Back when Law & Order first premiered in 1990, no one had any idea the actual television juggernaut it would turn into. Not only did the show last for 20 seasons and 456 episodes, it also spawned five different spin-offs: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Intent, Trial by Jury, LA and True Crime. After 19 seasons, SVU is still going strong and now, creator Dick Wolf's famous franchise is getting its sixth spin-off.
TVLine has confirmed that NBC has ordered a 13-episode first season of Law & Order: Hate Crimes, which, according to the announcement, will be "based on New York’s actual Hate Crimes Task Force, the second oldest bias-based task force in the U.S. The unit, which pledges to uphold a zero tolerance policy against discrimination of any kind, works under the NYPD’s real Special Victims Unit and often borrows SVU’s detectives to assist in their investigations."
The timing of this newest series doesn't appear to be for naught, given that there is cultural unrest in today's socio-political climate, one that has led to a divide in the public. With a push for diversity and equality for all races, genders, and the LGBTQ+ community, there appears to be more and more hate crimes being reported than ever before -- a subject matter that this new series is set to tackle head-on.
"As with all of my crime shows," series creator Dick Wolf said, "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.”
SVU showrunner Warren Leight will serve as co-creator of Hate Crimes, and he also believes that the series will be a true reflection of the modern times we live in. "I’m extremely impressed by the actual men and women investigating these cases in a city as complicated and diverse as New York," Leight said. "The work they are doing puts them on the front lines in a battle for the soul of our city and nation. I’m thrilled about the chance to reunite with Dick and NBC to portray the reality of this crisis."
The cast of Law & Order: Hate Crimes will debut in the next season of Law & Order: SVU, before being spun off into its own 13-episode first season. While the basis of the series will be introduced sometime this year, there is no official premiere date for this next iteration of the popular crime procedural.