‘Law & Order: SVU’: How Showrunners Are Preparing for the Milestone 500th Episode

by Anna Dunn

Most shows don’t get to reach their 100th episode, but Law & Order: SVU gets to prepare for its 500th. The show, which originally aired in 1999, is approaching its 23rd season. Almost immediately after its return in the fall, Law & Order: SVU will celebrate episode #500. So how, exactly, are they going to celebrate this momentous occasion?

Showrunner Warren Leight teased his plans for the episode. If not for COVID-19 cutting the season shorter than planned, Law & Order: SVU would have reached its 500th episode this year.

“We have begun to talk about episode 500, but I can’t say more than that,” Leight teased to Give Me My Remote. “I think we have a pretty cool idea for that.” Leight did say that they’re going to try and do something special within the episode, maybe even some sort of meta shoutout.

“I would like at least part of the 500th to be [ours]…sometimes it’s nice to have it be your birthday party and not a group birthday party,” he said. “It’s okay for people to come to the party, but it feels like 500 is an insane milestone. And so I would hope we have a moment to acknowledge it. Obviously, in the episode, we won’t say happy 500—but maybe I will look for a way to cheat that in.”

Law & Order: SVU has been record-breaking with its length. For instance, Mariska Hargitay has broken a record for the longest consecutive time an actress has played a character on a show. Hargitay has been on the show since it beginning in 1999 and plays SVU Detective Olivia Benson.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ to be a Part of a Three Hour Night of Law & Order

Law & Order: SVU will have strong lead-ins this season as a part of a three hour Law & Order Thursday.

“I have no idea how many different lead-ins SVU has had since Stabler left; I couldn’t tell you. And most of them, though nobody’s fault, were not the most compatible, necessarily,” Leight said. Now, three Law & Order shows will follow each other, which will likely be great for viewership.

Law & Order: SVU will be the most senior show of the night by far. Starring Mariska Hargitay, it follows a team of detectives working to solve sex offenses.

Law & Order: Organized Crime saw the return of character Elliot Stabler. Act Chris Meloni has returned to the series after almost a decade. The show wrapped up its first season. It follows Elliot Stabler’s return to the force after his wife dies in an assassination attempt meant for him.

Finally, a new series is coming into the mix. Law & Order: For the Defense will premiere this fall. For the Defense got a straight-to-series order from home network NBC. This time, however, it won’t follow detectives. It’ll follow a team of defense attorneys trying to prove the innocence of their clients.

While no release dates have been confirmed, fans can expect Law & Order: SVU and its sister series to return around September or October of 2021.