Olivia Benson and the rest of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit squad have always done a great job holding down the Law & Order fort — but that doesn’t mean we, the die-hard fans, don’t still crave other iterations of the criminal justice system franchise. So fans will undoubtedly be happy to hear another spinoff is making its way to their screens. On Tuesday, NBC announced it has ordered a new series from the franchise’s mastermind Dick Wolf.
Titled Law & Order: Hate Crimes, the spinoff will reunite Wolf and Warren Leight, the former executive producer of franchise classics Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order Criminal Intent. In keeping with many of the other hits in this family of crime procedurals, Hate Crimes will take place in the Big Apple. It is based on New York City’s real-life Hate Crimes Task Force, which is reportedly the second oldest bias-based task force in America.
For Wolf, the series couldn’t come at a more fitting time, with hate crimes having hit an “egregious level.”
But what (or who) will the show center on? Per NBC, the fictional Hate Crimes Task Force “pledges to uphold a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination of any kind, works under the NYPD’s real Special Victims Unit and often borrows SVU’s detectives to assist in their investigations.”
Yes, you read that right — not only will there be plenty of opportunities for crossovers, the Hate Crimes squad will actually be introduced during season 20 of SVU.
“As Law & Order: SVU enters its remarkable 20th season, it is exciting to get back into business with Dick Wolf on a new Law & Order incarnation that feels extremely timely,” Lisa Katz, copresident of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment, explained in a statement. “Considering that last year there was a double-digit rise in hate crimes in our 10 largest cities — the highest total in over a decade — it seemed like this topic is begging to be explored.”
Tracey Pakosta, NBC Entertainment’s other copresident of scripted programming, also expressed her excitement for the new spinoff. “We’re confident that Dick and Warren will examine these cases in all their complexity and deliver another riveting series for our country, currently grappling with an escalation of these crimes and the motivations behind them,” she said in the statement.
Given NBC has only just announced the series, casting details are currently unavailable. However, we do know the series has already received an order for 13 episodes.
Keep your eyes peeled for an introduction to the spinoff’s characters when Law & Order: SVU returns on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. on NBC.