Season 12 is to premiere with a 2-hour episode Sept. 22.
Production on the new season is already under way. The show is currently the longest-running drama series on television.
"We're looking forward to launching our 12th season with a special two hours of 'SVU' that will take Benson and Stabler through the twists and turns everyone loves," Neal Baer, the show's executive producer, said in a statement -- referring to lead characters played by Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. "We're blasting off with a stellar guest cast including Joan Cusack, Peter Strauss and 'Lost's' Henry Ian Cusick."