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Evie Barnes (guest star Hannah Marks) answers a modeling ad hoping to make some cash for tuition, but the job quickly spirals into online pornography. When her classmates discover her double life, they cross the boundary between fiction and reality. Even though she’s not the one on trial, Evie is forced to prove her innocence in court. Starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Ice-T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Raúl Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba). Also guest starring Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi), Peter Gallagher (Deputy Chief William Dodds), Delaney Williams (Counselor John Buchanan), Casey Brown (Matt Cooper), Max Ehrich (Daniel Pryor), Harry Zittel (Justin Adams) and Richard T. Jones (Judge Oscar Briggs).

NBC is staging a three-way crossover for Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., TVGuide.com has learned.

The episodes, to air November 11 and November 12, will begin with an incident on Chicago Fire (Tuesday, 10/9c) that then teams the P.D. squad to the New York City-based SVU investigators the following night (9/8c). Then, the SVU team travels to Chicago for the final hour of the event at 10/9c.

“(Benson) and Voight share some great scenes,” Chicago Fire and P.D. executive producer Michael Brandt told reporters on Monday.

While SVU and P.D. crossed over last season when Det. Lindsay (Sophia Bush) traveled to New York, and P.D. and Fire have crossed over quite a bit, this marks the first time that all three shows will be working together. Are you excited?



New York City bike messenger Holden March (guest star John Karna) creates a video diary of his troubles with women. Talk soon escalates to action, and the SVU scrambles to find his manifesto before he commits another violent act. When Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Amaro (Danny Pino) come face to face with Holden, they find out just how dangerous a desperate man can be. Meanwhile, as Benson (Mariska Hargitay) balances the responsibilities of motherhood and career, the new Deputy Chief of SVU (guest star Peter Gallagher) calls her leadership into question. Also starring Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola). Also guest starring Antoinette Lavecchia (Adriana March), Nicole Balsam (Haley Morton), Sarah Clements (Gwen Young), Joe Urla (Thomas Eldridge), and Katie Henney (Jean Asher).

Going on 16 seasons, the basic premise of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” has remained a constant: a New York City squad of detectives attempt to bring sex criminals to justice. But over the years, the show has changed with the seasons. Detectives have come and gone; Assistant District Attorneys replaced; We’ve even had to say goodbye to BD Wong and Dann Florek (Capt. Donald Cragen)—(tragedies I’m still mourning, personally).

When Christopher Meloni (Det. Elliot Stabler) left the show after 12 seasons, there was no shortage of shock amongst fans. As the co-star to Mariska Hargitay and partner to her Det. Olivia Benson, Meloni’s departure left even the most devoted devotees questioning how the “SVU” would endure.

But it did, and it not only endured but thrived in its new era. Bringing on Warren Leight as the executive producer and new cast members Danny Pino, Kelli Giddish, and Raul Esparza, among others, “SVU” found new life.

On Sept. 10 the cast gathered in the iconic squad room to discuss their experiences on the show, and the reasons it’s kept its place on primetime since 1999.

The Material
Unlike many series today, “SVU’s” realistic content is something viewers keep coming back for. “These are current and topical issues but audiences are ready to deal with it,” says Hargitay. “This show has been shedding light—truly shedding light—on darkness for a long time and people feel vindicated.”

“It forces you to deal with the pain,” adds Esparza, “and I think it’s written very honestly and it’s written so that it makes the audience participate in some issues that are hard to deal with.”

“Audiences are so sophisticated now and our writers write to that sophistication,” Hargitay says.

The Changes
“I really did think I was done. When Chris left, I didn’t know how I could go on. And then I went, Oh, [Warren] was coming and I was like, ‘Who’s that guy?! Let me give the little playwright a chance,” Hargitay says jokingly. “And then he came and everything changed and it was like one of the greatest lessons for me personally to realize truly one door closes, truly another one opens. Warren breathed new life into the show and new hunger for me, and new challenge, and new vitality.”

Pino agrees. As part of the show’s new life, the actor plays Det. Nick Amaro (who he tried to make as different from Meloni’s Elliot Stabler as possible to ward off the “Chris Meloni hate” as Ice-T calls it—meaning fans’ harsh criticisms of new characters because they miss Meloni).

“The show finds new ways of telling stories that we’ve seen before or we read before,” says Pino, “so for me joining the show was a challenge but everything should be a challenge in this career.”

“It’s not like you’re walking into something where everyone’s finding their place like the first episode of the first season,” adds Peter Scanavino of joining the team for Season 16. “This is a moving machine where everyone knows their job.”

