Fans of the show are hoping that Law & Order: SVU never ends (and who says it ever has to?), but recently, series star Mariska Hargitay talked about life after Olivia Benson.
Mariska Hargitay Ponders The Future
“I’m excited about the next chapter,” Hargitay told People in its cover story 2020 Women Changing the World issue. She won’t get to see that next chapter for a while though since the show was recently renewed for three more seasons — provided she sticks around for all them.
For Hargitay, the show was never just about playing a role on-screen; Olivia Benson is a champion of victims’ rights and Hargitay embraced that role off-screen, too, acting as an advocate for those affected by crime.
“I think I was meant to do this,” she says. “I was the one who was supposed to play Olivia Benson.” In 2004, the actress turned activist by creating Joyful Heart, a foundation whose mission is to “transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.”
Playing Olivia for as long as she has helped make Hargitay one of TV’s most recognizable stars. Just as Olivia has expanded her family by adopting a son over the years, Hargitay has expanded hers — getting married to actor Peter Hermann (ex-Michael, Guiding Light) and having three children.
“I’m on a TV show, and I have a foundation and three children and a husband, and they all need, as anything that you value does, a lot of focus and energy,” says Hargitay. “Time is my most precious commodity now. I’ve had to think smarter to get more done.”
In addition to Hargitay, other women featured in the People magazine Women Changing the World issue are: actress/producer/director Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives; Grand Hotel), astronaut Christina Koch, actress Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada), nurse-turned-activist Najah Bazzy, Olympian Simone Biles, Harvard University junior and activist Nadya Okamoto, Golden Globe winner Awkwafina (Nora from Queens), Jennifer Hyman (founder/owner Rent the Runway), Oscar/Emmy winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness), and producer/director/writer Trish Dalton (Election year). Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.