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The Law & Order franchise shows no signs of stopping thanks to SVU continuing to work toward breaking a huge TV record, but SVU will be the only Law & Order show on the airwaves for the foreseeable future. A sixth Law & Order spinoff, called Law & Order: Hate Crimes, scored a series order back last fall. Now, Hate Crimes has been delayed. Here's what we know.
Law & Order: Hate Crimes was ordered to series back in September 2018, with an optimistic first order for 13 episodes. The plan was then for the show to launch via a backdoor pilot airing in the second half of Law & Order: SVU's current season. After the launch on SVU in the 2018-2019 TV season, Hate Crimes would then debut on its own for the 2019-2020 TV season. Hate Crimes will no longer launch on the original schedule.
That's not to say that Law & Order: Hate Crimes is dead. The new spinoff remains in active development at NBC, with co-creators Dick Wolf and former SVU showrunner Warren Leight still on board. Deadline reports that the delay is happening because more time is needed to figure out where the show is going and how it's going to work. It sounds like Hate Crimes simply wasn't going to be ready as a polished finished product if it had to be produced on the original timeline.
The decision to push back Hate Crimes raises the question of whether NBC is confident about bringing Law & Order: SVU back for at least one more season beyond the current Season 20. Hate Crimes was slated to launch via SVU backdoor pilot, and I imagine that its odds of winning on audience would be better with Olivia Benson and Co. on hand than just a solo premiere.
Mariska Hargitay revealed last year how long she'd like to remain on SVU, so there's not necessarily any need to worry that she won't be around if the show continues into Season 21 to launch Hate Crimes, although the executive producer has a more modest goal. If SVU only lives on long enough to set a primetime TV record, then Hate Crimes will need to definitely launch next season if it's going to debut its premise with a backdoor pilot.
The premise of the new show sounds like crossovers with SVU would make a lot of sense. Hate Crimes is set in New York City and will follow a team of investigators that are elite and received special training for cases motivated by discrimination. The detectives are dedicated to their work, which involves delving deeper into cases that make headlines and go viral online.
In the Law & Order criminal justice system, sexually based offenses will presumably still go to SVU, but surely there are cases that would benefit from both shows' teams working together! SVU has been on the air for almost two full decades at this point. Of course it has covered hate crimes! Will Hate Crimes cover sexually based offenses? It would be a way for a Law & Order series to continue tackling those kinds of cases if Hate Crimes outlives SVU.
For now, you'll have to watch SVU for your fixes of Law & Order action, so tune in to NBC on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET for new episodes this midseason. That said, there's still plenty going on in the Law & Order universe other than SVU, although the rest of the action isn't set in New York. The three Chicago shows share the same TV universe with SVU, and all three were recently renewed.