Those who thought the winds of change had stopped blowing through NBC's "Law & Order" universe once "For The Defense" was given a greenlight were in for a surprise Friday evening when Deadline Hollywood reported Jamie Gray Hyder (Officer Kat Tamin) and Demore Barnes (Deputy Chief Christian Garland) have departed the Mariska Hargitay-starring Law & Order: SVU. First introduced in Season 21 and promoted to series regulars the following season, their exits will reportedly be explained during the two-hour, two-episode Season 23 return on Thursday, September 23
In the first of SVU's two-episode premiere, "And the Empire Strikes Back" finds Benson's loyalty to Garland tested. Meanwhile, Rollins and Carisi try to keep their witnesses on board when a powerful congressman is identified as a suspect. Following that, "Never Turn Your Back on Them has the search for a missing witness leading Fin and Kat down a dangerous path. Chief McGrath puts pressure on Garland and Benson to get a conviction.
This hard-hitting and emotional series from NBC's "Law & Order" brand chronicles the lives of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate crimes of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence.
As commander of the SVU, Capt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is a seasoned veteran of the unit who has seen it all. She leads with empathy and professionalism, all the while dealing with her difficult past as a product of rape and her responsibility as a trailblazer in survivor advocacy, both of which influence the way she relates to the victims and perpetrators of each case.
As Benson's second-in-command, Sgt. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola (Ice T) adds a unique sense of humor and undercover investigative experience, making him a formidable match for any partner. Senior Det. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) has earned her place as an integral part of the team while facing head-on the emotional toll it takes to work SVU, while Officer Katriona "Kat" Azar Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder) learns the ropes and pushes boundaries in her first year on the squad. Assistant District Attorney Dominick "Sonny" Carisi (Peter Scanavino) brings a fresh outlook and distinctive style of investigation to his cases while navigating the politics of the DA's office. Deputy Chief Christian Garland (Demore Barnes) leads his team with charisma and lives the contemporary principles he aims to apply to the entire NYPD.
NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer. Warren Leight, Julie Martin, Mariska Hargitay, Norberto Barba, Arthur Forney, and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.