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‘Law & Order: SVU’ hits Season 20: A look back at drama’s many on and offscreen changes

The premiere episode is, naturally, a crossover with the original series. The series premiere draws 18 million viewers, and will go on to average a little more than 12 for its first season. Midway through the year, NBC moves the show from Mondays at 9 p.m. to Fridays at 10 p.m. The cast changes begin with Winters, who departs the cast after 13 episodes because of his series regular role on the HBO prison drama “Oz.” The show enters the Emmy race in its first season, nabbing nominations in the guest actress in a drama series category for both Jane Alexander and Tracy Pollan.