‘SVU’-‘Organized Crime’ Crossover: Raúl Esparza Returns as Barba — to Defend Richard Wheatley!

Raúl Esparza as Counselor Rafael Barba in Law & Order SVU
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Virginia Sherwood/NBC

If you enjoyed ADA Sonny Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) facing off in court in SVU Season 22, wait until you see their next head-to-head!

Esparza is returning to the world of Law & Order in the December 9 SVUOrganized Crime crossover event, TV Insider has confirmed, and this time, he’s defending none other than Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), on trial for Kathy Stabler’s (Isabel Gillies) murder. For him and his former mentee, this is one of the most important cases of both of their careers. We can just imagine how well that’s going to go over with Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay)!

“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,” Organized Crime star Danielle Moné Truitt (who plays Sergeant Ayanna Bell) tells 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.”

So when Bell takes the stand, “she’s always great at holding her composure, but at the same time, letting people know when they’re going too far. And so there’s nothing about her testimony that is gonna make the jury want to let Wheatley off. But at the same time, Wheatley’s attorney doesn’t play fair at all. He tries to talk about things that don’t even have anything to do with the case to kind of throw her off. But I think she does a good job navigating it. He’s Barba’s being Barba.”

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And even though Carisi will be facing off against his mentor, Bell “trusts [him] to do his job and do it to the best of his ability,” Truitt adds. “And then we’ll see where the chips fall. he’s good at what he does. So we’re all hoping for the best.”

Esparza starred as (former) ADA Rafael Barba from Seasons 14 to 19 before returning in Season 22 for the aforementioned guest spot.

Law & Order: SVU, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

Law & Order: Organized Crime, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC