A long-brewing Law & Order spinoff may eventually land with a new home, so as to most genuinely tell its stories.
Law & Order: Hate Crimes was given a 13-episode order back in September 2018, though NBC pressed pause on the spinoff six months later. (The Hate Crimes team was initially slated to be introduced during a Season 20 episode of Law & Order: SVU, but as TVLine reported at the time, NBC was focused on getting the latest spinoff “right” versus “meeting an artificial deadline.”)
As recently as a year ago, Hate Crimes was described by NBC brass as being in “ongoing development,” though they were “very confident” it would happen.
Now, SVU showrunner Warren Leight, who has been shepherding the Hate Crimes offshoot, told the latest edition of THR’s TV’s Top 5 podcast, “I think it was perceived to be a better fit with Peacock” aka NBC Universal’s new streaming service. “The vocabulary people use when they commit hate crimes is not acceptable on network television, and that’s an interesting consideration.”
Even in light of (or because of) current events and TV’s responsibility to react to them, which Leight addressed in-depth on the podcast, “I think [Hate Crimes] is a show that needs to be made,” he said. “Where it dovetails with SVU, it’s about the toll a hate crime takes on a victim, a victim’s family, and a community. It’s an arena I think needs to be written about. I’d like to see this show go [forward].”
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The ongoing adventures of one Elliot Stabler are now taking priority, however, via the recently announced Stabler-centric SVU offshoot.
“There are a lot of balls in motion in the [L&O overlord Dick] Wolf world at the moment,” Leight noted. “I think once the [Chris] Meloni show became possible, that took priority…. I think that show goes first.”
At the time Hate Crimes was announced, Wolf issued a statement saying, “As with all of my crime shows, I want to depict what’s really going on in our cities and shine a light on the wide-ranging victims and show that justice can prevail. Twenty years ago when SVU began, very few people felt comfortable coming forward and reporting these crimes, but when you bring the stories into people’s living rooms – with characters as empathetic as Olivia Benson – a real dialogue can begin. That’s what I hope we can do with this new show in a world where hate crimes have reached an egregious level.”