Law & Order: SVU is closing in on mothership Law & Order and Gunsmoke‘s record-setting runs. NBC has renewed the veteran crime drama series for a 19th season, one shy of the record for longest-running drama series, held jointly by Law & Order and Gunsmoke.

The renewal never was in doubt, it just had to wait a beat for star Mariska Hargitay to close her new deal. “We don’t see a reason why SVU would go anywhere,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said in January.

NBC

SVU joins Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med, which also have been renewed for next season, with the fate of newest Windy City installment, rookie Chicago Justice, going down to the wire.

Created by prolific, Emmy-winning producer Wolf, Law & Order: SVU chronicles the life and crimes of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate sexually based crimes. Hargitay stars as Lt. Olivia Benson, acting commander of the SVU. Ice T, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino and Raul Esparza also star.

Hargitay has earned eight Emmy nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the role, winning in 2006. The series also has nabbed five guest-star Emmy wins over the years for Ann-Margret (2010), Ellen Burstyn (2009), Cynthia Nixon (2008), Leslie Caron (2007) and Amanda Plummer (2005).

Wolf also has limited series Law & Order: True Crime — The Menendez Murders in production at NBC for the 2017-18 season.

Law & Order: SVU has been sold to more than 250 territories around the world. The series is produced by Wolf Films in association with Universal Television.

Asked in January whether Hargitay would stay with the show, Salke said: “I think she loves the show, she loves to be Benson, to be that protector of women. She loves her foundation. It’s not a job for her anymore, it’s a calling.”