But thankfully for the sophomore class of “SVU” detectives, they joined a crew that welcomed them graciously, Giddish noting “that’s a major reason” the show still works. “We all work really, really well together,” she says.

The Characters
Of the show’s beloved characters Esparza says, “They’re human beings with their own faults and their own problems that are pretty upsetting. And you can never go wrong with something that’s character driven.”

But creating these complex characters to drive the show and developing his Det. Finn Tutuola wasn’t an easy task for Ice-T, but one that was aided by the expertise of creator Dick Wolf.

When the show began, “Dick Wolf called me and was like, ‘Ice, you don’t like cops do you?’ And I was like, No, not really—not all of them.’

‘But you admit we need them, right?’


[Wolf said], ‘Play the cop we need.’ ”

Years later, Ice-T is confident about his performance as the abrasive Tutuola. “The viewers like me ’cause they know I’ll snatch a mother fucker. When there’s a bad guy they’re like, ‘Smack him, Ice! Smack him!’ ”

“There’s something very satisfying knowing how Ice-T’s gonna respond to a situation,” offers Giddish, “and you just can’t wait to see it play out.”

Mariska Hargitay
“To a degree we’re nowhere without her,” says Leight, motioning to Hargitay, “and I can say that in front of her because it’s true.”

Though each writer, actor, producer, boom operator, and everyone else on set has played an invaluable role in making “SVU” one of the longest-running primetime network shows ever, Leight’s statement is warranted. The star has countless fan pages dedicated to her, and has moved into philanthropy with the Joyful Heart Foundation, aimed to combat domestic violence and sexual assault, which Hargitay created after receiving many fan letters detailing accounts of sexual assault and abuse.

And while fans all over the globe praise the star for her real-life heroism, the actor has kept a tight focus on her craft. Last year [Season 15] was the hardest acting year of my career and my life,” she says, referring to the dramatic character arc wherein Benson was abducted, and later traumatized, by a perp she was attempting to put away.

“I’ve learned about stillness and the power in stillness and excavating and digging and not ever stopping. And fear for me is truly the greatest motivator,” she says. “Last season I was so scared of these scenes that Warren and his team wrote. It was like, I don’t know ’cause they were so good that I thought, I have so much to live up to, you know?”

But exposing her fears only made Hargitay’s performance richer, inspiring fans of both her character and her acting abilities.

Season 16 of “Law & Order: SVU” premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC.


Now in its sixteenth season, Law & Order: SVU is still relevant. Sadly.

“More relevant than ever in a way, and that’s the thing,” Mariska Hargitay told reporters on set of the hit NBC series. “It would’ve been nice to be put out of business 10 years ago, before I got here,” executive producer and showrunner Warren Leight with a hint of a joking tone.

“It would’ve,” Hargitay concurred.

In the second episode of season 16, there’s an elevator incident reminiscent of Jay-Z and Solange, and more recently, NFL player Ray Rice. The episode was shot in June.

“What we learn is these issues keep coming up. If you watched the news last night, domestic violence—which is something SVU in real life can cover, it’s up to their discretion—is a huge issue. You wouldn’t think it’s a confusing issue, but boy did people mishandle it every step of the way,” Leight said of the Ray Rice incident.

That video and the subsequent fallout, coupled with news stories from college campuses are at the forefront of Leight’s mind for season 16. “I think people look to our show to see how it should be handled,” he said.

“And to organize it too, in their minds, because it’s so complicated. The one thing I say—and it’s such a tragic thing that’s happened here—but what is exciting about it is we are trying to change. There’s a new campaign out called ‘No More’ and it’s really about engaging everybody and realizing this is all of our responsibility,” Hargitay said. “I love that this issue of accountability is coming up in such a huge way now, in the world. I think that we’re now really ready to look at that. Accountability. What is your responsibility when you witness something as a human being? As a human being.”

Law & Order: SVU has never been shy about ripping stories from the headlines and putting a spin on them in an attempt to create a dialogue about the issues.

“That’s the thing about the show—shedding light on darkness. It’s never been more true than now. It’s never been more relevant in this way. I think, as I said, society is in a different place,” Hargitay said. “The way people are talking about it, the way rape is on the cover of Time magazine and all these things are happening on college campuses. It’s a travesty, and yet people are finally taking note to go, ‘Hey! Wake up.'”

In addition to the hot-button issues, SVU hasn’t been shy about exploring the lives of its characters. Leight and Hargitay have explored the evolution of Olivia Benson, but she’s not the only piece in the puzzle. How do you keep a show fresh 16 years later? That’s the biggest challenge according to Danny Pino.

