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Why CBS' FBI Could Be Ready For A Crossover With Law And Order: SVU

fbi cbs season 4
(Image credit: CBS)

Spoilers ahead for the midseason premiere of FBI Season 4, called “Fostered.”

FBI returned to CBS with a midseason premiere that provided a window into Tiff’s past when it began to clash with a case in the present, and she teamed up with Maggie more than her usual partner. They did solve the case, although not without some more collateral damage to kick off the second half of Season 4. Based on this episode as well as the promo and episode description for next week, however, I think that FBI is ready for a crossover with none other than Law & Order: SVU over on NBC.

FBI and SVU both exist within the same TV universe under the Wolf Entertainment banner even though they air on different networks, and one star even recently weighed in on a potential crossover between the CBS and NBC branches of that shared universe. So, let’s dig into why I think the time is right for the FBI team to cross paths with the detectives over on SVU

FBI Handles Cases Like SVU's

The CBS show may not open every episode with a narration about sexually-based offenses that are considered especially heinous, but it does sometimes handle the kinds of cases that SVU does. FBI’s cases are of course federal while Special Victims under Capt. Olivia Benson is centered in Manhattan, but it stands to reason that a case could bring the agents and the cops together. In fact, an FBI/SVU crossover might be the one that makes the most sense for FBI when it comes to the kinds of stories it tells, even more than FBI: Most Wanted or International

There's Precedent For CBS And NBC Shows Crossing Over

The two halves of the Dick Wolf TV universe are connected thanks to Chicago P.D.’s Tracy Spiridakos crossing over from NBC to to CBS in 2020, guest-starring on FBI to partner OA while Missy Peregrym was out on maternity leave. That managed to connect not only the FBIs to the One Chicago shows, but also any Law & Order show. It would be a bit of a stretch for FBI to cross with a Chicago-set show on a regular basis, but that’s not the case with the Law & Order shows set in New York, and SVU seems like a natural fit.

The Formats Are Similar

FBI and SVU are arguably the most procedural of the eight current shows in the Dick Wolf universe (although that number will soon increase to nine), so sharing characters between them could feel natural, particularly considering that both shows sometimes cover the same kinds of cases. Chicago P.D. had to come up with a fairly complicated reason to send Upton to FBI for it to make sense that she would leave the Windy City (and her partner); that wouldn’t be the situation for the FBI and SVU teams mixing for a case. 

A crossover could be a one-off for everybody involved in a way that might not work for any of the other shows, including the other two FBI shows and even Law & Order: Organized Crime, which is far more serialized than SVU. If both of these series aired on the same network, it would be downright bizarre that they hadn’t already shared a crossover.

FBI Is Firmly Established In Season 4

With SVU going strong in Season 23, any new show might have a hard time holding its own with the likes of Olivia Benson in the mix. Organized Crime was able to pull it off from the very beginning really only because of the strong preexisting ties between Benson and OC’s Stabler. Now, FBI is halfway through its fourth season with a strong cast of established characters. FBI isn’t so new that it would pale in comparison to SVU. In case you missed the promo that made me start thinking that Maggie and Co. could use some help from Special Victims, take a look:

So, will FBI cross over with SVU in the 2021-2022 TV season? Well, that’s hard to say. The FBIs don’t cross over with each other much, with Most Wanted tackling cases all over the country and International set overseas. Plus, some of the other Dick Wolf shows have had to drastically cut down on crossovers due to pandemic production complications. The two Wolf shows that have managed some regular character-sharing have been SVU and OC, both filmed in New York. It’s not impossible for Maggie and Co. to cross paths with Benson and her unit, and hopefully fans can look forward to that happening some day on at least one of the networks. 

New episodes of FBI air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, while SVU holds the 9 p.m. ET time slot over on NBC on Thursdays. For more of what to expect from TV in the coming weeks, check out our 2022 winter and spring premiere schedule

Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.