At the end of season 17 of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, viewers saw Sergeant Mike Dodds (Andy Karl) be killed in the line of fire and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) struggling over his death as she felt that it was her fault. As a way to promote the upcoming 18th season, Hargitay talked with Entertainment Weekly about the way that Benson is dealing with the events of the last season.
Hargitay says the season premiere picks up a few weeks after Dodds’ death and that she “is still carrying a deep sense of guilt,” which is complicated even further by Chief Dodds coming to the squad room and not having a full squad. She also noted that Fin (Ice-T) is currently serving as the number two man for the team, even though it’s a job he doesn’t want and has been clear he doesn’t want.
On a lighter note, Hargitay said that viewers will see many Benson and Noah scenes in the upcoming season as Benson looks to find a preschool for him to attend, which Hargitay says is “#MomGoals.”
Hargitay also hopes that Benson and Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) will forge a better relationship, saying “I’d like to see them forge a friendship in a more meaningful way — they’re both strong, independent, feminists. They share the same values and anxieties; it would be good way to reinforce that #WomenNeedToStickTogether,” with Hargitay also noting that Benson has also had a better relationship with her male co-workers and bosses.
And, as SVU goes into its 18th season, making it the longest running scripted show currently on the air, the question came up on whether Hargitay would be stepping down from her role as Olivia Benson. Luckily for us, Hargitay doesn’t seem ready to step down from the role anytime soon. “I’m always eager to dig deeper into compassion, strength and empowerment. I think #LearnAndGrow sums it up. And maybe Benson can start using hashtags!”
And why would Hargitay want to leave when she’s got her charity, The Joyful Heart Foundation, and, according to Forbes, was recently tied for fourth place for highest paid television actress, tied with Ellen Pompeo for her role on Grey’s Anatomy (coincidentally, Pompeo and Hargitay’s on-screen personas, Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson, are the namesakes of Taylor Swift’s two cats).
Hargitay also said she’s caught the directing bug and will be directing at least two of the episodes this season.
Hargitay also previewed Vice President Joe Biden’s appearance in the second episode of the season, saying that he’s one of her “heroes” and that “he and I both feel very strongly about the urgent need to address the rape kit backlog nationwide.”
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit returns to television tonight, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m.