Crossover alert! In Law & Order: SVU's September 29 episode, Mariska Hargitay's Det. Olivia Benson leaves New York for Los Angeles, where she joins forces with Skeet Ulrich's Det. Rex Wintersâthe central character in the new Law & Order: Los Angeles (which debuts that night at 10/9c, on NBC).
It's an issue close to Mariska's heart that brings Benson to L.A.: a case about a rape survivor (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) who, several years earlier, submitted to an invasive exam for a rape evidence collection kit that was ignored by police. The episode took shape when a real rape survivor shared a similar scandal at a fund-raiser for Mariska's Joyful Heart Foundation, which supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. "I'm so honored that the SVU writers see the value in telling this story," says Mariska. "And it's very cool how they're weaving our two shows together."
With her contract expiring at the end of the season, Mariska says she's open to negotiations, as is costar Chris Meloni, who says, "We'll all have a chitchat and see what's best." But Mariska would also welcome relocating Benson to LO:LA. "I'm born and raised in L.A., so I'm definitely up for doing more," she says. "I go where the work is. My L.A. friends all want me to be on LO:LA." That includes new pal Skeet. "We could use an experienced detective," he says. "That would be fantastic!" Watch out, Stabler!