Mariska Hargitay on Her Law and Order: SVU Future: "I'm Not Done Yet"

The series star reveals what keeps bringing her back to the long-running drama and what's next when she directs.

By Chris Harnick Sep 27, 2018 6:01 PMTags
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She may have an ideal ending in mind for Olivia Benson, but that doesn't mean Mariska Hargitay is ready to say goodbye to Law and Order: SVU just yet. Former NBC boss Robert Greenblatt previously said SVU would continue as long as Hargitay wanted to do it.

"I've really given myself sort of the respect or honor to take it year by year," Hargitay told E! News recently.

Season 19 rolled around and there was a new energy to the series with showrunner Michael Chernuchin and cast members, including Philip Winchester.

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"With [Raúl Esparza] leaving I was so scared, as I always am with any big change, but it always pushes me, just like in life when we get out of our comfort zone. And that has been so thrilling, all good things come when we're out of our comfort zone. That's what keeps me so incredibly invested. I'm just trying to go a little bit deeper every day and I'm not done yet, because there's still so much to mine," Hargitay said.

With season 20, Hargitay and Winchester have gotten to go deeper with their characters, Benson and ADA Stone, she said. "Acting is what I love. I'm still engaged—and everyone is. We're all super committed," Hargitay said. "We're like a little acting troupe…we all help each other. It's a team."

Acting may be what she loves, but Hargitay also has a knack for stepping behind the camera. She'll do so once again and direct this season of SVU. "I was just told, which I am very excited about, that Philip will have a big role in the episode that I direct, so that should be a challenge," she joked. This was news to Winchester, he said.

"I'm very excited. For me, it is so challenging to direct, because it's using a completely different part of your brain. I get scared and excited and I'm very much out of my comfort zone, in certain ways, and very much in my comfort zone in other ways," Hargitay added.

Law and Order: SVU's two-hour season 20 premiere airs Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. o NBC.

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