Law And Order: SVU Is Bringing Back More Familiar Faces In Season 23 For Possible Rollins Drama

donal logue declan murphy ari'el stachel hasim khaldun law and order svu nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Law & Order: SVU has already brought back some former stars in Season 23 to celebrate a major milestone, with the 500th episode featuring Dann Florek as Cragen, Danny Pino as Amaro, and Tamara Tunie as Warner again. Now, the show is poised to bring back even more familiar faces, but for a very different reason than celebrating 500 episodes. A couple of characters are returning for an episode that could mean drama for Rollins… and maybe even Carisi, depending on how the story goes! 

The long-running series will bring back Donal Logue as Lt. Declan Murphy and Ari’el Stachel as Sgt. Hasim Khaldun, according to TVLine, and both characters have stronger ties to Rollins than any other SVU character. In fact, in the case of Logue’s Murphy, he has a very strong connection to Rollins. Murphy is the father of Rollins’ oldest daughter, although SVU hasn’t indicated that he’s active in Jesse's life, instead focusing on his work as an undercover cop. Which really seems to be how Rollins prefers it!

If anything, the strongest male presence in Jesse’s life (and younger sister Billie’s) seems to have been Carisi for years, even before he and Rollins got together. Murphy's return may not actually have anything to do with wanting to connect with Rollins or Jesse, but it’s hard to imagine that things won’t get more complicated with him in the mix. Murphy is returning after finishing up an undercover case and seeks out Special Victims for an assist on a case of coordinated hate crimes throughout the city, and the priority is high. So, it sounds like all hands will need to be on deck, including Rollins’.

Ari’el Stachel’s Hasim Khaldun also has ties to Rollins, although not nearly as strong as Murphy’s, and certainly without as many strings attached. He appeared in three episodes of SVU over Season 21 and Season 22, and there seemed to be some romantic interest between them. Of course, they also played a couple as part of an undercover op, so there were bound to be some romantic vibes between them, but it seemed to translate into their normal lives as well. Obviously nothing serious ever came of it considering Rollins and Carisi are all-in together in Season 23.

Still, I for one can imagine some tension with the return of these characters, not least because both Murphy and Khaldun will appear in the same episode of Season 23, which is expected to air in January. The level of relationship drama – or even awkwardness – that could result from one or both of their appearances may depend on whether or not the Rollisi relationship has been disclosed yet. 

There’s only one SVU episode left in 2021 for them to come clean, and it’s possible that the show used the recent Carisi-centric episode to set up a way for their relationship to keep going with as few obstacles as possible. The fall finale doesn’t seem likely to put much focus on the Rollisi romance, however, considering it will be half of a big crossover with Law & Order: Organized Crime that features the return of Richard Wheatley. Tensions will undoubtedly be plenty high on that front, perhaps even with Benson and Stabler

We can only speculate about the drama that will or will not come with Donal Logue’s Lt. Declan Murphy and Ari’el Stachel’s Sgt. Hasim Khaldun in the mix again. I do think it's very safe to say that Rollins will only have eyes for Carisi, but that doesn't mean things won't get messy, at least with Murphy. SVU is a procedural show, though, so it's possible the focus will be almost entirely on the case rather than anything personal between the characters.

Law & Order: SVU returns for its fall finale on Thursday, December 9 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, followed immediately by Law & Order: Organized Crime now that the KO arc has come to an end, with the second half of the crossover at 10 p.m. ET. Both shows will return to their normal Thursday night time slots on January 6, before the Law & Order block on NBC expands to three hours with the return of the original Law & Order for Season 21 in February. 

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, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.