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Mariska Hargitay's Husband Is Ultra-Charming in His First-Ever SVU Episode

Yes, even though he's playing a defense attorney! 

By Elizabeth Logan

In her role as the crusading Olivia Benson, Mariska Hargitay is more often than not at odds with the various defense attorneys in charge of keeping the accused out of jail.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursday, October 3 at 9/8c on NBC.

In Season 3, Episode 11 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the unimaginable happened: She fell for one of them. Well, the actors did off-camera, anyway. The charming attorney was played by Peter Hermann, and after meeting on set, Hermann and Hargitay fell in love in their real lives and have now been married for two decades. 

Peter Hermann's first SVU appearance as Trevor Langan

Introduced in Season 3, Episode 11 ("Monogamy"), Hermann's character, Trevor Langan, is a high-priced defense attorney with a strong reputation for helping his clients. He's appeared in 35 episodes over the years, occasionally taking on a pro bono case and often crossing paths with Benson, even defending her after she was framed for murder in Season 11.

However the very first time we see him, he and Benson aren't so chummy. After investigating an assault on a pregnant woman that included a crude C-section, Benson and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) arrest the victim's husband (John Ritter), a psychiatrist who believed the baby boy was fathered by his wife's lover (Bobby Cannavale). He hires Langan to defend him from a murder charge after the baby dies, which hinges on proving that he was born alive in the first place.

Lieutenant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Trevor Langan (Peter Hermann) appear in Season 19 Episode 5 of Law & Order: SVU

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay and Her Husband Have Such Magnetic Chemistry in This SVU Episode

Langan puts medical examiner Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) on the stand and plays the "I don't understand science" card as he questions her conclusion that the baby was born alive, casting doubt upon her testing methods and the fallibility of her conclusions. He's somehow still charming even while playing for the bad guys. 

Spoiler! ADA Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) gets the killer to testify that the baby cried as he killed it.

The episode first aired in January 2002.

Watch Season 3, Episode 11 of SVU (and all previous episodes of the show) on Peacock now. 

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann's love story

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay pose together.

Hermann, who was born in New York but grew up in Germany before attending Yale, realized his girlfriend was "the one" at her 40th birthday party in 2004. 

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay Posted the Cuddliest Pic With Her Husband on Valentine's Day

"I actually saw Hargitay with all of the people that she loved around her," he told People. "It was like seeing this person who was now in the soil… which was this abundance of people and this abundance of love and I thought, 'I want to be part of that soil.'" They married in Santa Barbara in August of that year and have three children together.