Olivia Benson could be in some major danger when Law & Order: Special Victims Unit begins Season 23.
In a new talk with TV Guide, Mariska Hargitay shared details on what to expect when the hit series returns and how some events will cross over with Law & Order: Organized Crime.
How did Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 22 end?
As usual, what looked like a typical case on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit became a major complex affair in the Season 22 finale Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing.
It began with the team helping a woman who claimed she had been forced into sexual favors in order to keep the apartment for herself and her family. That involved the aid of Dr. Catalina Machado (Zabryna Guevara), a popular activist.
However, the team realized that Machado herself was involved in the ring to arrest her, with Machado hinting she wasn’t alone.
Meanwhile, Garland (Demore Barnes) was blackballed for speaking out against the NYPD and demoted to a desk job. He confessed to Benson that he’d been feeling heath issues but still determined to keep fighting.
The gang got together for the wedding of Fin (Ice-T) and Phoebe (Jennifer Esposito), only for the pair to announce they were postponing it. The party went on, which included Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) finally sharing a kiss.
What’s happening when Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 begins?
The Season 23 premiere begins just hours after the party. Machado is desperate to cut a deal and names a congressman as the ringleader of the trafficking plot.
Speaking to TV Guide Magazine for their Fall Preview issue (on newsstands Friday), Hargitay shared more about what to expect in the premiere.
“The case continues with Benson and her squad going after bigger fish, who are decidedly more dangerous and difficult to apprehend,” Hargitay explains. “Like any good SVU episode, there’s a big twist at the end.”
A major twist is Benson being attacked, which is the excuse for the show for working in Hargitay, having broken her ankle back in July.
“My injury is written into Olivia’s story, but true to her character, it doesn’t slow her down in the least,” the actress says, adding, “You might see her behind a desk now and again.”
The article was written before the surprising news that Barnes and Jamie Gray Hyder (Kat Tamin) would be leaving the series in the Season 23 premiere. However, it’s hinted that Carisi and Rollins will be exploring a possible romance.
There will be crossovers with Law & Order: Organized Crime
The question of who attacked Benson will hang over the first part of the season. One theory is that it’s Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), the corrupt CEO/gangster that Stabler (Christopher Meloni) tangled with on Season 1 of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Wheatley had threatened Benson on that series, but Hargitay was mum on whether that makes him a suspect.
“That’s a working theory,” Hargitay says. “As usual in Wheatley’s world, it’s difficult to know what’s really going on.”
Benson will have interactions with the Law & Order: Organized Crime team in what Hargitay calls a “heartbreaking” episode about a nightclub singer (Herizen Guardiola) who is abused by her mob-connected boss, Gabe Navarro (Rhys Coiro).
However, the Organized Crime unit is investigating the mobster themselves, leading to Benson clashing with their chief, Ayanna Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt).
Hargitay is tight-lipped on a possible Benson-Stabler romance, while Meloni told TV Guide that “everyone is working hard to create an authentic, satisfying journey for these two people.”
On top of that, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will have their milestone 500th episode, which promises to have the return of some past faces.
While mum on the possibility of a Benson-Stabler romance, it sounds like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is ready to make Season 23 one of its best ever.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 premieres Thursday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC.