Law and Order: SVU Boss Reveals Possibly Botched Season 21 Character Returns

With SVU production halted due to coronavirus, executive producer Warren Leight hinted at what was to come

By Chris Harnick Mar 24, 2020 1:19 PMTags
Watch: Mariska Hargitay Chokes Up Imagining Life Without "Law & Order: SVU"

Law & Order: SVU fans might be playing what could have been rather than what could be. Production on the long-running NBC drama was halted (along with most of all other TV productions) due to coronavirus while at work on episode 21 of that 24-episode season 21 order. With so much uncertainty, it's still up in the air whether the show will resume production on the remaining episodes. Because of that, SVU executive producer and showrunner Warren Leight is cluing fans in on what was ahead for the elite squad of detectives known as the special victims unit.

"Well, believe it or not, Simon's death was going to be re-examined in the finale," Leight tweeted. 

How Law and Order: SVU Handled Cast Exits

"Along with the return of two prominent characters from earlier seasons. So, we're sorry not to get to make that episode. The three before it were also in pretty great shape. So it goes," he said when asked about what he was looking forward to exploring this season.

One of those characters could be Raúl Esparza's Rafael Barba. He previously made a cameo appearance via video call.

When asked whether these could move over to season 22—Law & Order: SVU has been renewed through season 24—Leight couldn't say for sure.

"We'll use what still makes sense. I think the world will be different by the time we get back on air, and SVU will have to reflect that," he shared.

Leight previously shared episode 20 of the series may end up being the finale.

"SVU had planned to produce 24 episodes this season. Episode 20, written by @JulieMartinSVU and me, directed by @juancampanella may end up being our finale. If it is, it will be oddly fine in that slot - with return performances from many perps and [victims] we've met this season," he said.


Law & Order: SVU was renewed for three more seasons, along with Dick Wolf's Chicago Med, Chicago PD and Chicago Fire, as part of Wolf's deal with Universal.

"I'm gratified and excited that Universal will remain our home for five more years," Wolf said in a statement. "This new term deal complements our recently concluded agreement to make Peacock one of the primary destinations for both the L&O and Chicago brands, as well as our extraordinary three-year NBC broadcast pickups on all four current series. We are now supercharged to expand our business on new platforms, both domestically and internationally, while continuing to produce our current and future series for broadcasting and streaming networks." 

Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays, 10 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)