Harry Connick Jr. to romance Law & Order: SVU's Benson

Jan 9, 2012 at 11:53 a.m. ET

Singer Harry Connick Jr. is joining the cast of cop show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a love interest for Mariska Hargitay's Detective Olivia Benson. The crooner will play an Executive Assistant District Attorney who is sweet on the no-nonsense cop in four upcoming episodes airing later this season.

A new man for Mariska!

Well, more like a new man for Mariska's alter ego.

Singer Harry Connick Jr. is set to play a new love interest for Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) on NBC's long-running cop drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU). The modern-day jazz impresario has been cast as Executive Assistant District Attorney David Haden in a four-episode guest arc that will debut on the show later this season.

"I'm excited because I get to talk like an educated person," Harry cracked about his latest gig.

Harry's last stint as a TV series regular came almost a decade ago when he played Debra Messing's husband on Will & Grace.

Connick's casting is the first sign of Detective Benson's enduring life on the small screen. Last fall, SVU fans were left wringing their hands after longtime male lead Christopher Meloni departed the drama and reports surfaced that Mariska's role would be gradually phased out.

In October, the Emmy winner -- who also has the distinction of being the highest-paid actress in primetime -- adopted a son just a few months after adopting daughter Amaya Josephine in April. Hargitay, 47, and her husband Peter Hermann, 44, welcomed son Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann, born over the summer, to their blended, nuclear family. The babies joined big brother, August, 5.

Insiders claimed that Hargitay wanted out of Law & Order to spend more time at home with her brood. But NBC has put the "Mariska Exit" rumors on ice for the time being.

"Mariska Hargitay isn't leaving Law & Order… We're heating up her storyline this spring. Detective Olivia may be getting a real love interest for the first time," NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told journalists at the Television Critics Association Winter Session in Pasadena, California on Friday.

"I'll be back. I can't leave this show, I'm having too much fun," Hargitay added.

Photo credits: Joseph Marzullo/Wenn.com