Law & Order: SVU is on the cusp of closing out another historic season but, with the close of Season 23, comes a major behind-the-scenes change. The season wrapped production earlier this week and, with that, showrunner Warren Leight made the bittersweet announcement that he's departing from the long-running procedural ahead of Season 24.
Warren Leight has been at the helm of the NBC drama for the last two years. After SVU finished filming for the season, Leight took to Twitter to drop a thread, in which he explained his decision to step down, at least for now:
The final day of shooting is always bittersweet. Today was a little more than that. As some of you have already figured out, I am stepping down at the end of #SVU23. The last two years of show running during a pandemic have been arduous, and I’ve decided to take a break. /1May 4, 2022
The producer went on to describe the obstacles he and the crew faced while filming amid the ongoing pandemic, among other moments from his time on the show. He went to thank the SVU team as well as the fans who have “stayed loyal to the show” for 23 years. While it sounds like his decision to leave wasn’t an easy one, it seems he'll continue to hold on to some fond memories.
This isn’t the first time Warren Leight has stepped down from being the showrunner on the Law & Order spinoff, as he initially held the position from Seasons 13-17. He then returned three years later as an executive producer and took on his former post once more from Seasons 21-23, during which he oversaw work on the milestone 500th episode.
The COVID pandemic was a major part of his second stint as the series' leader, and to say that it caused some strain for the cast and crew would be putting it lightly. Considering that Warren Leight had to contend with that and the usual day-to-day duties of a producer, one can understand why he'd want to take a break.
This isn't the only change the series has experienced as of late. Last week’s episode of SVU revealed a change for Demore Barnes’ Christian Garland, which could result in the actor showing up in a number of future episodes. At this point, nothing specific has been divulged regarding Season 24 but, judging how developments have played out thus far, things are going to be very interesting in Season 23's remaining episodes, especially the big spring finale.
Also, in the coming weeks, Olivia Benson and her team will be making their way into Organized Crime yet again. The girl power-infused crossover, airing this coming Thursday, could prove to be a dangerous one for Benson, based on the promos and episode descriptions that have been released. I don't see Mariska Hargitay's character getting killed off, mind you, but there are other ways to get at her.
There's currently no word as to who will succeed Warren Leight as showrunner for Season 24, but NBC will probably make that announcement sooner rather than later. Be sure to watch Law & Order: SVU on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST, and check out CinemaBlend's 2022 TV schedule for info on other new and returning shows.
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