July 30, 2012 at 3:43 PM ET
Things were not looking good for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's" Capt. Cragen in the show's season finale. When the head of SVU wakes up with a dead, bloody prostitute next to him in bed, you know it's not a good start to the day.
But that's how season 13 wrapped up -- a lot of bad luck for the man in charge, who, along with his officers, was embroiled in a turf war between escort services in New York. But when the show returns on Sept. 26, said showrunner Warren Leight, don't expect things to just get brushed under the rug.
The first episode of the new season will be a two-parter, said Leight, with back-to-back episodes "which will, with any luck, wrap up the story the finale ended with," he told TODAY.com just days after returning to the set after the end-of-season break.
According to TVGuide.com, while Cragen's embroiled in his mess, "Chuck's" Adam Baldwin will step in to play interim captain Steven Harris for the first three episodes.
Leight also revealed that "SVU" vet Dean Winters, as well as "Grey's Anatomy's" Brooke Smith will return for the wrap-up premiere, and noted that the show's fifth episode of the new season would be its 300th.
Such multiparters, said Leight, could become more common. "We may want to do more of that this season," he said. The issue, he pointed out, is "how do you distinguish the 294th episode of 'SVU' from the others? I wanted to give people a reason to come back to season 14. The show deserves a good cliffhanger, and I loved reading people's responses after the finale ended -- 'Did they just do that?'
"People have us in a box," he said, "and I want them to see that the show is a little more adventurous than they might have remembered."
Also, admits Leight, having a cliffhanger was a bit of a wink at NBC. When the season finale was being taped, the network had not yet picked up the show for a 14th season. "I thought, let's make it as difficult for the network as possible," he chuckled. "I don't think that swayed them one way or the other."
"Law & Order: SVU" returns Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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