Exclusive Law & Order: SVU Preview: Milestone Episode Will Reward Sharp-Eyed Fans

In the criminal justice-on-TV system, few procedurals have achieved as many episodes as Law & Order: SVU. This is its 300th story.

When NBC’s SVU airs its 300th episode on Oct. 24,  showrunner Warren Leight says fans should expect to see some familiar faces.

But let’s get this out of the way now: Christopher Meloni, who left the show last year, won’t reprise his role of Det. Elliot Stabler. Diehard fans will however be treated to an hour that showcases three members of the original cast – Mariska Hargitay, Dann Florek and Richard Belzer – and rewards those who’ve been watching from the start.

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“I thought, if we’re doing a 300th episode, it’d be nice to have some callbacks to the first episode. So we tried to do that a couple of different ways,” Leight tells TVLine.

First, [Mild Spoiler Alert!] guest stars from the series’ Sept. 26, 1999 debut will resurface, including Mili Avital and Gordana Rashovich, whose characters conspired to murder a man in the SVU pilot. “They’re [playing] new characters, but they’re both in this episode. It’s sort of a fun Easter egg, I suppose,” Leight says, adding that fans can expect other “repeat offenders” to pop up during the hour. In addition, Jean de Segonzac – who directed the pilot, “Payback” — also helms the milestone ep, which is titled “Manhattan Vigil.”

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The plot of the 300th episode is itself a throwback. “We have some flashbacks from the first season. Little moments,” Leight shares. The story, which takes place both now and in the past, involves a missing rich kid taken from a subway platform in the present-day and a 1999 incident where the same thing happened to a poor child in the same location.

“Munch and Benson remember that case and see parallels,” he previews. “It’s a question of maybe some incomplete police work from the past coming back 13 years later.”

Though the series chose to mark its previous milestones with attention-getting guest stars (Jacqueline Bisset in the 100th, Robin Williams in the 200th), the Oct. 24 hour is “more about the story,” Leight says. Tom Sizemore (most recently of Hawaii Five-0), Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine) and Alex Karpovsky (Girls) will appear in the episode, but the focus will be on Florek’s Cragen, Belzer’s Munch and Hargitay’s Benson.

“Those three are here from 13 years ago, so we wanted to give them plenty to do,” he adds.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Thilia says:

    I’ll start watching again if Meloni comes back. Hargitay is a terrible actress and a far cry from starring role material. I suffered through last season hoping she would find her footing, but Meloni carried the show more than I realized and I was never a fan of his.

    • Pat D. says:

      I dont think she’s terrible, but I also dont think she’s particularly great either…IMHO undeserving of the awards that are constantly heaped on her. Like those episodes that are obvious “emmy showcase” stories—-she just doesnt have the ability to carry an entire episode like the writers think she can.

      • @Pat.D- YOU ARE WRONG she had plenty of an ablity to carry an entire episode. She’s done that for the past fourteen episodes and has won emmy’s. Stop putting her down, she’s a great actress.

        Mariska has earned all the awards that she won, unlike those untalented reality show stars and other actress that cannot act.. She has more than enough talent.

        It’s the writers give the actors/actress crappy lines..

        • Pat D. says:

          Where exactly did I say I was a fan of reality shows? And I have watched every single SVU episode in its long run, so yeah, I have seen those episodes where she has the entire episode centered around her, and none of those are my favorites. I dont think she has any depth to her acting, thats all. As for carrying last season, what show were you watching? The new characters seemed to get the most screen time to me by far, with Danny Pino’s sub-plot getting tons of play.

          • matty says:

            No depth omg, didnt you see the episode where she goes undercover in prison as an inmate and nearly gets raped by a guard??? that was one of the most riveting episodes of the whole series i would like to see you do a better job of doing a rape scene like that, and you rteckon she got no depth, load of bollocks!

        • Jo B. says:

          You do know Emmys are campaigned for? I don’t Mariska is terrible and she IS a wonderful person but have to admit, Chris Meloni’s acting talent surpassed hers! She needs someone as intense as Chris to play off on. And without him there, she’s off balance. Now having said that back to the Emmy awards – did she deserve those Emmys? Maybe, maybe not. But I do know that the Emmys are campaigned for. So the better campaign you have, the higher your chances of winning. And while the nominations itself are based on your work, winning it is more about the campaign you launch. In my opinion, Chris should have won the Emmy for the same year for his perfomance in Ripped. And he should have won the previous year for “Rage”. I stand by my statement. Chris is the better actor.

