Friday, February 03, 2006

Mariska's "SVU" Maternity Shakeup

Mariska's "SVU" Maternity Shakeup
Thursday February 2 2:59 PM ET

By Gina Serpe

Mariska Hargitay's pregnant pause is Connie Nielsen's gain.

The former Gladiator babe is set to step in for Hargitay on Law & Order: SVU when the latter goes on maternity in the coming months.

Law & Order mastermind Dick Wolf told the New York Post that Nielsen, 40, will play a warrant detective who joins the Special Victims Unit when Hargitay's Detective Olivia Benson is sent off on "specific assignment."

"When we realized we weren't going to be able to get through the season without explaining [Hargitay's pregnancy] in some way, the best decision was to have her dispelled, and Connie's name surfaced internally," Wolf told the Post.

Nielsen will star in six episodes of the crime drama, the highest rated of the Law & Order, franchise, leading up to the season finale.

Hargitay, 41, is expecting her first child with actor husband Peter Hermann this spring, though the exact due date is unknown. The couple met in 2002 on the set of the prime-time procedural when Hermann, 38, joined the show as recurring attorney Trevor Langen. The camera-ready couple tied the knot in August 2004.

Nielsen's temp gig isn't the first time a ringer has been brought into a Law & Order series for an on-hiatus regular.

Last year, Sopranos mobster Michael Imperioli took over for Jesse L. Martin in the final episodes of the mothership's 15th season. Martin briefly bowed out of his detective duties for the big-screen adaptation of Rent, in which he played Tom Collins, the same character he originated on Broadway in the early '90s.

Similarly, Chris Noth, who made his name as a detective on the original series, was hired last year for Law & Order: Criminal Intent to tag-team with star Vincent D'Onofrio, after the latter battled exhaustion.

The rest of the SVU gang follows in Hargitay's break-taking shoes in April, when the show goes on summer hiatus. The entire crew, including the future mama, resumes filming in July.

Yahoo news


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