Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 18 Premiere - Wednesday, September 21st at 9pm ET/8pm CT ABOUT THE SHOW Created by Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, now in its 17th season, is the longest-running primetime drama currently on television. This hard-hitting and emotional series from NBC's Law & Order brand chronicles the life and crimes of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate sexually based crimes. As acting commander of the SVU, Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is a seasoned veteran of the unit who has seen it all. She leads with empathy and professionalism, all the while dealing with her difficult past as a product of rape, and her future as mother to a young child, both of which influence the way she relates to each victim in need of help. Hargitay garnered eight Emmy nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Olivia Benson, and won the 2006 Emmy for that category. She has received six SAG nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, two Golden Globe nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, winning the award in 2005, and has won three Gracie Allen Awards for Outstanding Female Lead in 2004, 2009 and 2014. In 2013, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola (Ice T) adds a unique sense of humor and undercover investigative experience, making him a formidable match for any partner. Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) has earned her place as an integral part of the team while facing head-on the emotional toll it takes to work SVU, and Detective Dominick "Sonny" Carisi (Peter Scanavino) brings a fresh outlook and distinctive style of investigation to the squad. Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) seeks justice for SVU's victims and survivors with precision and a passion to win. SVU is frequently acknowledged for its guest players, with Emmy wins for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Ann-Margret (2010), Ellen Burstyn (2009), Cynthia Nixon (2008), Leslie Caron (2007) and Amanda Plummer (2005), and nominations for such renowned talent as Brenda Blethyn, Carol Burnett, Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Angela Lansbury, Marlee Matlin, Mare Winningham, Barbara Barrie, Martha Plimpton, Jane Alexander and Tracy Pollan. In 2015, SVU won the Imagen Foundation Award for Best Primetime Program, recognizing the positive portrayal of Latinos in media. The series was honored with the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2012, along with Ice T for Outstanding Actor (2002) and Delroy Lindo for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama (2010). Fourteen episodes of SVU were nominated for the Prism Award and six have won, recognizing their accurate depiction of substance abuse and mental illness. Three episodes have been nominated by the GLAAD Media Awards for outstanding representation of the LGBT community, and the show was honored with 10 Edgar Allan Poe award nominations and two wins for Best Television episode. The Law & Order brand has tremendous global appeal and to date, SVU has been sold to over 250 territories around the world. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Television. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer; Warren Leight, Julie Martin, Jonathan Starch, Peter Jankowski and Arthur Forney are executive producers. CREDITS Creator Dick Wolf Executive Producers Dick Wolf, Warren Leight, Julie Martin, Jonathan Starch, Peter Jankowski, Arthur Forney Co-Executive Producers Kevin Fox, Samantha Corbin-Miller Supervising Producer Jill Abbinanti Produced By Kenneth Brown Consulting Producer Ed Zuckerman Producers Mariska Hargitay, Jill Abbinanti, Mark Dragin Co-Producers Amanda Slater, Michael Ciliento Staff Writers Robert Cohen, Celine Robinson Directors Alex Chapple, Jean de Segonzac, Mike Slovis Director of Photography Michael Green Editors Karen Stern, Jim Stewart, Leon Ortiz-Gill Production Designer Dean Taucher Costume Designer Juliet Polcsa Casting Jonathan Strauss, Lynn Kressel Casting Music Composer Mike Post Produced By Wolf Films in association with Universal Television CAST Main Characters Lieutenant Olivia Benson Played by Mariska Hargitay A detective in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes. She is primarily partnered with Elliot Stabler, until he retires after Season 12. She is tough, empathetic, and completely dedicated to her job, to the point that she is sometimes seen as having little personal life. Her dedication sometimes wreaks havoc on her emotional state as she empathizes with victims of sexual assault, having been the child of rape and later the victim of sexual assault while undercover in Season 9. She has allowed her compassion for victims of abuse to sometimes cloud her professional judgment and impede her ability to remain impartial. Hargitay has received both a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Benson. In Season 13, Detectives Benson and Tutuola are the senior detectives in the precinct. Throughout the first few episodes of Season 13, she struggles to cope with the retirement of Stabler as she is more harsh and argumentative, as seen when she berates ADA Novak for "losing her nerve" after Novak said that Benson was "off." Her primary partner from Season 13 to 14 has been Nick Amaro, but is also seen working with Tutuola and Detective Amanda Rollins at times. Upon the retirement of Sergeant Munch at the beginning of Season 15, Captain Cragen recommends to her that she should take the sergeant's exam, as she was now his second in command. In the episode, "Rapist Anonymous", she makes the announcement that she has passed the exam, officially making her a sergeant. After Cragen's retirement, she becomes acting commanding officer of SVU until she is subsequently promoted to Lieutenant in Season 17 and officially takes command of the unit. At the end of Season 15, she became a foster mother to Noah Porter, formally adopting him at the end of Season 16. She is taken hostage midway through Season 17 ("Townhouse Incident"), but is rescued unharmed. Shortly thereafter, she begins a relationship with IAB Captain Ed Tucker.