On the set of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," plastic water bottles have been banished and recycling bins are in place for waste. That suits "very keen and zealous" recycler Linus Roache, and Stephanie March, who lives with her husband, chef Bobby Flay, in a newly built LEED Gold certified home, "one of the first in the Long Island area. We're pretty excited about it."

Both actors reprise their roles as prosecutors on "SVU," which returns to NBC for its 13th season Sept. 21 with another ripped-from-the-headlines-with-a-twist plot about a hotel maid (Anika Noni Rose) accusing an Italian diplomat of rape. Roache, who played ADA Michael Cutter on the original "Law & Order" from 2008-2010, and is now bureau chief, will appear in four episodes, and March will recur in five episodes as ADA Alexandra Cabot, whom she played on "SVU" from 2000-2003 and reprised several times since then.

Danny Pino ("Cold Case") and Kelli Giddish ("Past Life," "The Good Wife") join the cast as detectives this season. "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," says March. "We've got new blood bringing old blood back into new situations," Roache adds. "I wouldn't be surprised if we also see a lot of other characters from the past appearing through this season and making the most of all the much loved characters from the 'Law & Order' franchise."

March is enjoying the opportunity to revisit "a familiar character in a new capacity, because you get to texture and layer a role that you've been working on for a long time with more authority, more passion, more politics. It's a real world application of what happens as people rise in the professional ranks," She observes, noting that the show feels like "a leaner, faster machine" now. Both actors credit its writers, Mariska Hargitay's empathetic performance, and what March calls "some of the best people in the theatrical community in New York, on camera and off" for "SVU's" continued success. "It's very visceral and emotional," adds Roache.

He recently played a very different role in the "Titanic" miniseries that will air on ABC in 2012, playing an English Lord, "a good man, but a very highly privileged man" in a story he describes as "'Upstairs, Downstairs' on the Titanic," following all the different classes of people on the ship. The difference between it and James Cameron's epic film version is "probably about $140 million," he quips. "But even though we didn't have all that money, what we did have was a pretty incredible set and an amazing cast," he says of the project, which was written by Julian Fellowes, Emmy winner for "Downton Abbey." "It's a huge ensemble piece, four parts with different perspectives each night."

March's next project is a departure from her "SVU" role as well. She'll star in the independent film "Predisposed" as the sister of Melissa Leo in a story about a drug-addicted artist whose burgeoning artist son (Jesse Eisenberg) finds himself pre-disposed to addiction, as well. In the course of a road trip to procure drugs, the two stop at the sister's house for what becomes a "knock down, drag out" fight. "I've never had so much fun yelling my whole life," says March, who has high praise for both of her co-stars in the film, due out next year.

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Photo: Splash