As the Law & Order universe prepares to return to NBC, there’s already been a few changes made to the upcoming seasons of Special Victims Unit and Organized Crime. The former is planning to leave the unintended season 21 finale behind to address what’s happening in “this moment,” while the upcoming spin-off has been delayed until 2021.
On Tuesday, SVU showrunner Warren Leight took to Twitter to respond to questions about whether the series would pick up on the storyline involving the Harvey Weinstein-inspired character, Sir Toby Moore (Ian McShane), who was finally brought to trial in the finale after being accused of rape and sexual violence at the beginning of the season.
With four more episodes originally slated to follow, “The Things We Have To Lose” (episode 20) was never intended to be the season finale. However, because of the coronavirus outbreak at the time, film and TV production were shut down, forcing the season to end early. Making the most of it, Leight told TVLine at the time, “This is kind of a nice button on the season because it is what we started with.”
Now, he’s making clear that the new season, particularly the first few episodes, is going to deal with how the world has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as the cultural reckonings, such as the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
“A lot has happened since we shut down, in New York, and in our country,” Leight tweeted. “First few episodes will see our squad grappling with many of the losses and changes and challenges we’re all going through at this moment.”
I can answer this… no it won't. A lot has happened since we shut down, in New York, and in our country. First few eps will see our squad grappling with many of the losses and changes and challenges we're all going through at this moment. https://t.co/zmGbM6pNoe
This echoes comments the showrunner made earlier this summer, when he said that George Floyd’s death “has to come up and it will,” adding that they’ll tackle related issues from all sides. According to Ice-T, the SVU writers have been “touched by this” incident and he thinks their emotional connection to it “is going to show up in their writing.”
At the time, Leight said the season will “reflect New York in the pandemic [and] what happens to someone who is sexually assaulted during the height of the coronavirus outbreak.”
SVU season 22 is set for a Nov. 12 premiere, while Organized Crime, which is scheduled to start filming in September, has been pushed back until next year. It was originally slated to debut alongside the new season of SVU, with Christopher Meloni returning as Elliot Stabler on both series, marking a long awaited reunion between him and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) after nine years.
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