‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner Warren Leight Exits Ahead of Season 24

Warren Leight at Paley Center
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

After three seasons as executive producer and showrunner, Warren Leight is stepping down from Law & Order: SVU.

This was Leight’s second stint as the man in charge of the long-running NBC crime drama series. On Tuesday night, he took to Twitter after wrapping up production on the currently airing 23rd season and announced his departure.

“The final day of shooting is always bittersweet. Today was a little more than that. As some of you have already figured out, I am stepping down at the end of #SVU23,” Leight tweeted. “The last two years of show running during a pandemic have been arduous, and I’ve decided to take a break.”

Leight first came on board SVU for Season 13, not long after the show’s co-lead Christopher Meloni left the series. He focused the drama on Mariska Hargitay‘s Olivia Benson, successfully breathing new life into the show. After helping rebuild the Emmy-winning series, Leight exited after Season 17 but would return in 2019 for the show’s 21st season.

In his Twitter thread, Leight shared some details about the issues of filming a TV show during a pandemic. “At least once a week this year a brick came thru the window,” he explained. “This person quarantined, that location lost, another show fell behind and our guest star was no longer available.”

However, he praised the crew for always finding a way to make the show work despite the often dire circumstances. “Each time casting, camera, design, wardrobe, locations, h/mu, props, drivers came up with a save,” he said. “And when they didn’t, our editing room, led by the indefatigable genius, Arthur Forney did. Somehow the obstacles pulled us all closer together. The episodes stayed on track and seemed to get stronger the longer the season went on.”

Season 23 of the Dick Wolf-created series premiered on September 23, 2021, reaching its milestone 500th episode during the season.

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