NBC’s long-running crime drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” celebrated a major milestone this week – its 25th season on air. On Wednesday night, the show’s stars gathered in New York City to commemorate the occasion at a glitzy anniversary party.
Leading Lady Dazzles in Glamorous Gown
The celebration brought out a parade of Hollywood A-listers, but all eyes were on leading lady Mariska Hargitay. The actress, who has starred as Lt. Olivia Benson since the show’s premiere in 1999, dazzled photographers in a curve-hugging silver sequin gown from London designer Self-Portrait that retails for $612.
Hargitay accessorized with diamond drop earrings and styled her dark tresses in loose, cascading curls. Her glamorous party ensemble was a noticeable departure from Benson’s no-nonsense work wardrobe of pantsuits and sensible shoes.
“Mariska traded Olivia Benson’s sensible work clothes for a curve-hugging party dress,” wrote Glamour Magazine. The outlet praised Hargitay’s daring look as “equal parts sexy and sweet.”
|Silver sequin gown by Self-Portrait, Retail: $612 Diamond drop earrings Dark, cascading curls
Former Co-Stars Reunite
Hargitay was joined on the red carpet by former co-star Chris Meloni, who played her on-screen partner Elliot Stabler during the show’s first 12 seasons. Meloni departed SVU in 2011, but made his return for the police procedural’s 22nd season in 2020.
The two shared an emotional on-screen reunion in the April 2021 episode “Return of the Prodigal Son.” Off-screen, Hargitay and Meloni have remained very close friends.
“We’ve been friends for 25 years,” Hargitay told Entertainment Tonight. “We call each other hubby and wifey. It’s kind of cute.”
At Wednesday’s event, Meloni joked about rekindling Stabler and Benson’s “unrequited romance” on the show. The fan-favorite pair has sparked relationship rumors since SVU’s early days, but their partnership has remained steadfastly professional.
“Get on with it!” Meloni said with a smirk. “I mean, come on people, it’s been 25 years of foreplay!”
What’s Next for the Hit Series
While fans may be clamoring for a Stabler/Benson romance, Hargitay seemed hesitant about the idea in a recent interview with The Messenger.
“I trust the writers implicitly,” she said. “I think they know these characters so well and they know just what to do.”
With season 25 already confirmed, Hargitay gave no indication that she plans to leave SVU anytime soon.
“I pinch myself every day that I get to be Olivia Benson,” she told Extra. “I’m going to play her as long as I can walk and talk and think. I’ll be doing an 80-year-old Olivia!”
So it seems viewers can expect more gripping cases from the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit for years to come. According to showrunner David Graziano, season 25 will pick up right where season 24 left off, with Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Carisi (Peter Scanavino) exploring a romantic relationship.
Fan-favorite ADA Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) will also return this season to work an explosive new case that will challenge the SVU squad in new ways. And in more surprising casting news, rookie officer Giovanni “Sonny” Carisi Jr. (Zack Tinker) – Carisi’s nephew – is joining the procedural’s main cast.
With fresh stories on the horizon, the next 25 years look bright for TV’s longest-running primetime live-action series. Congratulations to the cast and crew of “Law & Order: SVU” on reaching this incredible benchmark!
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