Last year saw Pino’s Detective Nick Amaro go off the rails and beat up a perp. He’s been demoted and sent to Queens as a uniformed officer.

“I think, for me, to see a detective who is comfortable being in a tie and suit to now have to swallow a sour pill, being on patrol. That is interesting. I think that’s the challenge and that’s the goal: to make it fresh,” he said.

For star Kelli Giddish, keeping it fresh involves keeping her character, Detective Amanda Rollins a mess, frankly.

“Last year I had some really hairy storylines and I want more of that,” she said. “I love that. I love maintaining that Rollins is kind of a mystery. We know she’s from Georgia, but why’d she come here? What’s her family like? We’ve gotten glimpses of that. It’d be a joy just to explore that again this year. We might see some of Amanda’s family come back. We’ve got this weird relationship going on with her and Amaro. Where does that go?”

As SVU comes out of the shadow of the Beast—the character Pablo Schreiber played in seasons 14 and 15 who terrorized Hargitay’s Benson—there’s a chance to explore a new dynamic. Even comedy.

Giddish said she doing a scene with Hargitay and newbie Peter Scanavino and they got to do humor. The director told her, “This is literally the funniest scene I’ve directed on SVU.”

“Me and Mariska haven’t gotten to really be together on a lot of fronts, because Rollins, frankly, has been in trouble too much. We kind of perked up. We were like, ‘This could be a lot of fun this year,'” she said. “We got to kind of play the female dynamic and what goes on between us. Are we feisty? Are we on united fronts? It always changes, just like it does in real life.”

After 16 years Law & Order: SVU is a well-oiled machine, Giddish said. But executive producers Leight and Julie Martin have created an environment to allow the actors to explore and suggest storylines. “We do have the freedom to fail,” she said. “There’s still a freshness about this show that people respond to. I was just in Starbucks and I had to take like eight selfies…they love this show.”

Part of that love is thanks to SVU‘s heart: Hargitay.

“One of the best things about this particular series…is that SVU never lets you off the hook. There’s a warmth that was always inherent in Mariska’s performance that forced you to deal with this, not being able to wrap it up neatly and put it away,” Raúl Esparza said. “However [episodes] end, which is a satisfying hour of television, you’re still left with the repercussions of what you faced and you know there’s a central character who has been deeply affected by it, and you’re not off the hook.”

Law & Order: SVU premieres Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. on NBC.


Amaro (Danny Pino) reports to the scene of a car crash where Hollywood starlet Tensley Evans (guest star Stevie Lynn Jones) tries to flirt her way out of an arrest. Amaro’s by-the-book handling of the situation gets him back on the SVU squad, just in time to investigate Tensley’s latest offense – the statutory rape of a 15 year-old boy. But Benson (Mariska Hargitay) suspects that underlying issues may have led to Tensley’s downward spiral – is the victimizer also a victim? Also starring Kelli Giddish (Detective Amanda Rollins) and Raúl Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba). Also guest starring Peter Scanavino (Detective Carisi), Brian d’Arcy James (Adam Brubeck), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Donna Evans), Ron Rifkin (Counselor Marvin Exley), Gary Milner (Dennis George), Drigan Lee (Brody Clark), TBD (Dr. Jim Durant), Kaitlyn Bausch (Maude Peterson) and Hoda Kotb (as herself).

Warning: Preview clips may contain spoilers so watch at your own risk!

Monday, October 13: Law & Order: SVU; 7:00 PM
Panel: Dick Wolf; Warren Leight; Mariska Hargitay; Other panelists to be announced.



Basketball superstar Shakir “The Shark” Wilkins (guest star Henry Simmons) announces his partnership with the Orion Bay clothing line, owned by billionaire Orion Bauer (guest star Stacy Keach) and his daughter Cordelia (guest star Teri Polo). But the SVU intervenes when Orion press rep Carla Cannon (guest star Kelley Missal) tells reporters she was raped by Wilkins. When more women come forward, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Detective Carisi (guest star Peter Scanavino) disagree on the authenticity of each woman’s story, and Barba (Raul Esparza) takes a shaky case to court. Meanwhile, the case takes Rollins (Kelli Giddish) to her former precinct in Atlanta, where ex-colleagues bring up old memories. Also starring Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola). Also guest starring Elizabeth Marvel (Counselor Rita Calhoun), Lakisha May (Tiana), Patricia Noonan (Macie-Lynn), Myk Watford (Captain Sam Reynolds) and Sandy Duncan (Judge Virginia Farrell).

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