Your No. 1 squad is back and they're following her lead. Her being Lt. Olivia Benson, of course. Mariska Hargitay's fan-favorite Law & Order: SVU character is front and center in the show's new season 18 key art and promo.
The new poster, above, features Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, Raúl Esparza and Ice T and the tagline "Back in full force."
The new season, which kicks off, Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. on NBC, will feature a special guest appearance by none other than Vice President Joe Biden. Biden will play himself and commend Hargitay's character for her work in ending the rape kit backlog, which Hargitay has also worked with Biden on in real life.
Season 18 will also feature a case like Steven Avery's that was highlighted in Netflix's Making a Murderer. Henry Thomas, Elliot of E.T. fame, will appear alongside Kelli Williams in a story about a convicted rapist who gets exonerated by DNA years after his conviction. When the man is later accused of a deadly crime, Ice T's Fin has to embark on an investigation yet again.
The new season will be under the guidance of veteran Julie Martin and new showrunner Rick Eid. Former executive producer Warren Leight, who joined the team for season 13, left after the season 17 finale.
E! News spoke with Hargitay on set of the season 17 finale as she looked ahead to the new season upon us and looked back at the show's impact on her life.
"No, never in a million years and I'll tell you, that's truly why I'm still here. My heart—I just was actually emailing with Dick [Wolf] today—because my heart is so in it and I am so committed, not only because of the show, but I feel so grateful to be an actor and doing every single day what I love to do. So I feel grateful in that, but also, obviously, how the show has changed lives and how it's inspired me to start Joyful Heart. And each year the way I see the society truly changing," she said. "I really think that things are shifting and awareness is shifting...That sort of reinvests me and reinvigorates me.
"It's a very powerful show that is dealing with such important and real, current issues that are potentially life-saving. So I don't know if it gets better than that," she said with a laugh. "Right? Now the Foundation and the show have such a beautiful marriage. They completely support each other and it's been so important telling these stories and then continuing the work in real life with our advocacy and changing laws, changing societal attitudes and hopefully cleaning up the rape kit backlog."
Law & Order: SVU premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. on NBC.