Mariska Hargitay Opens up about Playing Olivia Benson on 'Law & Order: SVU'

Mariska Hargitay got candid about her role as Olivia Benson on the hit crime drama television series "Law & Order: SVU" in an interview.

For her portrayal of Benson, Hargitay, 55, has been the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

"I feel very privileged and blessed to have grown in this character and get to affect as many people as I have been privileged to affect in my life."

Mariska Hargitay at 92nd Street Y on February 12, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Mariska Hargitay at 92nd Street Y on February 12, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

The character, Benson, is a survivor of sexual assault. She investigates cases of sexual assault in some of the show's episodes.

During a recent interview with E! News, the actress explained why she did not want to give up the role in the series.

"I am so grateful and in love with this character that I am so blessed to play," she told the news outlet at the Paley Center premiere event for the NBC drama's season 21.

"This character is to me heroic and something that our culture needed, somebody who fought for women and who elevated women's voices and who bears witness to such pain and there is great healing in that," she added.

Hargitay continued, "I feel very privileged and blessed to have grown in this character and get to affect as many people as I have been privileged to affect in my life."

The actress, who was barely four years old when her mother died in 1967, has been playing Benson since the "Law & Order: SVU" started in 1999.

During last month's season premiere, Benson became Captain Benson, as reported by Today.

A month ago, Hargitay reunited with former "Law & Order: SVU" star Christopher Meloni, who played Benson's earliest partner, Detective Elliot Stabler.

The actress took to Instagram to share a series of photos of herself with the actor. She captioned the post:

"Sunday night dinner...."

Hargitay and Meloni appeared together on the series for 12 years until Meloni left the series in 2011.

View this post on Instagram

Sunday night dinner....

A post shared by Mariska Hargitay (@therealmariskahargitay) on

The actress made her film debut in the 1985 horror comedy film "Ghoulies." After a year, she made her television debut with the adventure drama series "Downtown."

She created the Joyful Heart Foundation, offering help to victims of sexual abuse. She was motivated to build the foundation while playing Benson.

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