Mariska Hargitay, Olivia Benson

Michael Parmelee/NBC

To say Wednesday night's season 15 premiere episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was intense is definitely an understatement.

Of course, to avoid spoiling anything for anybody who hasn't watched it yet, we'll hold off on serving up too many details, except to say the episode did pick up on last season's cliffhanger of Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) being held at gunpoint by a serial rapist.

During an appearance on Today, Hargitay admitted it wasn't easy to shoot.

"It was, without a doubt, the most difficult episode I ever shot in 15 years, and it was unlike anything I've ever done," the actress said prior to the episode airing on Sept. 25.

She added, "But I have to tell you, after 15 years, to be nervous and scared and excited to go to work—it's a pretty great thing."

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Hargitay noted that one reason it was "tough" is because "when you're acting, your body doesn't know the difference of acting or being in reality, and you try to keep it real...I think you pretty much play the what-if game. It's just about believing it. I think that's why you study your whole life to be focused and be present."

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

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