          • matty says:

            i think they are both equally good and now elliott has left olivia surpasses the new detectives in acting by a landslide for sure, all this crap about her not being a good actor she has been on the show for 14 yrs and not to mention her mother was one of the greats and one of the most beautiful actresses to grace the screen jayne mansfield, this is no run of the mill girls were talking about!

        • Jo B. says:

          And consider this – without Chris Meloni – for the first time since Season 6 – Mariska Hargitay did NOT get nominated for the Emmys this year. With Chris to play off with – she got accolades – without him – none. Says a lot doncha think about S13?

        • matty says:

          Amen to that long islandsvufan these people dont know what they are talking about imo they are all jealous cause they want to be her loololololololooolololololololo she has held so many episodes on her own seriously half the epople who leave comments on here dont know what they are talking about when it comes to acting, maybe they should check their own acting ability before they attack the professionals in the business \!!!!!!!!

    • That’s insulting, she’s not a terrible actress. Meloni did not carry the show more. Mariska has already found her footing during the past fourteen years. I do not agree with you at all what you said.

      Meloni may never come back it’s up to him he wanted to leave, and said that him leaving was the way he wanted to. He did hesitate about perhaps one day coming back for a series finale whenever that happens, I doubt it, Meloni wanted to do other things.


      • Jo B. says:

        No one was putting down the show – but you need to recognize that the show is barely a pales shadow of itself. Benson seems so lost and all they ever focus on anymore is her effin sex life. This show is about the detectives and the jobs they do not the people they do. More and more they keep trying to get Olivia laid. What the heck? This is not a soap. This is SVU. And it was good. Unfortunately with the exit of Chris, the entry of Warren Leight and the bad writing/casting – this show hit it’s all time series lows last season. While poor ratings are not always a sign of a bad show – it is a bad sign for it. It means fewer people are watching. And with less number of viewers come less demo ratings which means imminent cancellation. Those are the facts. I hope it improves this season and moves away from Olivia’s sex life. If they don’t and with going against CRIMINAL MINDS AND MODERN FAMILY and with Guys with Kids as a lead in – have to say this show is kinda not in a good place to say the least.

      • matty says:

        amen to that longislandsvufan

    • I agree that she is undeserving of all the awards, but I disagree that either her OR Meloni carried the show. It’s an ensemble. This isn’t X-FIles where it’s all about Mulder and Scully. It’s not about Stabler and Benson, it’s about the SVU and the cases and the stories. The show is no different to me without Meloni and I’d still be watching if Hargitay left as well and it was just Amaro, Rollins, Munch and Fin.

    • BCM says:

      You must have something against Mariska Hargitay. She is an award-winning actress with talent and beauty recognized. You must be a deranged fan of Meloni. There are fans Meloni who recognize talent Mariska. But there are many who are resentful and do not accept your success. Better go conforming. Because Mariska is wonderful. In every sense. And has millions of fans worldwide.

      • matty says:

        amen amen amen BCM couldnt have worded it better myself mate they are all jealous cause they dont like her instead of respecting her for her acting ability.

    • Anon says:

      Thilia = SPITEFUL

      And SVU without Meloni is much better.

    • Elaine Brown says:

      I so don’t agree. Mariska is the show, and is an excellent actress. She has certainly proved that with all the emmies and golden globe awards.she has recieved in her 13yrs playing detective Benson. I do agree Maloni was good for the show, and because of his absence the show has suffered some what, but all and all, it was a good season last year, and I’m looking forward for this season. Love some SVU!!!

