The Good News Is Olivia Is Now Captain; the Bad News Is Dodds Is Leaving 'SVU'


Feb. 7 2020, Updated 5:56 p.m. ET

what happened to chief dodds svu
Source: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

If you tuned into Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's landmark 21st season premiere, you know that many changes are in store!

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To recap as succinctly as we can, Amanda Rollins has a new baby, Carisi is an ADA, and (we cannot emphasize this enough), Olivia Benson is now Captain of SVU!

Her promotion was negotiated by Dodds, he tells her at the end of the season's first ep. 

But wait, what happened to Chief Dodds? Keep reading to find out!

what happened to chief dodds svu
Source: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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What happened to Chief Dodds on SVU?

Following a bonkers season premiere that echoed the fall of Hollywood abuser Harvey Weinstein and current #MeToo movement, we ultimately watched our favorite NYPD squad take down the fictional Sir Toby Moore.

For context, Sir Toby Moore is a successful movie producer who assaults an aspiring actress named Pilar during a sketchy unscheduled audition. Despite the fact that Sir Toby is extremely connected and has half the police force, as well as DA Vanessa Hadid in his pocket, our beloved Benson, Fin, and Rollins don't back down.

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Soon, they find multiple women who claim they were also attacked by Sir Toby during their auditions. It's a riveting premiere that happens to employ this writer's favorite SVU trope: the undercover detective narrative. 

SVU casts an undercover officer to "audition" for Sir Toby, which ultimately leads to the predator's fall from glory.

"Feathers were ruffled," according to Dodds. So, where is he going now?

While it's a victory for the squad and for the viewers, the charges against the high-powered Hollywood star seem to have negative consequences for the higher-ups at SVU, namely Chief William Dodds (father of the late Mike Dodds, after the death of whom Carisi postponed his law career).

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Olivia and Chief Dodds sit down for a drink at a bar following the case. "Feathers were ruffled," Dodds tells her ominously before going on to explain that "the Powers That Be have decided I can't be trusted to work with the DA's office going forward."

Say whaaaat? Then again, if Season 21 is going to dig into internal cop-DA corruption, we are here for it.

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While Olivia is understandably incensed and promises to go to bat for the chief, Dodds begs her not to stick her neck out for him, though he's being "sent to Coventry." "As of Monday morning," he explains, "I'll be riding point for the traffic and pedestrian safety task force on Staten Island."

Way harsh, Tai.

Is Dodds leaving SVU for good?

The bright side to all this — which, if we're being totally honest, almost makes up for Dodd's Staten Island traffic enforcement demotion — is that Lieutenant Olivia Benson (who worked her way from Junior Detective to Senior Detective to Sergeant before earning the Lt. title in Season 17) is promoted to Captain!

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According to Dodds, naming Olivia the new captain was one of the conditions to him stepping down.

But in real life, outside of the NYPD's SVU squad, actor Peter Gallagher, who plays Chief Dodds, is leaving the show because he recently "got a pilot that went to series," according to showrunner Warren Leight.

Fans of the former Chief should stay tuned for news of his upcoming series, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, which is set to come out in 2020.

In the meantime, watch Chief Benson and ADA Carisi on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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