05/20/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : IN THE SEASON FINALE, A DANGEROUS CAREER CRIMINAL RETURNS TO TEST THE LIMITS OF THE LAW
Sgt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and ADA Barba (Raúl Esparza) take Johnny D (guest star Charles Halford) to trial for sex trafficking, rape, assault and kidnapping. But when Baby Noah’s adoption becomes entangled in the case, Benson fears for Noah’s future and his safety. In an intense courtroom showdown, the SVU will face a threat that could change the squad forever. Also starring Danny Pino (Det. Nick Amaro), Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Michael Kostroff (Counselor Evan Braun), Danika Yarosh (Ariel Thornhill), Robert John Tucker (Lt. Ed Tucker), Jefferson Mays (M.E. Rudnick), Laura Gomez (Selena Cruz) and Peter Hermann (Counselor Trevor Langan).
“The two police departments could not be more different in their procedures,” showrunner Warren Leight tells THR.
Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Law & Order: SVU already pulled off a successful three-show crossover in November. So when the drums began beating for a second two-night, SVU showrunner Warren Leight knew he had to up the ante.
“I felt like if we were going to do it again, I wanted the stories and the plotting to be more integrated,” he tells THR. “It’s really a unified two-hour crossover. I don’t know how they’re going to list it on TV Guide but it really flows all as one piece.”
Kicking off on Tuesday’s new episode of Chicago Fire, the latest crossover centers on a charismatic doctor (The Walking Dead’s Dallas Roberts) suspected of serial rape and murder in Chicago. Originally planned as a two-part episode of Law & Order: SVU, one of the biggest tricks was figuring out a way to bring NYPD to Chicago and vice-versa. “You have to figure out a reason why you’re crossing state lines,” says Leight. “Its fun when the Justice League of America gets together but we have to know why.”
SVU factors in when Benson (Mariska Hargitay) realizes a victim first discovered by the Firehouse 51 team is frighteningly similar to one she had investigated a decade earlier with then-partner Stabler (Christopher Meloni) in New York. “It was based a little bit on Ted Bundy, who’s a very charming serial killer in America’s past,” says Leight. “It took a long time before people realized it was the same guy and that there was a pattern. It was an interesting idea so we said maybe he had been active and then he went to another city.”
Adds Chicago PD star Jason Beghe: “It’s not just, let’s find this guy. Being the Ted Bundy nature of it, he’s very smart and we don’t really have him enough to prosecute him so we’re playing a cat and mouse [game].”
Once they’re in the same city, blending these two teams together will be difficult in and of itself. “The two police departments could not be more different in their procedures,” says Leight. “We get to court in New York in this story as well and that’s clearly different from what went down in the past with these things.”
That’s because, unlike SVU and the many other iterations of Law & Order, there is no district attorney on Chicago PD. As Leight says, the Intelligence Unit at PD is more focused on a “biblical sense of justice” than a legal one. “As far as I can tell, they don’t have a legal system,”says Leight with a laugh. “Sometimes Voight goes a little rogue and [Benson] basically tells him, ‘Watch yourself. I don’t want this case blown because of police misconduct.’ So we wrote to the fact that one department plays more loosely than the other when it comes to constitutional protections. Our guys get a little tense about that; a little more protective of the system.”
That even extends to Benson and Voight, who shared a friendly drink the last time she was in the Windy City. “There was a lot of warmth, maybe even could be construed as flirtation,” says Beghe. “Things get so serious and rough by the time we’re back in New York that we don’t have a lot of time for the lighter enjoyment of things. It’s a very distressing and personally wrenching experience particularly for the characters in Chicago.”
Behind the scenes, the process of crafting the crossover was not without it’s bumps either. “You learn a lot from the first one,” says Leight. “If we do another one some time, I’ll have learned a lot from this one. Its trickier than doing episode 90 for me of a show that I’ve been on because its episode two of the crossover and its learning what their team can do, what our team can do.”
But now the question stands of how long it will be before a possible four-show crossover comes to fruition if Chicago Med is picked up to series. “Yes, and the [rumored] resurrection of Law & Order the mothership, and I suppose there’s a way to do a five-show crossover,” says Leight, “but I think that will be my final act. (Laughs)”
Chicago Fire airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m., Chicago PD airs on Wednesday at 9 p.m. and Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC.
Law & Order: SVUfans were both surprised and elated when it was revealed late last season that Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Amaro (Danny Pino) were sleeping together. But with hardly a mention of the two being romantic since that episode, TVGuide.com user Jessica asks: Are they actually still together?
