January 06, 2012 9:58am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Law & Order: SVU': Harry Connick Jr. Joins in Multiepisode Arc (Video)
Harry Connick Jr. has been tapped for a multiepisode arc on NBC's Law & Order: SVU, playing a love interest for Mariska Hargitay's Detective Olivia Benson.
Connick will play Executive Assistant District Attorney David Hadena, a prosecutor assigned to a case with Benson, whose work relationship blossoms into something more.
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In making the announcement Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour, NBC Entertainment topper Bob Greenblatt noted that Benson would be getting a love interest for the first time. Longtime friends Hargitay and Connick previewed the guest stint in a taped message from the set, offering a glipse of his four-episode arc.
Connick's first episode is set for Jan. 18.
Greenblatt also confirmed that Hargitay would be in every episode of the procedural, with Hargitay cemenenting her role with the show for next season, noting that she was having "too much fun," and wouldn't be leaving the series anytime soon.
Connick joins the Season 13 cast that features a handful of new and returning faces, including new showrunner Warren Leight, Diane Neal, Stephanie March, Danny Pino, Kelli Giddish and Andre Braugher.
The veteran procedural has seen its ratings slide this season in the wake of lead Chris Meloni's departure. Meloni, who co-starred opposite Mariska Hargitay for the drama's first 12 seasons, departed the series in May after protracted contract negotiations. He has since joined HBO's True Blood as a series regular, playing an ancient vampire in the campy vampire drama's upcoming fifth season.
Watch a clip of Hargitay and Connick below.
Law & Order airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.