According to The Hollywood Reporter, Connie Nielsen has been recruited to guest star in six episodes of NBC's Law & Order: SVU while series star Mariska Hargitay is on maternity leave later this year.

Nielsen will play a NYPD detective on temporary assignment to the sex crimes unit that the show revolves around, while Hargitay's character, Detective Olivia Benson, is working on a special assignment.

Dick Wolf, co-creator and executive producer of Law & Order: SVU, said Nielsen was expected to begin shooting her first episodes sometime next month. "This is an unremittingly positive situation for us," Wolf said. "I'm thrilled that Mariska is having a baby and thrilled that we have someone of Connie's obvious talent, beauty and stature to come in for these episodes. I think she's going to be a great addition."

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Brian B.