Law & Order: Special Victims Unit does not provide Mariska Hargitay and her co-stars many opportunities to wear smiles on the set, so any chance to see a smile on social media can warm the heart.
On Sunday, Hargitay posted a picture of herself with Ryan Buggle, who plays Lt. Olivia Benson's adopted son, and Philip Winchester, who plays Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone, at a New York playground.
Hargitay added a bevy of hashtags to the tweet: "Crisp fall day in New York," "A boy and his baseball coach," "Proud mama," "Stone on the mound," "Buggle at bat" and "SVU family." All three SVU stars wore bright smiles not often seen on the show.
On Sunday afternoon, Hargitay shared another photo, this time with former SVU actor Raul Esparza, who played A.D.A. Rafael Barba from seasons 14 to 19. Esparza, who is on the stage in an Off-Broadway production of Bertholt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, visited the SVU family during a screening of the most recent episode, "Mea Culpa."
The hashtags Hargitay included with the Esparza photo included "Barba in the house," "His face makes me happy," "Always deeply adored," "Star of screen and stage" and "Sunday stage day."
#GuessWhoPaidAVisit #BarbaInTheHouse #ScreeningOfMeaCulpa #ScreeningWithMeaFriend #ScreeningWithEsparza #HisFaceMakesMeHappy #ADA #AlwaysDeeplyAdored #SeeingHisPlayTonight #StarOfScreenAndStage #SundayStageDay pic.twitter.com/sVbBjmH1tY— Mariska Hargitay (@Mariska) November 18, 2018
Hargitay directed last week's SVU episode, "Mea Culpa," in which Stone was arrested for allegedly raping a woman several years ago while he was a baseball player. In the end, Benson discovered that the woman, played by This Is Us star Alexandra Breckenridge, was really raped by a friend of Stone's. Although Stone was cleared of any wrongdoing, he felt guilty about the situation.
"Your performance is brave, difficult, and I have so much respect for your dedication, your openness, and care for this story. For all the stories we tell," Benson told Winchester on Twitter after the episode aired.
The episode also featured what could have been a big moment in Detective Amanda Rollins' (Kelli Giddish) life, with Dr. Al Pollack (George Newbern) presenting her with a ring box. Instead of an engagement ring though, the box had a key to Pollack's apartment. He wanted her to move in with him and she said no.
Pollack is the father of Rollins' baby. In real life, Giddish was pregnant, and welcomed her second child with husband Larence Faulborn earlier this month.
SVU is now in its 20th season and shows no sign of stopping. The show tied the record for most seasons for an American primetime drama with Gunsmoke and the original Law & Order.
The next new episode of SVU, "Alta Knockers," airs on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: Twitter/Mariska Hargitay