Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay said there are days she considers leaving the show. The hours are grueling and being the centerpiece of a major network television show isn’t easy. However, there are moments outside the show that make it worth it.
In a long-form 2019 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Hargitay opened up about those moments and explained why she’s put on Olivia Benson’s badge for 22 years.
“The show is challenging, it’s exhausting, it’s a marathon,” she said. “And there are hard days and there are days when I’m like, ‘You know what? I might be done. I’m so tired, I can’t see straight.’ And then there are days when I get on my knees and I say, ‘Thank you, God.’ I have a unique position to walk down the street and have women say, ‘I love you.’ I get to meet women in their most vulnerable and strongest place. … It’s a different kind of intimacy with people. Not just a job.”
Hargitay keeps taking on more and more responsibility behind the scenes of Law & Order: SVU. And those new challenges have made the job much more exciting.
“When I’m done, I’ll know it. When I’m like, ‘OK, there’s no more to mine here, and now I’m phoning it in and I’ve got to go.’ But I’m not yet,” she said. “… I’m directing; producing is a whole new world. I grew into a boss lady, and I like it. I like it and I’m good at it. There were a couple of years where I was like, “I might be out.” There were some changes that I wasn’t on board with or I felt like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if we’re going in the exact right direction.’ Now I love the show.”
‘Law & Order: SVU’ to Hit 500 Episodes Next Season
When a show makes 100 episodes, it’s a rare feat. But to reach 500 is a marvel that only four other shows have made. Law & Order: SVU has banked 494 shows over its 22 seasons. Mariska Hargitay has appeared in nearly all of them. Ice-T, who plays Det. Fin Tutuola has 456 episodes under his belt.
Showrunner Warren Leight told CinemaBlend that producers have been working with the writers to come up with an interesting way to address it. But they’ve set nothing in stone so far.
“I would like at least part of the 500th to be [ours]…sometimes it’s nice to have it be your birthday party and not a group birthday party. It’s okay for people to come to the party, but it feels like 500 is an insane milestone. And so I would hope we have a moment to acknowledge it. Obviously, in the episode, we won’t say happy 500—but maybe I will look for a way to cheat that in.”
However, don’t expect to see a big crossover ever with Law & Order: Organized Crime, he said. He wants this to be a celebration of SVU.