Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 20 will feature a familiar face in the show's landmark 450th episode on Feb. 21! Dean Winters will be back as Brian Cassidy for the first time this season.
Cassidy will appear in "Facing Demons," which starts with a young man's suicide. The death leads the SVU team to begin a child molestation investigation, and Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) calls Cassidy in to help out.
The episode's title is a reference to the last time we saw Cassidy in the Season 19 episode "Chasing Demons," which aired in February 2018. For most of the episode, Cassidy was at the center of a murder investigation after a doctor accused of molesting young boys is killed. Although Cassidy was proven innocent, his outburst during the doctor's trial raised questions about his past.
During a meeting with A.D.A. Peter Stone (Philip Winchester), Cassidy admitted he was molested by a little league coach as a child, which Benson did not know. Cassidy admitted that his own personal experiences was why he left the SVU during the show's first season in 1999.
Cassidy was partnered with John Munch (Richard Belzer) during SVU's first 13 episodes. When Season 2 began, Munch was partnered with Detective Odafin Tutuola (Ice-T), who remains on the show to this day.
Winters returned to the show in the Season 13 finale and has made periodic appearances on the show since. During Seasons 14 and 15, Cassidy dated Benson and they even lived together briefly. When Cassidy returned in Season 19, he was an investigator for the district attorney's office.
The real-world reason for Winters leaving the show was his commitment to HBO's Oz. The actor recently appeared on HBO's Divorce, the Fox/NBC sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine and YouTube's Wayne.
Winters also joined Starz's American Gods for Season 2, playing Mr. Town. The series is based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name and stars Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Ian McShane, Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki and Pablo Schreiber. A source told Deadline the show will likely be picked up for a third season to continue the adaptation.
Winters is also starring in Lost Girls, a Netflix movie about a mother pushing law enforcement agents to search for her missing daughter, unknowingly pulling the lid of unsolved murders of prostitutes on the barrier islands of Long Island. The film is directed by Liz Garbus and co-stars Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne, Lola Kirke, Reed Birney and Miriam Shor.
American Gods returns on Starz on Sunday, March 10. Law & Order: SVU airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: Michael Parmelee/NBC