There’s no question Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU is one of the most iconic television characters of all time. Taylor Swift even named one of her cats after her, for crying out loud! She has been solving crimes and helping victims of abuse for over 20 seasons.
Though she’s tough on the outside, Olivia has been through a lot over the course of her life. Here are five fast facts about one of New York’s best detectives.
In the Beginning
Olivia, who was born in 1968, was the product of rape. Her biological father, Joseph Hollister, raped her mother, Serena Benson, in the spring of 1967. At the time of the rape, Serena was working at Columbia University.
Tension With Mom
Olivia’s mother was an alcoholic who both physically and emotionally abused her while she was growing up. Benson would later find out that her biological father, her mother’s rapist, committed suicide. Serena eventually died after she fell when she was drunk back in 2000.
While going undercover in a women’s prison to find a rapist, Olivia was almost raped herself — the closest she’s ever come and the experience deeply affected her. Thankfully, Detective Odafin Tutuola — who was also undercover as a guard — arrived just in time to stop the man.
Olivia has always longed to have a family and finally became the guardian of baby Noah Porter, an orphaned baby, during the Season 15 finale. Olivia officially adopted him at the end of Season 16 but she was challenged by the baby’s psychotic biological father and later his biological grandmother. Luckily, they remain together.
New Partner, New Attitude
Olivia’s longtime partner was Elliot Stabler, who she was with for 12 years. But, after he decided to leave, she was partnered up with Nick Amaro. Despite being with Elliot for longer, Olivia revealed she had grown more over those four years with Nick by her side.