Mariska Hargitay Gets a Boyfriend on SVU

03/17/2008 at 12:00 AM EDT

Mariska Hargitay Gets a Boyfriend on SVU
Jesse Grant/Wireimage; Bauer-Griffin
She may be married in real life, but Mariska Hargitay is about to get something she's never had in her fictional life as Det. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU -- a boyfriend!

PEOPLE has confirmed exclusively that Hargitay's boyfriend will be played by big-screen actor Bill Pullman (who played an alien-killing President of the United States in 1997's Independence Day).

Executive Producer Dr. Neal Baer says, "Det. Olivia Benson finally has a boyfriend, and he was well worth the wait."

In this rare look into the love life of any character in all three of the Law & Order series, Pullman will be playing Kurt Moss, the editor of fictional New York newspaper The Ledger. The episode, entitled "Closet," is about a gay pro football player who's forced out of the closet after being tied to a rape and murder case. (Juicy!)

Airing April 22, it will be the second new episode after the series returns from the writers' strike.

Pullman starts filming next week. --Mark Dagostino

Jesse Grant/Wireimage; Bauer-Griffin

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