Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American crime drama television series created by Dick Wolf for NBC. It stars Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson, the lead detective of the Special Victims Unit in a fictionalized version of the 16th Precinct of the New York City Police Department. Christopher Meloni was the other lead, starring as Elliot Stabler until he left the cast after 12 seasons. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit follows the style of the original Law & Order in that episodes are often "ripped from the headlines" or loosely based on real crimes that have received media attention. The series focuses on sex crimes and crimes against tender age children.