Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has officially hit the 25-season mark! The first spinoff in the L&O franchise premiered back in 1999 and has remained a steady staple on TV since then. Since its parent show went on a 10-year hiatus, the drama even surpassed its predecessor in episode count and continues to reign. Even that many seasons in, Ice-T and the cast are feeling as grateful as ever and believe they’ve “hit the jackpot.”
The rapper and entertainment mogul has portrayed Odafin “Fin” Tutuola since the second season of the show and nearly tops the list of L&O franchise actors who have appeared in the most episodes. While he has thought about how he wants Fin’s story to end, he seems more focused on looking at the past and present and the incredible milestone that SVU has reached. While speaking with People, he also discussed how fans have continued to support the show:
I think SVU is a special show because it’s the first time I’ve ever done something where people walk up in the street and say thank you. And I found out that SVU is as much entertainment as it is therapy for a lot of women because a lot of the women that watch the show are survivors – guys too. So it has a different feeling versus just normal entertainment.
There's a reason that SVU has stayed on the air for so long, and it’s definitely partly due to the fans and the captivating storylines that make so many feel seen. Since Ice-T was only initially supposed to appear in just four episodes in Season 2, it’s pretty remarkable that he's gone on to play one of the longest-running roles in the history of TV. And, at this rate, it doesn't look like he plans to slow down soon.
The star, whose full name is Tracey Lauren Marrow, isn't the only SVU cast member looking back at the show’s extraordinary run. Ahead of her return to SVU, Kelli Giddish spoke about how rewarding it’s been to hear from fans who express their gratitude for the stories that are told:
I know, for me, that’s the most rewarding part about being on this show. The interactions I have at the coffee shop where somebody will come up and say thank you, that means the world. It’s amazing.
Kelli Giddish joined SVU as Detective Amanda Rollins during Season 13 as a replacement for Christopher Meloni. While it was initially hard to see Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson with another partner, she and Rollins proved to have great chemistry. Since joining, Rollins served as a source of support for many survivors in episodes and would always make sure to advocate for them. Giddish seems to truly appreciate the kind thoughts she's heard from fans, and it's hard not to agree with those who admire the work she's done with the show.
All in all, I'd agree with Ice-T that he and his co-stars have indeed hit the jackpot when it comes to their longtime gigs. They're all entertaining to watch on screen, but what's really sweet is that they seem to enjoy the work even after all these years. Let's hope that remains the case as the procedural hits 25 seasons and continues to air.
New episodes of Law & Order: SVU air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC as part of the 2024 TV schedule. Peacock subscribers can check out past episodes, including SVU’s 1999 pilot episode. Given this recent milestone, now would be the perfect time for anyone to look back on the show's beginnings.