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/ Source: TODAY
By Randee Dawn

It wasn't hard to get Stephanie March to return to "Law & Order: SVU" — all it took was a simple message from star Mariska Hargitay.

"I hadn't read the script or seen the episode when she texted me and said, 'Would you be interested in coming back?' and I said, 'Why not?'" March told TODAY Friday. "There's no downside to play a role I've always loved."

Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) and Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) are on different sides of the issue in next week's episode of "Law & Order: SVU."NBC

March returns for one episode on April 18, and she'll be playing Alexandra Cabot — but not the former assistant district attorney fans have come to know and love.

"She's a little more disorderly now, which I like a lot," explained March. "She'd been getting more political, but then she headed off to the Congo (to join the International Criminal Court investigating sex crimes). You can see glimpses of what she's been through over the last few years."

The episode, "Sunk Cost Fallacy," will be about the search for an abducted woman, whose daughter brings Lieutenant Olivia Benson (Hargitay) back into contact with Cabot, but they end up not being on the same side.

"Benson is shocked to learn that Cabot is behind the disappearance of a woman she's been searching for," said March. "Cabot loves and respects the law, but is bending it for purposes that are more useful to her."

Hargitay and March, along with B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang) on "SVU" in 2003.NBC via Getty Images

Meanwhile, March has been keeping busy on and off-camera; she's the co-founder of Rouge Makeup Salons (with former "SVU" makeup artist Rebecca Perkins) and has appeared on shows including "Odd Mom Out" and "Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter."

But she's always prepared to come back to "SVU," a show that she says was highlighting #MeToo and #TimesUp issues long before they were part of the zeitgeist and changing Hollywood.

"'SVU' was talking about sexual violence against women long before it was appropriate to mention it on television," she says. "'SVU' shone a light into a dark area before it was popular to talk about it, and I was so grateful to be a part of that."

March and Cabot and her glasses: a winning combination on "Law & Order: SVU."NBC

On a more personal note, "SVU" also gave March her first long-term TV job (she first appeared on the show in 2000), and she's delighted to have aged along with Cabot.

"I love revisiting a character who has changed a lot in her life; the parallels are huge for me as an actor," says March, 43. "Talk about a lucky break — how many shows have you been on where you can go from your 20s to your 40s in the same role?"

And if asked, she's got a very good answer for what makes Alexandra Cabot such an enduring, popular character.

"I think it's the glasses," she quips. "Definitely the glasses."

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.