Mariska Hargitay is celebrating a major Law & Order: Special Victims Unit milestone. After first appearing on screen as Det. Olivia Benson in 1999, Hargitay is set to mark the show's 500th episode, and her 500th Law& Order: SVU credit, during the upcoming Thursday, Oct. 21 episode — a major moment for a show that is already TV's longest-running primetime live-action series.
Hargitay celebrated the occasion with a special social media post on Monday marking "[SVU 500]," an episode that she teased "[takes the cake]." While the actress, who has also appeared in the spinoff series Law & Order: Organized Crime, refrained from spilling any spoilers about the episode, she was in full-on Benson mode in the accompanying photo, which showed her on-set and in-character as she posed in front of a special Law & Order: SVU cake and cupcakes. Behind her stood gold balloons reading "500."
Filming on the milestone 500th episode began back in September, with series star Ice-T, who portrays Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola, a detective that joined the New York City team in Season 2, making that announcement in a Twitter update. In the post, Ice-T said reaching the milestone "could only happen with rock solid fans" before teasing that the episode is "gonna be good."
Scheduled to air on Oct. 21, the episode's official synopsis reads, "Amaro asks the SVU for help in clearing a convicted man's name and brings a figure from Benson's past back into her life." Given that the episode will mark a historical moment for the show, it comes as little surprise that Law & Order will be recruiting some former cast members to help celebrate, with both Danny Pino and Dann Florek set to reprise their respective roles as Det. Nick Amaro and Capt. Donald Cragen. A teaser for the episode showed both actors back in action, with Benson getting a FaceTime call from Cragen and Amaron seen surprising Benson in an interrogation room.
Ahead of the episode, which airs on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. ET, there seem to have been plenty of celebrations taking place on the SVU set. On the same day Hargitay shared her post marking the episode, the official Law & Order: SVU Instagram account shared a few behind-the-scenes snaps showing the on-set celebration, which was also attended by Ice-T and series creator Dick Wolf. Law & Order: SVU 500 comes as the show has a promising future ahead of it. Back in February 2020, NBC handed out a three-year renewal for the show, which will take it through Season 24.