As Law & Order: SVU is heading into its record-tying 20th season, NBC is expanding the Law & Order franchise with a 13-episode order to Law & Order: Hate Crimes, from Law & Order boss Dick Wolf.

Co-created with one of Wolf’s top lieutenants,  former Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight, the latest Law & Order installment is based on New York’s actual Hate Crimes Task Force, the second oldest bias-based task force in the U.S. The unit, which pledges to uphold a zero tolerance policy against discrimination of any kind, works under the NYPD’s real Special Victims Unit and often borrows SVU’s detectives to assist in their investigations.

Photo by Carolyn Contino/REX/Shutterstock

The new Law & Order series will be introduced as a planted spinoff from SVU, with the first incarnation of the new unit appearing in the latter part of the upcoming season of the Mariska Hargitay-starring series.

This is the seventh Law & Order series, following mothership Law & Order, SVU, Criminal Intent, Trial By Jury, LA and last season’s anthology True Crime. 

“As Law & Order: SVU enters its remarkable 20th season, it is exciting to get back into business with Dick Wolf on a new Law & Order incarnation that feels extremely timely,” said Lisa Katz, Co-President of Scripted Programming, NBC Entertainment. “Considering that last year there was a double-digit rise in hate crimes in our 10 largest cities — the highest total in over a decade — it seemed like this topic is begging to be explored.”

Added Tracey Pakosta, Co-President of Scripted Programming, NBC Entertainment: “We’re confident that Dick and Warren will examine these cases in all their complexity and deliver another riveting series for our country, currently grappling with an escalation of these crimes and the motivations behind them.”

Law & Order: Hate Crimes is set in New York City, where crimes motivated by discrimination are vigorously investigated by an elite, specially trained team of investigators. Going behind the headlines and viral videos, these diverse, dedicated and passionate detectives will stop at nothing to bring these criminals to justice.

NBC

“As with all of my crime shows, I want to depict what’s really going on in our cities and shine a light on the wide-ranging victims and show that justice can prevail,” Wolf said. “Twenty years ago when SVU began, very few people felt comfortable coming forward and reporting these crimes, but when you bring the stories into people’s living rooms – with characters as empathetic as Olivia Benson – a real dialogue can begin. That’s what I hope we can do with this new show in a world where hate crimes have reached an egregious level.”

Added Leight, “I’m extremely impressed by the actual men and women investigating these cases in a city as complicated and diverse as New York. The work they are doing puts them on the front lines in a battle for the soul of our city and nation. I’m thrilled about the chance to reunite with Dick and NBC to portray the reality of this crisis.”

At TCA last month, Wolf, 71, who has five drama series on the air (in addition to 3 cable docuseries), indicated that he has no intention of slowing down and hinted at expanding his current franchises. “There are a lot of activities in the existing shows,” he told Deadline.

Law & Order: Hate Crimes follows the route that Wolf’s FBI drama originally was supposed to take — launching characters on SVU before becoming its own series on NBC. That project ultimately went to CBS and debuts this fall. On NBC, Wolf has SVU and three Chicago dramas, Fire, P.D. and Med.

There have been multiple attempts by the broadcast networks to launch a series in the past few years about the workings of a hate crimes unit, including one that went to pilot at CBS last year, untitled Jenny Lumet drama.

Law & Order: Hate Crimes is a Wolf Entertainment production in association with Universal Television. Dick Wolf and Warren Leight are creators and executive producers. Peter Jankowski and Arthur Forney will also serve as executive producers. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Television. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer. Michael Chernuchin, Julie Martin, Mariska Hargitay, Alex Chapple, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.

Wolf and Leight are repped by WME.