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Brooke Shields' Law & Order: SVU Casting Was A Direct Request From Mariska Hargitay

"Law & Order: SVU" has become synonymous with featuring plenty of Hollywood A-lister guest stars throughout its 20+ season run. However, one of the show's most impressive gets was in 2017, when Brooke Shields began appearing. The model-turned-actress isn't as active in Hollywood as she once was, besides appearing in projects here and there, like "Impractical Jokers," so landing her for a recurring role was quite the feat for "SVU." It turns out none other than Ms. "SVU" herself, Mariska Hargitay, was the one who got her on board. 

The "SVU" veteran mentioned watching an Ali Wentworth show and being very impressed with Shields' appearance in it. "We were at a screening, and Brooke was the guest star and was so brilliant and so dark and so funny," Hargitay told "Late Night with Seth Myers" about Shields' casting. "So, when I saw her, I thought, like, 'She's it.' Because we had this character in mind to come, you know, stir it up." Shields appeared in a few episodes of "SVU" in Season 19 as Sheila Porter, an adversary to Olivia Benson (Hargitay), who challenges the custody of her adoptive son. Porter was the grandmother to Benson's son Noah, which was a hard sell to make to the model. 

In a funny story during the "Late Night" interview, Hargitay reminisced on pitching the role to Shields, calling the character "an incredible, powerful woman" before revealing she's a grandmother. "I'm sorry, what?" Shields answered, according to Hargitay, joking about it with the "SVU" star but eventually taking the role. 

Brooke Shields tells a similar story

Joining "Law & Order: SVU" was a pretty drastic change of pace for Brooke Shields. Not only was the role much darker than anything the former model had done before but playing a grandmother was also a first for her. Mariska Hargitay did a hilarious job reflecting on the conversation that landed her the role, and, it turns out, Shields has a very similar story.

"I've never played a grandmother before, and I have to say, I practically punched Mariska [Hargitay] in the face when she said, 'Oh, and by the way, you're playing a grandmother,'" Shields joked with The Hollywood Reporter. "I was like, 'Oh, that's great. That's how you lure me in? You actresses are all alike!'"

Shields joined the cast for Season 19, but "SVU" has continued to hold its spot in NBC's weekly schedule ever since. "I don't even know how they do it," the actress told The Wrap regarding the show's ever-lasting relevance, revealing that Hargitay and the rest of the "SVU" team are quick to jump on current events to keep the show feeling fresh. Shields loved her time on the series, praising "SVU" for using Sheila (Shields) and Benson's (Hargitay) relationships with Noah to give Benson more character depth, calling the complex co-parenting situation "refreshing."