Law & Order: SVU brought one of its most beloved stars back Thursday night, and there could be more big returns later in the season.
Series showrunner Warren Leight chatted with Us Weekly about the return of Raul Esparza and how there were plans for more characters to stop by the veteran legal drama.
Leight revealed to the outlet that there was a plan for Rick Fox to come back this season, but “every time we make a plan, the COVID Gods laugh,” he said.
“We still hope to see him back on our stage. In the meantime, fans will have to make do with Raul, Chris Meloni, Elizabeth Marvel, John Waters, Tamara Tunie, Wentworth Miller and a few other surprise returnees.”
COVID-19 shuttered production of the previous season early and delayed the beginning of the current one.
“We’ve all had to completely change every aspect of the way we work, often in mid-episode. We’re very fortunate to have an experienced team that’s been working on the show for as long as we all have," he said.
"Every time a brick comes through the window (which on some days happens every ten minutes), the nearest person grabs a broom, sweeps up the glass, someone else replaces the pane, and we just keep going.”
Barba's return finally happened on Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 4, which found him going up against Carisi.
"We’d written earlier that Barba had been involved in political work last year, now that the election is (we hope) over, it was time for him to find a new purpose,” Leight said of Esparza's return.
“Many lawyers sell out and join a major firm, others go straight-up pro bono (say, working for the Innocence Project), but Barba I think both misses the action and likes the attention that this particular case brings.”
It's nice to know that more returns are being planned. When shows are on as long as SVU, cast members come and go, but bringing someone back after some time away is a big deal.
What are your thoughts on more returns?
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.