Law And Order: SVU Is Bringing Back A Former Series Regular In Season 23

Law & Order: SVU is on a break for a few weeks before returning to NBC Thursday nights, but now there's some news for fans to tide them over until the next new episode in April. The show is bringing back a former series regular for an appearance in what remains of Season 23. Demore Barnes is returning as Christian Garland. 

Demore Barnes will be back on Law & Order: SVU in an upcoming episode of SVU Season 23, according to Give Me My Remote, although there are no details available just yet about when the episode will air or what will bring the character back. Garland was an essential part of the team when he was their deputy chief at NYPD, but he has been displaced by Chief McGrath, who made a bad impression on Benson that hasn't really gotten any better

Garland actually left the job before he could be fired due to the politics of a situation at the beginning of Season 23, so it presumably won't be a case of Special Victims working with him as an official member of the NYPD. Then again, SVU originally wrote out Stabler by having him retire, only for Organized Crime to create a new backstory overseas for him, so there's a pretty blank canvas for what could bring Garland back. 

OC is bringing back a former SVU series regular for a guest appearance as well, although Cragen's return will undoubtedly be under different circumstances than whatever is in store for Garland. Benson was sorry to lose Demore Barnes' character when he left, and news of his departure broke early enough ahead of Season 23 that fans had plenty of time to react as well, and the actor made it clear that not even he knew why Garland was being written out.

Barnes was written out at the same time as Jamie Gray Hyder, who played series regular Kat Tamin. She has yet to return to SVU, but showrunner Warren Leight posted a message confirming Garland's return on Twitter, saying:

So happy to have Chief Garland return to #SVU. Welcome back, Demore Barnes.

There's no indication that Demore Barnes will be back for more than a one-off guest appearance, but it's hard to rule out much of anything when it comes to the Law & Order universe, when characters can be brought back after a decade away, actors can be brought back to play multiple different characters (which recently happened with Carisi's mom), and spinoffs galore!

For now, fans can look forward to the return of Law & Order: SVU with its next new episode on Thursday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between a new episode of Law & Order (which stars Demore Barnes' former Hannibal co-star Hugh Dancy as a new character for the revival) at 8 p.m. and Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10 p.m. in the 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).