‘Law & Order: SVU’ Prepping Transgender Episode for Season 17

Law and order SVU
Courtesy of NBC

Law & Order: SVU” has always looked to the headlines, and the upcoming 17th season is already planning to highlight a hot topic issue: the transgender community, which was recently brought to the spotlight in Bruce Jenner’s “20/20” interview.

“We’ve already started our season 17 storylines. We’re doing a story about a transgender teenager,” showrunner Warren Leight told Variety Tuesday, the first day the “SVU” team began prepping the first episode of the upcoming 2015-16 season — which also happens to be the same day the cast was shooting the finale episode for season 16, which airs May 20.

“The world keeps evolving, and there are a lot of dark areas that we need to look at,” Leight added.

With an early renewal handed to the series back in February, Leight explained there are challenges that come with a long-running series. (“SVU” came on the air in 1999, and Leight joined as showrunner in season 13.)

“Part of my challenge and everybody’s challenge here is to keep it fresh and to not let a groove turn into a rut, and that can happen for any show at any time,” he said. “Everyone here is really invested in keeping the show fresh and keeping the show on. We view every year’s upfronts as a place to prove that we still deserve to be here.”

Tonight the series kicks off its second three-way crossover with “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.,” which was a ratings hit for NBC last year. Leight assures Variety that the two-night event isn’t the only highlight coming before season 16 wraps up.

“Following the crossover, we have three really strong episodes back-to-back-to-back,” he says, teasing #AdoptBabyNoah angst in the finale, which wraps shooting tomorrow. “The season finale is really about Benson and will she get to adopt baby Noah. We’re paying off a lot of threads that we’ve been stitching in for more than a season here.”

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  1. Juanita says:

    I’m sorry bout the whole deal, maybe NBC will go under!!! Maybe Fox can pick up svu, and give all the people who want to come back, a good raise….They won’t be sorry! Anyway NBC lost me, that was the only show I watched on there anyway..Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD are very good!

  2. Eva Hutsell says:

    Dan Florek retired he did not quit!! Meloni left because he said the staff was not getting paid enough to pay for their own traveling expenses, hotels, and food when they had travel to do tapings. He said that on the Today show as far as Richard Belzer he and his wife wanted to move back to California to be with their older kids. so he would not be close to do the taping so he retired as well.

  3. Has the show gone downhill since the end of season 12? The payroll has certainly gone downhill. Getting rid of everyone(Chris Meloni left on his own) except Mariska, ICE-T, Dann Florek and Richaerd Belzer after season 12, then getting rid of Florek and Belzer during season 15, while paying Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino very little money on their 4 year deals hasn’t helped. Now that it’s time to pay to pay Kelli and Danny real money, what will NBC do? Will another one of them be leaving because NBC wants to cut the payroll again? it would be easy to pick on Warren Leight, but the ratings for the show have been steady or higher the last 4 seasons. That’s not easy to do when your budget keeps being cut each year. NBC is the COMCAST CASH COW! Cutting the budget for this show 4 years in a row is ridiculous. A fifth straight year would be unthinkable. Most people don’t think the show could continue without Mariska. If Mariska left and they made Ice-T the Captain or Sargent and brought in 2 decent names to put with Kelli Giddish, Danny Pino and Peter Scanavino(if he comes back; he’s paid so little it would be crazy to get rid of him) and give the show TIME and PATIENCE because it will have a NEW SHOW RUNNER for season 18, it can continue. Will NBC do that? I doubt it. it will probably need to go to another network, and that would be a shame.

  4. Melissa C says:

    Okay, first of all I don’t hate Warren or his crew, and this is not about Elliot at all, this is my honest opinion:
    Since Warren took over the show I feel like the show’s quality is going down… and down. The episodes are boring, uninteresting, I can’t stand to read “ripped from the headlines” I’ve lost count of how many times he used this strategy, of course… it’s much easier to use an existing story than creating an original one. I’ve been a fan of the show for more than 9 years and I never imagined myself saying this a few years ago but I hope the show ends on its 17th season, it’s no longer working, Mariska always tries to see the positive side, because she has a such good heart (she’s great I love her), but I think deep down she knows that the show has had much better moments. Also, I can’t believe Olivia is going to end up with Tucker, it feels like they haven’t watched the earlier seasons haha. This is just so sad.

  5. Sally says:

    Instead of yet another hapless transgender victim, have the police commissioner or DA be trans. That would be new.

  6. James says:

    They already did the transgender storyline pretty effectively about 6 years ago, not exactly breaking new ground here.

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