Law And Order: SVU Revealed A Major Change For Garland That Could Mean More Demore Barnes

Demore Barnes as Christian Garland on Law and Order: SVU
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 19 of Law & Order: SVU Season 23, called “Tangled Strands of Justice.”

Law & Order: SVU brought back Demore Barnes as Christian Garland for “Tangled Strands of Justice,” in the same season that he was cut from the show as a series regular. The discovery of the body of a 13-year-old girl brought the former Deputy Chief back into contact with Benson and the rest of Special Victims. He’d tried to find young Aretha in his beat cop days, and finally had the chance to find some answers for her family. The episode didn’t end with Garland back on the force, but he is in a position that could mean more of him, and not just on SVU. The door could be open for Law & Order and Organized Crime as well. 

As it turns out, Garland didn’t leave the NYPD just to retire or to fade into the background with an unimportant job. Instead, he’s now the Deputy Mayor to the new government of New York City. Personally, I would have loved to see the look on Chief McGrath’s face when he learned that the man he more or less forced out had landed such an important new role in the city, but it’s a role that could bring him into the mix on any or all of the three L&O shows. 

The investigators of those shows don’t come in contact with the mayor’s office all that often, so the new job wouldn’t mean that Demore Barnes is likely to return as a series regular, but I can imagine seeing him recur or as a repeat guest star. Garland did establish that his new position isn’t exactly going to make him more popular with the people he left behind at the NYPD, so he probably won’t be dropping by any of the L&O units for a cup of coffee. 

There’s no guarantee that the Deputy Mayor position will result in Garland returning to SVU or appearing on Organized Crime or Law & Order, but I for one am glad that the show at the very least gave him a less depressing exit this time around. In early Season 23, he resigned from the job that he had earned before he could be forced out, leaving McGrath in his place. It wasn’t a fun way to send off the character, and even Kat – who also left in early Season 23 when actress Jamie Gray Hyder was written out – arguably got a somewhat happier ending

Still, hopefully Garland’s new job means that he could turn up at least as often as Barba, who has popped up a few times with Raúl Esparza reprising his role despite leaving as a series regular back in 2018. (You can revisit his seasons of SVU streaming with a Hulu subscription.) Luckily, Garland’s departure in “Tangled Strands of Justice” left him on much better terms with Benson than when Barba showed up last, as Barba's defense of Organized Crime’s Richard Wheatley was too much for her to accept. 

Only time will tell if there’s more of Garland on the way now that he has been elevated to Deputy Mayor, but it’s likely that this was his last major appearance in the 2021-2022 TV season. All three L&O shows only have a few episodes left before heading into hiatus until the fall. The good news is that SVU has already been renewed for Season 24, and it seems safe to say that Organized Crime and Law & Order will be back as well. For now, you can look forward to new episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. 

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.