The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 21 premiere was a stunning episode for fans at home, featuring a standout performance from Ian McShane. The John Wick actor and Golden Globe winner for Deadwood made his first appearance on SVU in "I'm Going to Make You a Star," an episode clearly inspired by Harvey Weinstein and the Me Too movement Weinstein's accusers inspired. McShane's performance earned wide acclaim from fans at home.
Bro Ian McShane’s character is thoroughly CREEPY I do not like this man no sir #SVU— Suzanne ✨- 5🎂 (@bensonsalex) September 27, 2019
In the episode, McShane starred as Sir Toby Moore, a movie producer who is so successful that he seems untouchable. At the start of the story, a woman reports to the SVU team that she was sexually assaulted during an audition with Moore.
During the investigation, Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Fin (Ice-T) discover that other aspiring actresses claim they were also assaulted during auditions with the producer.
I love Ian McShane. He’s so great. #SVU21— Shippin M’s Flyness ✌🏼☝🏼 (@UcanCallmeLitke) September 27, 2019
Moore tries to put up as many roadblocks as possible, but Benson and her team discover ways around them.
For fans, this was the perfect kick-off to SVU's historic 21st season. The series is now the longest-running primetime drama series in TV history, breaking its 20-season tie with Law & Order and Gunsmoke.
While McShane is the latest big-name star to appear on SVU, members of the cast have loftier dreams for the next stars they would like to see join the Dick Wolf universe. During an interview with Us Weekly at the Paley Center for Media on Wednesday, Ice-T said he would love to see Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or Harvey Keitel stop by. Kelli Giddish suggested Edie Falco.
NGL I'm half expecting Ian McShane to bust out a Swearengenesque soliloquy at some point. #SVU21— Keep on keepin' on🍂 (@azuramariposa) September 27, 2019
"I love having the older actors. Judd Hirsch, Stacy Keach," Scanavino told the magazine. "These older actors that are just such professionals and masters of their crafts."
Next week's episode features another big guest star, Modern Family's Ariel Winter. The episode will give her fans a look at her acting talents outside of a sitcom.
"I feel like this is cool…We are aware of this has never been done before. And you don't want it to be just a regular season, you want it to be special. You want the stories to not feel like they could've happened any time in the last—it could've been episode 330 or 387, you want it to feel like, 'That was one of the season 21 episodes,'" showrunner Warren Leight told E! News of the show's historic season.
"We're looking for stories that allow as full a range of emotion as possible," Leight added. "And also, we can go out to actors and say to Ian McShane or Ariel Winter, which is, 'Do you want to come and be here for the 21st season?' And that's a pretty good pick-up line."
Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC