Narrated by David Bushman, Television and Mass Media Curator for The Paley Center
Of all the spin-offs in all the genres in all the world, few have matched the longevity of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, currently in its 23rd season on NBC. Only Mariska Hargitay’s widely beloved Olivia Benson remains from that maiden season; Ice-T hopped aboard a season later. Between 2004 and 2011, Hargitay was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series an amazing eight consecutive times, winning once in 2006. Benson descends from an impressive line of female NYPD officers on TV, dating all the way back to the 1957 premiere of the syndicated show Decoy starring Beverly Garland as undercover cop Patricia “Casey” Jones. SVU creator Dick Wolf was inspired by New York’s notorious 1986 “Preppy Murder” in Central Park of 18-year-old Jennifer Levin by Robert Chambers, which has also inspired pop songs, a TV movie, performance art, a documentary mini-series, and single episodes of both the original Law and Order and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.