‘Law & Order: SVU’: What To Expect From Season 21

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is back. Last week, the series began its historic season that made it the longest-running prime-time drama in history, surpassing its predecessor Law & Order and other popular dramas like Lassie and Gunsmoke.

The show’s crazy murders and twisted storylines are big parts of what keep viewers coming back for more season after season. And now that season 21 has begun, the cast and crew are absolutely thrilled.

Mariska Hargitay and Ice T
Mariska Hargitay and Ice T | Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

“I couldn’t be more excited,” season 21 showrunner Warren Leight told Entertainment Weekly. “You don’t remember your 19th birthday, but you remember your 21st. You always take it seriously but you have to figure out, how is this season different than any other season?”

Which brings up the question that everyone wants to know…what does Law & Order: SVU have in store for us this season?

The show pays homage to those that came before it

If you watched last week’s episode, then you may have noticed that there was an ode to another long-running program.

“Right at the top of the first episode, we tip our hat to Gunsmoke. We have a little wink to that show,” Leight said.

And there may be more Easter eggs like this as the season goes on.

What can we expect from season 21 of ‘Law & Order’?

This season, a lot will be changing,

“There’s changes in the squad room, there’s changes in the DA’s office,” the showrunner said. “There’s a lot in motion. And so her task is to redefine roles for everyone on her team, for herself, and for her son.”

But there won’t be a new ADA to show up full-time right away. As Leight put it, we won’t be seeing a “full-time Barba or Stone” kind of person joining the team right off.

But, as we saw last week, there will be a new villain.

Ian McShane joined the cast this year, playing a Hollywood mogul.

“That’s a larger than life character that our guys need to grapple with, because too many of those kinds of guys have gotten away with it in the past,” Leight said.

And there will be other big guest stars, like Modern Family’s Ariel Winter who will play a victim who has no memory of her assault.

This season will also feature insane storylines like one where a victim stages an attack on himself for his own reasons.

“There’s people grappling with major moments in their life — maybe operatic is too big a word, but you want large themes for each episode and large themes for the season,” Leigt told the outlet. “You don’t want just, ‘the guy did this, then we caught him.'”

Will there be any crossovers?

In past seasons of the show, there have been a few crossovers from shows like the original Law & Order and some of the shows from the Chicago franchise. But there is still one crossover that Leight really wants to happen.

“I want the Brooklyn Nine-Nine crossover,” he told the outlet. “That’s the one I want.”

Catch new episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit every Thursday at 10 p.m. on NBC.