Celebrating a very special milestone—one that could really only have been achieved with the help of a whole lot of very special victims—NBC’s Law & Order: SVU has now officially become the longest running primetime live-action series in U.S. TV history. In doing so, the Dick Wolf-produced procedural has now surpassed Gunsmoke, a venerable TV Western from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s (Jesus) that now exists solely as a longevity milestone for other long-running TV series to blithely blow past.
Per Deadline, NBC renewed the show for a new season today, confirming that Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson will continue to try to protect New York’s various dead and abused children for a record-setting 21-season reign of fake search engines, weird Ice-T reaction shots, and general John Mulaney-inspiring cop show pleasures. (That also, incidentally, means it just blew past the record set by the original Law & Order, which went off the air with its 20th season back in 2010.) SVU, of course, offers up a particularly addicting flavor of discomfiting TV comfort food, ensuring that no matter what year you tune in, you’ll catch a bunch of basically good detectives trying to catch some very bad people with a minimum of distracting fuss. Meanwhile, Hargitay’s Benson is now officially the longest-running starring character in a live-action primetime show, kicking the ass of not only Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon, but also Dr. Frasier Crane, which is honestly a DVD bonus feature we’d kind of like to see.