Though his exit from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit has been known for over a year now, showrunner Warren Leight’s five season long tenure is coming to a close. SVU‘s seventeenth season finale, which airs May 25, marks the end of Leight’s time on the show as he has an overall deal in place with Sony TV, according to Variety.
Rest assured, SVU fans, the show has found its new showrunner for the 18th season, which will start in the fall. According to Variety, Rick Eid has been tapped as the new showrunner. Eid has been a part of the Law and Order family before, as he was a supervising producer on the original Law and Order show from 2005 until 2007 and was a supervising producer on Law and Order: Trial by Jury. He also served as a writer on Law and Order: Criminal Intent and worked with Dick Wolf on NBC’s crime drama Conviction in 2006.
Eid also worked on CBS’ Hostages and TNT’s Dark Blue, where he served as the showrunner.
Upon Eid’s hiring at SVU, show creator and executive producer Dick Wolf said “I’m extremely pleased that Rick had decided to rejoin the family and hope that he will be here for years to come.”
Eid has a two year deal in place with Universal TV and he will serve as both showrunner and executive producer of the show.
Mariska Hargitay, who has played Olivia Benson throughout the show’s entire run, penned a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Leight’s last episode, talking about how Leight came to the show at a time of transition, as Leight was hired when Neal Baer had left the show after being showrunner since the second season and other lead, Christopher Meloni, left the show after the 12th season when contract negotiations broke down between him and NBC.
Throughout Leight’s tenure on SVU, he’s been a part of memorable storylines, including the storyline where Olivia was kidnapped in the 15th season and Olivia’s eventual adoption of baby Noah at the end of the 16th season after being his foster mother throughout the whole season. He’s also responsible for creating the characters of Nick Amaro (Danny Pino), Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza), who have become popular with the SVU fanbase.
He’s also helped lead the show to successful crossover episodes with Dick Wolf’s Chicago P.D., which is part of the Chicago franchise.
In the season finale, the show picks up where the episode from last week left off, with Olivia talking to the wife of a corrupt corrections officer. In the promo for the episode, viewers see Sergeant Dodds take a bullet and he’s clinging to life as the rest of the squad tries to solve the case.
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. The show has been renewed for its 18th season and will air next year in the same timeslot.