Fall TV season is fast-approaching, and it brings the premiere of CBS' FBI: International. The new show will be the second spinoff of FBI, which is entering its fourth season in September. As a show produced by TV legend Dick Wolf, the International spinoff will join a television universe including not just FBI and FBI: Most Wanted, but also five other ongoing shows between NBC's Law & Order franchise and One Chicago. So, let's take a look at how International connects to seven other shows, spread over two networks, two cities, and dozens of different characters.
First things first, however: what is this International series and why does the Dick Wolf universe need yet another show? Read on for what we know about the show so far before diving into all the connections between the current Dick Wolf shows!
What To Expect From FBI: International
FBI: International will make its primetime premiere in September to expand the CBS corner of the Dick Wolf universe to three shows in one full night of primetime, with CBS moving NCIS to a new night. International will follow the elite operatives of the FBI's International Fly Team, headquartered in Prague and traveling the world to try and track and neutralize threats against the United States from abroad.
In a departure from FBI and Most Wanted, the Fly Team agents can't carry guns overseas, so they must rely on their wits and physical strength to get the job done. The cast so far includes The Man in the High Castle's Luke Kleintank, Poldark's Heida Reed, and Lucifer's Vinessa Vidotto. So, with the show set in Europe, how closely will it actually be tied to the other shows produced by Dick Wolf? Let's take a look.
How FBI: International Connects To FBI And Most Wanted
FBI: International will connect to FBI and FBI: Most Wanted straight out of the gate. Although it didn't premiere via backdoor pilot last season like Most Wanted did with FBI in 2019, it will launch as part of a three-hour crossover in September. The night will start with the Season 4 premiere of FBI in its new CBS Tuesday night time slot of 8 p.m. ET, followed by the Season 3 premiere of Most Wanted at a special time at 9 p.m., and then finish with the series premiere of International at 10 p.m.
It's not clear at this point how the characters between the three shows will mix in the crossover, and Most Wanted at least has a major cliffhanger from last season that will need to be resolved, but the three shows will be connected from the outset. It was a bold move by CBS to launch International without centering the spinoff on an existing character and without an earlier backdoor pilot, but a three-part crossover seems like a recipe for shared universe success, particularly since that immediate crossover with FBI and Most Wanted provides a direct line over to Dick Wolf's NBC shows.
How FBI And Most Wanted Connect To One Chicago
Fans of both FBI and Chicago P.D. got a surprise at the premature end of the 2019-2020 TV season with the reveal that P.D.'s Tracy Spiridakos would be guest-starring on FBI as Detective Hailey Upton, officially connecting the NBC and CBS halves of the Dick Wolf lineup into one big shared universe. Of course, Chicago P.D. showrunner Rick Eid is also showrunner of FBI, so Upton's transition from P.D. to FBI was about as seamless as it could have been.
And Upton's temporary partnership with Zeeko Zaki's OA on FBI while Maggie was undercover (and Missy Peregrym on maternity leave) didn't just connect FBI and FBI: Most Wanted to Chicago P.D., but the entire One Chicago branch of the shared universe comprised of Chicago Fire and Chicago Med as well. The cops of P.D.'s Intelligence Unit share a universe with the Intelligence Fly Team, as do the first responders of Fire and the medical professionals of Med. And the Chicago shows aren't the only ones that P.D. connects to the FBI-verse.
How One Chicago Connects To Law & Order: SVU
The first big crossover joining corners of the current Dick Wolf universe came back in 2014 with a two-part crossover between Chicago P.D. Season 1 and Law & Order: SVU Season 15. Sophia Bush's Erin Lindsay turned up in an episode of SVU in 2014, and the crossover continued with Kelli Giddish's Rollins and Ice-T's Fin pitching in on Chicago P.D. There have been more crossovers over the years, and Chicago Fire has even participated, but SVU's setting in New York has meant crossovers with One Chicago are pretty rare occasions. But the canon connection is there!
That canon connection means that even if the Chicago shows more or less stick to crossovers with each other in the Windy City, all of the New York shows have the potential for crossovers that won't involve any contrivances or leaps of logic, since it was arguably already a bit of a stretch to get P.D.'s Upton to FBI. And that brings us to the newest Dick Wolf TV show before the premiere of FBI: International!
How Law & Order: SVU Connects To Organized Crime
Even though Law & Order: Organized Crime is only heading into Season 2 while Law & Order: SVU is less than two months away from Season 23, these are the two most closely-tied shows within the Dick Wolf universe. Not only have there already been an abundance of crossovers after just one season of Organized Crime, but Christopher Meloni played Elliot Stabler alongside Mariska Hargitay's Benson for over a decade before departing for a time, so technically Stabler has been around longer than everybody in One Chicago and over on FBI, even though Organized Crime is so new.
The partnership between Benson and Stabler is the stuff of TV legend at this point, so it just makes sense when Benson takes a break from investigating sex crimes to lend an ear to Stabler on Organized Crime and when Stabler steps away from chasing mobsters to help Benson hunt rapists and abusers on SVU. Mariska Hargitay was practically recurring on Organized Crime Season 1! Plus, both current Law & Order shows are set in New York, just like FBI. It really wouldn't take much to bring the Law & Order shows into the FBI mix. And this brings us to...
How Law & Order: Organized Crime Could Connect To FBI: International
Even though Law & Order: Organized Crime seems like the Dick Wolf show with the thinnest ties to FBI: International at this point, there's actually the potential for a pretty direct connection between the two series once International premieres. Prior to his return to New York for the Organized Crime backdoor pilot, Stabler was operating as the NYPD's "man in Rome" and chasing mobsters in Europe, and recent casting news for Season 2 (via Deadline) reveals that Vinnie Jones will play an Eastern European gangster and final member of his organization who is left.
While the casting news doesn't specify where exactly Vinnie Jones' Albi Briscu is from, hailing from Eastern Europe could provide an easy connection to FBI: International thanks to its setting in Prague. Even though there are many degrees of separation between International and Law & Order: Organized Crime, it really wouldn't take much to establish a strong tie between them, and it wouldn't even require a massive multi-part crossover. Then again, maybe they'll remain the two Dick Wolf shows with the weakest ties between them. We can only speculate until the shows all return with new episodes.
Fortunately, all seven returning shows plus FBI: International will return in the not-too-distant future, with International spinning off of FBI and Most Wanted, FBI connecting to Chicago P.D., and Chicago P.D. connecting to pretty much everywhere else in the Dick Wolf universe. All of these connected shows will premiere in the same week in September, even if the NBC lineup will be missing the next Law & Order spinoff that had originally been planned for the fall.
FBI Season 4, FBI: Most Wanted Season 3, and FBI: International premiere on CBS on Tuesday, September 21. They'll be followed on Wednesday, September 22 by NBC's Chicago Med Season 7, Chicago Fire Season 10, and Chicago P.D. Season 9. Finally, Law & Order: SVU Season 23 (fast-approaching a major milestone) and Law & Order: Organize Crime Season 2 premiere on NBC on Thursday, September 23.