Baldwin, whose casting was revealed last week, will play Jimmy MacArthur, a controversial New York newspaper columnist who questions the SVU squad's motives during the investigation of a potential hate crime/rape case. Katie Couric will also appear in the episode, the first directed by star Mariska Hargitay, as a talk show host questioning MacArthur about the case.
"I'm thrilled to be directing," Hargitay said in a statement. "It's been a goal of mine for a long time, and it's quite an experience to see it realized. My respect for the process of making this show and telling these important stories deepens with every scene we shoot. I have always been so honored to work with this cast and crew, but never more so than now, as a director collaborating in a new way. And I've watched Alec on screen for so long and always hoped we would be able to work together some day. Having the opportunity to tell this story with him, having him bring his experience, depth, truthfulness, and fierce commitment, honestly feels too good to be true."
Added executive producer Warren Leight: "New York City has had a long history of high profile and controversial newspaper columnists, whose influence extends beyond the newsroom. In our story, 'Jimmy Mac's' reporting interferes with the investigation, which has a ripple effect when the case goes to trial. We couldn't ask for a better actor for Mariska to work with in her directorial debut. Their chemistry on screen is palpable."
The profession of Baldwin's character ought to raise plenty of eyebrows. The 30 Rock alum has had several very public disagreements with members of the media from The New York Post, The Daily Mail and TMZ.com, among others. In a lengthy essay published this week in New York Magazine, Baldwin also called out several media figures including MSNBC anchors Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough, and declared his intention to leave public life. SVU marks Baldwin's first scripted TV gig since 30 Rock went off the air 13 months ago.
Baldwin's episode of Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesday, March 19 at 9/8c on NBC. The series returns with new episodes on Wednesday. What do you think of Baldwin's role?