Justice and Order: The Special Victims Unit (SVU) announced that Elliot Stabler (played by Chris Meloni) will return this season for a crossover that will launch a new NBC spin-off under the leadership of the agent called Law & Order: Organized Crime. Originally scheduled for September 2020, the coronavirus led to a delay in organized crime, which means that Stabler’s return to SVU has also been postponed.
This could happen very soon, however. On December 2, SVU showrunner Warren Leight released a screenshot from a zoomed view of an upcoming episode. Besides regular actors like Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T, there was also Meloni, who hides in a very green shirt in front of everyone.
Well, we had a pretty good readthrough.#SVU #OC pic.twitter.com/lgmuBmcsfE
– Warren Leight (@warrenleightTV) December 2, 2020
As the cast reads through the Stabler episode, this seems to indicate that they will be filming it very soon, and based on earlier time scales, we can guess when the episode will air.
Per Leight’s Twitter, reviews of the first episode of Law & Order: SVU Season 22 began in early September, with shooting starting on September 14 and the episode aired on NBC on November 12.
A rough time frame for the episode Stabler might therefore suggest that filming would start in mid-December and the episode would then air in February. However, the Christmas break of the show could postpone the episode and thus the beginning of organized crime until spring 2021, most likely March. In a preview of what will be on SVU in early 2021, Entertainment Tonight confirmed that the Organized Crime (and the Transition Stabler SVU) episode will be broadcast in the spring.
When NBC announced its January cast, Organized Crime was conspicuously absent from the Thursday night program, where it was scheduled to air immediately after SVU at 10:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. CT. A deadline was set in its place, which presumably will keep the station warm until the Organized Crime program can be broadcast.
When that will be is not announced, but if the show is to be broadcast in 2021, it must be while SVU is still running so that the show with Meloni’s SVU guest spot can change from one to the other. This means that fans are guaranteed to see the show before May, unless there is a major production delay.
There have already been some difficulties behind the scenes. In October, showrunner Matt Olmstead left the show, citing creative differences that led to organized crime being removed from the fall program. Then, in June, the series lost writer Craig Gore after he was fired over a Facebook posting threatening to “set fire to motherf******s” after reports of looting in Los Angeles.
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit Season 22 will be broadcast on NBC on Thursdays at 21:00 ET / 20:00 CT.