Law & Order: SVU season 23: next episode and everything we know about the crime drama

Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU
Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU (Image credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Law & Order: SVU is back on the case this year with the show’s 23rd season just. Law & Order: SVU is the longest-running entry in the Law & Order franchise.

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 — 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 about Law & Order: SVU season 23.

When is the next Law & Order: SVU episode?

After an episode that left many fans upset, Law & Order: SVU is back tonight with its season finale. While from the looks of things, we won’t get that long-awaited declaration of love between Benson and Stabler, we will see the return of Rafael Barba. We wonder if the two will be able to truly mend their relationship since his last visit to the show.  

The season finale of Law & Order: SVU airs on Thursday, May 19, at 9 pm ET/PT on NBC. Here is a synopsis for the episode titled "A Final Call at Forlini's Bar":

"The SVU provides help and protection for a longtime domestic violence victim, but when she winds up at the defendant's table in court, Rollins surprises Carisi with a formidable opponent at trial."

All of the latest episodes of  Law & Order: SVU will be made available for on-demand viewing on both NBC.com and Peacock the day after they air on traditional broadcast (so Friday in this case).

When is the Law & Order: SVU season 23 finale? 

The Law & Order: SVU season 23 finale airs on Thursday, May 19.  Here is some great news for fans. The show has been renewed for season 24. 

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. 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.

Has Law & Order: SVU been renewed? 

Law & Order: SVU has been renewed for season 24. This is very exciting news for fans.  

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 TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling 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 is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).