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Law and Order SVU: meet the cast of the hit crime series

The show is now in its 22nd season 

Eve Crosbie

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit will soon return from its mid-season break with what promises to be a very exciting episode, as one of the original cast members make their long-awaited return to the show.

MORE: Bryan Cranston opens up about 'terrible' experience filming new drama Your Honor

The police drama, which has been on screens for over twenty years now, delves into the dark side of New York's criminal world and follows an elite force of officers who spend their days protecting the city from the most heinous of crimes.

The series has a pretty impressive cast, so find out more about them - and who they play on the show - below!

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WATCH: Law and Order: SVU returns with a special crossover episode

Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson

Mariska Hargitay leads the series as Captain Olivia Benson, Manhattan's most dedicated and hardworking SVU officer. The 57-year-old actor has been in the role ever since the long-running series began and has even stepped behind the camera to direct a handful of episodes too.

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Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson

She is the daughter of actress Jayne Mansfield, who sadly died in a car accident when Mariska was just three years old. Her father was the former Mr Universe and actor Mickey Hargitay.

Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins 

Kelli Giddish joined the cast back in season 13, but it feels like she's been a part of the SVU family forever. Before landing the role, Kelli starred in The Good Wife, Past Life, Chase and had a recurring role on the soap All My Children. 

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Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins 

Ice-T as Odafin Tutuola 

Odafin "Fin" Tutuola is SVU's straight-talking lead detective. The role is played by former Ice-T, real name Tracy Lauren Marrow, who first rose to fame as a rapper in the 1980s and was only supposed to be in the show for a couple of episodes.

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Ice-T as Odafin Tutuola 

However, after impressing executive producer Dick Wolf, he was cast as a series regular. Flash-forward twenty years, Ice has now appeared in more than 450 episodes, making him the second longest-serving cast member on the show.

Peter Scanavino as Dominick 'Sonny' Carisi, Jr

Dominick Carisi, or Sonny, started off as a junior detective on the SVU team before taking the bar exam and joining the district attorney's office as an assistant. Playing the role is Peter Scanavino, who has had supporting roles in the films Deception, The Good Wife, and The Blacklist.

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Peter Scanavino as Dominick 'Sonny' Carisi, Jr

Jamie Gray Hyder as Kat Taemin 

Jamie Gray Hyder is one of the more recent addition to the cast and stars as former vice office Kat Taemin, who transfers to the special victims unit team. Model and actress Jamie's previous roles include Lucia Solano in Graceland and the werewolf Danielle in True Blood. She also performed voice and motion capture work for the video game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

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Jamie Gray Hyder as Kat Taemin 

Raúl Esparza as Rafael Barba 

Raúl Esparza, who plays former Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba, will be known to theatre lovers for his many Broadway roles. He starred in the original Broadway production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and has been nominated for a Tony in all the categories for which an actor is eligible. His television credits include Hannibal, Pushing Daisies and BoJack Horseman.

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Raúl Esparza as Rafael Barba 

Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler

Christopher Meloni played detective Elliot Stabler for the first 12 seasons of the show, before his shock exit, which saw him retire off-screen. However, this season he will reprise his role ahead of the first episode of his spin-off series titled Law & Order: Organized Crime, which sees his character come out of retirement to lead an NYPD organized crime task force.

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Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler

Demore Barnes as Christian Garland

Demore Barnes replaced Peter Gallagher's William Dodds as the Deputy Chief of the precinct. The Canadian-American actor actually began his career in sketch comedy, but viewers might recognize him from his roles in American Gods, The Unit and Hannibal.

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Demore Barnes as Christian Garland

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