Olivia Benson’s Appearances on the ‘Chicago’ Franchise, Ranked

One of the most well-known crime dramas on TV today is also one of the longest-running: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. At the show’s helm is Captain Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, who viewers have watched be promoted all the way from junior detective since the very first episode. But true fans of Benson know that SVU isn’t the only show she’s been portrayed on; Hargitay has also played Benson on Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire. Which episodes were the best? We’ve ranked them for you.

Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson in SVU and the Chicago franchise

Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson in all black sitting on a couch, looking away from the camera
Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson | Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Law & Order: SVU’: What Hairstyles Do Fans Prefer on Olivia Benson?

Let’s go over a little background on Hargitay’s character. Olivia Benson starts out as a detective partnered with Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), who is the veteran detective to her rookie, working in the Special Victims Unit in the NYPD. After Stabler retires in season 12, Benson becomes the senior detective when she gets a new partner. Benson is promoted to Sergeant in season 15, Lieutenant in season 17, and Captain in season 21.  

The Benson character has expanded the SVU universe by appearing in the Chicago franchise in four guest appearances. The Chicago franchise includes Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice, and was created in part by SVU creator Dick Wolf. These shows tell the stories of the firefighters, police officers, medical personnel, and legal professionals working in the city of Chicago. Hargitay has made guest appearances in seasons 2-3 of Chicago P.D. and season 3 of Chicago Fire.

Ranking Olivia Benson’s appearances in the Chicago franchise, according to IMDb

RELATED: The 10 Best Episodes of ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ According to IMDb

3. TIE: ‘They’ll Have to Go Through Me’ and ‘The Song of Gregory William Yates’ — Chicago P.D.

8.3/10 Tied in third place are two episodes of Chicago P.D.: ‘They’ll Have to Go Through Me’ (season 2, episode 7) and ‘The Song of Gregory William Yates’ (season 3, episode 14). In ‘They’ll Have to Go Through Me,’ Benson makes her first appearance in the Chicago franchise when she comes to Chicago to assist the police department in taking down a pornography ring. In ‘The Song of Gregory William Yates,’ Detectives Benson and Tutuola (Ice-T) travel to Chicago to help find a killer on the run. This episode also had a crossover with a doctor from Chicago Med.

2. ‘We Called Her Jellybean’ — Chicago Fire

8.4/10 In second place comes ‘We Called Her Jellybean,’ which is season 3, episode 21 of Chicago Fire. This was the second part of a three-part crossover, that first included an episode of Chicago P.D., then finished with an episode of SVU. Sgt. Benson travels to Chicago to assist with a case of rape and attempted murder that has a connection to an apartment fire. 

1. ‘The Number of Rats’ — Chicago P.D.

8.7/10 Season 2, episode 20 of Chicago P.D. takes the number one place with ‘The Number of Rats.’ This is the first part of the three-part crossover with Chicago Fire and SVU. In this episode, Sgt. Benson is helping to investigate a rape/attempted murder case that is similar to a case she had in New York a decade earlier. This episode also features her partner, Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) and Odafin Tutuola, who she called to help her out from New York. 

And there you have it! Olivia Benson’s appearances in the Chicago franchise has kept fans of the crime drama genre excited and looking out for more crossovers. With SVU looking forward to its 22nd season, we know there is plenty of time for more now that we know all of these shows exist within the same universe. We’ll be watching out.