After 13 seasons, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" finally gave Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) a serious love interest when Executive Assistant District Attorney David Haden (Harry Connick Jr.) entered the picture. Fans who have been anxiously waiting for more Olivia/David action won't want to miss Wednesday night's all-new episode, which we have exclusive video of below.
In the episode, entitled "Hunting Ground," Olivia and David's romantic weekend is interrupted when an underage prostitute goes missing.
As the SVU detectives dig into her disappearance, they find a pattern of several missing escorts who all posted ads on a popular newspaper's website. For Oliva and David budding relationship, however, this means that the line between their personal and professional lives starts to blur, causing a bit of frustration for the two, as the squad races to find the missing girl before it's too late.
HuffPost TV caught up with Connick Jr. on the set of the long-running NBC procedural to talk about the personal connection that inspired him to take the role, David and Olivia's blossoming romance and how even he saw the chemistry between Elliot (Christopher Meloni) and Olivia.
"Law and Order: SVU" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC. Check out exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the "SVU" set -- including a very sweet kiss between Olivia and David.
For fans that feel like they don't know much about your character, how would you describe David?
David is very determined at his job, and he's very ethical. He's a hard-worker who believes very strongly in upholding the law and doing what he's supposed to do, which is one of the reasons that I believe he's attracted to Det. Benson. Obviously, she's beautiful and charming, but she's a bit of a mystery to him. He knows that it's going to take a bit of work, but I think he's willing to do the work to get to know her. He's a genuine guy. If he was anything other than that, I would be blind-sided by it because up to this point, he really cares for her. He senses that something has been troubling her, and we had a scene where he was like, "Look, I know something is bothering you, but I want you to know that I'm not going anywhere. It's alright, whatever it is. I can handle it."
This upcoming episode is going to see David and Olivia both juggling their personal and professional lives. Is that going to cause some friction?
For David, love trumps the business. He approaches Olivia and says, "If we want this to work, we have to make a decision. We have to stay away from each other in the work field." And he's making the decision to do that. Their relationship is more important to him than what they both do for a living, and they're both ethical about their jobs.
You're only signed on to do four episodes, so where are things headed for Olivia and David in that short time?
I don't know. I'm going to be just as surprised as everyone else. [Laughs] I think Mariska probably has a better idea than I do, but it's nice, you know? I liked being surprised because that's how these things happen in real ife.
What do you want to happen?
I would like, just as a fan of the show, for her not to get hurt. She's been through so much trauma in her life already, so I would rather, if I had my choice, not be a person who would contribute to any more pain for her. But as an actor, I'm playing a part and it is what it is.
You would also be the most hated person on TV if you break her heart.
Oh, for sure! But sometimes that's the way it is when you play a guy who's not very admired. That's just apart of being an actor. People get so personally invested with these characters that they sometimes translate that to your real personal life. That can be tough, especially when you're not expecting that kind of backlash.
I know that you're a talented singer in real life, so will David serenade Olivia any time soon?
[Laughs] I don't think that's going to happen. Oh man, one of the fun things about playing a guy like David is that he's not a singer. I just finished a show, doing eight shows a week, and sing a lot, so it's nice to play a guy who can't carry a tune. Maybe Olivia will serenade him! That's a nice alternative.
If they did ask you to come back for more than four episodes, would that be an option that you would consider?
Oh, sure! I'm having a great time. It's just a matter of scheduling, but I'd definitely be back. I'm really enjoying my time with Marlska, so I'd love to keep that going.
I know that you said that you were obsessed with the show, so I'm sure you know that there were many fans who wanted Elliot and Olivia together. Where you a big fan of Benson and Stabler?
The thing about their relationship is that it was an impossibility. You always wanted it to work and for it to happen, but you knew it wasn't because he was married, and they loved each other in a different kind of way. It's interesting to see how she's sort of breaking down a little bit and letting David into her emotional circle because that was once a place that she really only let Elliot into. It's fun to be that guy.
I read that your father was the District Attorney of New Orleans. Did that have anything to do with you taking on this role?
There's a lot of things in this script that I call about and ask him. He was the DA of New Orleans for 30 years, so I had a million questions for him about his job and the situations that he found himself in during that time. In fact, the reason I took the role was because of my dad. It's yet another way that I can share my time with him. We're very close anyway, but I had never done a role like this before, and since it's what he does for a living, I thought it would be a nice bond between us.