Though mini-crossovers within Dick Wolf’s mega franchise have become second nature, when the three shows unite for a big event, you know it’s going to get dangerously real.
Such is the case with the two-night event that kicks off with Tuesday’s episode of Chicago Fire and continues through Wednesday’s back-to-back episodes of Chicago P.D. and SVU. “We’ve got a great bad guy and one of the characters in P.D. doesn’t make it out alive, unfortunately,” says Fire and P.D. boss Matt Olmstead.
The devastating events are put into motion when Benson (Mariska Hargitay) suspects that a case in Chicago has ties to an unsolved one from a decade prior—though don’t go searching your memory or old DVDs to get clues. “There can be cases that SVU handled that were never made into TV episodes,” SVU boss Warren Leight explains. “In our view of the world, in 2004, there were two unsolved rape/murders and one unsolved disappearance that the squad caught, and a fire breaks out on Chicago Fire on Tuesday where a victim is found barely alive having been sexually assaulted.”
While planning this crossover, the executive producers on all three shows strived not to repeat themselves, hoping instead to give a good reason for these three squads to intersect. “I didn’t just want it to be a drop-in,” Leight says, noting that the case is somewhat inspired by “the horrible and successful arc of Ted Bundy, a guy who got away with dozens of crimes in multiple locations for a long period of time because no one could believe he could do something like this and no one put the pieces together.”
Thus, the idea was born for someone from the Chicago side to fall prey to the big bad (portrayed by Walking Dead and Good Wife alum Dallas Roberts). “We had to make sure we had a reason for the P.D. team to stay involved as the perp made his way to New York,” Leight says. “I want to make sure there’s a compelling reason for P.D. to be wandering around the SVU squad, so if one of their own is taken hostage by this guy, after we’ve seen how horrible he is, we understand their pursuit across the timezone.”
While Olmstead is staying mum on who his show will be losing, he reveals that it will hit Lindsay (Sophia Bush) the hardest. “What we get out of it is, towards the end of the season, a spiral for Lindsay because, as we established from the show, she came from the wrong side of the tracks before Voight [Jason Beghe] rehabilitated her and gave her a purpose. She starts to doubt if it was all worth it or if she doesn’t belong back on the other side of the tracks in the company of her mother.”
The Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and SVU crossover event kicks off Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET and continues Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.