Dick Wolf began his Law & Order franchise in 1990. As Law & Order itself was halfway through its 20 year run (1990-2010), Wolf added a second series, which is the only one keeping the franchise going.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been an NBC fixture since 1999, though the series has moved around the schedule quite a bit in recent years. Not only that, but cable cousins Cloo & USA are playing the reruns into the ground with relentless marathons, especially on the weekends on USA. Then again, Law & Order was likewise played to death on TNT, and now on WE.
Second generation star Mariska Hargitay is the only original cast member left as we're now into season 16. Her character, Det.-Sgt. Olivia Benson, now has a new team to work with, as all the fan favorites have left in recent seasons, including Fin (Ice-T), and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). Benson was promoted to Sgt. last season, after Capt. Don Cragen (Dann Florek) retired. The beat simply goes on. The stories, sometimes ripped from the headlines, cover recurring themes such as domestic violence, rape, murder, and child porn.
Hargitay is also the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, the group behind the "No More" ad campaign, which now includes some NFL players, including the Giants' Eli Manning. I'd not be surprised to see those ads air during current episodes of SVU.
Here's a sample intro, from season 7 (2005-6):
SVU has attracted big name guests in recent years, including Carol Burnett and Robin Williams, the latter playing a villain in a turn similar to his film, "One Hour Photo". Luckily, I don't think we'll ever see tabloid magnets like the Kardashians ever appear, but then......