Mariska Hargitay sparkled brightly in a glitzy silver sequined gown as she celebrated a major milestone for her hit NBC drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The actress, who has starred as Captain Olivia Benson since the show’s premiere in 1999, was the belle of the ball at a glamorous anniversary party honoring SVU’s remarkable 25 seasons on January 17th in New York City.
A Silver Goddess Shines at the SVU Silver Celebration
Hargitay looked absolutely stunning in a slinky spaghetti strap $612 Self-Portrait dress covered in silver mirrored discs. With her signature brunette locks styled in tousled waves and simple diamond drop earrings, Hargitay embodied old Hollywood glamour as she posed on the silver sequined step-and-repeat branded with a dramatic “25” to commemorate the occasion.
The 49-year-old seemed to be having the time of her life as she laughed and mingled with her SVU family throughout the evening. At one point, Hargitay playfully made “snow angels” by waving her arms and legs while lying on the silver carpet. Later, she and longtime co-star Ice-T delighted guests with their impromptu “interpretive dance” as DJ D-Nice spun tunes. Hargitay held hands with former SVU star Chris Meloni as the duo sweetly swayed to the music together.
Clearly still on a high long after the party ended, Hargitay took to Instagram early the next morning to rave about the glitzy soiree, writing: “Last night was magical. I’m overwhelmed with love and gratitude. My heart is full.”
SVU Stars Reunite to Celebrate the Landmark 25th Season
Hargitay was joined by current and former cast mates for the momentous occasion held at Cipriani South Street’s majestic 55 Wall Street venue. Ice-T, who has portrayed Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola since the show’s second season, walked the silver carpet with his wife Coco Austin, who stunned in a curve-hugging black gown with a plunging neckline. Kelli Giddish, who plays Detective Amanda Rollins looked pretty in pink, while Peter Scanavino (Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi Jr.) and Jamie Gray Hyder (Officer Katriona “Kat” Azar Tamin) also made stylish appearances.
Former SVU stars stepping out to celebrate included Chris Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler), Danny Pino (Detective Nick Amaro), Diane Neal (ADA Casey Novak), Tamara Tunie (ME Dr. Melinda Warner), BD Wong (Dr. George Huang) and Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen). Dean Winters, famous for his role as Rafael Zapata/Counselor Tynan, also joined the reunion along with former recurring stars Joanna Merlin, Judith Light, Carolyn McCormick, Leslie Hendrix and more.
Noticeably missing was Stephanie March, who portrayed ADA Alexandra Cabot on SVU before exiting the show in its fifth season. While March has returned to reprise her role in guest appearances over the years, she did not attend the 25th anniversary event.
SVU Cast and Crew Reflect on the Show’s Legacy
In between mingling, sipping champagne and sampling the decadent multi-tiered cake, Hargitay and guests took some time to reflect on what being part of the groundbreaking series has meant to them.
“I pinch myself and I can’t believe it,” Hargitay marveled. “What we make is so important. We’re continuing to tell stories that I don’t think have been told quite the same way.”
The actress says playing Olivia Benson for a quarter of a century has been life changing. “I’ve grown up with Olivia. Parts of her have so infiltrated my soul and my psyche.”
Ice-T echoed Hargitay’s amazement at SVU’s longevity. “25 seasons is incredible. It’s very hard to keep a show going in this day and age. The fans have been so loyal,” he said, crediting show creator Dick Wolf for spinning the successful Law & Order brand off into the even more popular SVU. “And Mariska held this together… She is the show. She made this happen.”
For Chris Meloni, who left SVU in its 12th season amidst tense contract negotiations, returning to celebrate such an important milestone was emotional and long overdue.
“Mariska’s been in touch, the family’s been in touch over the years. But to actually physically be here together again…it just goes to show there’s nothing but love between us,” a misty-eyed Meloni confessed.
While Meloni and Hargitay never broke character on camera to give fans the romantic relationship between Benson and Stabler that they longed for, Meloni admitted he still feels their powerful connection.
“We created something very special because people felt it between Elliot and Olivia. It resonated with not only the fans but with us as actors. That’s why I think we’re still discussing them to this day,” Meloni said.
What’s Next As SVU Marches Towards Season 26
NBC recently announced that Law & Order: SVU has been renewed for a history-making 26th season in 2024-2025. While that means fans still have more adventures with Benson, Fin and the SVU squad to look forward to, some are worried their favorite show can’t last forever. But when asked by Extra’s Billy Bush if she sees an endpoint coming soon, Mariska assured:
“I don’t! I’ll tell ya, I’m having a ball. I pinch myself – are you kidding me? To do work that I love with people who I love…”
However in September 2022, showrunner David Graziano did speculate on a possible series finale. “I think if the show has a long life, I think the final season has got to be a season about the closing of that chapter and sort of the passing of the baton,” Graziano said. “It is not going to be something I think any of us take lightly when it happens.”
While sealing the book on 25 remarkable years is bittersweet, SVU promises fans an exciting season ahead when the show returns with new episodes on Thursday nights this Fall. Showrunner Graziano recently revealed viewers can look forward to plenty of nostalgic Olivia/Elliot scenes mirroring their dynamic during the early seasons.
“Benson and Stabler are bonded in a way that no other partners ever were,” Graziano said, confirming that Meloni will continue to make multiple guest appearances throughout season 25.
The showrunner also promised “huge, huge Rollins reveals” coming up this season tied to her past and family history. That likely means another return of Giddish’s on-screen sister Emilia McCarthy or mother Charlotte McKinney at some point. Graziano additionally revealed longer romantic arcs are also on tap for both Rollins and Carisi. So fans who have been rooting for #Rollisi to reunite should have much to celebrate!
After 25 groundbreaking years championing survivors and seeking justice one case at a time, the future certainly looks bright for NBC’s beloved Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Here’s to 25 more!
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