‘Law & Order: SVU’: Why Olivia Benson Actor Mariska Hargitay Says It Took Her ‘Years’ to Perfect the ‘Cop Walk’

by John Jamison
‘Law & Order: SVU’: Why Olivia Benson Actor Mariska Hargitay Says It Took Her ‘Years’ to Perfect the ‘Cop Walk’

Mariska Hargitay has been portraying Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: SVU” since 1999. For more than a decade, her character was a detective for the Special Victims Unit. Then, she was promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, and now captain.

All of this is to say she’s had plenty of time to perfect the swagger she brings to her character. And apparently, she needed it.

Fans of “Law & Order: SVU” will remember the days of Benson and Stabler’s partnership fondly. Christopher Meloni played Elliot Stabler on the show until 2011. As a result of their on-screen dynamic, he and Hargitay developed a real friendship. And early on, the Olivia Benson actress noticed how commanding Meloni was when he’d do something as simple as walking down the street.

She knew she had to figure out her own interpretation of a New York detective walk. But hilariously, it took her a few rough drafts to truly naily it. In a 2014 interview on “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” Hargitay talked about how she developed her cop walk over time.

“It took me years. I think it took me a few years to develop the cop muscles. I remember seeing Chris [Meloni] in the first few years and he’d wear like this long coat, and the way he’d walk the streets. Because he was from New York, he had such a good walk. And I would try to do some kind of, like, pimp walk. And it was not working at all,” Hargitay said. “But, eventually I got it. And I walk okay now.”

What really motivated the “Law & Order: SVU” star to get the walk down was how good Meloni’s was. She didn’t want to offset his “badass walk” with her goofy attempts at imitation. Fortunately, she had plenty of time.

The Longtime ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Partners Finally Shared Some Words of Affection

For as long as Mariska Hargitay’s Benson and Christopher Meloni’s Stabler have been partners, many fans of “Law & Order” have wanted to see them get together.

And many thought the opportunity was lost forever when Meloni took a decade-long hiatus from the Dick Wolf-produced franchise. But now, Meloni is back as Elliot Stabler and is at the helm of his own show, “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” As part of his return to the fold, there was some crossover with the most recent season of “Law & Order: SVU.”

After losing his wife and resolving to take down the ones who did it, Stabler finally shared an incredibly vulnerable moment with Benson. He told her that he loved her during an April episode of the show. Of course, it wasn’t exactly what the romantic fans had in mind. And “Law & Order: Organized Crime” executive producer Ilene Chaiken said as much.

“There’s no question that he has love for her, whether it’s romantic love, I don’t know and I’m not ready to answer yet. But it was definitely something that came out during a moment of unfiltered agony and confusion for Stabler,” Chaiken told TVLine in May.

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