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Source: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Is 'Law & Order: SVU' Ending Its Season Early? — Here's What We Know

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We were gearing up for a few more episodes with our beloved Law and Order: Special Victims Unit squad but it seems like Covid-19 has put a pause on more than just our lives — it’s also caused a halt in production to many of our favorite TV shows.

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March 26's episode, "Dance, Lies and Videotape" was delayed by a week, and at the time of its scheduled release on March 19, showrunner Warren Leight tweeted that there were four more episodes meant to air before the landmark Season 21 draws to a close.

But with all of the uncertainty, is Law and Order: SVU ending its season early this year? Keep reading for information from the writers and showrunner, plus when we can expect SVU to return.

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Source: NBC

John Waters guest-stars in "Dance, Lies and Videotape" on 'SVU.'

In a cameo role we could hardly believe, film legend and cult director John Waters is set to play "an unsympathetic, unsavory character" in Episode 20, he revealed in an interview with Baltimore Magazine.

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The ripped-from-the-headlines episode shines a light on sexual assault in the ballet community, and is based on a 2018 scandal at the New York City Ballet, which saw two male principals fired for allegedly sharing sexually explicit photos of ballerinas on the internet.

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Source: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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And as showrunner Warren Leight teases, "Dance, Lies and Videotape" will also see "return performances from many perps and vics we've met this season," such as Ari'el Stachel, as well as even more exciting guest appearances, like one from Hadestown's Patrick Page.

But will it be the last episode of 'SVU' this season?

While the team behind our favorite Thursday-night procedural had initially "planned to produce 24 episodes this season," Warren Leight revealed in a tweet mid-March that Episode 20 "may end up being our finale."

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But lo and behold, that ended up not being the case! At the end of Episode 20, we saw a trailer for at least one more episode to air in the normal Thursday-evening slot on NBC: "Garland's Baptism by Fire."

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Source: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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If 'SVU' ends early, when will Season 22 premiere?

Law & Order: SVU usually begins its seasons in late September, around the time most primetime shows premiere. However, we are admittedly in an uncertain pandemic and unpredictable time, so it's impossible to say what Season 22 of SVU will hold.

But we do know this: In late February, another three whole seasons of SVU were ordered by NBC, so it's not the case that our favorite squad of detectives is going away for long. 

Plus, Warren assures fans that the last episodes of Season 21, which he calls "very strong," will "fold into Season 22" if they're unable to air this season. "We'll figure it out," he continued on Twitter. "For now, just glad crew out of harm's way, worried so many are out of work, and sad fans get a truncated season."

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Alas, so are we. And our hearts go out to the entire Law & Order family, who early on March 26, lost one of their costumers, Josh Wallwork, to complications of Covid-19.

"Heartbroken we are," star Mariska Hargitay tweeted upon receiving the news. "I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face ... The SVU Corredor [sic] will never be the same."

New episodes of Law & Order: SVU air Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.

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