‘Law & Order: SVU’: Mariska Hargitay Reveals Why She Was ‘Drawn To the Material’

It’s hard to imagine life without Law & Order: SVU. After 21 successful seasons and a new season only weeks away, it’s clear that the series means a lot to the people who work on it, and to those who continue to watch it each and every year.

When many people think about SVU, they immediately jump to Mariska Hargitay, who has been on the show since the very beginning. From Detective Elliot Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) partner to the Captain of the squad, Benson and the entire series have changed the dialogue when it comes to survivors, abuse, and the justice system.

Mariska Hargitay says ‘Law & Order: SVU’ is a ‘path to healing’

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay | Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

Many fans would agree that the series resonates with those that watch it. Hargitay spoke with Parade.com in 2019, and she explained why she thinks the series “resonates.” She says that the show is a “path to healing” and “survivorship.” The series encourages dialogue about important topics and issues. It sparks conversations that create a “greater awareness,” which shows that it impacts those that watch and discuss the show.

SVU resonates because it’s a path to healing and a path to survivorship,” Hargitay explained. “Each week, Olivia Benson and the team depict an environment of compassion, sympathy, and justice, providing hope to those who experience shame and isolation caused by sexual violence. The conversations that the show inspires have brought a greater awareness and understanding of the issues. And every disclosure is a chance to show that a victim is to be believed.”

Mariska Hargitay reveals why she was ‘drawn to the material’

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay | Bobby Bank/WireImage

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It’s hard to imagine SVU without Hargitay herself, and luckily we don’t have to. She spoke with the Associated Press at the Tribeca TV Festival in 2018, revealing why she “was so drawn to the material” because no one else was actually talking about the issues being dealt with on the series. She says the show has been talking about topics that have been “traditionally swept under the carpet.” These issues are now front and center thanks to SVU.

“When we started the show, nobody was talking about these issues that’s why I was so drawn to the material,” she explained. “It’s an incredibly progressive show, a progressive idea. And really starting a conversation and taking sexual assault, domestic violence, and these issues that were traditionally swept under the carpet, and people were afraid to talk about. And now we’ve been talking about it for 20 years, and conversation is in full swing. And that’s very exciting. I think the show has really been a huge part of the cultural education on sexual violence. I think we have taken on the issues of consent and the neurobiology of trauma, and created a survivor-centric show that was utterly unique.”

Law & Order: SVU will be back with season 22 on Thursday, November 12, at 9 p.m. E.S.T. Captain Olivia Benson will be joined by her trusty detectives to take down the perps. One thing is certain: The series will continue to spark conversations surrounding the material, while also shining a light on issues that need to be discussed. It makes the show that much more meaningful. SVU “resonates” with viewers, and it will continue to do so as long as it’s being watched.