'Law & Order: SVU' returns with cliffhanger

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" picks up on last season's cliffhanger when it returns for its 15th year.

In Wednesday's episode airing at 9 p.m. Eastern, New York City police Detective Olivia Benson is being held at gunpoint by a rapist. Mariska Hargitay stars as the imperiled Benson.

Executive producer Warren Leight says that as the season unfolds, the NBC crime drama will be paying tribute to its "ripped-from-the-headlines" heritage.

That will be evident right from the start. Another new "Law & Order: SVU" episode airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern and features a story line about kidnapped girls that echoes the Ariel Castro case in Cleveland.

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