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How Much Does Mariska Hargitay Make per SVU Episode? The Actress Became a Millionaire Thanks To The Show

Busayo Ogunjimi
May 17, 2022
08:50 P.M.

Mariska Hargitay was in debt before joining the cast of "Law and Order," but now she is a different person, raking in many zeroes that have made her a millionaire. Here are details on how much she makes.


Word on the street is that Mariska Hargitay will be appearing in the new season finale of "Law and Order," where she crosses with Detective Cosgrove and Bernard, who, according to the showrunner Rick Eid, need to talk to her.

The finale airs on May 19, and the little discussion the three characters have could likely be about the immense tragedy scheduled to happen right in the middle of the finale.

 Mariska Hargitay and August at the "Hotel Transylvania" New York Premiere at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International on September 22, 2012. | Source: Getty Images

Mariska Hargitay and August at the "Hotel Transylvania" New York Premiere at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International on September 22, 2012. | Source: Getty Images

Eid told Today that a shooting, which claimed the life of an off-duty cop who also happens to be a close friend of Cosgrove, happened, but it could also be due to the heightened tensions between the police department and district attorney's office.

One thing fans can count on is that there will be no "big cliffhanger" this time; but, according to Eid, there will be an emotional finale, and Olivia Benson is guaranteed to appear in the rebooted series' season finale.


Hargitay became a millionaire thanks to the series, but not many know how much money it brought her.



Hargitay's role as detective Oliva Benson brings in a lot of cash for her, with reports going as far back as 2009 claiming she was earning between $375,000 and $385,000 for each episode.

In 2014, that value had increased to $450,000 per episode, making her one of the highest-paid entertainers on TV.

The last time Forbes reported on earnings was in 2018, and by then, it was estimated that she was getting up to $500,000 per episode. Aside from her acting income, she and her husband also have assets secured in real estate.



Mariska Hargitay was born to two pop culture icons, but her parents had split by the time she was delivered; then, her mom passed away in 1967.

After that, she lived with her dad and his second wife, whom Hargitay has described as a loving and fearless lady.

When she chose to go into acting like her mom, everyone seemed to have a mold they wanted her to fit into, but she was able to persevere with grit and faith as she learned from her father, who won Mr. Universe in 1955.


After her father passed on in 2006, Hargitay lost the rock that anchored her; as a young woman, she suffered from low self-esteem and was always hampered by fear, but it is something she has since overcome.

Hargitay kept moving forward but did not achieve financial success until she was well into her 30s. She was getting roles on short-lived dramas and guest roles in sitcoms, and the pay had been so unstable that the actress had entered a six-figure debt.

She was 35 when she landed the role of Olivia Benson, and even though she had no assurance it would be a success, she packed her things and moved to New York. It turned out to be a step that changed her life.



Hargitay's role in "Law & Order: SVU" has earned her millions; however, that is not the only way she has benefited from the long-running show.

Hargitay has allegedly been able to keep her cop instincts even in real life. She also found a calling because playing Benson exposed her to some brutal statistics and tragic real-life revelations from women who had endured rape.

On the show, she was introduced to Peter Hermann, whom she later married. They met on set, but it was in church that a voice whispered to her that he was the man she had been waiting for.

That voice had been right, and the pair have been married happily for more than two decades with beautiful kids to show for it.

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