‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay’s Beautiful Reason Why Show is Still Going

by Kati Michelle

Mariska Hargitay continues to captivate viewers with her elegant and poised interpretation of “Law & Order’s” strongest female lead. The characteristics she shares with Olivia Benson are some of the biggest reasons for the continued fan support and longevity of “Law & Order: SVU.” Superseded only by “Jeopardy!” and a handful of other series, “SVU” maintains one of the longest-running series on TV to date. Hargitay discusses why she thinks this is the case.

Where Does Mariska Hargitay End and Olivia Benson Begin?

In speaking with TV Insider, Mariska Hargitay offers her insights as to why the “Law & Order” series has encountered such steady success. “Basically, we’re telling compelling stories that are close to our hearts, our souls and our core. Olivia is a champion of healing — the mother figure we all want.”

It can be hard to discern Mariska Hargitay from Olivia Benson at times because they are so similar. Hargitay attributes a lot of her personal growth to playing the beloved role. She also discusses how the “SVU” universe continues to grow in its roles within the world of advocacy. When asked how SVU has evolved, Mariska provided the following comment: “What is beautiful is that the show has evolved from ‘Let’s shine a light on these issues’ to ‘Time’s up, let’s make changes and stop these issues.’ I think the culture is catching up.”

Mariska’s Joyful Heart Foundation

Mariska Hargitay started the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse in the United States. The Foundation came about after Hargitay received an outpouring of support from fans who wanted to share their survivor stories with the star. On one hand, Hargitay appreciated the letters greatly. On the other hand, she knew she could never get to each one alone. As a result, she created the foundation centered around trauma-informed healing, advocacy, and education.

The Joyful Heart Foundation Instagram provides a safe and supportive community for survivors and advocates alike. In a recent photo, Mariska Hargitay encourages survivors to step forward and seek help.

Documentary Activism

Hargitay released her first documentary film in 2017. Entitled “I Am Evidence,” the documentary explores the phenomena of untested rape kits. It follows survivors as they try to navigate the barriers of the criminal justice system. The film received several accolades over the years including Best Documentary Film at the Provincetown and Traverse City Film Festivals.

The site involves a Letter From the Producer, Mariska Hargitay herself. In the letter, Mariska reveals some alarming statistics. For example, in 2010 in Los Angeles alone, there were more than 12,000 untested rape kits. At the end of the day, she says her “fervent hope for this film is that it will be a catalyst for action.” She then concludes with a hopeful sign-off before leaving her signature.