Ice-T is celebrating a milestone for any actor.
The Law & Order: Special Victims star is noting how, with over 400 episodes under his belt, he is now the longest-running male actor in TV history.
The actor is now in his 23rd season as Detective Fin Tutuloa and is showing no signs of ever leaving the show.
The actor noted the achievement at Heidi Klum’s Halloween party and how he’s proud of making such a landmark moment for television.
The rapper and mogul also talked about it with Seth Meyers, including joking on why he plans to stay with the show as long as he can.
While his words may be light-hearted, Ice-T is clearly proud of making it so far with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and hoping to stay with the show for a long time to come.
Ice-T on his amazing record in television
It’s quite rare for an actor to be able to play the same role for over two decades in a prime-time television series.
The record for U.S. series had been set by James Arness, who played the role of Marshall Matt Dillion in Gunsmoke for 20 years. Kelsey Grammer matched him as Fraiser Crane, who went from Cheers to his own spin-off.
The final scene of the Season 2 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit back in 2000 had Ice-T debuting as Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola.
Known at the time as a hip-hop star and movie actor, Ice-T has been with the series ever since. Thus, 23 seasons later, he now holds the record for the longest-running male TV star in primetime history.
While Christopher Meloni did debut as Elliot Stabler a year earlier than Fin, the actor took an eleven-year break from the role before returning for Law & Order: Organized Crime.
“Mariska beat me but she’s an actress. You’ve gotta be on the show that stays on the longest — (Law and Order) is the longest-running show, so to get that title you have to be on — it’s all consecutive. There are people that have acted way longer than me, but to be on one show continuously for that long — it has never been done.”
Ice-T had already noted the achievement on his Twitter feed with the line “don’t tell me what can’t be done.”
Fans don’t have to worry about Fin leaving anytime soon, as Ice-T has made it clear he’ll be sticking around for a while.
Ice-T on why he’s stuck with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
During a guest appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers to promote his new autobiography Split Decision, Ice-T shared why he’s stayed with the show so long.
He admitted he was a bit unsure when he started as he wasn’t used to a regular TV series role. However, one thing got him attached fast: The money.
“When I got on the show, I was doing movies and stuff, so I didn’t know about residuals. Then my accountant showed me this number after a year and I’m like, ‘what’s that number?’ And she said that’s residuals…So I saw that number and I went from ‘I don’t know how long I’ll be on this show’ to ‘I will be on this show until they throw my black a— out on the street.'”
Ice-T added that the Law & Order actors often joke that the famous “chung-chung” sound effect is nicknamed “the Dick Wolf cash register.”
The actor also spoke on how more people recognize him from the show and don’t even know about his music career.
After bringing up that the actors don’t see the show before it airs, Ice-T joked about some fans talking about watching episodes multiple times and his reaction being, “We might need to investigate you. It’s kind of a dark show.”
While he may joke about it, it’s clear how much playing Fin means to Ice-T and that Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans can expect him to continue it for a long time to come.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.