    • Tmaungil♥ says:

      Whatever! Shes amazing, and Meloni god knows i love him but hes a douche for leaving!!!:'(

    • matty says:

      that is crap olivia is a very good actress if you think otherwise then you dont know a thing about acting, she is the heart and soul of the show,id like elliot to come back but the show wouldnt be svu witthout olivia she is the best, hooray for olivia

    • Veronica says:

      News fuh-lash BENCHE PUTA, that Hargitay is a dammmmn well actress,who has won and been nominated for several grammys!she is such a great actres, that I’ve decided to major in criminal justice when i go to college! so stfu talking crap about ppl u don’t even know, bc lookwhos making millions per episode, HER, not YOU!

  2. King says:

    awesome! That’s how a milestone episode is done, CSI! It should focus on the characters that have been on the show the longest or since the beginning not on some rookie (cough Fishburne’s Ray Langston cough) that nobody cares about. Good job SVU now I’m excited!

  3. Keenan says:

    I actually like the show again. In seasons 11 & 12 they were kind of just going through the motions.

    • matty says:

      i agree they are doing new things like focusing more on the sexual crimes side of it and character development all these people that keep being so negative have obviously got nothing better to do find a show you like to watch so you cansay something positive about it!!!!!

  4. Sean says:

    Meloni was the real reason to watch the show… can’t stand it w/o him!

    • Jo B. says:

      Chris made the show more compelling with his brilliant performance as Elliot Stabler. Now it’s kinda blah without him…

      • SVUer says:

        Meloni …MEH. Beating up a locker wasn’t compelling and whole brooding anger thing was overrated and annoying. Bring on season 14!!!

        • Lostie says:

          Ahhhh…a Stabler Hater…i guess u was so HAPPY when he got Destroyed in his vampire role in True Blood, lol… ☺ …..

          • SVUer says:

            Not really a Stabler hater… I liked him just fine when he could keep a lid on his little anger problem. I was sad to see him go but he didn’t make or break SVU for me. If he ever comes back…great…if not…MEH
            I don’t watch True Blood so I missed his destruction by vampires.
            …Can’t wait for SVU season 14 to begin!!!

          • lostie712 says:

            Ok, i’ll let u off the hook on that one, lol….but did u at least Love him in “Oz”?…that’s where i fell in Love with him…. ☺…..

          • matty says:

            how good was he in oz that is where i first appreciated him too :)

        • Jo B. says:

          uh….the reason that he was so compelling IS because you never know if his temper is going to get the best of him. He has good intentions and loves helping people 110 percent but there is a lot of anger in him – probably from his failed dreams, the abuse of his father, the neglect of his mother due to bipolar disorder and of course everything they see in SVU. Who wouldn’t be angry? And that anger sometimes consumes him. And that’s what makes him compelling. The other poster may have let you off the hook but I don’t. Mariska needs someone intense to play off and Danny Pino isn’t making the grade. Again notice- SHE got nominated when CHRIS WAS AROUND. Bye bye Chris, bye bye Emmy nominations Because just like Mariska said from minute one there was chemistry between them. And you cannot learn that – it is something you have or don’t have and she doesn’t have it with Pino.

          • SVUer says:

            Haha…apparently his anger has consumed you too. He was a good actor I just wasn’t as blown away by him as you apparently were. As for Mariska’s emmy nominations…isn’t it funny the episodes that she had the best chances of winning with (not to mention the one she won for) had nothing to do with Chris. Funny no?..or is it just me?
            It’s a TV show dear…..Move on with your life. Chris has.
            Oh yeah and thanks for not letting me off the hook … haha

          • matty says:

            yeah and you might remember out of all of those nominations mariska was the only one who won an emmy not chris and its not because of chris she hasnt got nommed its onjly been a year since he left give a year or two i am sure she will be nommed again.

          • matty says:

            also she took out thegolden globe too so she couldnt have been relying on chris too much.

  5. fangirl says:

    Benson AND Stabler carried the show, even if there was an ensemble, sorry. The majority of the fans over the years watched for THEM. I think Chris deserved far more accolade than he recieved but that’s beside the point. He wanted out and I respect that but it still saddens me. Once the show got cracky seasons 10-12, I’m going to go out on a limb and say 90% of fans started watching just for those two. Mariska is a great actress, not the best but she’s done her fair share of great work. If anything, I’d take away her Emmy for 911 and give it to her for Undercover in s9 or one of two episodes from s13. There were some things I liked about s13 and some I was ehh about but it’s much better than the past three combined. If only we’d had a chance to see what the show could’ve been like in 13 with CM but it is what it is. I’m sure the s14 crew will do a great job. Don’t like it, don’t watch or put it down when you have no idea what’s going on anyways. Simple.

