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Mariska Hargitay has made a major name for herself on the hit series Law & Order: SVU. She plays Olivia Benson, who has worked her way up the ranks from detective to Captain. Fans might be surprised to know the sweet similarity that Hargitay shares with her on-screen counterpart.

Olivia Benson is the mother of a boy named Noah

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay | Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In the hit series, Olivia has a son named Noah (Ryan Buggle). Her journey to finally adopting him is a whirlwind to say the least. Noah is the biological child of Ellie Porter (Emma Greenwell), who is no longer living. Noah was actually sold to a couple that produced child pornography, and Benson found him in 2014 in a motel room according to the show’s Fandom page for the character. He was never picked up after the media covered the children who had been rescued.

Noah was placed in the foster care system, and his mother, Ellie, was going to get clean and “testify against her pimp,” but was brutally assaulted and killed. Benson was given temporary custody, but the biological father, Johnny Drake (Charles Halford), a sex trafficker, learned of his son’s existence, and he tried to get custody, but was killed.

Eventually, Benson was finally able to officially adopt Noah, and she gave him the full name of Noah Porter-Benson.

Mariska Hargitay shares a sweet similarity with Olivia Benson that involves family

Benson isn’t the only one to adopt a child. Hargitay herself has adopted two children with her husband, Peter Hermann. She met Peter on the set of SVU, and together they’ve formed a beautiful family. According to Us Weekly, the couple had their first child, a son named August, in 2006. The couple went on to adopt two children in 2011, Amaya and Andrew.

Mariska believes that ‘families are made so many different ways’


Why Mariska Hargitay Posted a Sweet Tribute to Her Mother Jayne Mansfield

In 2018, Hargitay made an appearance on The View, and she spoke candidly about family. Hargitay’s mother was Jayne Mansfield, an actress. According to, in 1967, Hargitay and her brothers were involved in a car accident that killed her mother, along with her mother’s boyfriend, Sam Brody. Hargitay was only three at the time, which of course would be hard for anyone to deal with.

Hargitay was asked if losing her mother had anything to do with her adopting children, and she spoke about her own childhood. She says that “families are made so many different ways.”

“You know, I grew up with, I have more siblings, there’s a whole slew of us, but I grew up with my two brothers,” Hargitay said on The View. “And three was sort of a magic number for us. And I had a fantastic stepmother, and I just loved and learned very young that families are made so many different ways. And from the time I was this big, I knew that I wanted to adopt. Because I felt like, I just felt like I might know what to do.”

Both Benson and Hargitay chose to adopt, proving that Hargitay is like her on-screen counterpart in an important way.