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Dann Florek Tears Up Talking About Mariska Hargitay: "A Beautiful Passing of the Baton"

The SVU alum was on the series for 15 years as Captain Donald Cragen.

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe
Cragen Meets with Stabler About His IAB Investigation | Law & Order: Organized Crime | NBC

Dann Florek may have exited Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 10 years ago, but the series still holds a huge place in his heart.

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When speaking to People at SVU's 25th anniversary celebration in January 2024, he got emotional about Mariska Hargitay now leading the show. Florek played SVU captain Donald Cragen for 15 years until his character retired in 2014.

Hargitay's Benson became Captain six years later, with Florek eventually making a cameo in Season 23 for SVU's 500th episode. In the touching scene, Cragen was able to congratulate Benson.

“It's a beautiful passing of the baton," Florek said. “I got to do one little scene, I think I shot it on Zoom, and I was able to say to her — I'm gonna cry — 'You have no idea how proud it makes me to say, Captain.''" 

The 73-year-old also holds a special place in his heart for his other former co-star, Ice T (Det. Fin Tutuola). 

RELATED: Ice T's First Impression of Mariska Hargitay Was So Funny

Split of Dan Florek and Mariska Hargitay

“Some people have been telling me I'm like the OG of the show, but that's the OG right there,” he told People about the rapper. “But having been there from the very beginning? When I started SVU, a lot of people said is there room for two Law & Orders? Well, we made it past that. Then I said, I hope we can make five [years]. Then I made 15 [years] and here we are for 25. It's crazy but good. Crazy because it should be.”

In a February appearance on comedian Marc Summers' podcast, Florek told a hilarious story about making up a rap for Ice's birthday when he first joined the series in 2000. The aforementioned rhyme?: 

@marcsummersunwraps Dann Florek recalls his rap for Ice-T on the set of Law & Order. Ice-T’s response? “Chief wrote me a rhyme” 🙂#podcast #celebrity #hollywood #rap #fyp ♬ original sound - MarcSummersUnwraps

Today is your birthday, not yesterday or tomorrow

So happy F-ing birthday, Tracy L. Morrow

You can call yourself Ice T if you wish

But anyway you slice it, you’re one crazy bish

Apparently, Ice T was impressed.

Florek recalled him responding, "Chief wrote me a rhyme," and it's a moment that officially kicked off their friendship.

RELATED: Ice T and Coco Visited Their 8-Year-Old, Chanel, at School for a Very Special Reason