Law & Raul Esparza Returns as Barba in Finale

Law & Order: SVU will see a familiar face returning to the series for the upcoming season 23 finale as Raúl Esparza returns to reprise his role as Rafael Barba.

The report comes from Give Me The Remote, which says that the former series regular will be making another appearance to close out the latest season of the famous series. Barba was introduced back in 2012 during season 14 of the long-running series and made recurring appearances through the said season before he was made a series regular during the 15th and 18th seasons. He departed from the series partway through season 19, though Barba’s absence hasn’t been too long as he has appeared in a few episodes over the last few seasons with his last appearance being in season 23, episode 9, “The People Vs. Richard Wheatley.” This last confrontation between the SVU team and Barba was an aggressive one, as he was defending the titular Richard Wheatley on a charge of murder. Barba was able to deadlock the jury, resulting in a mistrial, and Wheatley walked free.

This act of letting Wheatley walk free angered Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), who had previously begged Barba, who she considered her friend, to not take the case. Despite releasing that defending the criminal was wrong, there is still a feeling of betrayal felt by Benson. Now the relationships between him and the rest of the SVU are strained. Despite the previous misgivings, it is Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) who reaches out to Barba as she asks for his help when she forms a close bond with a victim of domestic violence (played by Jordana Spiro) that is being prosecuted. This will mark the first appearance in Law & Order: SVU for Spiro, who stars in TBS’ sitcom series My Boys. It will be interesting to see how old wounds shape the events that unfold as the season comes to a close. In addition to his roles on Law & Order: SVU, Esparza has appeared in several other shows, including Paramount+ series, The Good Fight, and Hulu’s Dopesick. He also reprised his role of Rafael Barba in an episode of the Law & Order spin-off series Law & Order: Organized Crime, which saw further closure between himself and Wheatley. He is next set to appear in the Hulu original series Candy, which will star Esparza alongside, Jessica Biel, Melanie Lynskey, Pablo Schreiber, and Timothy Simons.