Law & Order: SVU Season 26: Everything We Know So Far

After 25 years, Law & Order: SVU is still going strong.

Despite fan speculation that Olivia Benson would burn out or retire at the end of the season, Law & Order: SVU has been renewed for a landmark 26th season, and Benson will be part of it.

What’s next for the show that has aimed to give sexual assault survivors a voice for the past 25 years?

Law & Order: SVU doesn’t always follow the same formula that made the original Law & Order successful.

While courtroom scenes are often part of the show, they aren’t always present, and the emphasis is more on supporting and empowering survivors.

Law & Order: SVU Review: Solid Police Work and a Tragic Case, But Something Was Missing

Olivia Benson goes the extra mile for these survivors, often giving them pep talks and fighting for their day in court.

When there are courtroom scenes, the story is often about the justice system’s failure to protect or help survivors and Benson’s fight to get them justice.

Other detectives and the ADA in charge of prosecutions have come and gone, but Benson has been the protagonist from the beginning, and Ice-T’s Fin has been by her side since Season 2.

We can expect more stories involving Benson’s decisions as captain of the SVU squad, more heart-wrenching crimes, and more fights for justice.

Benson often encounters resistance from rich and powerful perps and sometimes from the DA’s office, and we can expect more of that in the new season.

Let’s look at what’s ahead for Law & Order: SVU Season 26.

Has Law & Order: SVU Been Renewed?

Yes, Law & Order: SVU was renewed for a landmark 26th season in March 2024. It will continue to air on NBC on Thursday nights after the original Law & Order.

(Law & Order: Organized Crime is moving to Peacock for its fifth season but has also been renewed.)

Law & Order: SVU was renewed for one entire season, so there will be plenty of opportunities for the characters to fight for justice for those who have been victimized in the worst possible way.

NBC Reveals Fall 2024-25 Schedule: Found Gets Plum Thursday Slot, Suits LA Still in Pilot Stage

The series will return to NBC sometime during the fall of 2024. (This post will be updated as more information becomes available, so bookmark it.)

What Happened at the End of Law & Order: SVU Season 25?

The season finale didn’t contain any jaw-dropping cliffhangers, although a conversation between Benson and Stabler suggests they may have more relationship drama ahead.

Benson and the SVU case fought to prove the wrong man was incarcerated for a series of brutal rapes, while Carisi’s new boss refused to admit she could be wrong and wouldn’t reopen the case without strong evidence,

Meanwhile, the jailed suspect’s pre-teen son shot Fin while confronting him about his father being locked up, and Fin tried to keep the boy’s behavior secret so he wouldn’t get in trouble.

The ending didn’t leave much room for speculation.

Everything was wrapped up, and then Benson sneaked off to visit the Flynn family for Maddie’s sixteenth birthday, where she lent Maddie’s mother the compass necklace Stabler had given her last year.

What Storylines Can We Expect on Law & Order: SVU Season 26?

No specific storylines have been released yet.

In addition to stories about rape, incest, and missing person cases, Law & Order: SVU often features personal stories.

Hopefully, we’ll get more stories about Benson’s son, Noah, who didn’t have many scenes during the shortened season after the strike.

Law & Order: SVU’s Ryan Buggle Talks About Noah’s Coming Out, Dreams For the Future, and Growing Up on Set

One thing I hope we do NOT have more of is Benson’s relationship with the Flynn family.

It was understandable that Benson felt a responsibility to find Maddie after she spied her with the kidnapper on their way out of New York but didn’t realize something was amiss.

However, now that the case has been solved, there is no need for them to continue being in each other’s lives. 

It’s great that Benson refused to give up, but enough already.

Will Benson and Stabler Get Together on Law & Order: SVU Season 26?

Season 24 didn’t have any interaction between Benson and Stabler except on the last episode, when they had a brief conversation about Benson lending her necklace to Eileen Flynn.

That conversation could go either way. Stabler understanding why Benson did it suggests they are soulmates, but with no offical confirmation of where this is going, it’s hard to hope.

The series has repeatedly teased this pairing but not followed through, so let’s hope this is the start of an actual storyline this time.

Which Cast Members Will Be Returning for Law & Order: SVU Season 26?

There have been no official announcements about who is staying or leaving, but we know that two main stars are returning: Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T.

Hargitay is an executive producer and the lead actress, and Ice-T has made it clear in numerous interviews that he wants to continue as long as she does.

Hargitay also said she hopes Kelli Giddish will return as Amanda Rollins. Giddish was let go after season 24 but made several guest appearances during season 25.

Peter Scaviano will likely return as cop-turned-ADA Sonny Carisi. Since SVU made such a big deal out of his new boss during the finale, Kate Loprest will likely return as Heidi Russell, at least on a recurring basis.

Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 11 Review: Did SVU FINALLY Pave the Way for Rollins to Return Full-Time?

Still up in the air: whether newcomers Jordan Spirano (Sykes) and Aime Donna Kelly (Curry) will return.

Since Rollins left, SVU has had a revolving door of secondary detectives, and Sykes’ story seemed over after Benson found her sister’s killer, so we’re probably down at least one of these cast members.

Here is the complete list of cast members expected to return for Season 26:

  • Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson

  • Ice-T as Sergeant Odafin Tutuola

  • Peter Scaviano as ADA Dominique Carisi

  • Kate Loprest as Trial Chief Heidi Russell (possibly recurring)

This short list leaves plenty of room for guest stars and recurring actors. If Giddish doesn’t return full-time as Rollins, she likely will make more guest appearances since she’s made three of them since leaving the series.

Will There Be Crossovers with Other Law & Order Shows?

While no crossovers have been announced, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Law & Order will continue to air on NBC before SVU, and Law & Order: Organized Crime will stream ten new episodes on Peacock.

Since Organized Crime has fewer episodes than the other franchise members, there may be time for the characters to visit SVU more often.

Interestingly, Found Season 2 will air in the 10 PM slot. While this show is not part of the franchise, it deals with missing persons’ cases, so it would be an interesting and relevant candidate for occasional crossovers.

Found Season 2: Renewal Status, Cast and Everything We Know So Far

When Will Law & Order: SVU Season 26 Premiere?

The exact premiere date has not been released yet, but the series traditionally premieres in late September 2024.

Both Law & Order shows airing on NBC will likely premiere on the same date; since Law & Order: Organized Crime will stream exclusively on Peacock, it’s unclear how its schedule will dovetail with SVU’s.

How Many Episodes Will Law & Order: SVU Season 26 Have?

The exact episode order has not been announced yet, but Law & Order: SVU usually has between 22 and 24 episodes per season.

Is There a Trailer for Law & Order: SVU Season 26?

Not yet. Bookmark this page and check back; we will add the trailer as soon as we have it!

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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