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Law and Order: SVU

NBC

Welcome to a new season of Law & Order: SVU. How do we start off the landmark 18th season? By having a kid pull a gun on Benson (Mariska Hargitay) while in a sandbox. Missed you so much, SVU!

When viewers last checked in on Lt. Olivia Benson, she was jetting off to Paris with her boo and baby boy, but not without some excess baggage. Yeah, talking about that guilt she's carrying around after the death of Sgt. Dodds (Andy Karl).

"I think she takes this hard. This is, again, [she] cannot catch a break because there's so much…this idea of being a leader, right? And everything's your fault because it's all under you. It's taking on so much responsibility and I think that she has survivor's guilt pretty serious and takes a hit on this one. These things are adding up, I think she really blames herself. I know just reading it I was like," Hargitay told E! News on set of the season 17 finale, "I felt sick."

Yeah, she was for sure still carrying it around in the very timely season 18 premiere. After securing the gun and getting the aforementioned kid to the hospital, the detectives quickly discovered his parents were involved terrorist activities. Their apartment in New York was full of bomb-making materials and an arsenal of guns. Remember: This was filmed weeks ago, just a scary coincidence after the events in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood. SVU has always had its finger on the pulse.

The squad called in, well, just about everybody and stopped a mass casualty situation (but not without an off-duty cop and bystander biting the bullet). The police caught Ana (Natia Dune), but she claimed rape and abuse at the hands of her fiancé and his brother, she was only acting under extreme duress. Nobody wanted to buy it but Benson. She ended up pissing off Barba and Dodds, but Benson stood up for the victim. It's Benson after all. Ana remained in custody and her son, the boy from the sandbox, was sent to live with her sister after his real father, her fiancé's brother, was arrested as well. Not exactly a happy ending for them, but that brings us to Benson's happy ending.

Law and Order: SVU

NBC

While in the park with Noah, Benson's approached by her beau, Tucker (Robert John Burke). "Long week?" he asked her.

"The funny thing is I've never been happier," she said.

"Then why are you crying?" he asked.

"Because I'm scared that it won't last," she said.

"That's not true. Not if I can help it," he said.

Tuckson shippers everywhere, how you doin'? Haters, same question for you.

Now 18 seasons in, Hargitay is still at the top of her game, pulling at heart strings everywhere. If there's ever any wonder why SVU is still on the air, look no further than Hargitay and her enduring performance.

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)