Even though the Christopher Meloni-starring spinoff series is only two episodes into its series run, "Law & Order" universe creator Dick Wolf and Law & Order: Organized Crime showrunner Ilene Chaiken are already looking ahead to a second season. While an official renewal hasn't been announced by NBC yet, the show's ratings during the two-part, two-hour, two-show premiere brought the franchise some of the best demos in years. In fact, one change Wolf is already looking at is in the storytelling structure. "The thing that really excites me about the show- and I'm not speaking for Chris [Meloni], but I think is exciting for him- is that this is the first 'Law & Order' with literally a completely different storytelling. In a 24-episode season, which you should think next year would be, you should think about the fact that it's going to be three eight-episode arcs. And the first third of the season is 'The Godfather,' the second third is 'American Gangster' and the last third is 'Scarface,'" Wolf explained during a press conference.
One thing that both Wolf and Chaiken wanted to make clear is that while both OC and SVU exist in the same universe, crossovers will only happen when needed in the context of the storylines. Wolf looks to the "Chicago' universe of NBC shows as an example. "I certainly think the second episode is hardly 'SVU' redux," Wolf explained. "I would say the most accurate measure of how often there will be crossovers and of what depth are the 'Chicago' shows. We're going to do it whenever it gives both shows a different way to shine. And, obviously, there is a portion of the audience that says, 'Geez, this is frustrating. Why don't you just put them both on the same show again?' It's not exciting. This, to me, is much more engaging."
Viewing it as "a thing that he so intuitively knows how to do," Chaiken looks to Wolf about the best ways to have the two shows work together. But even when they're not on the screen together doesn't mean Stabler and Benson (Mariska Hargitay) won't influence each other's lives. "These two shows exist in the same universe, a fictional, very grounded universe. And we never forget that those other characters and those other stories exist," the EP explained. "And when we tell a story about Stabler in Benson's world or Benson in Stabler's world and things happen that affect their characters, we don't just forget about it. So it's both challenging and tantalizing from the point of view of story writing to make sure that you keep those things alive while the shows have their own identity, each of them."