‘Law & Order: SVU’ Originally Had a Different Name That Was Nixed For Inclusivity

For two decades, Law & Order: SVU has drawn in plenty of fans. Some people may not know that the series used to be called something else. Several shows had a different title starting out. For example, Friends was going to be called Insomnia Cafe. Originally, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit did not have the Law & Order brand attached to it.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ covers sensitive cases

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a crime drama television series. The show takes place in Manhattan. It follows the style of the original Law & Order in that some of the episodes are loosely based on real crimes. On top of that, the series brings up a variety of social issues.

The premise explores the dark side of New York as a team of detectives investigates crimes of child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Since the unit works alongside the District Attorney’s office, they try to deliver justice for the victims. 

There are several characters that the story focuses on, and the series contains plenty of engaging plotlines. One of the protagonists is Olivia Benson, who puts her job first until she adopts a son. Eventually, she becomes Captain.

Plenty of characters have come and gone. In season 21, Sergeant Hasim Khaldun got introduced. The character has a major role that season, and he will likely be a long-term character.

More facts about the crime show

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First premiering in 1999, Law & Order: SVU has been producing new episodes for 21 years. Currently, the show is airing season 22, which makes it the longest-running series in history. The show has a large cast of characters. Christopher Meloni starred as fan-favorite Elliot Stabler and Mariska Hargitay leads the show as Captain Olivia Benson. Other stars include Ice-T, Richard Belzer, and Dann Florek.

Interestingly enough, there were sparks between some of the cast members. When Hargitay first met Peter Hermann, the two of them made a connection. In fact, her reaction to meeting him almost caused her to pass out on set. The couple is currently married.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ had a different name

A fun fact about Law & Order: SVU is that the series used to be called something else. Several shows have changed their titles early on. According to TV Guide, the working title of the crime drama series originally was Sex Crimes.

When creating a new entry to the Law & Order franchise, creator Dick Wolf originally used the alternative name because Wolf said he, “… knew that people have an insatiable interest in is sex — the original title was Sex Crimes — but Barry Diller didn’t want to have ‘sex’ in the title so we went with the sex crimes unit’s official name [Special Victims Unit].”

According to Screen Rant, the network, NBC, was worried about possible trouble from sensitive viewers and concerned advertisers. Not to mention, the creators changed the name of the show to offer a better description, as “sex crimes” can be misleading when addressing crime that doesn’t have much to do with sex at all.

Law & Order: SVU covers a variety of sexual crimes, as well as domestic violence and child abuse cases. So, the creator took the name of the real-life NYPD department to make the series sound more inclusive and be more accurate to the department. The new title likely helped with the show becoming a success.