Law & Order: SVU, Christine Lahti

After tense contract negotiations, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni will return for Law & Order: SVU's 11th season. But in a surprise signing, TV vet Christine Lahti (Chicago Hope, Jack and Bobby) will join them, playing the new assistant district attorney.

Lahti will fill the ADA role for only the first four episodes of the season (SVU returns on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 9 pm/ET). Then Stephanie March returns to face the bench for another 10 episodes.

The math majors in the house realize that this leaves nine or so episodes unaccounted for, ADA-wise. NBC is mum, but I'm hearing that they're actually looking for a third ADA, who will break the "young and female" mold in more ways than one. We'll keep you posted.

So... are you glad that Benson and Stabler will be back? And what do you think about Christine Lahti as the new ADA?

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