Actresses who have played lead roles on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” include Mariska Hargitay, Diane Neal, Kelli Giddish and Stephanie March. Playing both detectives and district attorneys, these actresses have collectively starred in hundreds of episodes of the popular drama.
Playing Detective Olivia Benson, Mariska Hargitay has starred in the show since its beginning in 1999. Hargitay has starred in every season of the program, with her character Benson progressing to the rank of lieutenant throughout the course of the show.
Diane Neal played Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak from 2001 to 2008, starring in over 100 episodes of the show. She left the show for three seasons but returned briefly in 2011. Some entertainment columnists speculated that Neal was fired from the show, but she declined to comment.
Kelli Giddish joined the “SVU” cast in 2007, portraying Junior Detective Amanda Rollins. Beginning as an overeager rookie, she grows into her role as a skilled detective and foil to Ice-T’s character Odafin Tutuola.
Stephanie March played ADA Alexandra Cabot in nearly 100 episodes between 2000 and 2012. March left the series in 2003, with her character being written out through placement in the Witness Protection Program following prosecution of a notorious drug lord. She returned for numerous appearances in later seasons of the program