After 11 Years, Kerry Butler Returns to Law & Order: SVU in a Gripping Episode Directed by Mariska Hargitay | Playbill

Film & TV Features After 11 Years, Kerry Butler Returns to Law & Order: SVU in a Gripping Episode Directed by Mariska Hargitay

The Tony nominee will play a mother in search of her missing daughter on the long-running crime drama.

Kerry Butler and Mariska Hargitay Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Broadway veteran Kerry Butler (Beetlejuice, Mean Girls) will guest star in the upcoming episode of NBC's hit crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, now in its twenty-fifth season. The episode, titled "Children of Wolves," will air on the network at 9 PM  on April 11.

With one young girl found unconscious and another missing after a nightly stroll in the park, Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) and her squad must work against the clock to get some answers. Butler plays Denise, a mother in search of her missing daughter.

This episode will be Butler's second time guest starring for SVU in 11 years. Her last appearance was in Season 14, Episode 23 titled "Brief Interlude," in which she played a mother who was sexually assaulted and killed by a homeless man. She reflects on what drew her to come back to the show for a second time.

"I think my main thing would be working with Mariska. She's directing [the episode] and I have all of these scenes opposite to her," Butler excitedly says. "I just get drawn into her work. There's a reason that she's been doing this show for 25 years. I feel like it's a masterclass."

Hargitay, who is also the show's Executive Producer, will be directing the episode. Butler expresses a deep admiration for Hargitay for her intentionality in creating an environment that allowed Butler to embrace the vulnerability of her character.

"She gave me so much freedom. She told me where I could move and where I couldn't move, and then almost an improv kind of vibe. Just really wanting to get the best performance out of her actors."

The chilling realities reflected in SVU spark difficult, yet necessary conversations about the experiences of survivors of sexual violence and abuse across the country. As an actor, Butler shares a poignant perspective on the biggest lesson people can learn when watching the episode.

"The world could use more empathy," Butler said. "I can't imagine that kind of pain and suffering. I think we can open our hearts up to have compassion for anybody going through any kind of situation like that."

In addition to its broadcast premiere, "Children of Wolves" will also be available to stream on NBCUniversal's streaming service Peacock April 12.

Kerry Butler Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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