  6. Leslie says:

    I love Law And Order SVU and i like you and Elloit Stabler and you are the best on the show i like to play rp.

  7. Kayla Rapp says:

    Mariska Hargitay is the best actress out there! She is an Amazing person inside and out! How could u even say that about her! She won an Emmy from being on #svu!

  8. slc2599 says:

    Hargitay is a remarkable actress & I actually feel sorry for those of you who can’t see it. She didn’t need anyone to “carry” her. She did it all by herself. I think her Emmy for the episode 911 speaks itself. It is an ensemble but, she shines.

  9. Brandy says:

    Hargitay is great & Stabler/Benson were the show.

  10. LBN says:

    Mariska is great actress and is beautiful. I do not get tired of seeing those beautiful dark eyes. And when she smiles it’s like an angel came down from heaven. It is impossible not to love her.

  11. I like that it has become an ensemble show. I liked Stabler but the show was getting boring as the Stabler/Benson show. S13 saw great potential and I can’t wait for this new season cause I expect it will be even better. SVU.02 with Warren Leigh in charge is terrific. I loved that Fin has stepped up and I like both Amaro & Rollins (I do hope these two get better chemistry together though cause they are still abit lost but I’m hoping it was just cause they were both rookies, off-screen they have good chemistry so it should be possible on-screen as well). I still miss Munch though and I’m glad to hear he, along with Cragen & Benson will be in the spotlight for the opening act and then we can go back to the ensemble again :)

  12. Jordan W. says:

    I think Dick Wolf could be putting another Law & Order spin-off in the works, using SVU. Warren Leight stated prior to season 13 that he wanted SVU to go back to it’s old formula/ensemble cast – if fans (true fans) have noticed, SVU used to be more enemble until about season mid season 7 and from 8 on until 13 (“Benson-Stabler drama hour”).

    I love Meloni/Stabler, but the writers didn’t develop Stabler as a character, his family/background was more on the front as well as his partership with Benson (Neal Baer titlating fans w/ hints at pairing the two characters). Mariska can hold down SVU as series lead, anyone who says otherwise has been watching another show or is not a fan of SVU.

    But back to what I was saying, I remember Dick Wolf on Twitter saying that he was mixing the Law & Order formula, so I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2013 NBC announces another Law & Order series in the works. And I’m fine with that as long as Wolf & NBC don’t rush the series on air — if they do, it’ll be a disaster like Law & Order: Los Angeles (made me realize NBC was FOOLISH cutting down the mothership series)!

    But as for SVU, 300 episodes is indeed a blessed landmark and for people to say SVU declined with the Meloni/Wong/Baer departures and Pino/Giddish/Leight arrivals is a bit accusatory, SVU declined in the ratings because of Wednesday night competition (CBS with CSI: and ABC with Revenge/cable networks) and the lack of a lead in (Harry’s Law in 2011 and Rock Center with Brian Williams in 2012). But when SVU didn’t have this, certain episodes reached peaks, “Rhodium Nights” (season 13 finale) is a prime example of that, it was NBC’s HIGHEST RATED scripted season finale (7.13 million viewers, 2.0 or 2.1 demo) beating shows like Smash and Grimm which tells me SVU still has a good audience out there.

    You want to blame something for SVU’s decline, it’s NBC not Warren Leight or anyone else. SVU is the best it’s been in years. SVU needed a change and change is good, Mariska said that herself!

    I’m glad SVU is about to reach episode 300 and I hope it makes 300 more, or at least stays on TV long enough to beat out the original mothership, which I feel NBC prematurely canceled.

    Does anyone truly know if Dick Wolf is working on another L&O spinoff? That would be a good question to ask, or either ask Warren Leight.

  13. Lostie says:

    Yes…she is Great…do u know why?….her mother was the Beautiful Buxon Beauty Jane Mansfield…☺….

  14. maaar says:

    They should bring meloni back for this episode, Warren Leight is f***** up the show!!!!!!