Arts
    Next Score View the next score

    TV Critic’s Corner

    ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ is one for the record books

    Mariska Hargitay will enter year 21 on “Law & Order: SVU.”
    Will Hart/NBC
    Mariska Hargitay will enter year 21 on “Law & Order: SVU.”

    NBC renewed “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for another season, which seems like life as usual. Dick Wolf and his franchises — including NBC’s Chicago shows — just keep going and going and going.

    But the renewal turns the “Law & Order” spinoff — and its star, Mariska Hargitay — into live-action prime-time record breakers. Next season will be the show’s 21st, besting the 20-season record currently held by the mothership, “Law & Order” (1990-2010), and by “Gunsmoke” (1955-75). And the renewal makes Hargitay, who plays Lieutenant Benson, into the longest-running character.

    In the TV justice system, it appears franchises are considered especially lucrative and long-running.

    Advertisement

    Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.