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OTRC: 'Law & Order: SVU' actors talk season premiere: series feels 'like a leaner, faster machine'

Stephanie March appears in a scene from a 2011 episode of 'Law & Order: SVU.' / Linus Roache appears in a promotional photo for 'Law & Order.' (NBC)

After "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" finished up its 12th season in May, the show's longtime star Christopher Meloni left the series and the role of Detective Elliott Stabler.

When the NBC drama returns to television on Wednesday, September 21, the show will have new faces -- Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino as new detectives -- and returning favorites like Mariska Hargitay, Stephanie March and Linus Roache.

March and Roache spoke with reporters on Monday, September 19 about the season premiere. Spoiler alert! The episode features a patented "Law & Order" ripped from the headline story similar to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case.

The actors also spoke about coming back into the "Law & Order" fold and how the series is coping with the loss of one of its leads.

"I am certainly doing five episodes and as far as the changes this season, you know, we have a few new characters and a new team of writers so it has a familiar feel but it's invigorated with a lot of good, new blood. It's been a wonderful place to work so far," March, who plays Assitant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot, said.

March returned to the series lfor a brief run of four episodes in 2010. Prior to that, her character served as the Assistant District Attorney for the Special Victims Unit for three seasons, from 2000 to 2003, before appearing periodically from 2005 to 2009.

"I don't think we know exactly how the whole season is going to unfold but it does feel like a leaner, faster machine which is a great thing to be a part of," March added.

Roache also makes an appearance on the new season of "Law & Order: SVU." He played Executive Assistant District Attorney Mike Cutter on the original "Law & Order" series. Cutter is promoted to Bureau Chief Executive ADA of the Special Victims Unit in New York.

"My sense is that the show is evolving very nicely, bringing in, you know, some more dynamic characters with Danny Pino and, you know, Kelli playing, you know, the other detective," Roache said. "So we've got new blood bringing old blood back into new situations."

"I was thinking over the weekend that I suddenly realized that of the three 'Law & Order' shows, that the mothership (original 'Law & Order') was like the moral philosophical show that dealt with the moral issues of the law often and 'Criminal Intent' was dealing with the psychological," he added. "And 'SVU' has really been very powerful because it stays very true to the emotional and I think that will continue to be its hook for the audience."

As for the premiere March said, "The show will be a reflection of what is happening in the news but not exactly what is happening in the news and it will provide maybe an alternate perspective that I think the audience will find very interesting."

The network announced in August that despite early reports that Hargitay would be taking a reduced role in the series for the new season, the actress will appear on all 22 episodes.

The 13th season premiere of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" airs on Wednesday, September 21, on NBC at 10 p.m.

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