Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is kicking into high gear in Season 23.
NBC has released the first promo for the Season 23 premiere, which has the team tackling a high-profile criminal, a dangerous conspiracy, and puts Benson in serious danger. It also features the arrival of a familiar face to help.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 22 ended in a wild way
The Season 22 finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (titled Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing) began, as most cases do, with a relatively straightforward crime that turned far more complex.
It began with a woman claiming she was being forced to sell herself in order to keep a nice apartment for herself and her son. The team’s sting on the apartment owner involved the aid of Dr. Catalina Machado (Zabryna Guevara), a local activist who seemed to want to help women in need.
But the team soon realized Machado herself was involved in the trafficking ring.
In other developments, Garland (Demore Barnes) shared that he was being blackballed for speaking out against the NYPD and threatened to be demoted to a desk job.
The season ended with the team attending a party following Fin’s (Ice-T) postponed wedding, with Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) kissing while Benson and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) looked on.
Season 23 begins with a dangerous investigation
Starting just hours after the Season 22 finale, the two-part Season 23 premiere, The Empire Strikes Back/Never Turn Your Back On Them, has Machado trying to cut a deal and names a prominent Congressman Howard (Ben Rappaport) as a ringleader.
The official NBC description hints at the issues abounding:
As the investigation into a sex-for-housing scheme expands, Benson’s loyalty to Garland is tested. Rollins and Carisi try to keep their witnesses on board when a powerful congressman is identified as a suspect. Guest starring Ben Rappaport, Terry Serpico and Octavio Pisano.
The short promo starts with Benson point-blank accusing Howard of being a predator, “so guess what happens next.”
Garland warns Benson of how dangerous this is as “who knows how high this goes?” It then shows Garland and Benson facing a room of NYPD chiefs in what appears to be an inquiry.
Howard himself arrogantly declares, “I’m not going to prison. I’m going to be President.” He also warns Benson, “I make two phone calls, and you’re gone.”
Fin is shown examining a clue while a woman’s body is lying on a car, having fallen from a major height.
It culminates in Benson’s car being run off the road. It ends with none other than a bearded Elliot Stabler dressed like a paramedic telling her, “Liv…stay with me.”
What’s to come on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23?
The bigger news of the premiere is that it will be the final episode for both Garland and Kat Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). There is no word on the exact fate of the characters, although the synopsis for the second episode indicates Kat is in danger trying to find a witness.
Benson’s attack is the series’ way of explaining the broken ankle Hargitay suffered in July. There’s no word on whether Stabler’s presence could lead to more of a romance between the former partners.
Future episodes will have Benson trying to help a mobster’s abused girlfriend, which clashes with the Organized Crime Bureau chief Sergeant Ayanna Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt).
As the promo shows, Season 23 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit isn’t pulling any punches and will be putting Benson and the rest of the team through a major wringer, which is good news for fans.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 premieres Thursday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC.