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NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Surprise! Mariska Hargitay Reunited with This SVU Alum Who Was Tragically Killed Off

This is not a drill, SVU fans: Benson and Dodds are back in action. 

By Jessica White

While enjoying her European getaway in summer 2023, one of Mariska Hargitay's stops included a pop-in from a beloved Law & Order: Special Victims Unit character. 

How to Watch

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

On July 7, 2023, Hargitay surprised her followers with a lovely Instagram post, talking directly to the camera in the center of a restaurant. "Oh sure, I'm on vacation. But I do have a present for you," Hargitay told fans. "That's right. Because you know what I'm thinking about? You."

Hargitay then turned the camera while teasingly shouting "And action!" to give fans a delightful surprise from SVU veteran Andy Karl, who played Sgt. Mike Dodds in Season 17. Hargitay correctly guessed everyone would be hyped about the impromptu meet-up, especially considering Dodds tragically died in the Season 17 finale.

"Oh hey!" Karl teased with mock surprise before quickly saluting SVU fans. "Hi everybody. Andy Karl, Sergeant Mike Dodds."

Comments flooded the IG post with love and adoration over the SVU reunion. It has been years since we've seen Baby Dodds! Hargitay captioned the internet-breaking clip, "#TheGiftThatKeepsOnGiving. #YoureWelcome #BabyDodds."

One SVU fan commented, "I THINK I NEVER CRIED THAT BAD WITH DODD’S DEATH" and "Benson reuniting with ghosts? I wanna keep watching 👀." Another applauded the reunion, writing "The best present EVER!" Many comments centered around the devastation surrounding Dodd's tragic death, which shocked SVU viewers everywhere when it happened. 

What happened to Mike Dodds on Law & Order: SVU

Sgt. Mike Dodds was tragically killed in the line of duty during the Season 17 finale titled "Heartfelt Passages." He was the second in command of the Manhattan SVU once Benson was promoted to Lieutenant.

Lieutenant Olivia Benson and Sgt. Mike Dodds appear in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Dodds was first introduced in Season 17's "Maternal Instincts" after he was transferred to Benson's SVU by his father, Deputy Chief William Dodds. Dodds was empathetic and diligent, often using his personal experiences to coax confessions from suspects. Dodds quickly became a cherished squad member, helping in the arrest of several chill-inducing criminals throughout Season 17. 

Dodds was killed during his last day at the Manhattan Precinct after a corrupt prison guard and serial rapist took him and another victim hostage. Benson did her best to talk down the assailant, but Dodds was shot amid the chaos. He initially showed signs of recovering, but after suffering from a massive stroke, he was left brain-dead and was taken off life support, leaving his SVU colleagues heartbroken. Benson was forever affected by the death and has since taken hostage situations more seriously. Dodd's murder was the first-ever death of an SVU squad member and one of the most heart-wrenching losses of the entire series. 

RELATED: Diane Neal Played Another Character on SVU Before Casey Novak: Here's Who

What is Andy Karl doing now? 

Karl is a Tony-nominated Broadway and West End actor that has starred in dozens of must-see theatrical productions since his time on Law & Order: SVU.

Sgt. Mike Dodds appears in a scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Karl currently stars in the hit West End musical Groundhog Day as Phil Connors. After exiting SVU in 2016, the actors continued to flaunt his theatrical talent, taking the stage in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Into the Woods, and Pretty Woman: The Musical to name just a few of his credits. Karl also appeared in the legal drama The Good Fight.