Mariska Hargitay Shines Celebrating 25 Years Of ‘SVU’

Actress and producer Mariska Hargitay is certified television veteran and a legend in her own right. She has been the main face of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ for over 25 years now.

Mariska Hargitay

In an emotional acceptance speech at the Gotham TV Awards, Mariska Hargitay reflects on her 25-year journey with ‘Law & Order: SVU’, emphasizing the show’s role in addressing sexual assault and domestic violence.

Hargitay’s portrayal of “Olivia Benson” has not only set a record in scripted TV history but also provided a voice for survivors, pushing crucial conversations into the public sphere.

Mariska is a legend that is still going

Mariska Hargitay, standing tall and proud at New York’s Cipriani 25 Broadway, didn’t just celebrate an anniversary; she celebrated a milestone of influence and advocacy through her iconic role as “Olivia Benson”.

“The biggest thing for me to take in right now is that I get to work every day on a show that makes people feel less alone,” she said in a heartfelt speech at the gala.

“That’s one of the most devastating effects on sexual assault and domestic violence is the isolation. Perpetrators depend on actual, literal isolation to commit their crimes and to leave victims with the trauma of deep, psychological isolation.”

With over 550 episodes under her belt, Hargitay has become the most prolific actor in scripted TV history. But it’s not the numbers that drive her; it’s the stories of survival, strength, and solidarity.

“That is a high bar, people!” she exclaimed, acknowledging the show’s longevity with a mix of humor and humility.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ is more than just entertainment; it’s a platform for the stories that often remain in the shadows.

“Olivia” is eternal

Hargitay’s dedication to portraying “Olivia Benson” as a figure of both strength and empathy has made the show a cornerstone in the conversation about sexual assault and domestic violence.

Of her character, Hargitay said, “I love that she’s equal parts outrage and compassion and strength and vulnerability.”

Returning to the topic of the survivors foregrounded by the show, Hargitay said its “answer to the survivors is the exact opposite” of isolation. “You matter. Your story matters. And we’re going to tell it.”

The show’s aim, she said, is “moving these difficult topics out of the darkness and into the light and into conversation, to place where we can make it a place where people can heal.”

“It’s a show that tells survivors’ stories,” Hargitay emphasized, underlining the importance of representation and acknowledgment.

In a world where survivors often face disbelief and dismissal, ‘SVU’ stands as a counterpoint, offering validation and visibility. Hargitay passionately noted, “You matter. Your story matters.

And we’re going to tell it.” This commitment to bringing difficult topics into the light has not only made ‘SVU’ a groundbreaking show but also a source of healing.

As NBC renews ‘SVU’ for a 26th season, Hargitay’s journey as Olivia Benson is far from over.

Her work, both on-screen and off, continues to inspire and impact, proving that television can be a powerful force for change.

With Rockefeller Plaza even being temporarily renamed Olivia Benson Plaza, it’s clear that Mariska Hargitay’s legacy will resonate for years to come.


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