'Law & Order: SVU' off Wednesday Night Due to Winter Olympics

NBC will not be airing an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Wednesday.

The long running crime procedural starring Mariska Hargitay will be replaced by the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, including Alpine skiing (men's slalom, women's combined), men's freestyle skiing, bobsled and cross-country.

The two-week hiatus was announced after the Feb. 7 episode, "The Undiscovered Country." The NBC drama will return with an all-new episode on Feb. 28.

During the episode, the series said goodbye to castmember Raul Esparza after A.D.A. Rafael Barba quit his job. Esparza confirmed his exit from SVU after the episode with a tweet. Esparza was on the series since season 14.

"Goodbye Barba. Thank you. You changed my life. My squad. And you, you always, my Liv, my friend Mariska. I will always treasure my time with all of you," the actor tweeted.

Chicago Justice alum Philip Winchester will be joining SVU as a series regular to step into the role of A.D.A left behind by Esparza's departure.

After the episode, Hargitay wrote a sweet message for her departing co-star.

"One of the great honors of my life is to have shared the screen with the incredible scene partner, beautiful friend, giant heart, brilliant artist, kindest of men [Raul Esparza]. [SVU] has been graced and great with you in it. Family always gets to come home... come home soon," the actress tweeted.

The first episode since Esparza's departure, titled "Chasing Demons," will be an episode ripped from the headlines, putting some beloved characters in jeopardy.

A doctor (Lorenzo Scott) is arrested and tried for abusing patients, much like ex-USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar. Unlike Nassar's trial, there are complications (which we'll touch more on in a moment).

The case ends in a mistrial, and the resulting events put Olivia Benson's (Hargitay) career in jeopardy. Dean Winters is also shared to return to SVU in the role of Brian Cassidy, a love interest of Benson's.


Actress Kylie Bunbury will also appear on the series for the first time as detective Devin Holiday. Bunbury is best known for starring in the short-lived FOX series Pitch, as well as shows like Under the Dome and Twisted. She's also set to appear in the movie Game Night.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.