When Does ‘Law and Order: SVU’ Return For Its Midseason Start?

If you’re a fan of television, you know that the end of the year is a tough time for primetime TV. Most shows go on an extended break beginning sometime in November or December and return after the first of the new year. Law and Order: SVU is no exception. The show aired its midseason finale on November 21, 2019. “Can’t Be Held Accountable,” ended with a cliffhanger, leaving fans itching for the midseason premiere. So just when will the show return? Let’s find out.

How long has ‘Law and Order: SVU’ been on the air?

The cast of 'Law and Order: SVU' in the New York streets
Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T on the set of ‘Law and Order: SVU’ | Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Law and Order: SVU premiered on September 20, 1999. The Law and Order spin-off earned an immediate following from the success of its predecessor, which ran from 1990 to 2010. The hit NBC show recently broke a major TV record. With its 21st season, the show became the longest-running TV show in history, beating out none other than Law and Order

You’d think that a show would begin to struggle after over two decades on the air, but going into 2020, ratings are still strong for the procedural drama. SVU remains a top performer in its time slot and actually saw a boost in its target demographic last season.  

Fans think the show could go on forever

SVU is in the same company as shows like Grey’s Anatomy and NCIS — some fans wonder whether the show could go on forever. Fans credit the show’s relatability to its long run. Many fans have experienced some of the stories portrayed on the show and can relate to the characters and stories. 

Other fans point to the show’s ability to tell a story. There’s no doubt that SVU has great writers and is able to produce a show that bring viewers back week after week. 

It doesn’t hurt that the show has been able to keep a hold of some of its biggest stars along the way. SVU star Mariska Hargitay has been with the show since the beginning, and Ice-T has been around since season two. Several other stars have had long runs on the show as well. 

There have been rumors that Hargitay would leave the show, at which point the SVU would likely take its final bow. For now, Hargitay has no plans on going anywhere. The actress has seen tremendous success on SVU and says that she is taking it year-by-year when it comes to making the decision on when she is ready to leave the show. 

When does the show return?

Ready for new episodes of Law and Order: SVU? The wait is almost over. The 21st season is set to resume on January 9, 2020. But before fans can get back into the current season, NBC will air a special retrospective episode. 

The Paley Center Salutes Law & Order: SVU is a one-hour special that will air one week before the show returns on January 2. The show will feature appearances from current and past cast members including Mariska Hargitay, Ice T, and Kelli Giddish among others. 

In a statement, showrunner, Dick Wolf thanked the Paley Center for putting together the special. He said, “We thank the Paley Center and NBC for making this special acknowledging SVU’s historic 21st season. We’re excited for viewers to see this retrospective, which chronicles over two decades of ground-breaking television.”

The Paley Center Salutes Law & Order: SVU airs January 2, 2020 at 9 PM on NBC and the midseason premiere of SVU will air a week later on January 9 at 10 PM. In the meantime, you can catch up on old episodes on Hulu.