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DESCRIPTION: (from NBC's press release, March 2019) Racing into the record book to set the mark as the longest-running primetime live-action series in television history, NBC has renewed "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" for a 21st season. The record defeats the longstanding previous mark of 20 seasons set by "Law & Order" (1990-2010) and "Gunsmoke" (1955-75). The announcement for the renewal was made by Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment. "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," Telegdy and Cheeks said. "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." "As 'SVU' moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women," said creator/executive producer Dick Wolf. "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 #1 on the call sheet and, to me, a true friend." "I'm deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today," said Hargitay. "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." The series, which stars Hargitay as Lt. Olivia Benson, chronicles the lives of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate crimes of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. Lt. Benson is now the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action series. Hargitay has garnered eight Emmy Award nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series and won in 2006. She received two Golden Globe nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, winning the award in 2005, and six SAG nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.