Mariska Hargitay returns on crutches to film new season of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Benson and Stabler
Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay in the Law and Order Special Victims Unit Season 22 finale. Pic credit: NBC

Olivia Benson is back on the job…albeit not up to her usual speed.

Mariska Hargitay is back filming her first day for Season 23 of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The actress was shown on crutches as she’s still recovering from a broken ankle.

This leads to the idea Benson might likewise be on the mend when the season begins.

Mariska Hargitay’s injury

Season 22 of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit was affected by the coronavirus pandemic like many other TV series. It had already forced Season 21 to end with 20 episodes, and production on season 22 did not begin until September of 2020.

When it finally premiered in November 2020, the series had to endure several breaks between new episodes and wrapped up after a shortened 16-episode season. 

It was a dramatic year for the show, including storylines involving the pandemic, police reform, and the usual dark cases.

There was also the crossover with the new Law and Order: Organized Crime spin-off which featured the return of Christopher Meloni as Eliot Stabler. 

In July, an unexpected wrinkle occurred when Mariska Hargitay revealed she had suffered a broken leg slipping on wet pavement while attending a screening of Marvel’s Black Widow in the Hamptons.

The actress required surgery and spent the next several weeks resting in bed. She did get support from fans, including Melissa McCarthy holding up a sign in traffic to “honk for Mariska.”

Will Mariska Hargitay’s injury be written into Law and Order: Special Victims Unit?

Having the lead in a show injured would be a concern for any TV series. Even as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is more of an ensemble these days, Benson dominates almost every episode.

The 57-year old actress was spotted in New York City on Thursday, getting around on crutches with an orthopedic air cast on her right foot.

Hargitay also posted a video of herself coming to set, dramatically whispering, “SVU 23. It’s happening. Lights, camera, action.”

That led Meloni to offer his own video with a “dramatic” whisper of “I hear you’re back at work. I hear it’s very cinematic. Where are you?

The actress wore a rather un-Benson-like bright floral dress, which is the same outfit she was wearing in the final scene of Season 22. That had Benson sharing a drink with Stabler while attending the party following Fin’s (Ice-T’s) canceled wedding. 

This indicates that the new season picks up right where that party ended or a flashback to that night.

It remains unclear if Hargitay’s injury will be written into the show with Benson likewise injured. It’s also possible the producers simply have Benson behind a desk a lot while the actress recovers. 

Details are so far scarce on what to expect in Season 23, although fans are hopeful it might finally bring the long-expected relationship of Benson and Stabler to the fore. 

Whether the injury is recognized or not, fans are happy to finally see Hargitay, and Benson, getting back on the job. 

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 premiering on Thursday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC. 

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