By People Staff
Updated March 17, 2008 12:00 AM
Jesse Grant/Wireimage; Bauer-Griffin

She may be married in real life, but Mariska Hargitay is about to get something she’s never had in her fictional life as Det. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU — a boyfriend!

PEOPLE has confirmed exclusively that Hargitay’s boyfriend will be played by big-screen actor Bill Pullman (who played an alien-killing President of the United States in 1997’s Independence Day).

Executive Producer Dr. Neal Baer says, “Det. Olivia Benson finally has a boyfriend, and he was well worth the wait.”

In this rare look into the love life of any character in all three of the Law & Order series, Pullman will be playing Kurt Moss, the editor of fictional New York newspaper The Ledger. The episode, entitled “Closet,” is about a gay pro football player who’s forced out of the closet after being tied to a rape and murder case. (Juicy!)

Airing April 22, it will be the second new episode after the series returns from the writers’ strike.

Pullman starts filming next week. –Mark Dagostino

Jesse Grant/Wireimage; Bauer-Griffin