since Law & Order: SVUDebut in 1999, Mariska Hargitay: Portrayed the beloved character of Olivia Benson. Hargitay portrayed Benson initially as a spy for the NYPD’s SVU division, then became captain of the same division in season 21.
A compassionate advocate for victims, Benson makes sure survivors are treated with care and empathy. Hargitay portrays Benson with a ferocity who ensures that the perpetrators are brought to justice swiftly. During his years in the SVU squad room, Benson has seen it all and has had to deal with intense, shocking and extraordinary cases. Hargitay’s performance as Benson earned her the title as television’s longest-running detective.
Season 6, Episode 4, “Scavengers”
In the Season 6 episode, “Scavengers,” SVU is tasked with hunting a serial killer across town, leaving clues on his victims similar to the Zodiac Killer. Benson and Stabler (Christopher Melloni) are forced to solve riddles and riddles and eventually discover that the murders are being committed by imitations of the original ‘RDK’ murders. Benson and Stabler must race against the clock when they learn that a copycat killer has kidnapped one of RDK’s original victims and buried him alive.
In their attempts to catch a serial killer, Benson and Stabler engage in an intense, nail-biting game of cat-and-mouse. The clues and puzzles left by the killer continually raise the stakes, and the intensity is only high when detectives must find their latest victim before the oxygen tank runs out.
Season 7, Episode 3, “911”
In the Season 7 episode, “911,” Benson receives a routed 911 call from a child whom the squad is unable to track, leading them to believe the call is a hoax. against Captain Cragan (Dan Floreco) advice and orders, Benson remains on the phone with the little girl, who becomes increasingly lethargic and fearful.
The escalating tension of the episode and the pressure of finding the missing girl keeps the viewer glued to their seats. The episode earned Hargitay an Emmy for her performance and is undoubtedly one of SVU’s best episodes.
Season 9, Episode 9, “Paternity”
In the season 9 episode, “Paternity,” Stabler moves out of town, leaving Benson with his pregnant wife, Kathy (Isabelle Gillies) Cathy and Benson get into a life-threatening car accident, trapping Cathy in their car, and Cathy going into preterm labor. Shaken but fearless, Benson manages to take back control of the dangerous situation by safely delivering Cathy and Stabler’s baby.
Although the episode ends with Kathy ending up safely in the hospital, tension runs high in the scene where Kathy gives birth and later loses consciousness. This episode is packed with action, both physically and mentally, and is one of the most memorable SVU episodes ever.
Season 13, Episode 1, “Scorched Earth”
In the season 13 episode, “Scorched Earth,” Benson finds himself in the squad room with two new detectives, Rollins (Kelly Giddish) and Amaro (danny pino), following the departure of Stabler (and Meloni) from SVU following the disastrous shootout that occurred in the season 12 finale. At the end of the episode, Kragen informs Benson that Stabler has filed his papers and has effectively resigned from SVU.
The episode marked the first episode without Stabler’s presence and saw surprisingly emotional moments from Benson. Normally a tough, yet kind detective, it was hard to watch Benson sobbing silently at the news of his partner’s resignation. It won’t be until the series premiere Law & Order: Organized Crime that Benson and Stabler would reunite.
Season 15, Episode 1, “Surrender Benson”
In the season 15 episode, “Surrender Benson,” Benson learns that Benson had turned on him when he was kidnapped by William Lewis (pablo schreiber) Arguably one of the show’s worst villains, Lewis forcibly drugs and intoxicates Benson and tortures him emotionally, physically and mentally. Lewis takes them to a remote cabin in the woods, where he continues to taunt her until Benson regains the upper hand, where he nearly beats her to death.
In a surprising twist where Benson usually finds herself a consolation victim, she finds herself on the other end fighting for her survival. In this episode, Benson nearly kills Lewis and the experience shocks him.
Season 15, Episode 20, “Beast’s Obsession”
In the season 15 episode, “Beast’s Obsession,” Benson once again meets face-to-face with William Lewis. In this episode, Lewis escapes from prison and kidnaps a 12-year-old girl, and contacts Benson to taunt her for catching the girl. Benson is nearly sexually assaulted by Lewis when he instead forces her into a game of Russian roulette. After a few intense rounds, Lewis shot himself in the face, taunting Benson one last time.
This episode doubles the stakes in the saga between Lewis and Benson. Benson’s inner desire to help save the kidnapped girl links him with Lewis once again and nearly kills him. Lewis’s death during a nail-biting game of Russian roulette strikes much of Benson’s psyche, not enough to give him peace and closure.
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