Saturday marked an extraordinary day for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans and Ice-T made sure no one forgot. It was Mariska Hargitay's birthday! The actress, who stars as Capt. Olivia Benson turned 57. Hargitay's Benson is the longest-running live-action character to star in a primetime series, now that SVU is in its record-setting 22nd season.
"Today is [Hargitay's] Birthday! We’ve worked side by side for over 20yrs. I love her to death. Everyone show her some love," Ice-T wrote on Twitter, alongside an old photo of the two friends. Ice-T plays Det. Odafin Tutuola joined the SVU squad in Season 2, meaning the two actors have been working together for over two decades now.
This season of SVU has seen several returns, but the biggest one is still on the way. Christopher Meloni, who acted with Hargitay on the first 12 seasons of SVU, is set to come back for the first time since leaving to play Det. Elliot Stabler. Meloni's appearance on SVU will lead to his own spin-off, Law & Order: Organized Crime, in which Stabler leads his own NYPD unit. Production on Melino's SVU episode is already underway, as Meloni and Hargitay have continued teasing fans with selfies of the two together on Instagram.
Hargitay is the daughter of the late bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay and the late actress, Jayne Mansfield. She started working in movies and television in the mid-1980s, but Benson has remained her most popular character. She is an executive producer on SVU and has directed several episodes.prevnext
She is the best, I had the pleasure of doing an episode on season 20 and both you and Mariska were the greatest, what a great group of people on your show 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻— Sebastian Roché (@sebroche) January 23, 2021
Even when she is offscreen, Hargitay continues her fight to help sexual assault survivors. In 2004, she established the Joyful Heart Foundation and she co-produced the documentary I Am Evidence, which focused on what happens to untested rape kits.prevnext
Happy birthday! Thank you for all your groundbreaking work on legislation to help rape victims and sexual assault care takers.— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) January 23, 2021
"SVU resonates because it’s a path to healing and a path to survivorship," Hargitay told Parade in 2019. "Each week, Olivia Benson and the team depict an environment of compassion, sympathy and justice, providing hope to those who experience shame and isolation caused by sexual violence."prevnext
She continued: "The conversations that the show inspires have brought greater awareness and understanding of the issues. And every disclosure is a chance to show that a victim is to be believed."prevnext
No one - like literally NO ONE - has more effectively used their work in the arts to educate, to advocate and to change the world for the better than @Mariska.— Julie Cohen (@FilmmakerJulie) January 24, 2021
Happy Birthday and Thank you for all you've done and continue to do. pic.twitter.com/Z6FdrcsRI8
"Happy birthday Mariska. We love the show and have watched from the beginning. Seen most episodes more than three times and still we are watching," wrote John Challis.
Actor Chad Lindberg also wrote, "Happy Birthday [Marsika]!! You were such a class act when I guest starred your show several years ago!!! Much love!!!"prevnext
Fans can see Benson's next efforts to help victims on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC in new SVU episodes.prev