Since its debut in September 1999, the series has followed the career of Olivia Benson, as she progresses from the rank of Detective, working with a partner (initially Elliot Stabler, and later Nick Amaro), to Lieutenant, replacing Donald Cragen as commanding officer of SVU.
The unit also has a prosecutor assigned from the District Attorney's office, and frequently interacts with medical examiners and psychiatrists.
Three of the regular characters have appeared in three other NBC series: Captain Donald Cragen (Florek), who was on the first three seasons of Law & Order, Sergeant John Munch (Belzer), formerly a Baltimore detective on Homicide: Life on the Street.
Hargitay has received both a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Benson.
As of the season 8 episode "Screwed", he is assigned Chester Lake as his new partner.
After Lake kills a suspect, Stabler accuses Tutuola of tipping him off before he is taken into custody and checks his phone records.
As the series progresses, he becomes closer with Munch and even saves Benson from being raped while they were both undercover in season 9.
However, he also begins clashing more frequently with fellow detective Elliot Stabler.