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.
“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.Follow @kimroots