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‘Law & Order: SVU’ season 23: Cast, premiere date and everything we know about the crime drama

Law & Order: SVU Mariska Hargitay
(Image credit: NBC)

Law & Order: SVU is back on the case this year with the show’s 23rd season just about ready to debut on NBC. Law & Order: SVU continues as the flagship program for a franchise that has been a peacock network marquee.

Was there even TV before Law & Order? The Dick Wolf created franchise got its start in 1990 with the original Law & Order; Law & Order: SVU then debuted in 1999. There have been numerous other spin-offs over the years — including the currently running Law & Order: Organized Crime and the recently nixed Law & Order: For the Defense — but SVU just keeps rolling along.

As viewers get ready to see more ripped from the headline storylines play out on the show, here is what we know so far about Law & Order: SVU season 23.

What is the plot of ‘Law & Order: SVU’?

The SVU of the title stands for Special Victims Unit, with the show following a specially trained squad of detectives in the NYPD who investigate sexually related crimes.

Law & Order: SVU has typically been episodic, essentially adopting a case-of-the-week format that makes it easy for viewers to jump in at just about any time and feel like they haven’t missed too much in terms of character development or what have you.

That being said, season 22’s finale introduced a case that will continue into season 23. SPOILER ALERT. In the season 22 finale, the SVU team began working on a sex-for-housing case that lead them to a powerful congressman. As Benson and her team confront the politician, danger lurks for them the deeper they go. 

A teaser for the Law & Order: SVU premiere previews a major conspiracy and Benson getting driven off the road. It ends with Christopher Meloni’s Stabler (formerly of SVU and now on Law & Order: Organized Crime) making an appearance.

Who is in the ‘Law & Order: SVU’ cast?

There’s been a good bit of turnover in series regulars and plenty of guest stars throughout Law & Order: SVU’s run, but a constant has been Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson. For the show’s first 12 seasons Hargitay co-starred with Meloni as their Benson and Stabler were partners, but since Meloni’s exit its been Hargitay as the unquestioned star of the series.

The other longest tenured cast member for Law & Order: SVU has been Ice-T, as Sergeant Odafin Tutuola. The rest of the current SVU team includes Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins, Tamara Tunie as Dr. Melinda Warner, Peter Scanavino as Dominick Carisi Jr., Jamie Gray Hyder as Katriona Tamin and Demore Barnes as Deputy Chief Christian Garland.

When is the ‘Law & Order: SVU’ premiere date?

Law & Order: SVU is getting a special two-hour premiere on Sept. 23 starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Law & Order: SVU’s normal time in the NBC lineup is Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.

Popular shows like Law & Order: SVU getting big premieres like this aren’t uncommon, but it is interesting to wonder if this was always the plan. Heading into the 2021 fall TV season, NBC had plans to launch a new Law & Order spinoff, Law & Order: For the Defense, which would have served as the lead-in for Law & Order: SVU. However, plans for the show were scrapped in July. 

As an official premiere date for Law & Order: For the Defense was never announced, we can’t know if this two-hour SVU premiere is in reaction to filling the hole left by the nixed spinoff or was always going to be the case.

Will there be a ‘Law & Order: SVU’ and ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ crossover episode?

Law & Order: Organized Crime debuted in 2021, bringing back Christopher Meloni’s Detective Stabler full-time with his own show. Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest events of the show’s first season was a crossover with Meloni’s former show, Law & Order: SVU.

From the teaser we have for the new season of Law & Order: SVU (see below), we know that Meloni’s Stabler will at least appear in one of the early episodes. Whether or not this constitutes an official crossover NBC has been mum on. The official plot of Law & Order: Organized Crime's first episode does not appear to involve SVU’s main storyline at the start of season 23.

Is there a ‘Law & Order: SVU’ season 23 trailer?

NBC has released a teaser promo for Law & Order: SVU’s season 23 debut. As mentioned above, the teaser primarily teases the sex-for-housing case Benson is attempting to build against a powerful politician, and the growing danger because of that. Check it out below. 

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How to watch ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Law & Order: SVU airs live on NBC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET. Anyone with a traditional cable/satellite pay-TV subscription or TV antenna can tune in via their local NBC channel to watch. Also, subscribers to live TV streaming services like Fubo TVHulu with Live TVSling TV and YouTube TV also have access to their local NBC channels (make sure you’re signed up for Sling TV Blue though). Can’t watch it live, subscribers to any of the above services can watch the latest episode of Law & Order: SVU on the NBC website. 

Cord Cutters can stream the latest episodes of Law & Order: SVU, but they will have to wait until the day after it is broadcast. The streaming options for SVU fans include Hulu and the NBC-owned Peacock streaming service. To watch the latest episodes on Peacock, a viewer must be signed up for Peacock Premium, which offers either a $4.99 ad-supported or $9.99 ad-free plan. All 22 previous seasons of Law & Order: SVU are available to stream for free on Peacock. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.