Law & Order: Mariska Hargitay to Appear as Benson in Season 21 Finale

Mariska Hargitay in Law & Order: SVU

Law & Order: SVU’s Olivia Benson is headed to the Law & Order season finale.

Showrunner Rick Eid has confirmed to TVLine that Mariska Hargitay is set to appear as the beloved captain in the May 19 episode (NBC, 8/7c).

Although not a true crossover, the season ender will be an “emotional finale” that involves the shooting of an off-duty police officer who also happens to be a friend of Detective Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan).

But don’t expect to see any other Law & Order alumni this season outside of Carey Lowell, who returned as prosecutor Jamie Ross in the premiere. According to Eid, there won’t be other cameos in Season 21, but “I’m sure next year you’ll see some.” (Note: The series has not yet been renewed by NBC.)

For the Law & Order boss, who previously served as showrunner on CBS’ FBI and NBC’s Chicago P.D. — also Dick Wolf procedurals — taking the reins on Wolf’s flagship series was nerve-wracking, given what the show means to so many people.

“The thing that’s struck me the most is just how many people revere the show. I think that has put a lot of pressure on me and a lot of other people to try our hardest to bring back a show that so beloved,” he shares. “Knowing that there are going to be so many comparisons to this iconic show was hard and is hard and makes us work really hard because we take it very seriously and we want to live up to the show’s standards.”

 With Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) as an important part of the revival, a lot of thought went into how the fan-favorite character thinks in today’s world.

“It’s been really interesting trying to imagine where Jack McCoy is today as a prosecutor and as a district attorney,” he explains. “12 years later, a lot has changed in the world… in society, the law, the way we think about certain things. So how has he changed? We’ve tried to keep him evolving, while at the same time, keeping him true to who he is and was.”

And while the show hasn’t yet been renewed, Eid is hopeful that he’ll get the chance to do more with the series. “I’m excited about next season. We haven’t officially been picked up, but I’m hopeful that we will be,” he notes. “I think next year, we’ll get an opportunity to dig even deeper into the character stuff, which really excites me.”