“We had a scene in [the last episode] that had to be cut for time,” executive producer Warren Leight tells TVGuide.com. (You can watch a very subtle hint in the deleted scene here.) “There have been little glimpses. You see Kelli play all the time that she’s worried for him, caretaking of him in certain ways. She’s protective of him, but not so he would notice and object to it.”
Although Leight admits that the duo’s feelings are real (“She cares for him and he’s got to figure out where his life is going. A guy who is getting over a divorce — there’s always a few bad years,” he says), don’t expect a major declaration of love any time soon. “They’re not supposed to go out; it’s against all departmental regulations,” Leight says. “So whatever is going on between them is furtive and sporadic, and neither one of them would want to call it a relationship.”
Though mini-crossovers within Dick Wolf’s mega franchise have become second nature, when the three shows unite for a big event, you know it’s going to get dangerously real.
Such is the case with the two-night event that kicks off with Tuesday’s episode of Chicago Fire and continues through Wednesday’s back-to-back episodes of Chicago P.D. and SVU. “We’ve got a great bad guy and one of the characters in P.D. doesn’t make it out alive, unfortunately,” says Fire and P.D. boss Matt Olmstead.
The devastating events are put into motion when Benson (Mariska Hargitay) suspects that a case in Chicago has ties to an unsolved one from a decade prior—though don’t go searching your memory or old DVDs to get clues. “There can be cases that SVU handled that were never made into TV episodes,” SVU boss Warren Leight explains. “In our view of the world, in 2004, there were two unsolved rape/murders and one unsolved disappearance that the squad caught, and a fire breaks out on Chicago Fire on Tuesday where a victim is found barely alive having been sexually assaulted.”
While planning this crossover, the executive producers on all three shows strived not to repeat themselves, hoping instead to give a good reason for these three squads to intersect. “I didn’t just want it to be a drop-in,” Leight says, noting that the case is somewhat inspired by “the horrible and successful arc of Ted Bundy, a guy who got away with dozens of crimes in multiple locations for a long period of time because no one could believe he could do something like this and no one put the pieces together.”
Thus, the idea was born for someone from the Chicago side to fall prey to the big bad (portrayed by Walking Dead and Good Wife alum Dallas Roberts). “We had to make sure we had a reason for the P.D. team to stay involved as the perp made his way to New York,” Leight says. “I want to make sure there’s a compelling reason for P.D. to be wandering around the SVU squad, so if one of their own is taken hostage by this guy, after we’ve seen how horrible he is, we understand their pursuit across the timezone.”
While Olmstead is staying mum on who his show will be losing, he reveals that it will hit Lindsay (Sophia Bush) the hardest. “What we get out of it is, towards the end of the season, a spiral for Lindsay because, as we established from the show, she came from the wrong side of the tracks before Voight [Jason Beghe] rehabilitated her and gave her a purpose. She starts to doubt if it was all worth it or if she doesn’t belong back on the other side of the tracks in the company of her mother.”
The Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and SVU crossover event kicks off Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET and continues Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
05/13/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : SVU DETECTIVES RACE TO FIND A BOY KIDNAPPED FOR RANSOM
8 year-old Owen Farhidi (guest star Kaeden Ruparel) disappears from school and his mother Dana (guest star Brooke Bloom) receives a ransom request. When surveillance footage shows that Owen recognized his abductor, Detective Amaro (Danny Pino) works with Dana and her ex-husband Sam (guest star Navid Negahban) to find and arrest the suspect, but tensions between the estranged couple obstructs the investigation. Meanwhile, Sgt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is asked to take the Lieutenant’s exam to formally take the lead over her squad. Also starring Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Frankie Alvarez (Javier Rojas), Carmen Cabrera (Fabiana Caldera), Robert John Burke (Lt. Ed Tucker), and Toni D’Antonio (Principal Stanwick).
05/06/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : DANN FLOREK AND ANDRE BRAUGHER RETURN TO “SVU”
Bayard Ellis (guest star Braugher) takes on the case of a man incarcerated for incest and rape, whose daughter Michelle (guest star Samira Wiley), the victim and star witness when she was a child, wants to recant her testimony and set her father free. When a judge refuses to reopen the 17 year old case, the SVU turns to retired Captain Cragen (guest star Florek), who remembers the investigation and provides evidence that could change the convict’s fate. Starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Danny Pino (Det. Nick Amaro), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Robert Sean Leonard (ADA Kenneth O’Dwyer), Glenn Plummer (Derek Thompson), Kia Joy Goodwin (Audrey Jones) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Reverend Scott).