Law & Order to have SVU crossover in Season 21 finale

Law & Order
Chief McGrath (Terry Serpico) and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) talk a case on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

Law & Order will be getting into the crossover spirit soon.

The revived series’s Season 21 finale will have a guest star appearance from both Law & Order: Special Victim Unit’s Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson and Terry Serpico as Chief McGrath. 

This promises to spark an already dramatic way to close out the first season of the revival series.

Why is Law & Order doing a crossover?

Given they were a TV show universe before One Chicago or CBS’ FBI shows, it’s surprising Law & Order hasn’t done many crossovers.

For a while, the best was cops from one show going to another series or a crossover between Law & Order and Homicide: Life on the Street. The connection grew with Richard Belzer reprising his Homicide: Life on the Street Role of John Munch on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. 

There would be occasions where an episode of either Law & Order or Law & Order: Special Victims Unit concluded on the short-lived Law & Order: Trial By Jury. There have also been several crossovers between Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Chicago P.D.

There have been more crossovers as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime characters have appeared on each other’s shows. That promises to build with Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) appearing on Law & Order: Organized Crime. 

Now, as per The Today Show, the May 19 finale of Law & Order will focus on Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) suffering the death of a police officer who was a good friend of his. 

“It’s an emotional episode, involving the death of an off-duty police officer…who is a good friend of Detective Cosgrove. So that’s what brings detective Benson into the mix. Benson is peripherally involved in the case. Cosgrove and Benard need to talk to her about something. She’s connected and it’s organic; they need information from her.”

McGrath fits into the episode as “this is a police shooting. It’s big news, and he’s part of some of these senior conversations going on between the police department, the District Attorney’s Office, the mayor’s office, about how to proceed.”

This promises a dramatic case that should provide better connections between the Law & Order shows. 

Will there be more Law & Order crossovers?

Law & Order SVU
Mariska Hargitay as Benson is in the hot seat as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 begins. Pic credit: NBC

NBC has yet to announce if Law & Order will return for a 22nd season. Some viewers noted that the Season 21 premiere involved a case of a man accused of abuse which would seem to fit the SVU squad.

When asked if there was any question of Benson making an appearance in that episode, Eid explained that was never in the plans. 

“There was no specific reason (for her not to be in that episode) other than that we were building sets and writing scripts and doing other things. There definitely was a Special Victims backstory to it, but at the end of the day it was still a homicide. There just wasn’t a compelling legal or evidentiary reason.”

Benson did make three appearances on the mothership Law & Order series when the cops worked on a mutual case.

Eid acknowledged to the Today Show the juggling act of trying to make this revival work for both a modern audience and lovers of the original series. 

“The show is so beloved and iconic that if you’re going to bring it back you’d better try hard to live up to its standards,” he says. “Things have changed and people have gotten used to a different, glossier look (to TV). We want you to feel like you’re in (the room), but also make it pleasurable to watch.”

While the possibility of more Law & Order crossovers remains, having Benson around will help connect the Law & Order shows up further to close out their current seasons.

Law & Order Season 21 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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