Law and Order: Organized Crime selects new showrunner

The Law and Order: SVU spinoff has found its new leader.

Two months after Chicago PD co-creator Matt Olmstead stepped down from Law and Order: Organized Crime, his replacement has been found to take over the upcoming Law and Order: SVU offshoot.

Ilene Chaiken, who is best known as the showrunner of FOX‘s Empire for its first four and a half seasons, is taking charge of the SVU spinoff starring Christopher Meloni.

The hiring is part of a new contract Chaiken signed with Universal Television, which produces the Law and Order franchise. Deadline was first to report the deal.

Her appointment to run Organized Crime, which stars Meloni reprising his SVU role as Elliot Stabler for the first time in over a decade, is interesting given that she has never produced a crime drama or a straightforward procedural.

Chaiken began her producing career for a year on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but her career took off in 2004 when she co-created, wrote for and executive produced Showtime’s lesbian drama The L Word.

Chaiken also executive produced the show’s reality TV spinoff The Real L Word and co-created/produced the 2019 revival The L Word: Generation Q.

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Starting in 2014, she boarded FOX’s music industry soap Empire. and also served as executive producer for the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale in 2017.

While all those shows have been popular and critically acclaimed, Chaiken’s not having experience in the crime drama world might be a challenge, especially for a series that’s a spinoff of a spinoff, and comes with a fervent base of SVU fans who will have high expectations for Meloni’s return as Stabler.

Conversely, she could be a breath of fresh air in the space and come up with something different, too. The shows Chaiken has worked on previously have been generally relationship-driven, and it sounds like Organized Crime will have more of a personal angle, with Elliot Stabler’s return to the police force being motivated by personal tragedy.

As for Olmstead, it was reported in October that he would likely be shifted to another Dick Wolf-produced series, but it’s yet to be announced if that actually is the case.

For the latest Law and Order: Organized Crime spoilers and news, plus more on all of Dick Wolf’s other series, follow the Dick Wolf category at One Chicago Center.