‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay Once Appeared in an Episode of ‘Seinfeld’

by Madison Miller

When you play the same (iconic) character for over two decades, it can be hard for fans to see you as anything else.

This may be the case for Mariska Hargitay. She plays the role of the beloved and badass Captain Olivia Benson over on “Law & Order: SVU.” She’s been anchored to this role since 1999, with her contracts suggesting she has no desire to leave the series anytime soon.

Mariska Hargitay on ‘Seinfeld’

While we love her on “Law & Order: SVU,” some comedy fans may remember briefly seeing her on “Seinfeld.”

You can go back and watch the 1993 episode called “The Pilot.” She is an actress that is auditioning to play the role of Elaine. At the time, Jerry Seinfeld is pitching his idea for a show. This would mean it’s really a show within the show. It was called “Jerry” and would be developed by Jerry and George.

As is the usual on “Seinfeld,” things get complicated. Jerry begins to read the script with Hargitay in the hopes of making a connection with her. Meanwhile, George is doing his own thing and it turns out that she doesn’t get the role in the series “Jerry” within “Seinfeld.”

It was a very brief role for Hargitay, but funny and memorable years later.

There is also a rumor that Hargitay may have actually auditioned for the role of Elaine back in the day. That’s not quite verifiable, but it surely would add an extra layer if it turns out to be true.

Other Major Drama Series Role for ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star

For Hargitay, “Law & Order: SVU” may be her most known role, but it’s far from her only role over the years.

In 1997, she portrayed Cynthia Hooper on the popular drama series “ER.” She was a series regular and played Dr. Mark Greene’s girlfriend in the series. As it turns out, she had an exceptionally difficult time even getting that “ER” role in the first place. She told “Inside the Actors Studio” that she walked into the audition feeling prepared. She didn’t think she would get it, however, due to the other people she saw in the room also auditioning for the role.

Hargitay took it all in stride and gave it her best shot.

“But you know, it’s that thing of you do your work, and then you hit the flow. And then you’re in the flow and it’s a wave, and all you’re doing is riding it. So, I left the audition, and I was high as a kite. I was so happy because you know that’s rare when we really leave an audition going, ‘I killed it,'” she said.

She ended up not originally getting picked for the role because producers wanted to cast closer to what the actual character was like instead. Hargitay was blown away.

She told “ER” Executive Producer John Wells, “Hold on. You’re telling me that I acted it better than anybody and I’m not getting it because I’m not that way in real life?” Turns out, she was perfect for that role after all.