Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Aidan Quinn to return as Benson’s past love

Aidan Quinn
Aidan Quinn to reprise his role as Burton Lowe on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

Olivia Benson is about to get an unwelcome blast from her romantic past. 

Aidan Quinn will reprise his role as Burton Lowe on an upcoming Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode. This will bring Benson (Mariska Hargitay) face-to-face with a one-time love who sadly may now be a person of interest on a case. 

While further details are tight, it sounds like the episode will be a powerful one for Benson.

Who is Burton Lowe?

Longtime Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans know that when she was younger, Olivia Benson had an affair with a college student being taught by Benson’s mother. 

The relationship was serious to the point of Benson even thinking they would be married. However, it was ended in part because Benson’s mother didn’t want her daughter to throw her life away for a man.

In the series’ landmark 500th episode, former SVU detective Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) returned to the unit, seeking help proving a man was in jail for a rape/murder he didn’t commit. He was working with true crime author Burton Lowe, who turned out to be Benson’s past lover. 

The pair were able to work together to prove the accused man was innocent and catch the real killer. Benson and Lowe also restarted their relationship. 

But before it could go further, a woman accused Lowe of raping her years before. Benson was unsure until the woman revealed Lowe had given her the exact same music mixtape he’d given Benson years before.

As the statute of limitations on the case had run out, there was nothing the cops could do. Benson and Lowe had it out, with Lowe all but openly admitting he’d done it but making it sound like the woman (and others) had “asked for it.” That drove Benson off to end their relationship.

Why is Lowe coming back to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?

Law & Order SVU 500
Aidan Quinn and Danny Pino (with Kelli Giddish) guest-star on the 500th episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

Aidan Quinn had made a guest appearance in a Season 9 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a different character. He’s well known for roles in movies to TV shows such as Elementary. 

Give Me My Remote broke the news of Quinn’s return to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, although not able to give more details on why he was appearing.

While charges could not be brought against Lowe, his public reputation is now in tatters. The question is if he’s entering the case as a suspect or trying to redeem himself by solving a crime. 

It should bring some major drama to Benson’s life. She had just felt happy being back with Lowe, only to realize how wrong it was for him as an adult to be with the teenage Olivia. Having him back on a case will bring back these old feelings.

Also, Reggie Lee (Grimm) will guest star in episode 20 as the father of a missing teen whose case is investigated by the squad. 

Lowe’s return should provide a dramatic case for Benson and spark up this season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 returns with new episodes Thursday, April 7 at 9/8c on NBC.

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2 years ago

You did a major disservice to sexual assault survivors by framing Burton’s primary importance in Olivia’s life as her “past love” vs. “former abuser.” Do better.