The two hit dramas are just two powerhouse series to come from creator Dick Wolf over the years. The producer, who got his start writing for Hill Street Blues in the 1980s, has become the go-to man when it comes to procedurals.
One of the TV giant’s greatest successes is Law & Order: SVU, which began in 1999 following the hype of his 1990 creation Law & Order. What makes SVU different is that it depicts the nuances of dealing with sex crimes — and it is helmed by female lead Mariska Hargitay.
“I think that Olivia is such a badass who’s grown into her power,” Hargitay told E! News in September 2022 of her character, Captain Olivia Benson. “And that is our journey for all of us women.”
Wolf’s universe expanded even more in 2012 when he launched the One Chicago universe. After Chicago Fire took fans into life as a firefighter in the Windy City, Chicago P.D. was created to depict the sometimes not-so-glamorous side of policing in the Midwest. He later added a third series, Chicago Med.
“I’m on a cop show in a post-George Floyd world. It’s tough. What is my responsibility as an actor?” Chicago P.D. star Marina Squerciati exclusively told Us Weekly in November 2021, referring to Floyd’s death at the hands of cops in 2020. “As a part of this project, wanting to give credence and respect to people who are cops, who choose to put their lives on the line, run through the line of fire? And also give respect to people who are persecuted and not treated fairly by cops.”
The actress, who has been playing Officer Kim Burgess since Chicago P.D.‘s premiere, noted that the series has evolved as the world has changed.
“Our shows kind of took a pause and a reset. … It is a television show so it’s not going to be perfect, but I’m glad the cops [on our show] live in a gray area,” she concluded. “We’re not always right. That makes me happy. It’s not good-guy-bad-guy, because that’s not the world we live in.”
“I feel like you hear people talk about, like, ‘Oh, we’re a family,’ when they talk about their shows and stuff. And I don’t know that that’s always true,” Flueger, who plays Officer Adam Ruzek, said at the time. “But with our specific show, with our crew, our cast, man, these are people that take care of each other, look out for each other. We’ve got a family situation going. … We’re very lucky.”
Chicago P.D. and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit are just two shows that document life behind the blue wall — and both series wouldn’t have been possible without the cop dramas that came before them, including Cagney & Lacey, NYPD Blue, Monk and more.
Scroll down to see some of the best police series of all time — and start watching the ones you have yet to see: