Mariska Hargitay will make her return to "Law & Order: SVU" next week, bringing the storyline that took her character away from the show full circle.
The episode, airing Tuesday, will bring Detective Olivia Benson back to New York when ADA Casey Novak (Diane Neal) asks her to help present evidence in a rape case. Doing so, however, could impact undercover work Benson has been doing in Oregon, where she's infiltrated an eco-terrorist group.
In real life, Hargitay has been on maternity leave. She gave birth to her first child, named August, with husband Peter Hermann in late June (she also won her first Emmy in August). She appeared in this season's premiere, which set up the undercover story, but has been absent for the past four episodes.
Connie Nielsen ("Gladiator," "One Hour Photo") has taken Hargitay's place for those four shows, playing Detective Dani Beck, a newcomer to the Special Victims Unit. She'll remain with the show through most of November sweeps.