• Entertainment

How The 'Law & Order: SVU' Has Aged Since The First Season

List RulesVote up the characters who have changed the most from the first season of SVU.

From prosecuting dangerous offenders to investigating serious crimes, viewers have been on the edge of their seats while watching the characters of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for 20 seasons. From the first season's start in 1999 to the 20th season's premiere in 2018, the cast aged right along with the officers, lawyers, and judges of the specialized unit.

How old is the cast of SVU? Christopher Meloni was 38 when he first played Elliot Stabler in Season 1 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He remained a main cast member through the series's 15th season and returned as a guest in Season 16 when he was 53 years old. Diane Neal played Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak on SVU Seasons 5 through 9 when she was 27 to 32 and later appeared in Seasons 12 and 13.

From the ages of 35 to 55, Mariska Hargitay has appeared in every single season of Law & Order: SVU for the past 20 years. Stephanie March was 26 when she first showed up in Season 2, and Ice-T has portrayed Odafin Tutola from the ages of 42 to 60.

Which SVU cast members do you think aged the most? Take a look at this SVU cast members then-and-now list and vote for the actors who have changed the most.

Photo:
  • Photo: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/NBC

    Then 55-year-old actor Richard Belzer first appeared as Detective John Munch in Season One of Law & Order: SVU in 1999. He remained a series regular through the 15th season and returned as a guest in Season 17 in 2016.

    Prior to SVU, Belzer was a successful actor and comedian. He even served as the warm-up comic for Saturday Night Live in the 1970s.

    • Age: 77
    • Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA
    436
    111
    Was this a big change?
  • 2

    Dean Winters (Brian Cassidy)

    Photo: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/NBC

    Dean Winters first portrayed Brian Cassidy in the first season of SVU in 1999 when he was 35 years old. He left after that first season and later returned as a guest star beginning in 2012. Winters' most recent appearance was during Season 19 in 2018.

    Before joining the law enforcement's side in acting, Winters appeared behind bars in HBO's Oz.

    • Age: 57
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    396
    114
    Was this a big change?
  • Photo: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/NBC

    Ned Eisenberg first played Defense Attorney Roger Kressler back in 2001 during SVU Season 3. He has continued to appear in the series most recently in the Season 19 episode "Flight Risk" when he was 61.

    • Age: 64
    • Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
    289
    128
    Was this a big change?
  • Photo: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/NBC

    Mariska Hargitay has appeared in every single season of Law & Order: SVU for the past 20 years. From the ages of 35 to 55 she portrayed Olivia Benson as she rose up the ranks of the SVU from a junior detective to a lieutenant.

    Hargitay has also appeared elsewhere in the Dick Wolf shared universe, with roles on other Law & Order shows, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Fire.

    • Age: 57
    • Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, USA
    360
    210
    Was this a big change?

    #86 of 243 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World#193 of 349 The Best Actresses In Film History#670 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History