Olivia Benson, she had no idea of the impact of the subject matter on her. The statistics were astonishing, as they revealed that someone in the United States was sexually assaulted every 120 seconds.
Deeply moved by emails from abuse victims, she trained professionally as a rape counselor. Eighteen years ago, she started the Joyful Heart Foundation, which helped survivors of sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence through education, retreats, and advocacy.
She also learned how to switch into cop mode as needed. When a pregnant woman fainted on an NYC sidewalk, she ran to her side, shouting to passers-by, “Call 911, get her water!” and also started asking the woman questions that would help her know why she passed out.