‘Dun dun’: Law & Order: SVU crowned TV’s longest-running drama

The iconic Dick Wolf creation, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, celebrates 21 years on our TV screens as it returns to Universal TV in December.

  • The New York Times calls the iconic sound at the beginning of every episode, “the most successful sound in television history”.
  • Composer Mike Post created the sound and christened it “The Clang”.
  • The famous sound was created by combining six or seven sounds… including that of 500 men stamping on the floor.
  • This 21-season run has seen some of Hollywood’s most famous faces like Snoop Dogg, the late John Ritter, Serena Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Brittany Snow and more.
  • South African fans have a dedicated Law & Order: SVU Facebook group with daily posts about the new and old seasons.

That iconic “chung chung” sound you hear is not just supposed to be that of a jail cell door slamming shut – it means that the successful and hugely popular spin-off procedural drama series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is back. Did you know that Urban Dictionary defines the sound as: That noise in Law & Order.

Surpassing the 20 seasons set by Dick Wolf’s mothership crime series Law & Order and Gunsmoke, the latest season of Law & Order: SVU sees the characters – including actors Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T and the rest of the team – return for a record-breaking 21st season of the hit crime drama that kicks off with a double bill of episodes on 4 December on Universal TV (117).

“I’m so grateful to be part of this record-breaking season and this record-breaking show and a show that started a conversation that for the first time the world needed to discuss,” says Mariska – who’s back as the fierce Olivia Benson. “I think to our audience, it’s more than a TV show. I think it truly has been a path to healing.”

Kelli Giddish, who is back as detective Amanda Rollins, says “It is such an honour to be a part of this legacy – to know that it means so much to so many people. Justice is always served at the end of the episode and I think that’s really satisfying.”

#MeToo

The series continues with its “ripped-from-the-headline” stories, like the #MeToo era with a sexual harassment case as its season opener. An actress accuses a powerful media mogul (Ian McShane) of attempted rape; an assault victim (Ariel Winter) needs help to recover details from her attack and a serial predator who targets gay bars, proves difficult to catch until a celebrity comes forward to tell his story.

“What I love about the show and talking about these issues is that the blame belongs with the perpetrator. Now, by talking about it – survivors, victims are coming forward – and saying ‘Me too. This happened to me’. I think young men and women are in a different place because of this show and I have such a smile on my heart to come back to work,” says Mariska.

Ice-T, who plays Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, adds: “When I first got here and I would read some of the scripts, I was like: ‘This really happened?’ And the producers said: ‘Yeah’, and it blew my mind.”

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit S21 starts Wednesday 4 December on Universal TV (117) at 21:40

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