How Mariska Hargitay Got BFF Brooke Shields to Play Her TV Son’s Evil Grandma

While Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has featured a slew of iconic guest stars across its 25-season run, fans will never forget Brooke Shields’ devastating character in 2017.

Shields played Sheila Porter, Noah’s conniving and kidnapping grandmother, in multiple Season 19 episodes. Shields and Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson) are close friends IRL, and when Hargitay was on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2017, she explained how she swayed Shields to appear on SVU.

Character's Sheila Porter and Noah Porter shown in a scene from Law & Order: SVU.

How Mariska Hargitay got Brooke Shields to guest star on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

It all started when Hargitay attended a screening of a project starring both actress Ali Wentworth (who is another close friend of Hargitay’s and a former SVU guest star) and Shields.

“Brooke was the guest star and was so brilliant and so dark and so funny, and so beautiful and so powerful,” Hargitay told Meyers.

Mariska Hargitay embraces Brooke Shields at Glamour Women of the Year

“So, when I saw her, I thought, like, ‘She’s it.’ Because we had this character in mind to come, you know, stir it up.”

Hargitay then went on to describe how she pitched the role to Shields. “We were sitting there, and I said: ‘Listen, there’s an amazing part. Would you ever consider doing an arc on the show?’ And she said: ‘Oh wow, are you serious?’”

Describing the role to Shields, Hargitay said: “This incredible, powerful woman…” before revealing that the part was for a grandmother. While Shields was taken aback at first, she agreed shortly after, and totally nailed the role.

Mariska Hargitay and Brooke Shields’ friendship

Hargitay supported Shields in the best way when she attended the Glamour Woman of the Year Awards in November 2023. Shields was honored at the event, and when Hargitay showed up on the red carpet, she sported a necklace with the letter “B” on it.

“Somebody go super-close on my necklace, because I’m wearing a ‘B’ for Brooke!” Hargitay asked photographers in a moment that quickly went viral. “Can you see it? Can you go super-tight [in the photo]?”

When Hargitay celebrated her 60th birthday in January, Shields took to Instagram to share a slew of heartwarming snapshots of them together. In the post, we get to see the two making stunning on the red carpet, wearing matching glasses, attending a sports game together, making goofy faces, and chatting behind the scenes of SVU.

“Happy birthday @therealmariskahargitay… through the laughs & the tears, so much love and of course fun! 🎈❤️,” Shields captioned the post. See the sweet moments here.

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