Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's historic 21st season will continue to play with the show's now-iconic format, including one episode that will delve into the team's traumatic past moments. The episode will feature a brand-new psychologist played by 13 Reasons Why star Amy Hargreaves.
On Friday, TVLine reported that Hargreaves will star as Dr. Alexis Hanover, a new psychologist who was hired to train the team in new police interview techniques. The training is bound to get more emotional than expected, as Dr. Hanover uncovers some of the past traumas in their lives as another detective plays witness.
Longtime fans know that many of the show's lead characters have difficult pasts that have shaped their dedication to law enforcement. Mariska Hargitay's Lt. Olivia Benson was a victim of sexual assault herself and was almost raped during a Season 9 episode when she went undercover in a prison. In the Season 14 finale, she was kidnapped by rapist William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber), whose name still comes up from time to time when Benson recalls being in a difficult situation herself.
Hargreaves is best known for her recurring role on Showtime's Homeland as Maggie Mathison, the sister of Clare Danes' Carrie Mathison. She also stars on Netflix's 13 Reasons Why as Lainie Jensen, the mother of Dylan Minnette's Clay Jensen. Her other credits include Blue Ruin, Wonderstruck, Blindspot and Third Watch.
The actress will also join the unique club of stars who have played multiple characters in Dick Wolf's Law & Order universe. In 2012, she starred in the SVU episodes "Lost Reputation" and "Rhodium Nights" as Iris Petersen. She played another character in 2003's "Manic" episode.
The new episode with Hargreaves falls in line with other recent SVU episodes that have eschewed the traditional "law" and "order" format of the franchise. Last season featured one of the most unconventional episodes with "Part 33," in which the SVU team was split over whether or not they should tell the complete truth on the stand if it meant that a woman who killed her abusive husband would go to prison.
Another episode this fall will feature Modern Family star Ariel Winter, whose episode may tie-in to the episode featuring Hargreaves. Deadwood star Ian McShane also signed on for a guest appearance.
SVU Season 21 will bring back many of the familiar faces, with Hargitay as Benson, Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins, Ice-T as Odafin Tutuola and Peter Scanavino as Dominick Carisi. The show will need a new Assistant District Attorney though, as Philip Winchester left during the offseason.
The upcoming season is a major milestone for the show, as SVU will have more seasons than any other primetime scripted drama in U.S. TV history. It broke a tie with the original Law & Order and Gunsmoke when it was renewed for a 21st season.
SVU is back on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: NBC