The next Law & Order crossover sees a surprising return for an attorney, with an even more surprising new gig. Raul Esparza's Rafael Barba, who now works as a defense attorney, will be back for the next big Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime two-hour special, and Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson is not exactly excited to see him again. That's because he will be representing Richard Wheatley, Dylan McDermott's villain from Organized Crime Season 1. The teaser shocked and surprised fans watching at home.
After this week's SVU ended, NBC showed off the teaser for the Dec. 9 episode, beginning with Benson and Barba meeting at a bar. "I wanted to let you know who I'm considering defending," Barba said. "As long as it's not Richard Wheatley, we're good," Benson said. Barba then gave her a stare, confirming the worst is true.
Next, Barba met with Wheatley in prison. "So you've accepted my offer," Wheatley said. "We've got a lot of work to do," Barba said. Although Barba is on Wheatley's side, Benson was confident they could keep the man who killed Stabler's wife behind bars. "Whatever happens, we're going to take it one step at a time," Benson told Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) as they held hands.
'How have the mighty fallen'
"Like with any trial, the defense and the prosecution are definitely gonna play a certain narrative, and it's whatever narrative sticks with the jury best," Danielle Mone Truitt, who stars as Sgt. Ayanna Bell on OC, told TV Insider. "Carisi is a great lawyer, and so is Barba. And they both are really good at giving a certain perspective to the audience. So we'll see which one works."prevnext
'At least Barba warns Liv'
This will be Barba's first appearance on SVU since "Sightless in a Savage Land" aired in January 2021. The episode revealed that Barba is now working as a criminal defense attorney. Esparza left the series at the end of Season 19 in 2018. He also made a brief virtual appearance in the February 2020 episode "Redemption in Her Corner."prevnext
'My baby Barba back'
Although each season of Organized Crime is set to be built around individual cases that will take multiple episodes to solve, like the eight-episode Albanian mob arc that wrapped up Thursday night, Wheatley is going to be a recurring character. Before the show began, NBC confirmed McDermott would be appearing on the show again. The crossover will see his first appearance since the Season 2 premiere.prevnext
'The way my heart just stopped!'
Barba defending Wheatley?????????????!!!!!!! THE WAY MY HEART JUST STOPPED!!!!!!!!!! 😭😭😭😭💔💔💔💔💔🙈🙈🙈 Damn you Dick Wolf & Co.....Yall have ruined ME!!!! ⚰🪦 #SVU @WolfEnt @RaulEEsparza @DylanMcDermott pic.twitter.com/uEFzwPLF5L— PoohIzMyBoo85♊ (@GeminiPrncs85) November 12, 2021
The crossover will air on Dec. 9. SVU airs at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Thursdays, with OC following at 10 p.m. ET. Scroll on to see how fans responded to Barba's return.prevnext
'That SVU promo had me flippin' out!'
"Oh man! Another crossover! Sweet! Barba and Richard Wheatley! Hurry up Dec. 9," one fan wrote.prevnext
'I want to see how this Barba arc goes'
"Clearly I'm in the minority (which is fine) but I want to see how this Barba arc goes. I can't judge it until I see it play out," one fan wrote.prev