‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner Warren Leight Announces Departure Ahead of Season 24

by Shelby Scott

Beloved “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner, Warren Leight, has announced his departure from the long-running crime show ahead of the hit series’ 24th season. The “SVU” showrunner attributes his upcoming departure to the many stresses he, the cast, and crew members have endured in filming during a pandemic, and in the difficulties following.

According to TVLine, EP broke the news of Leight’s departure Tuesday on social media. In a tell-all Twitter post, the “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner detailed his struggle and his decision to leave.

Warren Leight began, “The final day of shooting is always bittersweet. Today was a little more than that. As some of you have already figured out, I am stepping down at the end of [‘SVU’ season 23].”

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner Attributes Departure to Numerous Professional Hardships

The “Law & Order” showrunner explained, “The last two years of show running during a pandemic have been arduous, and I’ve decided to take a break.”

Numerous factors and hardships apparently contributed to Leight’s decision to depart the “Law & Order” set. In his Tweet, he continued, “At least once a week this year a brick came thru the window,” meaning problem after problem arose. A large handful of problems included cast and crew members having to quarantine, lost shooting locations, falling behind schedule, and the unavailability of certain guest stars.

Warren Leight has led a number of seasons of “Law & Order: SVU” to success, even seeing the series to its 21st season. TVLine reports season 21 of “Law & Order: SVU” marked an important milestone for the show, as it made it the longest-running live-action TV series in history.

Leight joined as showrunner during the 13th season of “SVU,” serving until season 17. He’s remained a showrunner since rejoining the series during season 21.

Why ‘SVU’ is the Most Popular Series in the Franchise

“Law & Order” ranks as both one of the longest-running and most popular shows on TV. And while there are surely several contributing factors, what makes the “SVU” offshoot so popular has to deal with its cast members.

Long-running shows like “Law & Order: SVU” tend to have a lot of cast turnover. “NCIS” is another prime example of this. However, among all the cast members to come and go from these investigative series, there are a few that stick around every year.

In the case of “SVU,” one of those steadfast cast members is Olivia Benson actress Mariska Hargitay. “Law & Order: SVU” premiered in 1999, and since the pilot aired, Hargitay has been a constant presence. The “SVU” actress has also aided the series’ success in connecting with the show’s fans.

“Law & Order: SVU” centers around sexual-based crimes, so its overall aura is rather dark, and often melancholy. However, the Olivia Benson actress has inspired real-life survivors to share their stories. In 2018, Hargitay said, “I was quickly educated about how this show was affecting people. [They] would say, ‘Thank you…I’ve never told anyone before [about my sexual abuse].'”

The “SVU” star concluded, “It’s always been a personal connection.”