'Law & Order: SVU': Mariska Hargitay Returns to Set in First Season 21 Production Photo with Guest Star

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is back in production for its historic 21st season, and one of the first photos from the set shows star Mariska Hargitay back at work with a familiar face. Peter Gallagher will be back as SVU Deputy Chief William Dodds.

On Friday, showrunner Warren Leight tweeted a picture of Hargitay on the set as Lt. Olivia Benson, with Gallagher as Dodds right behind her.

Fans were incredibly excited to see the new photo, especially since Gallagher is back.

"Oh yes!! He's back! I absolutely LOVE the acting-chemistry between [Hargitay] & [Gallagher] and any scene with them in it. Perhaps especially when there's angry tension, either directed towards each other or towards another poor person in the room," one fan wrote.

"These 2 badasses are serving someone the business. [Titus Welliver] are you causing trouble again? I am not going to lie I am scareddd! I love these 2 and their superb acting. #SVU21 I am excited," another wrote.

"So happy to see Dodds for season 21!! Cant wait for this," another fan wrote.

Earlier Friday, writer and executive producer Julie Martin shared a fun photo with Hargitay on the set, with Peter Scavanino photobombing them.

Production on Law & Order: SVU Season 21 kicked off on Monday, July 8, when the cast gathered in the courtroom set for the first script read through. Hargitay, Ice-T, Kelli Giddish and Scanavino were all there, as was Law & Order franchise mastermind Dick Wolf. Leight and the SVU writers' room tweeted photos from the "family" reunion.

There was one actor missing, and the photos did not reveal who might be his replacement. When SVU was renewed back in March, Philip Winchester announced he was leaving after playing A.D.A. Peter Stone in Wolf's Chicago and Law & Order franchises since 2016. Producers still have not said who will replace Stone as the new A.D.A.

In the Season 20 finale, Stone helped finally put Benson's nemesis, Rob Miller (Titus Welliver) behind bars. However, the only way he could do that was by creating evidence to frame Miller, and Stone enlisted members of the SVU team to help without Benson's knowledge. At the very end of the episode, Stone left, telling Benson he could no longer work with her because he cares too much about her.

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The new season of SVU will debut on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following the sitcoms Superstore, Perfect Harmony, The Good Place and Sunnyside. It is the first scripted drama series in network primetime history to reach 21 seasons, passing the previous record set by Gunsmoke and the original Law & Order.

Photo credit: NBC