Mariska Hargitay gives Olivia another two years

Now we have one more thing to celebrate this holiday weekend. Olivia will return.

By “Olivia,” I mean Mariska Hargitay, of course, and by “return,” I mean she will be back on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit for at least two more seasons. Hargitay and her partner in crime fighting, Christopher Meloni, finally signed their contracts this week.

The two stars, who have been with SVU since the show started in 1999, have been holding out for more cash, which NBC wisely decided to give them. No details, of course, but the all-knowing “sources” report that Hargitay and Meloni will get $400,000 per episode. I think Mariska and I could live quite happily on that.

I could also live quite happily with many, many scenes of Olivia and ADA Alex Cabot. But you already know that.

Variety also reports that the fabulous Christine Lahti will guest star in the first four episodes of SVU as yet another hot ADA. OK, Variety didn’t say “hot ADA,” but, well, she is.

I haven’t seen nearly enough of Lahti in recent years. She was in Jack & Bobby and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, two very good series that were canceled too soon, but may be most famous for being in the bathroom when her Golden Globe for Chicago Hope was announced.

Perhaps the best way to get to know her, though, is to read her blog post, “My Daughter, My Sister,” on The Huffington Post.

“When my daughter Emma was 10 years old, we marched together in Washington D.C. in ‘The March For Women’s Lives,’ and I watched her become a feminist.”

Hopefully, all of this good casting news means that things are looking up for SVU. Now if they’ll just bring a few new writers to the mix, we may be in for a series revival.

Is Olivia’s return good news for you? What do you think about Lahti’s guest role? Will Law and Order: SVU be a part of your fall viewing schedule?